Babcock’s Honeymoon Has Ended

TORONTO (Jan. 20) — For more than 2½ years, in what is often described as the National Hockey League’s toughest media market, it’s been “hands off the head coach”. That privilege, it seemed, arrived in our town with the largest… Read More

Are Leafs Better Than Last Year?

TORONTO (Dec. 23) — The Maple Leafs play their final game before the National Hockey League’s Christmas break tonight at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. Eastern, CBC). Expectation prior to the current season was far… Read More

Are Leafs Using Smoke and Mirrors?

TORONTO (Nov. 30) — So, if we were warned — two months ago today — that William Nylander and Mitch Marner would succumb to the usual sophomore difficulty (a combined six goals in 26 games); that Auston Matthews would miss… Read More

Showing Class In Defeat

TORONTO (Nov. 22) — Apart from the predictability of the Maple Leafs losing to Arizona Monday night — many suspected a let–down to follow the 6–0 romp at Montreal on Saturday, and the Coyotes have been playing well — there… Read More

My, How Times Have Changed

TORONTO (Nov. 12) — Do you remember when the Maple Leafs were cannon–fodder for the Boston Bruins? It wasn’t particularly long ago; well within the past decade… and I’m not even referring to the infamous playoff melt–down of May 2013… Read More

The Leafs Will Be Fine

TORONTO (Nov. 8) — After last season and throughout the summer, I wrote in this space that Year 2 would likely be more of a challenge for the young, fast and gifted Maple Leafs. For no other reason than it… 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

For Babcock, It’s Pure Hatred

TORONTO (Oct. 28) — During my years (1994–2011) covering the Toronto Maple Leafs as a reporter for The FAN–590, I dealt with seven head coaches: Pat Burns, Nick Beverley, Mike Murphy, Pat Quinn, Paul Maurice, Ron Wilson and Randy Carlyle.… Read More

Zaitsev Bears Watching

TORONTO (Oct. 11) — There are beggars on street corners all over North America that could become independently wealthy with one dollar for every time, in this space, I have written the Toronto Maple Leafs will not win the Stanley… Read More

Go Ahead And “Expect”

TORONTO (Oct. 9) — It’s the oldest ploy in the management arsenal of professional sport: Use the media to temper expectation before the season. If things go sideways, you can therefore remind everyone “hey, we told you so”. To varying… Read More

Leafs Don’t Have To Change

TORONTO (Aug. 4) — Let’s assume, for a moment, the Maple Leafs brought Patrick Marleau aboard with his imprudent contract in order to contend for the Stanley Cup beginning next season. Such would appear as the unspoken plan, knowing how… Read More

Just Imagine If…

TORONTO (July 24) — Only once in the modern history of the Maple Leafs has a coach changed the position of an established star in the National Hockey League. The result was four Stanley Cup championships in a six–year span.… Read More

Leafs Should Hound Chayka

TORONTO (July 5) — It costs nothing to be rejected in the National Hockey League. Therefore, the Toronto Maple Leafs can go hard at pursuing a player that would spectacularly balance their roster. Harold Ballard once told reporters he would… Read More

Shanaplan Goes Boom!

TORONTO (July 3) — Let me begin by making this unequivocal point: I love Patrick Marleau. Everybody loves Patrick Marleau. He is a first–ballot Hall of Famer; a consummate gentleman, and he comes to the Maple Leafs from what I… Read More

Of Course, Leafs Can Stand Pat

TORONTO (June 29) — On Sunday afternoon in Chicago, moments after the 2017 National Hockey League draft, Lou Lamoriello sat alongside Mark Hunter and did what only he can do to perfection. Engaging and cooperative, the Maple Leafs general manager… Read More

Leafs Refused To Get Silly

TORONTO (June 24) — Obviously, I cannot say for certain. Neither can most others, as Lou Lamoriello never divulges company secrets. But, I would be shocked beyond measure if the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs even considered trading… Read More

Leafs Will Improve… Won’t They?

TORONTO (June 21) — The warnings were in place; unheeded, and verily scoffed at by fans of the record–setting Toronto Maple Leafs. The same warnings that are certain to be ignored later tonight in Las Vegas after what should be… Read More

No Tears For The Ex–Leafs

TORONTO (May 25) — At some point late tonight, Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel will cross paths near center–ice at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. They will shake hands; likely embrace, and re–affirm their love for one another as friends… Read More
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