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

Paralysis By Analysis

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Oct. 10) — Let’s see now… what have we learned about the Toronto Maple Leafs after one whole game of the 2014-15 season? Well… ? The top line of Tyler Bozak, Phil Kessel and James van Read More

The “Forgotten” Leafs Angle

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Oct. 1) – If one were to rank media/fan chatter about the Maple Leafs during training camp and exhibition games, it would likely evolve something like this: 1) Factoring injury, how the revamped third and fourth-line… Read More

Can Leafs Break the Interminable Pattern?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Sep. 29) — Our city attained an unseemly hat-trick this past week when the Toronto Blue Jays were inevitably and officially eliminated from the Major League Baseball playoffs for a 20th consecutive season (21st year —… Read More

What Should Maple Leaf Fans Expect?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (June 21) – Welcome, officially, to summer. Every year at this time – prior to the National Hockey League’s “silly season” – fans in the big markets begin to dream in technicolor. This market, in particular,… Read More
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