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

Leafs Could Be Halfway Home

TORONTO (June 2) — After winning the Stanley Cup in three of the past six years, the Chicago Blackhawks were bounced from the opening round of the playoffs this spring by St. Louis. It could easily be a temporary set–back,… Read More

Centers of Attention

Busted flat in Baton Rouge; waiting for a train… And I’s feelin’ near as faded as my jeans. TORONTO (May 7) — I was cruising along a highway north of the city the other night when Janis Joplin’s 1971 anthem,… 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

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

Brilliance Is About Team

TORONTO (Sep. 28) — It was the greatest moment by the greatest player of the greatest Toronto Blue Jays team in nearly a quarter–century. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have mattered. The bottom–of–the–ninth, walk–off home run by Josh Donaldson on Sunday that… Read More

Will Maple Leafs Trend Ever Change?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (July 2) — It began, without warning, on a quiet Sunday in early–March 1968. Of course, there was little chance of any real–time alert back then, in the days long before the Internet and social media.… Read More

Will Babcock Salvage Phaneuf?

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 31) — Eleven days after the Maple Leafs collared the coach they had targeted for more than a year, fans of the hockey club await another detonation. At some point, more of the roster that… Read More

Leafs Go One Better Than Blues

New boss; same as the old boss. — From Won’t Get Fooled Again — The Who By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 27) — After a full and exact month of searching, the St. Louis Blues found their coach on Tuesday.… Read More

Ballard Anniversary Rather Apropos

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Apr. 11) — This is a silver anniversary in need of much polish. The 2014–15 Toronto Maple Leafs will mercifully expire tonight against Montreal at the Air Canada Centre — 25 years (and several hours) after… Read More

To Be Phil Kessel

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (Feb. 12) — If you’re certain that 10 million dollars can buy happiness, it may be wise to check with Phil Kessel. While generations of future Kessels will never be found on a street corner —… Read More
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