Leafs History

Leafs History

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Thanks to Vintage Leaf Memories' Michael Langlois for stopping by to share some memories ahead of tomorrow's Alumni games, set to be played in Comerica Park at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on New Year's Eve. When Alec Brownscombe asked me if I was interested in developing a piece for MLHS about the Winter Classic Legends games, my first thought was: who is on the roster? Will I enjoy writing about these guys? As I jogged through the list of the “first” Leaf team, I didn’t see a lot of promise. Oh, they were all names of pretty solid...

176

Earlier this month, Maple Leafs Hot Stove was asked to contribute to Puck Daddy's National Hockey League of Nation Series. With the help of Michael Langlois from Vintage Leaf Memories, we identified who we felt was the best ever Leaf player to represent each of the major nationalities in the league:  Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. The results are after the jump. Note that the vast majority of Leaf greats could not be acknowledged in this list as we could pick only one Canadian. It would've been nice to pick two Swedes,...

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There’s still no movement on either Nazem Kadri or Cody Franson, and training camp is still about a month away, so it’s time for another clip show! The spin-o-rama has become a hallmark move in the NHL, even if it’s not without controversy.  Here’s the 5 best in blue in white at twisting and turning heads.   5. Nazem Kadri is really, really, really skilled.  Like damn skilled. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmmnOoE6u0I We’ll start of this clip show with a real beauty of a goal by Kadri during the 2011-2012 season.  Kadri passes off to Joffrey Lupul in the left wing corner and sneaks through to the...

370

So this week, I was going through another one of @MLHS_Mike’s fantastic write-ups and it brought back memories from my early 20s. Mind you, I’m not that old yet, but I’m getting there. I used to be a cook. I got to meet a lot of people in my line of work. Hockey players, baseball players, celebrities, and even a girlfriend I was with for most of my early 20s. But the memory I think fondly back on the most as a cook was meeting the 1993 Toronto Maple Leafs team. I checked the dates and it appears to have...

445

From Conn Smythe’s likely-apocryphal quote, “If you can’t beat ‘em in the alley, you can’t beat ‘em on the ice” to Brian Burke’s tears for Colton Orr, the Toronto Maple Leafs have always encouraged fighting.  There’s not much to report on in Leaf land right now, and instead of lamenting unsigned RFAs and the cap woes, let’s take a look at some of oddest fights in Leaf history. The combatants are unusual, the results often surprising, and most of them leave one thinking fighting has no place in hockey (especially if you can’t fight).  But they’re all still pretty hilarious,...

323

The drought is over. I don't need to say much more than that. It's been a pretty awful nine years, but considering that we'll be tuning in to CBC for a Leafs playoff game next week, I think it's time to look back and exorcise some of the 2004-2012 Leafs' demons that we've hopefully talked about for the last time. Well, at least without crying our eyes out. This is part one, and the easy target would be the Dubeliewicz poke-check in 2007. But I'm not all about the glitz and glamor, and I'm going a little off the board first. I'm talking...

70

Junior wraps up the MLHS 'Memories of Mats' series: On June 28th of 1994, Cliff Fletcher, the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, traded Wendel Clark, Sylvain Lefebvre, Landon Wilson and a first round draft choice to the Quebec Nordiques for Mats Sundin, Garth Butcher, Todd Warriner and a 1st round draft choice. I resolved that day to hate that bastard Sundin forever. I was 27 years old and had been a Leaf fan all my life.  I can remember the Dave Keon posters my Dad hung for me on my bedroom wall, around about the time I was starting kindergarten;...

115

You could see it, feel it – even hear it. It was the complete overtime game-winning-goal experience, and in the playoffs, no less. Their first round opponent was the Ottawa Senators. It was here, in this newfound playoff rivalry, that the Battle of Ontario was truly born. And by the searing power of our Captain’s blade, it roared off to a memorable start. Game 1. The Senators were second seed in the standings and the apparent favourites, but the Leafs – on the back of their oft-underappreciated gem of a leader – fought out a tight 0-0 tie into overtime....

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With 987 points in 981 games as a member of the Maple Leafs, Mats Sundin created his fair share of memories for Toronto fans. While most can recall where they were when he achieved many of the moments of greatness which will long live in the lore of Leafs' history, few can recall either his first goal or first assist in a Toronto uniform. At the NHL draft in 1994, Cliff Fletcher shocked the Leafs' fanbase with a blockbuster deal that sent fan favorite Wendel Clark, stalwart blueliner Sylvain Lefebvre, prospect Landon Wilson and the Leafs' 1st round pick to...

5

Since I didn't have a chance to watch many Leaf games in Crotia prior to 2004 (ones I caught were on satellite TV on a German program called DSF and tapes I got from virtually everywhere – that’s how I got to see Gilmour and Clark), I took every opportunity to watch Leaf players play international hockey. Occasionally, our national television took pity on us hockey fans and gave us World Championship games, like the quarterfinal in 2003, which featured Sweden and Finland in Helsinki’s Hartwall Areena. As you are well aware, Sweden and Finland are big hockey rivals. To...

