Is Mike Babcock Actually an Upgrade on Randy Carlyle? #MyColumn:

Bobby Cappuccino
August 13 2015 02:02PM

It has been an exciting and eventful summer in Toronto, with the Maple Leafs reshaping their organization from top-to-bottom. From scouts to players to management, Brendan Shanahan has left no stone unturned in his quest to turn the Leafs into a consistently competitive franchise. But no move has had people as excited as the hiring of Mike Babcock.

Babcock has been regarded as one of the best coaches in hockey - if not the Best Coach in Hockey - for years now, and a lot of it has to do with his consistent success at every level he has coached at. And yet, the previous Leafs coach, who also had a history of winning, was slandered by everyone - especially the media. In fact, the media should apologize for their harsh treatment of Carlyle, but that's for another time.

People loved the firing of Carlyle and loved the hiring of Babcock. They argue that Babcock is a vastly superior coach. I beg to differ. But it's not just a baseless opinion.

Let's look at some facts.

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REPORT: Leafs have contacted Jacques Lemaire for assistant coaching job

Jeff Veillette
August 13 2015 01:30PM

Mike Babcock might already have three assistant coaches to work with in Jim Hiller, D.J. Smith, and Andrew Brewer, but in a world that values the wisdom of crowds, the more is often the merrier. This becomes even more the case when your potential fourth assistant is an all time great, and according to TSN 690 Montreal's Tony Marinaro, the Leafs might just make an addition along those lines in Jacques Lemaire.

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Pronman Ranks Eight Leafs In His Top 100 Prospects

Jon Steitzer
August 13 2015 09:48AM

August seems to unofficially be prospect month. Here at TLN we have our Top 20 Prospects counting down (Valiev at #17 up today), our besties over at PPP have their Top 25 Players Under 25 and one of our favourite prospect gurus, Corey Pronman, is hard at work compiling rankings of future NHLers over at ESPN (believe me Corey's work is worth the price of insider access.)

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TLN Prospect Profile: #17 Rinat Valiev

Shawn Reis
August 13 2015 08:27AM

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TLN's 17th-ranked prospect, Russian defenseman Rinat Valiev, was a bit of a surprise pick when the Leafs took him in the 3rd round of the 2014 NHL Draft.  He was an overager - he had been passed over in the draft once before already - and most people just hadn't heard of the guy.  But he backed the pick up, totaling 46 points in 52 games in the WHL this past season.

In this article we'll be taking a look at how he plays the game, what sort of numbers he has, and a look ahead to what figures to be an important 2015-2016 season for Valiev as he looks to make the jump to the pro game.  Without further ado, let's get started.

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Leafs Nation's all-time greatest Toronto Maple Leafs team: Johnny Bower

Cat Silverman
August 12 2015 02:26PM


Goaltenders all grow up with heroes; for me, the American in my mom's family, there's a soft spot for Jimmy Craig that will probably never go away. 

For Toronto goaltenders, though, Johnny Bower - born as John Kiszkan - is a hard name to top. Nicknamed 'The China Wall' for being both impenetrable in net and old as dirt, Bower would kind of be the Andrew Hammond of the 1960's - only he'd do it for over a decade, winning Toronto four Stanley Cups in the process. He didn't singlehandedly take the Leafs from last place in the NHL to those four Cup championships in under ten years, but he was certainly a big part of the reason why that was possible. 


Now, his number (1) has been honored up in the rafters at Air Canada Centre; he's a Hall of Fame goaltender at both the AHL and NHL levels, ranks 87th on the Hockey News' 100 Best Players in NHL History, and once suited up for a game at the ripe age of 55 as a one-day emergency backup. 

Let's take a look back at the man, the legend, the originator of the poke check:

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