Toronto Maple Leafs
When I Enter the Hockey Hall of Fame, I'm going to show up a little unshaven and wearing my favourite leather jacket, just like Eddie Belfour.
Similar to the way I accepted my Gemini award.
The Leafs beat the Blue Jackets 4-1 tonight. That's when this happened.
That's right, our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs are currently sitting in first place overall. 30 teams in the league, only one leader. Jinx, schminx.
Before I forget...
I wanted to point out that the Toronto Maple Leafs are currently in 2nd place in the NHL Eastern Conference. And those 1st place Penguins have played 3 more games than we have.
That is all. Carry on.
It seems appropriate that on a day when my path crossed with Wendel Clark's (more on that later), I'd be thinking about Maple Leaf Gardens.
MLSE sold Maple Leaf Gardens to Loblaw in 2004, and Loblaw struck a deal with Ryerson that allowed them to share the space. Ryerson will reopen Maple Leaf Gardens as an arena for their hockey team next year, only it will have a different name.
Faced with a lawsuit by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the school said it will find a different name for the site.
“We never had the intention to brand ourselves as ‘Maple Leaf,’ ” Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said. “We have a plan to use a different name.”
The building will keep its old title for the city’s records, along with a canopy emblazoned with the name over the front doors, but the rink and athletic centre Ryerson is building inside will be named for a sponsor. Mr. Levy said the word “Gardens” will be part of the new epithet.
This is a true shame. A hockey arena in old Maple Leaf Gardens shouldn't have to take on a different name. Nobody is going to confuse Ryerson University hockey with the NHL, or the AHL for that matter.
I'm disappointed. MLSE has enough money and doesn't need to be dicking with this city's history. This is ten times more offensive than what Ted Rogers did to us in 2005.
I've just returned from the ACC. It was opening night, and that means the 48th Highlanders.
I've missed Leafs hockey, and there's nothing like the Leafs and Habs to open the season.
There was no anthem singer on this night. The 19,000+ joining me at the ACC did the honours.
Every time I'm in these seats, I'm blown away by how close to the ice we are. Growing up, every game I watched at Maple Leaf Gardens was from the Greys. I still can't believe I get to see games from the 3rd row. Thanks, Ford Canada! Sorry about the hefty food bill...
The game itself was a lot of fun, after a slow start to the first period. Our Leafs shutout the hateful Habs 2-0 thanks to goals by Lombardi and Phaneuf. You couldn't ask for much more.
The first star was obvious. If Optimus Reim plays like this every night, playoff hockey will be back in this town.
One down, 81 more to go...
Do you smell that? It's that opening night smell. The smell of puck drop and hope.
Tonight, at the ACC, the Leafs and Habs face off in the 2011/12 season opener. I'll be there, watching from the 3rd row, dreaming of an 8th place finish and a return of playoff hockey. O Reimer, My Reimer.
Here's our roster heading into tonight's game.
- Mikhail Grabovski
- Nikolai Kulemin
- Clarke MacArthur
- Phil Kessel
- Tim Connolly
- Joffrey Lupul
- Colby Armstrong
- Tyler Bozak
- Matt Frattin
- Philippe Dupuis
- Matthew Lombardi
- Mike Brown
- Colton Orr
- Jay Rosehill
- Dion Phaneuf
- Carl Gunnarson
- John Michael Liles
- Luke Schenn
- Jake Gardiner
- Mike Komisarek
- Cody Franson
- James Reimer
- Jonas Gustavsson
I'm predicting 8th place in the conference for this team, now it's your turn. Where will we finish in the Eastern Conference?
I wore my Optimus Reim shirt today. You can get yours here. Optimus Reim, a.k.a. James Reimer, gets the start tonight in preseason play. He's a rather important part of the Maple Leafs' 2011/2012 hopes and dreams.
When I look at last year's team, a team that finished 22nd out of 30 teams, and compare it to this year's team, I don't see a monumental improvement. Sure, we're a little better, but the difference is marginal. We've added no superstars, no blue chippers... it's mostly more of the same with one giant X factor.
That X factor is James Reimer, a 23-year old kid from Manitoba who has played a mere 2080 minutes of NHL hockey. James Reimer didn't make his first NHL start until January 1, 2011, but already he carries the weight of our team's season on his shoulders. If James Reimer stays healthy and plays this upcoming season the way he played last season, the Leafs will be a much better hockey team and playoff bound.
Got that? It's pretty much the same team and will likely finish 10th or so in the conference unless Optimus Reim is the player we hope he is. Then, it's 6th, 7th or 8th!
Go Leafs Go! I see there's only 13 days, 4 hours, 58 minutes, and 44 seconds left until the opener.
Igor Korolev was 41. He played 12 NHL seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks. His tenure with the Leafs lasted four seasons and 297 games, resulting in 161 points.
Alexander Karpovtsev was 41. He played for the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Islanders, and Florida Panthers. His 125 games with the Leafs in 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 resulted in 44 points.
Like many of you, I'm struggling with the fact that someone as likable and gregarious as Wade Belak would take his own life. As a die-hard Leafs fan, I knew him from interviews and appearances on television. Here's the Wade Belak I knew, appearing on Leafs TV with Jody Vance.
I see a young, happy, hilarious family man with every reason in the world to live. When Martin Streek took his own life, it was startling and puzzling, but Martin had battled demons. It still breaks my heart that Martin chose death, that he battled depression in silence, but Wade Belak's decision is even more baffling. Wade Belak was set to star on television, had a gig lined up with the Nashville Predators, and had two young children he adored. Wade Belak choosing death is beyond tragic, it's almost impossible to comprehend.
Over a year ago, I wrote about the stigma of mental illness and clinical depression. Wade chose to suffer in silence, smiling on the outside while hurting on the inside. Yesterday, Wade chose to end his suffering by taking his own life.
I can't help but wonder how things would have turned out differently had Wade chose to share his pain, talk about this disease and stop suffering in silence.
If you're suffering in silence, concerned about the stigma of mental illness and clinical depression, please talk about it in the comments. You don't have to use your real name, just share how you feel.
You're not alone.
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