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 Are Next to 50

TORONTO (May 2) — It is far from the worst time since 1967 to remind fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs that their club, today, becomes the second to endure a calendar half–century without the Stanley Cup. Yes, it was… Read More

Does The Shanaplan Prevail?

TORONTO (Apr. 25) — Rapid achievement in professional sport can be intoxicating. And, hauntingly mercurial if not guided by a steady hand. With that in mind, we wonder how the Toronto Maple Leafs might proceed after graduating from the National… 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

Leafs Facing Worst Ever (Sort Of)

TORONTO (Apr. 12) — After missing the playoffs in 10 of the past 11 years, the Maple Leafs return to the Stanley Cup hunt against the worst team in National Hockey League history. Yes, without a doubt, the Washington Capitals… Read More

Is There A Cup Favorite?

TORONTO (Mar. 11) — Here’s a prediction for the 2017 Stanley Cup final that would have drawn loud gagging noises if made prior to the season: Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Minnesota Wild in a battle of the two most–recent National… Read More

Bet’cha the Leafs Aren’t Done

TORONTO (Mar. 5) — With Detroit next up for the Maple Leafs, it’s an appropriate time to wonder if the last meeting between the pre–expansion rivals supplied the demarcation point in Toronto’s schedule. That would have been Jan. 25 at… 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

Leafs: Look Out From Behind

TORONTO (Feb. 13) — During this mostly–refreshing season for fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club has been gazing upward at its Atlantic Division rivals; aiming for a top–three finish and a guaranteed playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.… Read More

It’s Babs vs. Torts at Halfway Mark

TORONTO (Jan. 15) — There remains solid evidence that the Jack Adams Award as National Hockey League coach–of–the–year is followed by impending doom. Indeed, seven of the past 11 winners have come to an ignominious end with their teams: Bob… Read More

Leafs Planning For 2020

TORONTO (Jan. 12) — It is a wonderful and rather uncomplicated time to be a fan of the improving Toronto Maple Leafs, whose youngest and most–dynamic players are skating under entry–level salary restriction. None of Connor Brown, Zach Hyman, Nikita… Read More

A Perfect Day For “The Voice”

TORONTO (Jan. 2) — Joe Bowen should have bought a Lotto–Max ticket on Monday. The already filthy–rich voice of the Toronto Maple Leafs would have easily won the jackpot, adding to the multi–millions he has stashed away for generations of… Read More

Oh Jeez, Boston Again

TORONTO (Sep. 30) — We will find out this weekend whether Boston is, once again, a place where a Toronto professional sports team comes to die. For the first time since the fateful, gut-churning night of May 13, 2013, one… Read More

Perky’s Yarns Are Overdue

TORONTO (Aug. 31) — I remember saying to myself: “Howard, just watch Dave Perkins. Observe the way he comports himself around athletes and you will learn immeasurably.” So, that’s what I did. It was Aug. 17, 1987. At Pearson International… Read More

Feeding The Beast

TORONTO (July 6) — We know this much about Auston Matthews: He is “honored.” “Honored” to be ranked as the top prospect for the 2016 National Hockey League draft. “Honored” to be part of the annual prospects media tour at… Read More

Closed Circuit Memories

TORONTO (June 4) — Twice in my life, I saw Muhammad Ali live. The first was on Apr. 26, 1975 during an otherwise–forgetful event in which former heavyweight champion George Foreman devoured five stiffs at Maple Leaf Gardens. Appropriately, it… Read More

Ron Wicks: 1940 — 2016

TORONTO (Apr. 2) — Ron Wicks, the longest–serving on–ice official in National Hockey League history, died peacefully Friday night at 8:43 in Brampton Civic Hospital. He was 75 and surrounded by his family — Barb, his wife of 52 years;… Read More

A Dying Man’s Acceptance

TORONTO (Mar. 27) — There is obviously no pleasure in speaking with a person whose life is coming to an end. But, the moment does incorporate honor and privilege. In 57–plus years, I’ve encountered the situation only twice: With my… Read More
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