25

Mats announced that he would be exercising his no trade clause on February 25, 2008.  It may not be a popularly shared sentiment at this time, but this decision should be considered one of the Swede's great moments as a Maple Leaf. Of course, it almost certainly won't be remembered as such, as it is one of the few contentious things Sundin did in his career in Toronto (perhaps the only contentious thing, aside from his January 2004 attempt to use a broken stick as a discus-like instrument of Swedish wrath and frustration). Sundin made a difficult choice knowing that...

8

What more can possibly be said about the way Mats got his 500th career goal? Slapper from the blue line? Check. Top corner snipe? Check. Third goal of the game, shorthanded, in overtime no less? You bet. In one of the biggest games of his career, Sundin performed with style. On a fairly disastrous 2006-07 Leafs squad, Sundin remained the sole bright spot of an aging core. The game was a high scoring affair. As has so often been the case in Leafs games, defence was nowhere to be seen. Toronto would dominate most of the first, seeing vast stretches...

399

I am a young Maple Leafs fan, even around these parts. Not many know this, but I was born in 1995, and a Leaf fan from birth. Naturally, I don’t remember the hard-fought series against the Sabres in the spring of 1997, and I’ve only seen video of Sundin’s overtime winner against the then-powerhouse Senators in 2001. A year later though, I can say I truly started to bleed blue and white. Only 7 years old at the time, I was slowly learning what it meant to be a Toronto Maple Leafs fan from my father – who’d been one...

72

It was a brilliant moment of catharsis that just seemed to sweep away the bitterness of the previous year. Imagine yourself in Sundin's place leading up to this moment. For twelve seasons, you had brought a level of commitment and excellence that undboubtedly would have placed you among the most distinguished hockey players in the history of a storied Original Six franchise. You had given your heart and your career to a management team that had failed to pay you back in turn. Even still, your teammates and most of all, the wonderful city of Toronto had been behind you...

88

In the buildup to the Sundin's banner-raising ceremony tomorrow night at the ACC,  the MLHS bloggers will each be sharing their most memorable Sundin moment. Dan Santos is up first with his reflections on Sundin's six point night: When reminiscing about my favourite Mats Sundin moments, the two I instantly remember are his 1-0 overtime winner against Ottawa and his late goal to tie Game 6 against the Hurricanes. However, another game is just as memorable to me because I was lucky enough to be in attendance. I am talking about Mats Sundin's 6-point night...

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Following the unexpected success of the 1992-93 campaign, which saw the Maple Leafs take a 44-29-11 season to the Conference Finals, the stakes were high entering the 1993-94 season.  Could the Leafs prove that history was indeed behind them, and the previous season's success was not a fluke as some critics were wont to suggest? Jaded by the disaster that was the decade of the 1980s, one could hardly blame the skeptics for questioning everything from scoring depth to injury concerns to whether goaltender Felix Potvin was a flash-in-the-pan or the real deal.  After all, hopes had been raised, only...

Doug Gilmour and Pat Burns at the 1992-93 NHL Awards

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The early '90s were an incredible time to be a Toronto sports fan. The Blue Jays captured back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993, while the Maple Leafs, in those same years, traversed the road back to respectability following the tumultuous (and largely disastrous) Harold Ballard era. Following successive seasons of seemingly-endless roster turnover (the 1991-92 Leafs closed out the year with only 4 members remaining from the 1989-90 squad) and less-than-stellar results, Leafs' GM Cliff Fletcher felt he had finally established the right mix of youth and veteran experience to produce a legitimate contender. In fact, during the 1992 offseason,...

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Twenty years ago ... still feels like yesterday. 1991-92 was a season of note. In celebration of the NHL's 75th anniversary, the Original 6 teams introduced throwback uniforms -- the dawn of 3rd jerseys in the NHL. The San Jose Sharks entered the league as the first expansion team since the 1979 NHL/WHA merger. Top draft pick Eric Lindros refused to sign a contract with the Quebec Nordiques, leading to a controversial trade with the Philadelphia Flyers which would turn the Quebec franchise into a powerhouse. The league endured a 10-day NHLPA strike, resulting in the season ending in June...

15

On this Remembrance Day, 2010, I'd thought it would be fitting to take a look back at the Toronto Maple Leafs during the years of the Second World War. Having been on the losing side of the Stanley Cup Finals for three consecutive years (Chicago, Boston, New York) to close out the 1930s, the Leafs remained on the verge of becoming a championship team. Unfortunately, pending greatness would instead be put on hold as the roster would be decimated while players answered their country's call to duty in the early 1940s. The following is a quick synopsis of the Maple Leafs'...

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Excitement abounds these days in the streets of Toronto, as a long-overdue rebuilding effort for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the prospect of a revitalized franchise, moves into high gear. Arguably the last successful revitalization of the Maple Leafs franchise occurred in the early 1990s, when in the span of three seasons the Leafs went from basement-dwellers to Stanley Cup contenders.  Although many are quick to credit then-GM Cliff Fletcher's 1992 mega-deal with the Calgary Flames as the key turning point for the franchise, the groundwork for the franchise's rapid acceleration from pretender to contender actually began much earlier ......