Should Matthews Sprout Wings?

TORONTO (May 22) — As part of his popular, weekend–notes column on Sunday, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun posed an interesting question: “In watching [William] Nylander playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom [with Sweden at the World Hockey Championships], I couldn’t… Read More

Leafs’ Old Nucleus Still Alive

“Randy Carlyle can coach; Dion Phaneuf can play effectively with lots of ice time and Phil Kessel can score with the best of them. Individually, they would be sound elements of any team in the NHL. As a tandem, and Read More

Would Leafs Pursue a Blockbuster?

TORONTO (May 6) — If I were Lou Lamoriello, GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, my thought–process during the summer would be two–fold: a) hoping that the elite youngsters on the hockey club can follow up their rookie efforts in… Read More

Leafs Can Still Land a Gem

TORONTO (Apr. 26) — There will be no Draft Lottery suspense in Leafs Nation this year, after the club finished 14th in the overall NHL standings — up 16 notches from last season — and improved by 26 points. The… Read More

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

Freddy Wasn’t Ready

TORONTO (Apr. 19) — Losing Game 4 at the Air Canada Centre Wednesday night was hardly an impossibility for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Losing as they did, however, could not have been predicted. For one of the few times in… Read More

The “C”–Word is Dirty

TORONTO (Apr. 19) — No, I am not referring to that C–word. Head out of the gutter, men. Every bit as vulgar, however, in the context of professional sport is the term “choke” — which yours truly deployed in the… Read More

Where Are The Big Sticks?

TORONTO (Apr. 16) — As is common in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Maple Leafs–Washington series will likely be determined by goaltending. And, there is virtually nothing to choose from between Frederik Andersen and Braden Holtby after two games —… Read More

Leafs Win Was A Miracle

TORONTO (Apr. 16) — First, the not–so surprising: The Washington Capitals, after another season of 115–plus points in the vastly–competitive Metropolitan Division, are life–and–death to be tied, 1–1, with the wild–card Toronto Maple Leafs after two games of the opening… Read More

Leafs Will Scare Capitals

TORONTO (Apr. 10) — No, the Washington Capitals will not lose to the Toronto Maple Leafs. After all, the Stanley Cup playoffs never begin with the second round. Beyond that, maybe… just maybe… this is the year that Ovie and… Read More

Kessel Fooled Leafs Nation

TORONTO (July 20) — When Phil Kessel told Sportsnet–590 on June 15 that he would likely bring the Stanley Cup to our city, many figured his incentive was to stick it up the old wahzoo of Leafs Nation. The multitudes… Read More

Will “Demoted” Marlies Stay Hungry?

TORONTO (Apr. 6) — Once the Maple Leafs finish their National Hockey League schedule on Saturday in New Jersey, many eyes around here will focus on the American Hockey League Toronto Marlies. Freshly re–stocked with returning players from the NHL,… Read More

Leafs Can Still Conquer the Nation

TORONTO (Mar. 23) — Eastern Canada is safe from the Toronto Maple Leafs but the prairies, foothills and coastal regions are deeply imperiled. The National Hockey League’s dandiest outfit north of the border could soon become third–best in the nation.… Read More

Caution Needed In Leaf Appraisals

TORONTO (Mar. 12) — The kids in Blue and White are looking mighty fine — so fine, that a banner in the Toronto Sun on Friday referred to Zach Hyman as a “Leafs sensation.” For the record, Hyman — a… Read More

Do The Leafs Have Their Next Captain?

TORONTO (Mar. 3) — There may be an unspoken element among the players acquired by Lou Lamoriello in the days before the National Hockey League trade deadline. Given the Maple Leafs prevail in a vacuum of leadership, perhaps the long–time… Read More

Let The Sleeping Dog Lie

TORONTO (Mar. 1) — Let me begin today by emphasizing that I trust Brendan Shanahan, Lou Lamoriello and the Toronto Maple Leafs hierarchy. It consummated a plan last summer; effectively sold it to the Board of Maple Leaf Sports and Read More

Leafs Triumverate Dissolved — Finally

The Maple Leafs are pretty much the same and will stay that way until the failed nucleus (of Randy Carlyle, Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel) is addressed. — BERGER BYTES, July 10, 2014. TORONTO (Feb. 10, 2016) — And here we… Read More

Leafs Aren’t Finished Competing

TORONTO (Jan. 14) — Wow, that didn’t take long. Here we are in mid–January and the “playoff–bound” Toronto Maple Leafs are suddenly left for dead. An email from an ardent — now inconsolable — fan of the Blue and White… Read More
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