Mike Kostka on loving the game and a little extra incentive.

Going into Friday's home game against Hamilton, defenceman Mike Kostka led the Marlies with five points.

Playing with prized defenceman Jake Gardiner, Mike Kostka had five points in the Marlies first five games.

A few months after he devastated the Marlies by accident, Mike Kostka has been handed the keys to the kingdom.

You might remember Kostka. His overtime ricochet off an uncovered stanchion at the Ricoh Coliseum put the Norfolk Admirals up three games to zero in what would soon become a sweep of the Calder Cup finals.

Unwilling to hold a grudge, the Leafs signed the free agent defencemen to a two-way deal this summer.

There will ...

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Salming among those speaking out against bullying.

A father of four, Borje Salming has added his voice to the campaign against bullying.

Friday, 250,000 Toronto students observed a moment of silence in memory of British Columbia bullying victim Amanda Todd.

In the wake of that silence comes a cacophony of denunciation for bullying and support for the bullied.

Add the voice Borje Salming, often cited as the Leafs greatest player, to the chorus.

Like celebrities Lady Gaga, Eminem, Michael Phelps and Chris Rock, Salming endured a torrent of bullying. In the 1970s, the most prominent Swedish player to break into ...

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Johnny Bower Wins Poll. Too Bad You’re All Wrong.

The numbers don't lie.  Turk Broda, shown in a 1946 game is the Leafs greatest goaltender.

The great Johnny Bower acknowledges his fans.

Leaf fans: Johnny Bower says thanks.

The China Wall was voted the Leafs best ever-goalie by an overwhelming margin in our Facebook poll.

http://www.facebook.com/torontomapleleafs .

“I’m just happy to be in the top 100,” said the Leafs Hall of Famer. “I’m so excited to hear that.”

Hard to argue with the ageless one who won the kudos a mere 42 years after his final Leafs game.

There are, however, a few dissenting opinions. Add an influential name to poll respondents William Fam, Paul Skinner, Steve Kis.

Nancy Bower.

That’s right. ...

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Mind the gap: three decades between minor league stints.

The biggest name shuttled from Air Canada Centre to Ricoh Coliseum is a well-rounded goalie who can talk a bit.

Joe Bowen is back in the minors, broadcasting home Marlies games 31 years after his apprenticeship ended – wait for it – in the Montreal Canadiens’ organization.

“Amazing,” Bowen said, “considering how I feel about them now.”

Leafs broadscaster Joe Bowen.

Bowen spent seven years as the play-by-play voice of the Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League when word reached him of an opportunity with the American League’s Nova Scotia Voyageurs.

The Voyageurs ...

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New goalie coach St. Croix preaches flexible approach

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He may have been tutored by the great Jacques Plante but the Leafs new goaltending coach found his first mentor when he was eight-years-old.

“I was playing in my hometown of Kenora, Ontario” said former NHLer Rick St. Croix. “A coach came into the room and said ‘who wants to play goal?’ I threw up my hands and said ‘I do, I do.’ My brother Vic was there. He’s 10 years older than me.  He had played a little bit of goal so he gave me equipment and helped me get ...

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Kadri says he is ready for prime time.

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The stars seem aligned for Nazem Kadri.

The Maple Leafs are freeze-dried until further notice. Barring a groundbreaking deal the Leafs will eventually need a skilled centreman on the first line, especially since coach Randy Carlyle has labeled the prospect of James van Riemsdyk in the middle an offhand remark gone viral.

Ah but to have a superbly-skilled young pivot with sparkly draft credentials. Maybe a player who has put up something close to a point a game in the American League; someone who delivered at that rate in the AHL playoffs. ...

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Gardiner, Scrivens and Kadri among Marlies in supercharged AHL season.

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The last time the NHL locked out its players (2004-2005) Jason Spezza, a player with 114 NHL games already under his belt ran away with the American Hockey scoring title. At 21, Spezza was skating for the Sens affiliate in Binghamton when he carded 32 goals and 117 points in 80 games.

Manchester winger Mike Cammalleri, a player with 59 NHL games with LA already to his credit ripped home 46 goals and finished second in the scoring race.

Leafs’ prospect Kyle Wellwood, in his second full season in the AHL finished ...

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Kennedy, not Sundin or Gilmour was Leafs greatest centre.

Ted Kennedy wraps his arms around an old friend. Kennedy  won the Stanley Cup five times and was the last Maple Leaf to win the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

Ted Kennedy is the greatest-ever Maple Leafs centreman.

Not Doug Gilmour, not Mats Sundin nor even the marvelous Dave Keon.

Ted Kennedy. Teeder.

The key word here is great. Great is impossible to define. It can be quantified through statistics but greatness…greatness is an element that transcends numbers.

Ted Kennedy was great.

I was writing a book on captains of the Maple Leafs in 1995. ...

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On exclusivity, insiders and the need for agendas.

If you find this man surprising you haven’t been paying attention.

As Leaf fans await the expected announcement of the team’s new goaltending coach, here’s a thought to get you to the next news day. As an unexpected bonus I have a second thought.

First: I have no first-hand knowledge of whether Francois Allaire was a good or a bad goaltending coach, a valuable sounding board to his goalies or a tragic autocrat.

The only people who know, who really know, are players and other coaches and if you take  Burke’s word ...

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Burke Blasts Performance Of Francois Allaire

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Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke agrees there was interference with goaltending consultant Francois Allaire but said the pressure came in an attempt to spur a revamp of Allaire’s techniques.

“I regret that I have to deal with this matter publicly but I feel the need to respond. Was there interference from the staff as he said there was? Yes. But it was done reluctantly and it was done to change elements of our goaltending that was sub-par.”

Burke, who hired Allaire away from his former team in Anaheim three years ago, ...

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