Matthews is Truly Remarkable

TORONTO (Dec. 5) — I start today by posing a question that dovetails with the recent chatter about restricted free agency in the National Hockey League: Other than Connor McDavid, is there a player that deserves a more–lucrative contract than… Read More

The Leafs’ Staggering Numbers (So Far)

TORONTO (Oct. 12) — After the first five games of the National Hockey League season, players on the Toronto Maple Leafs have been compared, in local print, to Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux. Merely the most–gifted trio in… Read More

The Leafs Have Two Captains

TORONTO (Oct. 9) — I have long felt that the word “leadership” is misused in professional sport; the connotation invariably centering on a player that can rally the troops with provocative chatter. In fact, no one — a sports figure… Read More

Rogers Needs to Sell the Blue Jays

TORONTO (Aug. 9) — Through much of the 1980’s, a haunting refrain could be heard with respect to the pitiable Toronto Maple Leafs: The club would never win anything of consequence until Harold Ballard died. Once that event occurred —… Read More

Freddy Needs Rest, Not Rhythm

TORONTO (Mar. 4) — There is no attempt here to jump on a bandwagon with the Maple Leafs in their first minor funk since mid–January (0–2–1 on a four–game road trip that concludes Monday night in Buffalo). This is still… Read More

Matthews Still Splendidly Atypical

TORONTO (Oct. 17) — Barring a protracted injury–absence, Auston Matthews will undoubtedly score between 50 and 60 goals this season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Should be count 55, he’ll break the franchise record that Rick Vaive established in 1981–82.… 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

Could Matthews Become Gaye?

TORONTO (Sep. 27) — Yes, the headline here is a play–on–words and, perhaps, marginally inappropriate. But, laugh along with me, folks. Recent events, south of the 49th parallel, have been all–too serious. What I’m asking, within the context of sport,… 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

The Bozak–JVR Enigma

TORONTO (July 18) — It is rather puzzling that people who observe the Leafs for a living, and those that root for the club with their entire soul, have lost appreciation for veterans Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk. Particularly… 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

Leafs Should Have a Captain

TORONTO (June 2) — From the inception of the National Hockey League in November 1917 until Feb. 24, 1986, the line remained unbroken. For nearly 70 calendar years — the entire history of the franchise — a trainer with the… Read More

The “C”–Word is Dirty

TORONTO (Apr. 19) — No, I am not referring to that C–word. Head out of the gutter, men. Every bit as vulgar, however, in the context of professional sport is the term “choke” — which yours truly deployed in the… Read More

Darcy Tucker: “Anything Can Happen”

TORONTO (Apr. 13) — Disregard, for a moment, the virtual consensus among media that the Leafs have no chance to upset Washington in the first round of the Stanley Cup tournament. A guy that played rather effectively for the Blue… Read More

Leafs Not “Heavy” Enough

TORONTO (Apr. 5) — By this time next week, Toronto hockey fans will be watching their favorite team in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in four years… and the first time in 13 years after a full,… 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

Two Years or Two Decades?

TORONTO (Jan. 7) — Yes, it was only two years ago today that the Maple Leafs had fired Randy Carlyle and were about to lapse into one of the worst tailspins in franchise history. Seems a bit longer, doesn’t it?… Read More
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