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

Guess What? Cujo is 50

TORONTO (Apr. 29) — Happy milestone birthday to the best Leafs goalie of the post–1967 era. Curtis Joseph turns 50 today. He was born in Keswick, Ont. (70 miles north of Toronto) the same day the Leafs and Canadiens were… 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

Leafs Will Learn — Eventually

TORONTO (Nov. 1) — It will be a tell–tale sign that the young Maple Leafs are maturing when the club approaches a double–header like this past weekend with more of a competitive edge and less satisfaction. Though it yielded zero… Read More

Through The Lens: Leafs vs. Florida

TORONTO (Oct. 28) — Though twice trailing on the scoreboard, the Maple Leafs performed very efficiently during Thursday night’s 3–2 victory over Florida at the Air Canada Centre. As with most coaches, Mike Babcock likes his team to be “hard… Read More

October Manna From Heaven

TORONTO (Oct. 13) — In a city that continues to hunger for sports accomplishment, October of 2016 has been quite remarkable. And, we still have 18 days before Halloween. It began for baseball fans, with the Toronto Blue Jays winning… Read More

Leafs Summer Eerily Quiet

TORONTO (Sep. 6) — News over the Labor Day weekend that goalie Frederik Anderson would miss roughly four weeks with an “upper–body” injury generated barely a ripple in this hockey–crazed market. Which thoroughly jibed with one of the quietest Maple… 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

Of course, Leafs Won’t Trade No. 1

TORONTO (June 18) — With less than a week remaining before the most anticipated draft in Toronto hockey history, local fear–mongers are still emailing about an imminent trade of the No. 1 pick. These people have no concept of relaxation,… 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

How Will Leafs Break From the Break?

TORONTO (Dec. 14) — The “overachieving” Toronto Maple Leafs could resume play on Tuesday night dead–last in the National Hockey League standings. All it requires is Columbus getting to extra time at home against Tampa Bay on Monday for a… Read More

Russell Martin Was Almost Steve Smith

TORONTO (Oct. 15) — I’m not sure we can imagine the coming off–season for Russell Martin were he not part of the most explosive team in Major League Baseball. Perhaps only one man — currently an assistant coach with the… Read More

Leafs Options May Be Limited

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (June 13) — In their quest to sell off as many “assets” as possible, the Toronto Maple Leafs will discover that the rest of the National Hockey League was paying attention to their plight last season.… Read More

Burke and Gretzky Join Forces

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 27) — It has been more than five years since Brendan Burke died in an automobile mishap in Indiana, but it must seem like 500 years to his father, Brian Burke. To endure the passing… Read More

Leafs Need Hunter in Current Role

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 24) — Now that Mike Babcock will not be named general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs (confirmed) — and has told the hockey universe there is no provision in his contract with respect to… Read More

Why Blame the NHL?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 13) — I knew Steve Montador. And I liked Steve Montador. It was impossible not to. You simply had to meet the guy. I was accorded that opportunity in San Jose, Calif. on May 9,… Read More

Rangers/Ducks Will Play For Stanley Cup

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Apr. 14) — Start spreadin’ the news. For the second consecutive spring, the New York Rangers will encounter a team from southern–California in their quest to win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1994… Read More

The Orr-Gretzky Debate

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Oct. 14) — For the past 30 years, veteran hockey people have delightfully quibbled over choosing between Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky as the greatest all-time player. I say delightfully because any person, such as myself, Read More
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