An extension for Liles: what does it all mean?

I know what you’re thinking.

The Leafs have signed defenceman John-Michael Liles to a reported four-year contract extension that will pay him $3.85 million per year.  In doing so, the team will lock Liles up until he is 35.

Nice move. Liles has been instrumental in lifting the Leafs power play from the never regions of the league stats to its current fifth overall standing.

Lost to concussion for over a month, Liles should be back soon. His four goals and 17 assists this season pro rate into a 10 goal, 42-point season ...

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Marlies take Bulldogs outside

It is part of our national character that about the time we are prodded into going outside in winter we begin heckling those who remain indoors.

And so the Toronto Marlies, Hamilton Bulldogs and 20,655 people who visited Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, many for the first time, have a message.

Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah.

The AHL’s Outdoor Classic was just that; an event positioned somewhere between novelty act and intense Canadiana. That the Marlies beat the Bulldogs 7-2 was nice for the visitors but really, you just had to be there.

“That was awesome,” said Marlie ...

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King’s story is a Canadian fable.

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Marlies Jerry D'Amigo and Korbinian Holzer clown around at Ivor Wynne Stadium. The Marlies and Hamilton Bulldogs meet Saturday at 1 p.m. in the AHL Outdoor Classic.

You had to take a physical when you immigrated to Canada in the mid 1960s and so it was that only hours after setting foot here Helena King was telling her husband Sam she was pregnant.

Helena was shocked. Sam was too.  The two had just arrived, two children in tow, from Edinburgh. Sam has said more once that had they known another child ...

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Looking At The Alumni Rosters

One-time Maple Leafs greats Wendel Clark, Curtis Joseph and Doug Gilmour as well longtime Canadiens star Guy Carbonneau are some of the luminaries who will play the Leafs/Canadiens alumni game Friday night at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Puck drop is 7:30.

Toronto:

Coaches: Johnny Bower, Ron Ellis.

Players: Wendel Clark, Dan Daoust, Bill Derlago, Doug Gilmour, Curtis Joseph, Derek King, Kris King, Nick Kypreos, Gary Leeman, Brad May, Bob McGill, Jeff O’Neill, Mark Osbourne, Steve Thomas, Rick Vaive, Rob Zettler.

Montreal:

Coaches: Yvan Cournoyer, Rejean Houle, Guy Lafleur.

Players: Steve Begin, Patrice Brisebois, Guy Carbonneau, Mathieu Dandenault, ...

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Marlies Back Outdoors

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They came from Arnold Park in Binghamton, New York, Valois Park in Montreal and countless backyard rinks in between.

Safe then to say that when the Toronto Marlies arrived at Ivor Wynne Stadium to practice for the AHL Outdoor Classic against the Hamilton Bulldogs it felt a bit like coming home.

The outdoor game, the first convened in Ontario, will be played Saturday. Puck drop is 1 p.m.

After conducting a brisk hour-long practice, Marlies coach Dallas Eakins was sitting in the stadium dressing room, an enclosure where you seem to be putting ...

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Ulmer Asks: Will A Trade Help The Leafs?

Brian Burke

Ryan Miller is one Gloomy Gus but if he is right, the Maple Leafs season may not be headed for a happy ending. See the video here

It’s Miller’s contention that no deal can shake the formaldehyde out of the Buffalo Sabres. What’s worth noting here is that the Sabres beat the Leafs in their last meeting and sit six points behind Toronto.

With 37 games to play, that’s far from insurmountable and it sets a mind to wondering: if no trade would save the Buffalo Sabres, can one salvage the ...

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Some New Year Thoughts

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When you work for a hockey team that hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967, you don’t throw a lot of stones.

It seems especially foolhardy to criticize the Montreal Canadiens, historically the most successful of all NHL teams.

But Quebec politicians and cultural sticklers have eviscerated the Canadians over the hiring of unilingual coach Randy Cunneyworth. Since then, the owner and the general manager have backpedalled furiously.

Faced with a mob, the Canadiens’ management put a gun against their own temples.
The problem with blending culture and a ruthless competetiveness is that you ...

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Can Reimer Regain Hero Status?

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On New Year’s Day it will be exactly a year since James Reimer slid between the pipes for good and changed the direction of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Since then, the Leafs have gone 42-30-12. They have outscored their opponents 247-224.

Everything started with Reimer.

But concussion or concussion-like-symptoms – take your pick – have limited Reimer to just 16 of the club’s 37 games. This year’s statistics look ghastly, in part because Reimer has only accrued a small window of work, in part because the numbers are bad.

Reimer’s .899 save percentage ranks him 36th ...

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Burke’s Faith Remains In Wilson

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People talk about the weather all the time, Mark Twain said, but no one does anything about it.

People talk about fairness all the time. Brian Burke even did Monday afternoon when giving his reasons for extending Ron Wilson’s contract.

“It’s easy to say ‘fire the coach’ when the team isn’t winning, but when you haven’t given the coaching staff good enough players, I don’t think it’s fair,” he said.

Brian Burke thinks and speaks about fairness more than just about anyone I know but listening to someone go on about fairness is ...

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Not For The Faint Of Heart

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“He’ll be heading down to the medical room for repairs.”

How many times have you heard broadcasters casually intone those words when a player’s face has been sliced open by a stick, punch or puck?

Cuts to the mugs are so frequent, the play-by-play guys sound like they are issuing directions: turn left at the player’s bench, right at the dressing room door and head to the medical room for repairs.

This is someone’s face trickling if not gushing blood. Baseball blisters are a matter of much more concern than a wound to ...

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