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Opinion

Opinion

393

It's been an interesting few days in Leaf land to say the least. Leafs brass opted to sit on their hands on Friday as the rest of the league's front offices threw significant sums of money at free agents like a bunch of drunken sailors, leading some angry fans to assume true the least logical possibility that Burke simply said "screw it all!" in favour of an Afghan vacation. With Brad Richards choosing to consign himself to a...

295

The excitement never ends, does it? Days after the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup, the NHL Awards capped off the season with a somewhat surprising (albeit well-deserved)  Hart Trophy nod to Corey Perry. A day later, the Philadelphia Flyers rocked the hockey world with two major trades ... with reports suggesting the Leafs were nearly a trading partner in both. As if that hasn't been enough, trade and free agency rumours continue to run rampant. The Leafs have several of their own player re-signings still on the horizon, and somewhere in all that a draft is about to take...

273

There you have it fellow Leafs fans, after much talk about anything and everything non-Leafs related, we finally have something to talk about. And boy, is it interesting. As our own Ryan Fancey reported earlier, Brian Burke, President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced today that Scott Gordon and Greg Cronin have been appointed as assistant coaches on Ron Wilson’s staff. In addition, Burke disclosed that Keith Acton and Tim Hunter will not return to the team’s coaching staff. So, where does that leave Ron Wilson, and more importantly, the Toronto Maple Leafs? Taking into account all...

718

With the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final upon us, it will soon be time for full-fledged Leafs speculation – if not already. After hockey has clued up for another season and the draft rolls around, things really kick it up a notch in Leafs land. From my own experience, at my previous blog, it seemed that June and July would easily ring up the most buzz (the Kaberle situation probably helped.) So before the rush, let’s try to discuss the bigger picture for Burke and the Leafs, without being too focused on one name. What’ll it be? Patchwork, minor tinkering, or full on...

338

Call it patchwork, a desperation move, whatever you like. But there’s a very real chance that over this summer, the Toronto Maple Leafs will not be able to acquire Brad Richards, Jeff Carter, Paul Stastny, Steve Stamkos, Zach Parise, or any other name people decide to throw out there in the next few weeks. Of course they could nab one of the names above, who knows? But it’s not far-fetched to think that Burke may have to employ a “Plan B” if he doesn’t land a prized free agent or trade target. With everyone scrambling for the Leafs to bring a...

151

Though I’m quite aware of the upcoming contract negotiations between Brian Burke and recent overachiever Clarke MacArthur, I've yet to give it too much thought until now. MacArthur is one of five of the team’s restricted free agents, including Luke Schenn, Tyler Bozak, Carl Gunnarsson and James Reimer. Usually when the conversation arose about his pending new deal I just passed it off with “Yeah, he’ll get a raise like Kulemin's or something.” What was I thinking? Clearly I’m an idiot. Comparing MacArthur’s negotiations to Kulemin last summer is basically useless. In fact, it’s pretty tough to find many comparisons that make a lot of sense, given the sudden surge...

431

Amid the speculation surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers and their cap aches, it was bound to happen that the Leafs’ name would get thrown into the mix. After all, what’s a rumor about a big name NHL player without Toronto somewhere in the headline? However, much like a few years back, the recent Jeff Carter rumors actually make a lot of sense – simply because the Flyers are in such a jam right now and have to move salary. As if the Versteeg deal hasn’t turned out good enough, it has effectively compounded the Flyers’ cap troubles even further.Ville Leino can’t be...

171

We’ve only just entered a crucial time of playoff hockey in the past week or so, but for a lot of fans of teams left on the outside, October can’t get here any quicker. And for Ron Wilson, I think the situation is probably similar. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been a failure for all of Wilson’s tenure thus far. But, as if out of some superhero movie, Ron was recently saved by the one they call “Optimus Reim” down the stretch. When Leafs fans called for Wilson’s head in the early part of this past season, I sort of held my tongue....

126

Scott Stevens. A Hall Of Fame defenceman. The longest reigning Devils captain. Three time Stanley Cup winner. One of the hardest open ice hitters in NHL history. Matt Cooke. Stanley Cup winner. Founder of the The Cooke Family Foundation Of Hope. Pest. Dirty player. Animal. What's wrong with this picture? "Hey, it's a hockey game. It's not figure skating. You know what? I can take a hit and I can give a hit. I don't care who it is. No one gets a free ride out there. I don't get a free ride, and no one gets a free ride from...

486

By now we’ve all jostled with the idea of the Leafs landing Brad Richards in some way or other. These things tend to happen when it’s basically been talked about for over a year prior to his upcoming free agency period. Much like Rick Nash in the past, Leafs fans have plotted their potential line combinations with Richards’ name embedded on the top unit for some time now. For me, the Richards idea sort of fell by the wayside a while ago as I came to grips with the fact that he’d likely become a Ranger in the off-season. Returning to the...

