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Here’s why Dave Nonis stood pat.


Ladies and gentlemen, your Toronto Maple Leafs.

While the Montreal Canadiens landed Thomas Vanek and the New York Rangers grabbed Martin St. Louis,  Leafs GM Dave Nonis elected, as expected, to keep things as is on trade deadline day.

Let’s look at this from a couple of vantage points.

At first blush, Nonis’ inactivity comes down to one question: are the Leafs as porous as the team that garnered just two of six points after the break or the gangbusters group that went 11-2-2 in the heady days before Sochi?

The answer, of course, […]

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Ten pressing questions as the Leafs look at the last 22 games.


Now, where were we?

The Maple Leafs renew their season Thursday with a road date against the New York Islanders followed by another road engagement with Montreal on Saturday.

Here are 10 questions facing the club as they approach the last 22 games of the regular season.

Can Phil Kessel maintain his torrid pace? Kessel, a five-goal scorer during the Olympics and the tournament’s top forward, banked 27 points over his last 15 Leaf games. In that stretch he scored 11 times and did not go more than two games without a goal. […]

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Baun ambivalent about legacy of famous goal.


He is not ungrateful but sometimes Bob Baun wonders whether his iconic goal was a good thing or a bad thing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

April 23, 1964, the 27-year-old Baun, playing on a broken leg numbed by freezing, scores in the second minute of overtime as the Leafs beat Detroit 4-3 in an elimination game in Motown to even the Stanley Cup final at three games each.

Two nights later, the Leafs won Game 7 at home by a count of 4-0 to claim their third straight Stanley Cup, a […]

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Hot Kessel riding a wave of cool

Phil Kessel

Remember the player draft for the 2011 All-Star game in Raleigh?

Remember how Phil Kessel was picked last?

Two things about that:

First, do you remember how good he was about it, how he donated the $20,000 consolation prize to a Cancer charity and laughed off what was clearly an excruciating moment where he was last pick among 42 all-stars.

Anyone, anyone who was the last pick on the playground, not an uncommon bitter memory among sportswriters by the way, would have shuddered. I would have considered therapy.

“Something good (comes out of it),” Kessel […]

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Leafs hit road trip on a roll with Bozak key

Playing between Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak has been red hot.


Playing between Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak has been red hot.

He was a skinny, five-foot-nine 18-year-old on the bubble for the 2004-2005 version of the Junior A Victoria Salsa. You should know in the intervening years the Salsa refashioned themselves as the Victoria Grizzlies.

That fits. Tyler Bozak knows something about the elements that go into an overhaul.

“The NHL seemed the furthest away my first year in Victoria,” he said in a recent interview. “I went for a tryout and I was an undersized guy. I wasn’t […]

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Rubber meets road as Leafs enter key phase


The wind at your back.

The wind in your face.

Those are the two scenarios the Maple Leafs find themselves contemplating as they head to what may be their most crucial stretch of hockey.

The seventh-place Leafs, owners of 47 Eastern Conference points, visit the 45-point Carolina Hurricanes, Thursday. The next night’s opposition: the Washington Capitals, own 46 points.

The math says by Saturday morning the Leafs, sitting somewhere in the post season top eight all season long and nine gaudy points above the eighth spot on Halloween, might be perched on the porch […]

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Gleason adds muscle to Leafs blue line


Needing more heft and a little more menace the Maple Leafs added Michigan native Tim Gleason in a New Year’s deal with the Carolina Hurricanes that saw John-Michael Liles and prospect Dennis Robertson head to Carolina.

Assuming the Leafs didn’t contribute a little to Liles’ salary, the trade is basically a saw salary wise. The six-foot- 215-pound Gleason has two more years after this one at a cap hit of $4 million per. Liles, meanwhile, will carry a cap hit of $3.875 million over the next two and a half seasons.

What […]

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Former Players Back On The Ice


They used to call Gordie Howe Power.

It was a nickname built on his ferocious strength. Sometimes Gordie would grasp a door knob while someone on the other side was about to pull the door open.

No matter how hard the person on the other side would pull, no force on earth could overcome Gordie Howe.

Except, of course, for time.

When one of the greatest players in hockey, one of the greatest men in hockey, stepped onto a red carpet to drop a puck Tuesday he had to be steadied and directed a […]

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One year later, the fun bus rolls on.

Ulmer Rides Bus

They went through snow.

They went through wind.

They waited better than a year.

Finally, on New Year’s Eve in picturesque Ann Arbor, Michigan, Will and Lisa’s travelling road show hit their destination.

When the lockout scuttled last year’s Winter Classic, few fans were more disappointed than Will Milne.

Will, 24, a Leaf fan and an alumni from Queen’s, had managed to acquire a block of 40 tickets to the game. At the time MLSE employee Lisa McLaughlin, was working in ticketing. She made the deal possible. The two are friends and the idea of […]

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Phaneuf deal also says something about rest of blue line.



That’s the new buzzword when assembling a team, be it in basketball, soccer or, in this case, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The word had a particular resonance, Wednesday, New Year’s Eve, as the Maple Leafs announced seven more years for Dion Phaneuf at about $7 million per.

“You need some players to play around the core,” Leafs GM Dave Nonis was saying at the press conference. “We think we are adding pieces that will help us win.”

Never mind that tantalizing idea for a moment. There is no question the Leafs, with Joffrey […]

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