Burke’s Generous Donation

Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke has donated a horse to the Toronto Police Service Mounted unit.

Burke inquired earlier this year about donating a horse and when he was told that his generosity would be accepted, the name which he decided to call the horse was Moose.

“I figured there had to be story behind that name and, when he told me, I was blown away,” S/Insp. Bill Wardle, the Mounted and Police Dog Services unit commander told the Toronto Police Services.

Moose was the nickname that ...

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Ulmerstandings: Slow Start For Some Former Leafs

Let me put it to you this way: if you used to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs you’re probably having a lousy season.

While the Leafs are enjoying a 10-6-2 campaign, things aren’t so great for the alumni.

The three teams employing the most former Leafs -Anaheim, Calgary and Carolina at three each – are a combined 19-23-7. They are numbers 25, 26 and 28 in the league.

Put poor Tomas Kaberle at the bottom of the heap. In 15 games with Carolina, Kaberle has just three assists and sits at -5.

Matt ...

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Plenty Of Injury Updates

It was a good news bad news day for the Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

First, the good news. Tim Connolly will make his return to the lineup against the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Now the bad news. Mikhail Grabovski will be out for two weeks with a lower body injury and Clarke MacArthur will be out of the lineup against the Predators.

With one of his top centres out for an extended period of time, head coach Ron Wilson is hoping someone can flourish with the chance.

“It is an opportunity for someone else ...

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Several Topics On The Table At GM Meetings

What figured to be a fairly sleepy GM meeting on re-alignment and boarding has morphed into a session to address hot-button issues.

The meeting is being convened at a Toronto airport hotel.

Start with the conversation about goalie-crashing.

That Boston’s Milan Lucic avoided a suspension because director of player safety Brendan Shanahan said he accidentally ran over Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller has stirred ample controversy.

Leaf fans saw goalie James Reimer injured by a similar impact from the Canadiens Brian Gionta October 22. The Montreal forward wasn’t penalized and Reimer hasn’t played since. The ...

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Burke Feels Goalies Need To Be Protected

Brian Burke’s oft-blustery vibe hides a fundamental element of his nature.

At heart, he is conservative.

Take the NHL general manager’s meeting, convened Tuesday at a Toronto airport hotel.

There were two hot-button issues. One was the Milan Lucic hit on Buffalo’s Ryan Miller that drew no suspension from director of player safety Brendan Shanahan.

Burke understands the impact of losing your number one goalie. The Leafs were cruising along at 4-1-1 when James Reimer was hit by the Canadiens Brian Gionta. Since then they have gone 6-5-0 and the team’s goal against average has jumped ...

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Connolly Nearing Return

It appears the Maple Leafs will be getting centre Tim Connolly back soon. Connolly took part in Monday’s full practice on a line with Colton Orr and Jay Rosehill and while he doesn’t appear set to play Tuesday against Phoenix, he could return Thursday in Nashville.

“I’ve seemed to really turn a corner here and it’s only a matter of days before I’m back ready to go,” Connolly said. “I wasn’t at 100 per cent out there today but felt pretty good so we will see how I feel tomorrow.”

The last ...

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To Absent Friends…

‘Let us lift our glasses And direct a toast That they may abide in our hearts Forever’

– The toast ‘To Absent Friends’

They are gone and yet never gone. Their legacy is a glimmer in the tears of the people who love them still.

The four men enshrined Tuesday in the Hockey Hal of Fame have earned their sport’s version of immortality. Likenesses of Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Ed Belfour and Mark Howe will be hung in the Great Hall. There you will find evidence of their deeds until the shinny glass ...

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Beating The Odds

Ed Belfour. Never drafted.

Doug Gilmour. Drafted in the seventh round.

Is it still possible for a player to slip through the network of scouts and bird dogs, internet assessments and Central Scouting reports to beat the odds and land a spot in the NHL?

A glance at the Leafs roster says yes. So do some of the latest inductees for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

With James Reimer injured, the top three remaining goaltenders in the Leafs system weren’t selected in the NHL draft: Ben Scrivens, Jonas Gustavsson and Mark Owuya.

Tyler Bozak, holding ...

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Hall Of Fame Game Next

After their win over the St. Louis Blues, there was no rest for the Maple Leafs who were back at MasterCard Centre for practice Friday ahead of Saturday’s Hockey Hall Of Fame Game against Ottawa.

“I know for the fans it’s the Battle Of Ontario but I think both teams go into not thinking of it as those terms,” said head coach Ron Wilson.

The two teams have split the first two meetings with each winning on home ice.

“It’s a division game which is always big,” Wilson noted. “They’re within shouting distance ...

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All That Matters Is Winning

A dozen years ago I spoke to Craig Hartsburg, the coach of what was then called the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

The Ducks had gained a road win here in an exhibition of trap hockey that made your eyes bleed. I commended him on the win but said “you know, that game was unwatchable.”

Hartsburg presented his case beautifully.

“I don’t care.”

Would you?

What would you say if I told you I could wave a wand and guarantee the Leafs would qualify for the post season? The only caveat: they had to play a ...

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