A Week Like None Other

TORONTO (Dec. 26) — Though it seems like only yesterday, it was 40 years ago this week that Punch Imlach destroyed the Toronto Maple Leafs for more than a decade. Beginning somewhat innocuously on Christmas Eve 1979, it ended, five… Read More

What Took So Long?

TORONTO (Dec. 21) — Frankly, I’m surprised no one has posed the following questions: With the Maple Leafs an impressive 9–4–0 in 13 games under Sheldon Keefe, why did Brendan Shanahan wait until Nov. 20 to authorize the dismissal of… Read More

The Easy Way… The Only Way

TORONTO (Nov. 21) — Predictably, the text arrived within minutes. “I was off by three games. Sue me.” Oh, how I wish I could introduce to you the National Hockey League employee that told me, Aug. 11 (blog here — … Read More

Is Coach’s Corner Really Dead?

TORONTO (Nov. 14) — I haven’t a shred of information about this and I could be barking up a California Redwood. But, neither would I be shocked if Don Cherry returns to his familiar spot in the first intermission of… Read More

Jim Gregory: 1935–2019

TORONTO (Oct. 31) — There is both irony and coincidence, bathed in Toronto hockey legend, that Jim Gregory would die yesterday at 83 years of age. It was during this week, in 1976, that Gregory made arguably the most–strategic telephone… Read More

Seven Games To Go?

“He’s got 20 games,” said a well–known figure in the National Hockey League. “If the Leafs aren’t playing up to par by mid–November, Babcock’s gone. Count on it. There is lots of appetite for change in Toronto.” — BETWEEN THE… Read More

Lazy Leafs Are Fooling No One

TORONTO (Oct. 23) — For the increasing multitudes convinced that a change of coach will jump–start the apathetic Toronto Maple Leafs, allow me to present the following names, chronologically: Punch Imlach… John McLellan… Red Kelly… Roger Neilson… Floyd Smith… Joe… Read More

Babcock Made The Difference

TORONTO (Feb. 20) — I’m not sure what was said, or at what volume, in the visitors’ dressing room during the first intermission last night in St. Louis. All I do know is the Maple Leafs were a far–better team… Read More

Leafs Need One More Piece

TORONTO (Feb. 7) — They are close. So very, very close to possessing all the components of a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. With one notable vacancy. Which needs to be filled in the next 18 days. Though yielding 44 shots… Read More

Of Course Nylander Will Be Dealt

TORONTO (Nov. 12) — How many times can we put a different spin on the same likelihood? Let us count. Toronto’s three–player nucleus beyond the coming season will be Tavares, Matthews and Marner. The Nylander contract stalemate… is… Read More

Home Lethargy Still Hard to Fathom

TORONTO (Oct. 30) — It was like watching the re–run of an old Honeymooners episode, minus the comedy. I’ve seen the Classic 39 installments from 1954 so often, I can mouth the gut–splitting dialogue between Jackie Gleason and Art Carney.… 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

It’s Babcock Time

TORONTO (Apr. 15) — So, this is what you get for 50 million dollars? Okay, I’m being a trifle facetious… but c’mon. The Maple Leafs did not lure Mike Babcock from Detroit with the National Hockey League’s most–lucrative coaching pact… 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

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

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

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
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