It’s Babcock Time

TORONTO (Apr. 23) — Everywhere you turn in this city, hockey fans are sure the Maple Leafs have a profusion of confidence heading into Game 6 tonight against the Washington Capitals. And, why not? The buoyant underdog has stayed with… Read More

Babcock Angle Overplayed

TORONTO (Apr. 2) — I begin this blog with somewhat of a contradiction: Though I believe Mike Babcock should be among the finalists for the Jack Adams Award as National Hockey League coach–of–the–year, I do not believe he is the… Read More

Comparing Auston and Wendel

TORONTO (Mar. 30) — So, which accomplishment is more impressive: Wendel Clark’s 34 goals in 1985–86 that stood, for more than three decades, as the rookie–season record for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Or, the 35 goals (and counting) by Auston… Read More

Ron Wilson’s Loud Voice

TORONTO (Mar. 27) — In the early 1970’s, while in junior–high school, I would play around with the radio dial at night to determine which hockey games I could hear. After 8 o’clock, AM radio stations in the United States… Read More

Leafs Have Earned Playoff Shot

TORONTO (Mar. 22) — The math will sort itself out over the next 18 days and nights, finally determining whether the Toronto Maple Leafs partake in the Stanley Cup tournament for the first time in 13 years after a full… Read More

Who Else Joins Legends Row?

***UPDATE: Congratulations to Charlie Conacher, Frank Mahovlich, Red Kelly and Wendel Clark for being inducted into the Maple Leafs Legends Row at Air Canada Centre. Turns out that four ex–players got the nod, rather than the three I suggested in… Read More

Leafs: Look Out From Behind

TORONTO (Feb. 13) — During this mostly–refreshing season for fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club has been gazing upward at its Atlantic Division rivals; aiming for a top–three finish and a guaranteed playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.… Read More

The Shattenkirk Question

TORONTO (Feb. 2) — It happens every year around this time. An elite player, staring at unrestricted free agency, is on his way to the Toronto Maple Leafs. After all, who wouldn’t wish to ply his trade in the center… Read More

Still Turnbull’s Mark 40 Years Later

TORONTO (Feb. 1) — On Nov. 11, 1981, just more than eight years after breaking into the National Hockey League, Ian Turnbull left Toronto in a trade with the reputation, among local media, of being irascible, sardonic and uncooperative. If… Read More

Toronto, Detroit and Culture Shock

TORONTO (Jan. 26) — Of all the disparity provided by the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, nothing is quite–so foreign as the club being decidedly better than the Detroit Red Wings. Eons have passed since the Leafs could make such… Read More

Two Years or Two Decades?

TORONTO (Jan. 7) — Yes, it was only two years ago today that the Maple Leafs had fired Randy Carlyle and were about to lapse into one of the worst tailspins in franchise history. Seems a bit longer, doesn’t it?… Read More

The Leafs At the Quarter–Pole

TORONTO (Nov. 24) — Over–achievement? Moderate achievement? And, does it really matter? These are questions that come to mind with respect to the Toronto Maple Leafs after 20 games of the 2016–17 National Hockey League season. Clearly, the team is… Read More

Oliver Ekman–“Leafs”son?

TORONTO (Nov. 22) — In their interminable quest to secure a legitimate, No. 1 defenseman, the Maple Leafs could be eyeing Oliver Ekman–Larsson of the Arizona Coyotes. So says one of my Phoenix bird–dogs. “This is for later in the… Read More

When is Joe Bowen’s Turn?

TORONTO (Nov. 14) — There is no arguing the merit of the two gentlemen inducted this year into the media wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bob Verdi is the dean of sports columnists in Chicago and has covered… Read More

Bittersweet Day at the Hall

TORONTO (Nov. 12) — Irony enveloped the Hockey Hall of Fame on Friday. It was Remembrance Day here in Canada and for the second time in three years, a former coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs — Irish; named Pat,… Read More

One Remarkable Night (Just One)

TORONTO (Nov. 10) — So, which result of this past Tuesday night came as more of a surprise to you: Donald Trump being elected 45th president of the United States or the Los Angeles Kings wood–shedding the Maple Leafs at… Read More

Leafs Will Learn — Eventually

TORONTO (Nov. 1) — It will be a tell–tale sign that the young Maple Leafs are maturing when the club approaches a double–header like this past weekend with more of a competitive edge and less satisfaction. Though it yielded zero… Read More

Through The Lens: Leafs vs. Florida

TORONTO (Oct. 28) — Though twice trailing on the scoreboard, the Maple Leafs performed very efficiently during Thursday night’s 3–2 victory over Florida at the Air Canada Centre. As with most coaches, Mike Babcock likes his team to be “hard… Read More
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