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

Kadri Had To Bite His Tongue

VANCOUVER (Dec. 2) — Nearly 7½ years after being chosen in the first round of the National Hockey League draft, Nazem Kadri might be getting a fair shake. But, even that is uncertain… and open to interpretation. From the moment,… Read More

Kessel Was Full Value, But…

TORONTO (June 14) — Fans of the Maple Leafs should not begrudge Phil Kessel for raising the Stanley Cup. Kessel was hardly a passenger in the 2016 playoffs, leading Pittsburgh in scoring with 10 goals and 22 points. It proved… Read More

Easy Answer to Rogers NHL Ratings

TORONTO (May 31) — The article was prolific and thoroughly–researched. It had all the earmarks of a story written by James Bradshaw, the Globe and Mail’s exceptional media reporter. It was also mightily complicated and replete with industry conjecture… Read More

Sweet Revenge For Road Sharks

TORONTO (Apr. 23) — In the spring of 2012, I had the privilege of covering the greatest road team in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs. En route to their first National Hockey League title, the Los Angeles Kings… Read More

Worst Leafs Team: 1982 or Today?

TORONTO (Feb. 27) — Lou Lamoriello has two days to answer, unequivocally, the question posed here; to further deplete what could be the most impotent club in the 99–year history of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Honestly? I like his chances.… Read More

Centenary Whining

TORONTO (Feb. 13) — The bitch–and–moan meter is off the charts around here with news that Los Angeles and Chicago — during the Maple Leafs 100th anniversary season next year — have been awarded two of the most–coveted National Hockey… 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 Are Delightfully Dreadful

TORONTO (Jan. 28) — “T’is the season to be ghastly… “ Yes, indeed, the Toronto Maple Leafs, for a second consecutive year, have taken the post–holiday “blues” to an entirely different level. In their final ten games of January —… Read More

Leafs Message Distorted

TORONTO (Jan. 18) — Though unlikely given the match–ups, it may happen as early as Tuesday night. The “much–improved” Toronto Maple Leafs could assume sole possession of 30th place in the National Hockey League. It would require a Leaf loss… Read More

Too Much Leafs Cheering Among Media

TORONTO (Jan. 3) — One year ago tonight, at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Randy Carlyle coached his final game with the Toronto Maple Leafs, losing 5–1 to the Jets. The score actually flattered the visitors, who were physically manhandled… Read More

Dream or Nightmare For Bernier?

BUFFALO (Dec. 19) — In my blog here on Friday, I posed a rhetorical question: Under what pretext could Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock turn to the beleaguered Jonathan Bernier for another start in goal? The obvious answer: None. Somehow,… Read More

How Long Can It Last?

TORONTO (Nov. 21) — Happy six–month anniversary, Mike Babcock. It was back on May 21 that you peered into a bevy of cameras at 40 Bay St. and promised “pain.” You delivered — for about five weeks. Now, the discomfort… Read More

Rogers Has The Final Say

TORONTO (Oct. 27) — Many in the local media have launched a preemptive strike against Rogers Communications in the event Alex Anthopoulos does not return as general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. This is understandable given the widespread popularity… Read More

Leafs Begin With A First

TORONTO (Oct. 7) — In a season that is all about next season and beyond, perhaps it’s no surprise that the Maple Leafs open tonight, for the first time in franchise history, without a truly elite player on the roster.… Read More

This is Kadri’s Last Chance

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (July 6) — There are doubtlessly three words (one slang) that Ron Wilson, Randy Carlyle and Peter Horachek would have for Mike Babcock as it pertains to Nazem Kadri: “Good friggin’ luck.” Perhaps the current head… Read More

Leafs Make Superb Deal For Kessel

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (July 1) — Happy Canada Day, Leafs Nation. Your team can now begin wobbling toward contention under Mike Babcock. The new, much–celebrated coach made it clear while negotiating his monster, eight–year deal that the Leafs could… Read More
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