Game 1 aftermath. It’s human nature.

ulmer500may2

The Leafs played a poor game in Boston and lost Game 1 by a score of 4-1.

Yes, every nightmare scenario came true. The Leafs were overwhelmed. James Reimer was beaten to his glove side.

Jinkies. Must be the apocalypse.

Let me tell you a story.

When my Dad read my first published story he was dumbstruck with fear. He thought I must have plagiarized it.

Two things. First, thanks Dad.

Second, what we care about deeply is often the subject of our worst, most irrational fears.

I think you see where I am going with this.

Game ...

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Ten questions the Maple Leafs need to answer

Leo Komarov will have to do a lot of this against the Bruins

The Maple Leafs open the playoffs in Boston, Wednesday night. Perhaps you’ve heard.

The Leafs success will largely be determined by how they answer these ten questions.

What’s Tyler Bozak’s status?

Bozak expects to play after a full practice Tuesday. “We’ll see how I feel in the morning but all signs are leaning to I’ll be ready to go,” he said. Bozak’s season confounds stats freaks who look at a scant 16 assists for a player who gets first-line minutes but his importance as a face-off artist can’t be overstated. Without Bozak, who ...

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Leaf face-painters unite.

Leaffan

You know you’re dealing with a diehard Leafs fan when you go to shake hands and they have to take their foam finger off.

There were about 150 of the faithful at Air Canada Centre’s Gate 5 Monday for a promotion called Wendel Says.

The inducement was 10 pairs of playoff tickets as well as copious swag but the people would have come regardless to share the same oxygen as Wendel Clark.

These were the real fans, the face painters, the blue wig-wearers.  Nineteen year-old Justin Waldman was awash in blue.

Oshawa’s Justine ...

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So It’s Boston…

jvr400apr28ulmer_2

So, it’s Boston.

The Leafs will open the playoffs Wedesday in Boston against the skidding Bruins who fell 4-2 to the Ottawa Senators Sunday night in Boston.

The Bruins, coming off a string of seven games in 10 nights have gone 3-5-2 in their last 10 games to set up the first playoff series between the teams since 1974.

To put that in perspective, Bobby Orr was a 25-year-old 122-point defenceman the last time the two teams met in the post-season. For posterity’s sake you should know Boston swept the Leafs.

The Leafs will be ...

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Reimer a worthy candidate for Masterton

For a nice guy, James Reimer can hang tough.

There is an unusual resiliency in James Reimer the Leafs nominee for the Masterton Trophy given to the NHLer who shows perseverance, dedication and sportsmanship.

Dedication. Check.

Sportsmanship. He says nothing but nice things about anyone. James Reimer is Richter scale nice, nuclear nice. Another check.

But dedication and sportsmanship are minor elements in the Masterton debate. It’s really an award about perseverance.

On the surface, Reimer’s stick-to-itness is just slightly above grade. He has rebounded very nicely from a head injury this year to continue the steady progression of his career.

You can even ...

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On Andrew Moffatt, Wendel and being there when times are tough

Andrew Moffatt and his dad Bob.

Andrew Moffatt had the gift of making people comfortable in the toughest circumstances.

When his uncle Joe was dying of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease  a few years ago Andrew was the one who brought the donuts for the vigil.

There are few places lonelier than a hospital room bereft of hope but a wellspring of kindness in every vigil comes from the people who bring the donuts and fill up the room with talk.

Conversations, remembrances, stories, are a link to a world outside the hospital where people aren’t sick and life continues ...

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No Looking Back To Last Year

reimer488ulmerpar15

The Leafs’ impending return to the post season has made talking about last year seem silly.

Indulge me.

Here then are the 10 reasons this year’s Leafs team need never again be mentioned in the same breath as last year’s team.

1.   James Reimer. Reimer has emerged as one of the league’s most dependable goalies. His return to health stands as the major reason why the Leafs lowered their goals against to 2.63 GAA from last season’s dismal 3.16.

2.   The penalty kill. While the Leafs power play numbers haven’t changed from last season, ...

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Hab Fans: This One’s For You

Yep. Best fans in hockey.

Yep. Best fans in hockey.

I find no great enmity between the Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators but I do find fault with those who describe the two teams as rivals. Call me if the Senators beat the Leafs in a playoff round. The heavy bag is not a rival to the boxer.

I like Ryan Miller, find a level of noble industry in the Boston Bruins and enjoy John Tortorella the way I enjoy watching Monster Trucks steamroll pickups a couple of times a year at the Rogers Centre. ...

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Nonis says kicking tires not a kick at Reimer.

The Leafs acquired defenceman Ryan O

No one outside the Maple Leafs management suite will know how close the team came to acquiring Roberto Luongo but when the horn blew on trade deadline day everybody wearing blue was where they were the day before.

The only new body coming in is six-foot-five depth defenceman Ryan O’Byrne, gleaned from Colorado for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 entry draft. A 28-year-old right-handed defenceman who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, O’Byrne is a stay-at-home type who has 300 NHL games, four goals and 363 penalty ...

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Leafs need to look hard to find spots to shore up

If the Leafs are willing to live with the risk, bringing in a veteran such as Miikka Kipusoff behind James Reimer could be worth the risk

It has never been tough to assess what the Toronto Maple Leafs need.

A number once centre. A front-line goalie. Depth on defence. A big body to put in front of the net. A strong faceoff man to anchor the third line and kill penalties. A potent second line.

While the Leafs are a long mile short of Stanley Cup contender status, it’s become much harder to pin down exactly what kind of wish list the team should have.

Winning will do that. The Leafs, idle until Thursday when they play Philadelphia, are ...

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