Marner No Surprise Here

TORONTO (Nov. 18) — If the Calder Trophy were awarded today, there’s little doubt that Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets would be the winner with a league–best 12 goals in 19 games. But, Mitch Marner of the Maple Leafs… Read More

Canada–USA Rivalry Dormant

TORONTO (Sep. 21) — For a time earlier in the millennium, it appeared as if Canada would have a hockey rival capable of usurping the Russians in parity and malice. The Salt Lake City (2002) and Vancouver (2010) Winter Olympics… Read More

Don’t Fret Over Matthews Contract

TORONTO (July 15) — In professional sport, as elsewhere in commerce, meaningful negotiation requires perseverance. Under the current Toronto Maple Leafs administration, that may skew more decidedly. No one involved, however, in the Auston Matthews entry–level talks are astonished, or… Read More

Leafs Could Be Wasting Millions

TORONTO (May 2) — Shocking, wasn’t it, that Brendan Shanahan refused to reveal the Maple Leafs’ plan after winning the draft lottery on Saturday? The same Shanahan who hired a general manager that wouldn’t confirm the chill of an arctic… Read More

Babcock Keeping It Real

TORONTO (Mar. 21) — The coach knows best. In a city that gets carried away with the slightest hint of prosperity from the Toronto Maple Leafs — often irrespective of circumstance — Mike Babcock is a grounding agent. A modest,… Read More

Dream or Nightmare For Bernier?

BUFFALO (Dec. 19) — In my blog here on Friday, I posed a rhetorical question: Under what pretext could Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock turn to the beleaguered Jonathan Bernier for another start in goal? The obvious answer: None. Somehow,… Read More

More “Coach Killers” Needed

TORONTO (Nov. 12) — It is disconcerting, yet inevitable, that much of the narrative early in this National Hockey League season surrounds the dearth of scoring. Disconcerting because goals provide entertainment. Inevitable because an entire decade has passed since the… Read More

Leafs Still Bucking Convention

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (June 26) — The Toronto Maple Leafs have promised to become traditional with respect to building a Stanley Cup–caliber team. No more quick fixes. No more first–rounders traded. But, there is still much about the Maple… Read More

Eastern Scout: “Leafs Should Draft Hanifin”

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (June 21) — “In any other draft year, I firmly believe that Noah Hanifin would be the top–rated prospect. He is that good.” Appropriately, and barring an unforeseen development, the Eastern Conference bird–dog that provided me… Read More

Leafs May Be Targeting Carolina

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (June 10) — It is common, predictable and widely anticipated. The three–week period before the National Hockey League draft becomes replete with tales of earth–shattering movement between teams that hold the top selections and rivals looking… Read More

Why Would Leafs Trade No. 4 Pick?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (June 8) — This is uncertain territory, Leafs Nation. Though it required minimal effort, your favorite hockey club went through a tanking exercise last season to obtain prime real estate in a bountiful draft — one… Read More

Leafs Deserve Full, Unconditional Credit

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 21) — For reasons that aren’t difficult to comprehend, the Toronto Maple Leafs and skepticism have long–been intertwined. When you hold the existing record for lengthiest championship drought in a professional league, distrust and apprehension… Read More

Sabres Looking Good For Babcock

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 19) — It appears the Buffalo Sabres have become the front–runner to land Mike Babcock. A one–time Sabres employee told me this afternoon that Buffalo “has blown Detroit out of the water” with its multi–year… Read More

NHL Executive: Babcock “Gone”

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 9) — A well–known executive in the National Hockey League believes the Mike Babcock era in Detroit has come to an end. “I think he’s gone,” the exec told me late on Friday. “And, it… Read More

Hey Mike: Edmonton? Buffalo? Toronto?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Apr. 24) — For the sake of argument, let’s assume that Mike Babcock will not return next season as coach of the Detroit Red Wings. This has been pure speculation since October, when Babcock’s self–imposed deadline… Read More

Can You Imagine?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Apr. 1) — Given that it’s April Fools Day, why not take a dive into pure fantasy? As a tortured Toronto Maple Leafs zealot, how would you like to read this somewhere down the road? DROUGHT… Read More

You Think THIS Is Embarrassing?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Mar. 12) — Among the myriad issues debated throughout this frightful Toronto Maple Leafs season is ranking it amid the many–such disasters in team history. A subjective exercise, to be sure; much like rating the National… Read More

Leafs Streak Will Finally End

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Feb. 6) — Hate to say it, Leaf fans, but your team will actually win a hockey game tonight. That’s “win” — W-I-N — defined by Dictionary.com as: “to finish first in a race, contest, or … Read More
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