Why Tank Nation is a Fool’s Paradise

2008 NHL Entry Draft

As always, the smartest guy in the room.

Draft Schmaft – An essay.

I was about five feet away from Cliff Fletcher when he broached an idea so radical it damn near sucked the oxygen out of Maple Leaf Gardens.

“Draft Schmaft.”

It was 1996. The notion that tying a team’s fortunes exclusively to the entry draft might be a questionable strategy propelled Cliff’s musing into the realm of legend. That, more than any argument I can muster, speaks to the orthodoxy that positions the draft as vital to individual teams and the ...

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Paul Henderson: On Living, Dying And Wearing The Maple Leaf

Paul Henderson found the purpose of his life after reaching the Summit.

“Do not go gentle into that good night,” wrote the poet Dylan Thomas. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Sitting in a medical centre with an intravenous line in his arm and cellphone in hand, Paul Henderson is doing just that.

With pockets of cancer all over his body and infecting his blood, the hero of the 1972 Summit Series sees his life with a new immediacy and clarity. Over the next month or so he will begin ...

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I know this is my fault even if I don’t quite know why

Cody Franson gives winning goalie James Reimer a tap after the Leafs defeated Edmonton 6-3 on Feb. 6. This picture was taken mere moments before I did something that sent the entire season down the toilet.

You’ve got to see this:

http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern/Northeast/Toronto_ChanceWillMakePlayoffs.html

According to this graph, when the Leafs defeated the Edmonton Oilers 6-3 on Feb. 6, they had a 90.05 per cent likelihood of making the post season.

Today, they stand on the verge of elimination. They haven’t won a home game since they beat Edmonton.

This comes down to a very simple ...

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Foes consider Ross a ‘Brother Tucker’ or something very close.

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Bradley Ross positions himself in front of the net in an exhibition game against Chicago.

It’s the story Mike Johnston reaches for when you ask the Portland Winterhawks’ coach about the Leafs newest signee Brad Ross.

“Two years ago there was a pre-season tournament in Everett (Was.) and they needed another team to round it out,” Johnston said. “The Soo Greyhounds came out.

“We were down 5-1 in our game against them and that night Brad Ross took 40 minutes in penalties. He fought guys. He ran over guys. He was an ...

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Goo-Goo-Kachoo Mrs Robinson and other hockey truths.

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Korbinian Holzer has twice represented Germany at the World Championship but he is anxious for his first North American playoff.

“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”

Forty-two years after Paul Simon penned those rueful lyrics, the words to Mrs. Robinson have a new spin. With the big club’s playoff hopes crippled by a disastrous February and early March, Leafs Nation is turning its gaze to the AHL Marlies.

The Marlies have won 31 of 62 games and taken points in seven shootout or overtime ...

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What to do when all seems lost

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Barring a magnificent, barely imaginable miracle, the Maple Leafs will not qualify for the post-season.

They have won just two of their last 16 games in regulation.  It’s tough to gain ground when you bank only six of a possible 32 points.

After a heady early and mid-season, the team and the millions of people who follow it have returned to walk the same barren patch of ground for the seventh straight year.

The bitter taste of seasons lost is back: one part disappointment, one part resignation, one part bile. Look not to ...

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Good news, bad news: Marlies sure bet to make playoffs…

Joe Colborne could go a long way in erasing the memory of his up and down regular season.

 

Good news, bad news, good news.

Brian Burke has long asserted that his team needed to stride manfully into the playoffs and bloody some noses when it got there.

The Toronto Marlies are playoff bound. Despite a month-long pattern of just treading water the Marlies lead the AHL’s North Division with a 34-21-4 record.

They may be the only one of Burke’s teams to bloody an opponent. Perhaps you’ve heard:  the Leafs have won just one ...

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Grabovski signing great for team, bad for stick-makers

You figure to be seeing a whole lot more of this.

What you need to know about Mikhail Grabovski can be summed up in the following story.

When he was a kid, maybe eight years old, Grabovski was gifted with a hockey stick. It was a new Titan. The white paint was soon worn off from use.

Hockey sticks didn’t fall from the skies for a kid from a working class family in Belarus. His parents waited until Christmas to give him the stick.

“I had it for a year and I was ...

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Why the Toronto Maple Leafs are so much fun.

The new guy...Randy Carlyle.

The new guy…Randy Carlyle.

Brian Burke and Randy Carlyle met the media Saturday and it was delicious.

Carlyle hit the sweet spot when he observed coaching the Leafs was a wonderful opportunity and then used a tone suitable for talk of palliative care to describe the conversation he had with his family about taking the job.

You could almost hear a trembling voice from the corner of the family’s big Amish-style kitchen table say ‘well, Dad, if you feel you must.’

Gloriously indiscreet, Burke said Marlies coach Dallas Eakins was strongly considered for ...

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Wilson out, Carlyle in as Leafs shuffle deck

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Coaching the Maple Leafs was in Ron WIlson's blood. He will work again.

There is a rule when a coach gets fired.

Write about the new guy. The guy heading out the door is known all too well.

The new guy is Randy Carlyle, in case you haven’t heard.

Indulge me for writing about the old guy.

Ron Wilson will work again. It’s in his blood.

He’s a father, a brother, a grandfather and a husband and he is Larry Wilson’s son and Johnny Wilson’s nephew.

Ron Wilson is  a hockey guy the way a Kennedy ...

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