The Funeral of Hope

TORONTO (May 27) — It was 25 years ago tonight. Really. May 27, 1993 in Inglewood, California. On the Berger calendar, it ranks as the most compelling game involving the Maple Leafs that yours truly has attended — as a… Read More

25 Years Later, It Could Be Special

TORONTO (Mar. 12) — The playoff season in professional sport is often unpredictable and promises can rarely be kept. If form prevails, however, this spring could be like none other in our city’s history. The weekend past provided yet another… Read More

67 Since ’67

TORONTO (Dec. 30) — His debut with the Maple Leafs ended inauspiciously on Friday night in Denver when J.T. Compher scored in overtime to give Colorado a 4–3 victory. But, Calvin Picard, surely unbeknownst to him, matched a familiar number… Read More

Doesn’t This Sound Familiar?

TORONTO (Nov. 2) — Early Thursday morning, in the Houston Chronicle, baseball writer Jake Kaplan penned the opening paragraphs to his lead story about the 2017 World Series champion: LOS ANGELES — Six years ago, Jeff Luhnow pitched Astros owner Read More

Is Canada Ready For the Leafs?

TORONTO (Oct. 14) — For the past 38 years, a vast dichotomy has prevailed between fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs and those loyal to other National Hockey League teams in Canada. With respect to Toronto and Montreal, this division… Read More

Is It Truly So Difficult?

TORONTO (Aug. 26) — We may — and I stress, may — discover once again this season just how apparently difficult it is to win the Stanley Cup. Toronto Maple Leafs–“difficult” includes not even appearing in the championship round of… Read More

Cancer Strikes Leafs Family… Again

TORONTO (Aug. 9) — Tuesday was one of surprise, sadness and shock. Surprise that actor Dustin Hoffman turned 80 years of age (imagine that, Mrs. Robinson); sadness to learn that country–music icon Glen Campbell had succumbed to Alzheimer’s, also at… Read More

Leafs Bring Aboard Good People

TORONTO (July 14) — We can debate endlessly whether character is a component of winning in the National Hockey League. Now and then, you’ll read that so–and–so is “good in the [dressing] room.” Which often indicates he’s not–so hot… Read More

Still The Most Compelling

TORONTO (May 27) — After 100 years in the National Hockey League, the Toronto Maple Leafs are affiliated with numerous dates on the Gregorian calendar. Among the 10 most significant: Feb. 14 — 1927 — Conn Smythe changes the… Read More

Leafs Need To Extend Lamoriello

TORONTO (Mar. 2) — Exactly how the Maple Leafs will be generally managed beyond next season may or may not be a topic of internal debate at the Air Canada Centre. Lou Lamoriello, destined for the Builders’ wing in the… Read More

Who Else Joins Legends Row?

***UPDATE: Congratulations to Charlie Conacher, Frank Mahovlich, Red Kelly and Wendel Clark for being inducted into the Maple Leafs Legends Row at Air Canada Centre. Turns out that four ex–players got the nod, rather than the three I suggested in… Read More

Still Turnbull’s Mark 40 Years Later

TORONTO (Feb. 1) — On Nov. 11, 1981, just more than eight years after breaking into the National Hockey League, Ian Turnbull left Toronto in a trade with the reputation, among local media, of being irascible, sardonic and uncooperative. If… Read More

Leafs Still Hard to Gauge

TORONTO (Dec. 21) — Frederik Andersen provides a glaring example of why the Toronto Maple Leafs are so difficult to assess while approaching the midway point of this development season. Clearly, Andersen has supplied the Leafs a noticeable upgrade between… Read More

A Bloodcurdling Notion

TORONTO (Mar. 8) — While much of the world around us has descended into a vortex of inhumanity, we here in the great white north bask in relative calm. Our newly–elected leader isn’t threatening to “water–board” his enemies; we aren’t… Read More

Face Off at Mike’s Museum

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Mar. 8) — It was Dec. 4, 1971. A Saturday night, two months before my 13th birthday. My uncle, Ralph Blatt, took me to the Toronto–Boston National Hockey League game at Maple Leaf Gardens. In town… Read More

“It was 20 Years Ago Today…”

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Jan. 20) — Actually, and I beg pardon of The Beatles, it was 20 years ago tonight. Late tonight Eastern Standard Time. Professionally, it became a milestone — my first game covering the Toronto Maple Leafs… Read More

A Prayer For the Mayor

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Sep. 17) – Divine intervention for Rob Ford is still necessary, as it would be for any person diagnosed with cancer. But, perhaps not to the extent that was feared prior to Dr. Zane Cohen’s medical… Read More

Hockey Night In Canada Reflections

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (June 18) – Unlike others, I am not mourning the demise of Hockey Night In Canada as we’ve known it through the years. Change in life is inevitable and I suspect Rogers Communications will do a… Read More
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