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The price of big and bad might make you mad.

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By any measure, especially his own, Leafs’ GM Brian Burke did not have a good year.

But in one element, Burke has been in front of the curve.

Big and bad is the new black.

In January, Burke reluctantly sent Colton Orr to the minors and publicly fretted the era of the fighter was over.

At the Leafs season-ending press conference Burke stressed the need to be bigger and stronger. “We need to address the size of the group and the compete level of the group,” he said.

“I like teams that go into buildings […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Eakins eager to revisit the heightened competition of playoffs.

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The kind of playoff moment a player will remember. Marlies coach Dallas Eakins, then a defenceman with the New York Rangers sends Eric Lindros into the Rangers' bench in a 1997 playoff game.

Dallas Eakins remembers the moment if he can’t quite place the date.

It was 1992 and the Marlies coach was in the second year a 15-year playing career that would see him manage 120 games in the NHL. He would touch down in 10 different American and International League towns: Baltimore, Binghamton, Chicago, Cincinnati, New Haven, Moncton, Winnipeg, […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Jake Gardiner says he is up for spring hockey

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Jake Gardiner isn’t quite done yet.

The 21-year-old defenceman has settled in with the Toronto Marlies as they finish their regular season with games in Abbotsford B.C. against the Heat, Friday and Sunday.

Leaf rookies Gardiner, Carter Ashton and Matt Frattin will contest their first pro playoff next week.

Mapleleafs.com writer Mike Ulmer caught up with Gardiner to get his view on his season with the Leafs and his upcoming playoff with the Marlies.

Mike Ulmer: You led all rookie defencemen with 30 points and were third in ice time for first-year defencemen. Now […]

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Some Leafs News & Notes

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A couple of Maple Leafs will be taking part in the World Hockey Championships in Finland/Sweden starting May4th. Captain Dion Phaneuf will be representing Canada at the Worlds while Joey Crabb has been named to the USA roster. Both John-Michael Liles and Phil Kessel have said they will not take part while Carl Gunnarsson was injured the last week of the season and his status for the tournament was in doubt.

Leafs assistant coach Scott Gordon has been named head coach for Team USA. This is the third straight year that […]

Posted in Iaboni's Blog Posts |

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Leafs draft fifth…who that may be…

Ryan Murray might be the wild card of the 2012 NHL entry draft

We now know the Leafs are scheduled to draft fifth in the June entry draft.

The next question is who will be available.

The Oilers are long shots to trade their first overall. There isn’t the depth of quality in the draft that would prompt the Oilers to trade down.  Sarnia Sting winger Nail Yakupov (42 games, 31 goals, 38 assists, 69 points, 30 PIMs) is the stand-alone choice in the draft.

To get the skinny on this year’s player […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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What you don’t know about life on this side of the curtain.

What does the organization owe this man?

To The Citizens of Leafs Nation:

Your ardour has sometimes moved me past words.  You help pay my mortgage. When you cheer so earnestly as your team beats Tampa in the last home date of the season there isn’t much good in human nature I would not ascribe to you.

I love the fact that the parking lot attendant and the guys in the dressing room for Sunday night hockey have pithy jabs and exasperated complaints at the ready.

Sometimes I wonder if you are a […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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It all goes back to goaltending

A few moments after this picture was taken James Reimer's season would be knocked into freefall.

The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t in the playoffs because their goaltending wasn’t very good.

It isn’t a whole lot more complicated than that.

Now, there are contributing factors by the boatload but what you need to know is that when the club went into the abyss in February they surrendered the opening two goals in five straight loses. In the sixth they blew a 3-1 lead and fell 5-4 to Chicago, February 29.

The players who ambled […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Your complete calendar to the Leafs off-season

Remember the happy times…

In horseracing they call it going dark but of course, dark speaks to so much more than not playing when discussing the layoff facing the Maple Leafs.

The kick-off to the Leafs off-season, if there can be such a thing, comes Monday when players clean out their lockers and take one final sift through the rubble of the campaign.

The gap between the clear-out and the June 22 entry draft is 69 sleeps. This is when most of the healing happens. A week after the playoff puck-drop only […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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Carl Out, Others Could Be Back

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The Maple Leafs took to the ice Wednesday morning minus defenceman Carl Gunnarsson. After being hit hard early in the first period during the 6-5 overtime loss to the Sabres on Tuesday, Gunnarsson will miss the final two games of the season with a separated shoulder.

 “It is a four to six week rehabilitation time frame before he is back to 100 per cent,” head coach Randy Carlyle said.

While the Leafs will be without Gunnarsson, there is a good chance that David Steckel could make a return Thursday against Tampa Bay. The […]

Posted in Iaboni's Blog Posts |

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How to fix the Maple Leafs in five not-so-easy steps.

You'd best get used to seeing Ben Scrivens in goal. Finding a netminder looms as the Leafs biggest off-season challenge.

The distance between the Maple Leafs and genuine contenders is clear enough.

They are in the bottom half dozen or so in the league. I get that.

What is harder to articulate is a plan to make things better.

Not to worry.  Nobody asked but here is a recipe to get the team into the playoffs next year and set them up, in the words of the estimable Brian Burke, to bloody someone’s […]

Posted in Ulmer's Blog Posts |

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