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

Trusted Back–Up Imperative

TORONTO (June 29) — Among the myriad issues that again restricted the Toronto Maple Leafs to one playoff round in April, the reliance on a single goalie ranks near the top. Which is hardly a new subject — in this… Read More

End of An Era in Oakland

TORONTO (May 28) — The Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors will make history in a couple of ways when they meet for the 2019 National Basketball Association title. It is, of course, the first appearance of a Canadian team… Read More

“I Was Gretzky… For A Day”

TORONTO (May 25) — Long before this became a basketball city from April to June, hockey ruled the sporting map into late–spring. I know… it’s been awhile and, therefore, difficult to fathom or remember. But, there was a time when… Read More

The Sound of Silence

“… and the sign said the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls… and tenement halls… and whispered through the sound… of silence.” — Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, 1965 TORONTO (May 22) — If not for… Read More

Still Not Convinced

TORONTO (May 18) — I have neither information nor a particular reason to suspect the Maple Leafs aren’t “all in” on Mike Babcock, as cryptically noted, last week, by general manager Kyle Dubas. But, something is gnawing at me with… Read More

A Big Moment… But How Big?

TORONTO (May 13) — Though it ranks among the most dramatic and breathtaking moments in the modern history of professional sport in this city, I’m not entirely sure what to make of Kawhi Leonard’s bounce…bounce…bounce series–winning shot against the Philadelphia… Read More

Talking Mike Babcock

TORONTO (May 4) — I begin today by emphasizing that this is one man’s assessment and nothing, in any way, conclusive. But, the one man is the same man who told me for a blog here last June 25 (http://bit.ly/2tuGUaI)… Read More

Sittler, Kelly and Pyramid Power

TORONTO (May 2) — The telephone rang in Darryl Sittler’s midtown–Toronto home just after 11 o’clock this morning. On the other end was Patrick Kelly, son of Maple Leafs legend Red Kelly. Patrick had solemn news. “He told me Red… Read More

Not Looking Great For Babcock

TORONTO (Apr. 26) — When taking a moment to read between the lines of words spoken during the Maple Leafs’ annual locker clean–out on Thursday — and, for whatever the cryptic messages were worth — I’m sensing Mike Babcock will… Read More

If Freddy Is Ready, Leafs Can Win

TORONTO (Apr. 22) — Yes, an opportunity was missed. No, it isn’t game over. Not in this series of zero momentum; not in this playoff year of road dominance. I know it’s difficult for fans of the Leafs to envision… Read More

Forget Sheldon Keefe — For Now

TORONTO (Apr. 20) — To paraphrase Mark Twain from 122 years ago, “rumors of Mike Babcock’s death have been greatly exaggerated.” The future of the Toronto Maple Leafs coach drove the dialogue as recently as Friday evening on Prime Time Read More

Let’s Temper Babcock Hostility

TORONTO (Apr. 10) — Though I was very–likely the first local observer to write (on Jan. 28) that Mike Babcock needs an opening–round playoff victory to ensure he remains as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the animus toward Babcock… Read More

Leafs Will Have to Make History

TORONTO (Apr. 3) — No team has won the Stanley Cup after losing more than 14 games in regulation time on home ice during the regular season. The Toronto Maple Leafs, therefore, would break new ground by ending their 52–year… Read More

Sweet Revenge For John Tavares

@Berger_BYTES John Tavares will score tying goal late in 3p Monday at NYI, thus clinching a playoff spot for the #Leafs. Fate will come full circle. 8:20 PM · Mar 31, 2019 TORONTO (Apr. 2) — So, I called it… Read More

Nothing Matters Until Apr. 11

TORONTO (Mar. 26) — Whether the Toronto Maple Leafs demolish a team with no defensive posture (Florida), or get demolished by the best regular–season club in more than a generation (Tampa Bay), it is elementary for another two weeks. Until… Read More

Over to You, Babs

“You get the sense (Kyle) Dubas won’t mind blaming (Mike) Babcock if the coach doesn’t get this group to do what it’s supposed to do — which is, at the very least, win the franchise its first playoff series in Read More
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