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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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Lettie’s jersey will be lone exhibit in family’s Hall of Fame.

Lettie MacDougall and her beloved Leafs jersey

Lettie MacDougall and her beloved Leafs jersey

There is a Hall of Fame to be built in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

It will have one exhibit: a home Leafs jersey bearing the number 96 with autographs of the current team penned across the number nine.

It is a retired jersey, never to be worn again and soon Bill MacDougall will arrange for its trophy case in the office of his family business, MacDougall Transfer and Storage in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

The jersey belonged to Bill’s Mother, Lettie who passed away Feb. 26.

Foster Hewitt began ...

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Team defence is behind the Leafs plunge.

The Maple Leafs need a whole lot less of this.

The Maple Leafs need a whole lot less of this.

When Randy Carlyle took over the Leafs a year ago he reminded one and all that no team succeeds without stout defence.

Lately the difficulty has come in reminding his team.

Despite consistent goalscoring the Leafs’ play has veered from OK to great to poor this season.

The Maple Leafs undertake their 30th game of the season Wednesday when they host Tampa.

They are 15-12-2 overall and when you break down the season you get a picture of why the team hasn’t mustered a ...

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The five essential attributes for a pro hockey player

The ability to keep the faith, in James Reimer

The ability to keep the faith, in James Reimer’s case religious faith is one of the five determinants for success say a handful of Maple Leafs.

#FreeJakeGardiner.

When Gardiner’s agent Ben Hankinson tweeted out his cheeky request this week he inadvertently spoke to a commodity as precious as oxygen to the minor league hockey player.

Patience.

Never mind the agent. How does the young professional hockey player cultivate a quality that so often eludes men in general and young men in particular?

How can a young player watch colleagues with comparable skill levels earn ...

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What I Learned From Talk Radio

Nazem Kadri reacts after scoring against the Buffalo Sabres.

 

The Leafs are halfway through their season. I have compiled everything I learned from talk radio so far. For brevity’s sake I stopped at 75, precisely the number of goals Nazem Kadri is expected to score next season.

1. Nazem Kadri is too small to be a front-line NHLer.
2. Nazem Kadri has three goals in his first four games. He’s ready.
3. Nazem Kadri hasn’t scored in nine games. Told you he’s too small.
4. We should all name our baby boys Nazem Kadri.
5. The Leafs have to trade for Roberto Luongo.
6. Never ...

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One year in: What Randy Carlyle Considers Sacred

Randy Carlyle obsessive line-matching is part of his bench-side persona.

Carlyle’s obsessive line-matching is part of his bench persona.

Randy Carlyle would get up at first light, shower and get dressed.

Then he would get into his car and take the first road to nowhere.

There is no count on how many times Carlyle drove around Anaheim from November 30, 2011, the day he was fired as coach of the Ducks, to when he was hired by the Maple Leafs on March 2, a year Saturday,

The desolation of those drives has not left the 56-year-old Carlyle.

“I had my period of time I ...

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JVR to get 50 goals, Fraser +71: Gods of Math.

By my math, this man will soon be a plus 70.

 

By my math, this man will soon be a plus 71.

It’s not James van Riemsdyk’s offence, although a goal total that has now reached 11 bears savouring.

It’s not Nazem Kadri’s point production.

No, if you ask Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis about the biggest surprise in an 11-7-0 season he will default to Mark Fraser.

“We felt he would be a seven or an eight who could give you the odd game,” Nonis said. “You talk about players earning their ice time; Mark has earned it. He makes sound decisions. He ...

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Marlies’ Drew MacIntyre is king of goalies for hire

The Marlies

The Marlies’ Drew MacIntyre is on his 13th team in nine years.

Doug Teskey.

Jimi St. John.

Scott Fankhouser.

Logan Koopmans.

Drew MacIntyre has backed up dozens of goalies. Many weren’t as well known as the netminders listed above.

At 29, the Charlottetown native is on his 13th pro team in just nine years. Lucky number 13 is the Toronto Marlies for whom MacIntyre has surrendered just two goals over as many games.

The Marlies signed MacIntyre last week when James Reimer sustained a knee injury that prompted the callup of Jussi Rynnas. Reimer has begun ...

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