Maple Leafs Have A Long History Of Playoff-Clinching Surprises

Greg Brady
January 17 2017 01:41PM

Photo Credit: Adam Hunger/USA TODAY SPORTS

Toronto Maple Leafs?  Playoffs?  In a full 82-game season?  Surely not, right?  Well, the deductive reasoning, and scoreboard-watching, and calculating is already happening, I can assure you of that.  And, yes, it's officially past the halfway point of January, and by the time the Leafs finish a four game homestand after eight of ten games away (and nine of ten away from the Air Canada Centre, given one of the home games was in a soccer stadium), we'll have a much clearer sense as to realistic nature of the Leafs' playoff aspirations.

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20 facts about the Doug Gilmour trade on its 25th anniversary

Greg Brady
January 02 2017 11:21AM

Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

It's still discussed as an era-changing moment in Maple Leafs lore.  Although its impact never brought about a single Stanley Cup Final, it did awaken a slumbering (or infuriated) fanbase, and create a whole new set of memories for the next generation that came around a little late for those made by Sittler, MacDonald, and Salming.

It also meant the absolute end of a great Calgary Flames era, really.  A Flames era that had seen numerous Smythe Division titles and playoff battles with the great Edmonton Oilers, and a window after the Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky in summer 1988 to Los Angeles, to really own the division and the Western Conference.

25 years ago today, the Maple Leafs and Flames executed a 10-player trade on the second day of 1992 so unique, and so influential, it's still celebrated (in Toronto, at least).  Here are 20 things you thought you knew or didn't know about what led up to it, the trade itself, and how it impacted two of the six Canadian franchises -- Ottawa was to come into existence the next season in 1992-93.

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Maple Leafs Face Reality With Centennial Classic Marketplace

Greg Brady
December 30 2016 10:45AM

"Supply and demand" is a pretty simple concept that teachers in secondary school economics classes tried to instil upon us.  It's one of the most important things we should actually take away from our schooling as opposed to when to recognize an isosceles triangle or where Canada's 6th Prime Minister was born (Sir Charles Tupper, in Amherst, Nova Scotia -- I mean, everyone knows THAT.).

It can influence what you spend on a house, a car, and even why and where you spend your entertainment dollars.  Sporting tickets are no different, as we all know.  What creates a price point?  Simply put, the amount of the commodity that's available and the demand of buyers to acquire that particular commodity.

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Leafs' Lamoriello Faces Serious Accusations -- Is The NHL Watching?

Greg Brady
December 24 2016 08:58AM

Maybe it's the time of year and the hustle and bustle of it all.  Maybe it's the familiar (if not valid) refrain of another NHL retiree, an enforcer in this case, to some, "complaining" about a job he signed up for and was paid handsomely to do, simply because that job, as most inherently physical ones do, comes with a price, and in this case a heavy one.

Either way, I'm quite struck by the eerie silence surrounding the announcement as documented by TSN's excellent investigate sports reporter, Rick Westhead.  An appeals board in California for a worker's compensation case has ruled that the New Jersey Devils are culpable and were negligent in withholding medical information and evidence surrounding their former player, Mike Peluso -- and it's information that would have potentially (almost certainly, one might deduce logically), have guided Peluso in a different direction from playing certain games and for certain stretches in time, when he should not have, due to concussions, mostly acquired from fighting.

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Leafs' Playoff Talk As Much About Other Teams As Themselves

Greg Brady
November 30 2016 09:59AM

Photo Credit: Perry Nelson/USA TODAY SPORTS

Well, winning a second game on the road was a start, yes, and whether we want to consider it a "statement" win or not over a team that hasn't made the playoffs in coming up to 11 years or not, points are points -- on the second-last evening of November or the first night of April.

Toronto was an ugly 1-5-4 away from the Air Canada Centre (where the bounces, the execution, and the response to their play have been quite enthusiastic and friendly).  After a couple seasons where it wasn't terribly fun to go to see the Maple Leafs play live (combine the hit to your bank account for tickets and concessions AND the listless apathy of fans and players alike, at times), but things are maybe more rapidly changing than anyone could have foreseen, even with the knowledge Auston Matthews would begin his NHL career here.

So last night's 4-2 win over Edmonton, their first road triumph since November 3rd in Buffalo (against a Sabres team without Jack Eichel and Zach Bogosian), can certainly lead to a successful Western Canadian road swing where the results have been quite barren and ugly in many recent previous years -- the Canucks, for example, are 7-1 in their past 8 home games against the Leafs and have outscored Toronto 33-15 in those contests.

But what I said in the early fall about the Maple Leafs is something I still believe.  This will be a much more threatening team to steal points from more talented and experienced teams in February and March than it will be able to do in November and December, and I think that is still to bear itself out that way.

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