383

The days following the Maple Leafs' elimination from the playoffs are always upsetting and/or depressing. However, now that I'm done looking back at the missed opportunities and asking "what if this or that didn't happen?" It's time to focus on the positives and look forward to next season. With that said, what should the Maple Leafs do this off-season? What pieces do the Leafs already have in place? What would you do if you were Brian Burke? Below is pretty much the Leafs roster down the stretch, with a * indicating a suggested cap hit for the unsigned player for next...

472

If the NHL handed out awards for half seasons, would there be any doubt that Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson would be among a handful of candidates for Coach of the Year for the second half of this NHL season?  After suffering a 3-2 defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 30th, 2010 the Leafs record sat at an uninspiring 13-19-4.  Much of the blame for that record was placed squarely on the shoulders of our at times moody head coach. I don’t recall a post game (win or lose) theme that didn’t in some shape or form include vast...

259

In 1892, English poet Sir Henry John Newbolt wrote Vitaï Lampada (They Pass On The Torch of Life), a lyric about a soldier learning the tenets of bravery and courage -- of stoicism -- through the practise of sport. There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night Ten to make and the match to win A bumping pitch and a blinding light, An hour to play, and the last man in. And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat. Or the selfish hope of a season's fame, But his captain's hand on his shoulder smote "Play up! Play up! And play the game!" The sand...

553

Back on December 1st 2010, the Toronto Star broke a story which, if accurate, was poised to change the sporting and business landscape in this city and country forever. It would also represent the largest sporting transaction in Canadian history and will likely represent the most significant indication of the inevitable merging of the telecommunications, media and internet industries of our generation. This transaction will play a huge and direct role in transforming the way business in these sectors is done moving forward in this country.  The story literally broke out of thin air.  The concept that the Ontario...

280

While there's no debate that James Reimer has risen to assume the mantle of starting goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, his rise has opened to door for some debate over which direction the team will take with their goaltending as the conclusion of the regular season fast approaches. With just eleven games remaining, and Reimer having started 15 straight, the general consensus seems to be that Giguere will start tonight in Sunrise Florida as the Leafs take on the Panthers in a game the Leafs simply have to get two points from. There always exists the possibility...

167

By now, fans of the Maple Leafs are all aware of GM Brian Burke's publicly-stated intentions to pursue a defenseman at or (preferably) prior to the Trade Deadline. With Tomas Kaberle and Francois Beauchemin now wearing different uniforms, the Leafs have freed up a total of $8.05m from what was a tremendously well-compensated defense corps. However, they have also created two rather large holes to fill in the process. While Keith Aulie has done a good job thus far filling Beauchemin's skates, the question remains: who steps in for Tomas Kaberle? If Carl Gunnarsson is not the man for the...

1290

After what has felt like a lifetime of speculation and rumours, the Toronto Maple Leafs officially pulled the trigger on a transaction that will see Tomas Kaberle, the longest serving member of the organization, on his way out of town. By now you know that the Maple Leafs received prospect Joe Colborne, a first round pick, and a conditional second round pick from the Bruins in exchange for the services of Kaberle. It’s a move that already has been held up to the light my many, in an attempt to evaluate the pros and cons from both angles.  The scrutiny will...

689

Of course Brian Burke would pull off a substantial trade on the eve of a midterm. Such was the case last night when I was trying to study, but had my eyes glued on Twitter for anything about the Leafs and what had transpired. And after zillions of characters typed and an equal amount of opinion being thrown around, I'm ready to discuss the Versteeg departure. Upon first reading about the deal, I was a little angry. Why? Because Versteeg has 50 point capability and it seems counterproductive to let him go at such a young age. And after a...

176

Phil Kessel has been one of the most polarizing figures in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs during his short tenure with the blue and white.  Kessel will forever be linked with 2010 #2 overall selection Tyler Seguin and the jury might never come to a firm conclusion if that deal was in the best interest of the Leafs short or longer term. Recently Kessel has come under heavy fire for his pointed comments regarding his lack of recent scoring and suggesting that maybe it “isn’t working here”.  The Toronto media and fans of the team instantly took offense...

482

The frustration was evident in Phil Kessel's tone as he answered a stream of media questions regarding his latest goal-scoring slump, now at ten games. Or perhaps, more accurately, his tone was one of resignation. Sighing often, Kessel repeated the words "I don't know" on multiple occasions in response to inquiries as to why he has been so snake-bitten, and what he feels can be done to re-discover his scoring touch. This was clearly a player at his wit's end, a player who seemed to be completely out of answers as to why the puck won't go in despite numerous...