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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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Little movement draws big attention at trade deadline

jamer-reimer

James Reimer and the rest of the Leafs have the rest of the year to right the season

By the time they reach Grade 2 children begin to develop a mature outlook toward money, community and private property.

Their friendships deepen. They grasp the difference between writing for marks in school and for pleasure. Seven-year-olds understand the distinction between asking a question and reciting a fact. By Grade 2 children are forming lifelong patterns and points of view.

Not one of these children, not one the world over, was alive on a […]

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Let’s Lose The Whole American/Canadian Angle

When LA winger Dustin Brown’s name hit the rumour mill, all eyes were raised toward Brian Burke.

Brown seems perfect. He hits, he scores, he plays bigger than his six-feet.

Most important, he’s from Ithaca, New York.

He’s American.

Buffalo-born and bred Jim Kelley remains a towering figure in hockey journalism, a business that has yet to produce a successor for a reporter who filed a story on his last day on earth, Nov 30, 2010.

He loved Canadians and this country but sometimes shuddered at our provincialism.

“Hockey is Canada’s gift to the […]

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Gardiner hits the post, won’t hit the road.

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Keep an eye on this guy. He's staying.

Let’s say you heard a 21-year-old puck-moving defenceman was on the trading block.

Drop dead talent. Tied for the team lead in plus minus. Fourth on the team in ice time with over 21 minutes per contest and trending up.  Points leader among NHL rookie defencemen.

What would you give up to land such a player? Congratulations, Leaf fans. You are the only team that doesn’t have to covet Jake Gardiner.

Gardiner is on track to be the best Leaf defenceman since Borje Salming left […]

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The scoop business: why insiders have to be outsiders.

Does this man look eager to give away confidential information?

I spent 25 years in the print media. The last six came as a sports columnist for the Toronto Sun.

The Sun was built on three pillars: sports stories, crime stories and stories that serviced a loony right-wing ideology.

It was a great place to work, full of smart, wonderful people. You might not agree with Peter Worthington’s stance on the military but he sure loved his Blue Jays.

I also worked at the National Post, another newspaper staffed by iconoclastic, brilliant, ambitious […]

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Why superstars are usually a bargain. Honest!

This is what you get for three inconsequential players, $15 million and three first-rounders. Just sayin'.

Who should the Maple Leafs be willing to trade to land a franchise player?

Anyone.

Ok, anyone except for Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf and Jake Gardiner.

By anyone, I mean anyone  else.

Package the rest however you like but spare those three because each has the chance to someday be as impactful a player as anyone you are likely to get.

So would you deal James Reimer, Matt Frattin, Nazem Kadri or the superb Joffrey Lupul. Got to give […]

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Sundin takes his place among the stars

Mats Sundin acknowledges the crowd moments before his number 13 was raised to the rafters at Air Canada Centre.

They put him where they should have, sandwiched between Borje Salming, the gold standard for Swedes and George Armstrong, the tireless plugger pulled from the nickel belt.

Mats Sundin is now the subject of a covert understanding among newly-minted Maple Leafs. Henry Ford said the Model T came in any color you would want –as long as it was black. New players, and there may be a few more after last night’s […]

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Sundin spanned the gap between goodness and greatness.

Mats Sundin acknowledges the crowd at a Leafs home game.

Up close or in private the chasm between the good and the great is not a theory.

It is a daily fact and it thrived in Toronto over 13 seasons.

Mats Sundin’s greatness, evident to all, was felt most keenly up close. His presence, titanic to those closest to him, sometimes dissipated by the time it reached the fan.

The less you know of Mats Sundin, the more you may be prone to doubt him and the underlying arguments against his standing as […]

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