Babcock’s Honeymoon Has Ended

TORONTO (Jan. 20) — For more than 2½ years, in what is often described as the National Hockey League’s toughest media market, it’s been “hands off the head coach”. That privilege, it seemed, arrived in our town with the largest… Read More

Leafs Need to Pick it Up

TORONTO (Jan. 2) — As we enter the year 2018, the Maple Leafs are somewhat betwixt and between. Toronto reaches the halfway mark of its schedule tonight against Tampa Bay at the Air Canada Centre a very–respectable ninth overall in… Read More

Are Leafs Better Than Last Year?

TORONTO (Dec. 23) — The Maple Leafs play their final game before the National Hockey League’s Christmas break tonight at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. Eastern, CBC). Expectation prior to the current season was far… Read More

Will Freddy Fade?

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 8) — The Toronto Maple Leafs, today, are perched sixth overall in the National Hockey League standings for a very good reason: Frederik Andersen has been their best player. When a goalie is the top performer on… Read More

For Babcock, It’s Pure Hatred

TORONTO (Oct. 28) — During my years (1994–2011) covering the Toronto Maple Leafs as a reporter for The FAN–590, I dealt with seven head coaches: Pat Burns, Nick Beverley, Mike Murphy, Pat Quinn, Paul Maurice, Ron Wilson and Randy Carlyle.… Read More

Opportunity in Arizona?

TORONTO (Oct. 26) — The worst team in the National Hockey League to begin the 2017–18 season has some colossal number–crunching on the horizon. And you have to think that a rival general manager — at some point — will… 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

Leafs Don’t Have To Change

TORONTO (Aug. 4) — Let’s assume, for a moment, the Maple Leafs brought Patrick Marleau aboard with his imprudent contract in order to contend for the Stanley Cup beginning next season. Such would appear as the unspoken plan, knowing how… Read More

A Question Ignored

TORONTO (July 31) — With Leafs Nation ominously assuring itself that all draft components will remain in place beyond 2019, and media wondering if the addition of Patrick Marleau indicates the club is “going for it” now, here’s a question… 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 Should Hound Chayka

TORONTO (July 5) — It costs nothing to be rejected in the National Hockey League. Therefore, the Toronto Maple Leafs can go hard at pursuing a player that would spectacularly balance their roster. Harold Ballard once told reporters he would… Read More

Of Course, Leafs Can Stand Pat

TORONTO (June 29) — On Sunday afternoon in Chicago, moments after the 2017 National Hockey League draft, Lou Lamoriello sat alongside Mark Hunter and did what only he can do to perfection. Engaging and cooperative, the Maple Leafs general manager… Read More

Leafs Must Have a Plan

TORONTO (June 28) — Imagine the Toronto Maple Leafs in three years with John Tavares, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner all making beyond–entry–level cash; with a Norris Trophy–caliber defenseman eating up close to $10 million in cap space… Read More

The Flawed Matthews Argument

TORONTO (June 5) — In early–1998, it was announced by the National Hockey League that the Toronto Maple Leafs would be moving to the Eastern Conference after 16 years of geographic displacement in the West. For reasons unexplained, the NHL… Read More

Still The Most Compelling

TORONTO (May 27) — After 100 years in the National Hockey League, the Toronto Maple Leafs are affiliated with numerous dates on the Gregorian calendar. Among the 10 most significant: Feb. 14 — 1927 — Conn Smythe changes the… Read More

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
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