Dubas Needs To Unload Salary

TORONTO (Nov. 30) — There is only one contingency for the Maple Leafs in their back–up goaltending conundrum… and it comes with no guarantee: general manager Kyle Dubas has to unload a contract. Maybe not a William Nylander contract, but… Read More

The Easy Way… The Only Way

TORONTO (Nov. 21) — Predictably, the text arrived within minutes. “I was off by three games. Sue me.” Oh, how I wish I could introduce to you the National Hockey League employee that told me, Aug. 11 (blog here — … Read More

Battle Lines Drawn Early

TORONTO (Oct. 2) — In case you are wondering whether Mike Babcock and Kyle Dubas became warm and fuzzy during the off–season, consider the message sent by the long–time, grizzled coach to his still–newbie general manager prior to the regular–season… Read More

No Change In Marner Saga

TORONTO (Sep. 5) — Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas claims he is “confident” of signing restricted free agent Mitch Marner before a chunk of training camp is lost (cautionary note: the club’s first workout in St. John’s is “Friday… Read More

Pressure Mounting On The Leafs

TORONTO (Aug. 16) — It is mid–August and relatively quiet in the hockey world. As such, fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs likely cannot feel the burden that is beginning to crush their favorite team. But, it’s there. And gaining… Read More

Babcock Needs a Quick Start

TORONTO (Aug. 11) — If you talk to hockey people who talk to hockey people — as I try and do between working funeral services in my day job — what I’m about to write is a common assessment: Mike… Read More

Offer–Sheet All About Timing

TORONTO (July 27) — If you’re surprised that a rival National Hockey League team has not yet presented an offer–sheet to Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner, consider this: “July 1st isn’t the right time to make such a move,” a… Read More

Andersen Situation Double–Edged

TORONTO (Jan. 6) — Pending the outcome, it could be a blessing or a curse that largely impacts the Maple Leafs this season. By tomorrow night (Monday), Frederik Andersen will have accrued 15 consecutive days of rest in the middle… Read More

Leafs Following or Bucking Trend?

TORONTO (Sep. 19) — So, the Leafs have made it clear that they can win the Stanley Cup by loading up on forwards while comparably ignoring their blue line. Good luck to them. And, to those that concur. Neither am… Read More

Of Course, Leafs Can Stand Pat

TORONTO (June 29) — On Sunday afternoon in Chicago, moments after the 2017 National Hockey League draft, Lou Lamoriello sat alongside Mark Hunter and did what only he can do to perfection. Engaging and cooperative, the Maple Leafs general manager… Read More

Leafs Need To Rehabilitate Bernier

TORONTO (Nov. 27) — It is a timeworn and chauvinistic axiom that repeatedly bears itself: “One man’s gain is another man’s loss.” Run it past either of Jonathan Bernier or James Reimer and he’ll nod heartily. This two–step tango has… Read More

Would Leafs Give Babcock Control?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Apr. 12) — In the National Football League, it’s called “Black Monday” — 24 hours after the final regular–season games in early–January when lousy teams jettison managers and coaching staffs. “Black Sunday” has occurred here in… Read More

To Be Phil Kessel

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Feb. 12) — If you’re certain that 10 million dollars can buy happiness, it may be wise to check with Phil Kessel. While generations of future Kessels will never be found on a street corner —… Read More

Clarkson a Convenient Scapegoat

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Feb. 10) — After “guiding” the Maple Leafs to 11 consecutive losses, interim coach Peter Horachek figured it was time to get tough. He removed $4.75–million of payroll and $5.25–million of salary cap from his degenerate… Read More

Leafs Lacking “Hockey I.Q.”

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Feb. 4) — Though demeaning and likely counterproductive, perhaps Randy Carlyle was onto something when he called his Maple Leaf players “brain dead” last season. In earlier years, when Carlyle played defense here in Toronto, he… Read More

Phaneuf Absence Good Test For Leafs

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Jan. 26) — To illustrate how goofy it has once again become with hockey in this town, the news of Dion Phaneuf’s “upper–body” injury (or fractured hand) brought to mind that scene late in the Wizard Read More

Now Le Gros Bill is Gone

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Dec. 3) — When might there be a pause? A dreadful fortnight in the hockey world continued late Tuesday when word came from Montreal that Hall–of–Famer and Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau had died. He was 83.… Read More

Babcock to Leafs? Why?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Oct. 20) — Amid the Week 2 hysteria in Leaf Land, I have a prediction: Mike Babcock will stay right where he is and re-sign with Detroit Red Wings. That won’t go over well here in Read More
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