Should Matthews Sprout Wings?

TORONTO (May 22) — As part of his popular, weekend–notes column on Sunday, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun posed an interesting question: “In watching [William] Nylander playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom [with Sweden at the World Hockey Championships], I couldn’t… Read More

Pillar’s Lamentable Choice

***UPDATE: The Toronto Blue Jays suspended Kevin Pillar for two games on Thursday afternoon.*** TORONTO (May 18) — Let me begin today by stressing that I have long admired Kevin Pillar. Until Wednesday night, there was nothing to not admire… Read More

A Humorous (Pathetic?) Stat

TORONTO (May 15) — Want to know how generally lousy it was for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans during the Harold Ballard administration in the 1970’s and 80’s? Normally, I would offer you a “let me count the… Read More

It’s Babcock Time

TORONTO (Apr. 23) — Everywhere you turn in this city, hockey fans are sure the Maple Leafs have a profusion of confidence heading into Game 6 tonight against the Washington Capitals. And, why not? The buoyant underdog has stayed with… Read More

Staying With Leafs in 6

TORONTO (Apr. 21) — The professional sports vibe in this city is not quite as radiant as a few days ago. The Raptors were annihilated at Milwaukee in Game 3 of their NBA playoff last night; the Blue Jays fell… Read More

Where Are The Big Sticks?

TORONTO (Apr. 16) — As is common in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Maple Leafs–Washington series will likely be determined by goaltending. And, there is virtually nothing to choose from between Frederik Andersen and Braden Holtby after two games —… Read More

Leafs Look Scared (But Don’t Fret)

TORONTO (Apr. 7) — For the first time this season, the young, brash Maple Leafs appear frightened. After rolling over the Sabres in Buffalo on Monday — and with a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference staring them in the… 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

Ron Wilson’s Loud Voice

TORONTO (Mar. 27) — In the early 1970’s, while in junior–high school, I would play around with the radio dial at night to determine which hockey games I could hear. After 8 o’clock, AM radio stations in the United States… 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

Leafs Still Hard to Gauge

TORONTO (Dec. 21) — Frederik Andersen provides a glaring example of why the Toronto Maple Leafs are so difficult to assess while approaching the midway point of this development season. Clearly, Andersen has supplied the Leafs a noticeable upgrade between… Read More

An Empty Feeling on the Coast

VANCOUVER (Dec. 1) — For the better part of an hour, I could not understand it. Yes, rain was falling when I arrived here earlier today, but it always rains in Vancouver at this time of year; at last count,… Read More

The Leafs At the Quarter–Pole

TORONTO (Nov. 24) — Over–achievement? Moderate achievement? And, does it really matter? These are questions that come to mind with respect to the Toronto Maple Leafs after 20 games of the 2016–17 National Hockey League season. Clearly, the team is… Read More

Connor Who? Auston Who?

TORONTO (Nov. 2) — As so often happens in professional sport when hype trumps expectation, the main characters in Tuesday night’s drama at Air Canada Centre barely made it on stage. This was billed as a showdown between the last… Read More

Leafs Will Learn — Eventually

TORONTO (Nov. 1) — It will be a tell–tale sign that the young Maple Leafs are maturing when the club approaches a double–header like this past weekend with more of a competitive edge and less satisfaction. Though it yielded zero… Read More

Goaltending Angst Intensifies

TORONTO (Oct. 25) — Yes, it’s true: There are fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs that have already written off Frederik Andersen as the solution to an interminable goaltending conundrum. After only four starts in the first two weeks of… Read More

October Manna From Heaven

TORONTO (Oct. 13) — In a city that continues to hunger for sports accomplishment, October of 2016 has been quite remarkable. And, we still have 18 days before Halloween. It began for baseball fans, with the Toronto Blue Jays winning… Read More

Leafs Will Sizzle… Then Fizzle

TORONTO (Oct. 12) — Six months and three days after last watching the Toronto Maple Leafs in a game that counted, a new season begins with curiosity and bridled excitement. A 5–1 defeat at New Jersey on Apr. 9 enabled… Read More
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