Toronto Maple Leafs
Toros vs. Leafs: Toronto's Teams Battle at the Boxoffice
Published by Toronto Mike on March 7, 2010 @ 11:32 in Toronto Maple Leafs
Vintage Leafs is a blog that posts pictures from the Toronto Maple Leafs' past. Today Vintage Leafs posted this cover from the Toronto Star's Star Week in 1975.
If you're my age or younger, you don't remember the Toronto Toros. The Toronto Toros were a WHA team that played in Toronto from 1973 to 1976. The fun stuff happened when the Toros left Varsity Arena for Maple Leaf Gardens for the '74-'75 season, hence this cheeky Star Week cover.
The Toros moved to the Gardens for the 1974–75 season. However, by this time Harold Ballard had regained control of the Gardens. Ballard was a violent opponent of the WHA; he never forgave the upstart league for nearly decimating the Leafs' roster in the early 1970s. He deliberately made the Toros' lease terms at the Gardens as onerous as possible. The Toros' lease with Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. called for them to pay $15,000 per game. However, much to Bassett's outrage, the arena was dim for the first game. It was then that Ballard demanded $3,500 for use of the lights. Ballard also denied the Toros access to the Leafs' locker room, forcing them to build their own at a cost of $55,000. He also removed the cushions from the home bench for Toros' games (he told an arena worker, "Let 'em buy their own cushions!"). It was obvious that Ballard was angered at the WHA being literally in his backyard, and took his frustration on the renegade league out on the Toros.
Oh, to have been blogging about Harold Ballard in those good 'ol days. In 1976, the Toros officially lost that "battle at the boxoffice" and flew the coop for Birmingham. It's hard to believe they failed with a fierce logo like this...
Stanley Cup vs. Gold Medal: The Choice is Clear
Published by Toronto Mike on March 6, 2010 @ 09:19 in Toronto Maple Leafs
After my hockey game last night, I tuned in The Fan 590 for the drive home. They opened up the phone lines to play a little game of "would you rather". The question was "would you give up Canada's gold medal in men's hockey for a Toronto Maple Leaf Stanley Cup victory?"
It was almost midnight on a Friday night, and the host was clearly trying to stimulate a discussion, but for a Leafs fan this really isn't a difficult question to ponder. The choice is clear. Every fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs would very gladly give up Sidney Crosby's golden goal for another Stanley Cup. We'd do it in a heartbeat, and there's several reasons why...
Our Emotional Investment
I'm 35 years old, and I've been rooting for the blue and white with all my might since Peter Ihnacak and Miroslav Frycer were lighting the lamp. That's almost 30 years of Stanley Cup dreams unfulfilled. I want to enjoy the payoff. I need to enjoy the payoff.
A Boy's Dream
Playing ball hockey every Saturday afternoon throughout the 80s, I never once dreamed about scoring the gold medal winning goal. I always dreamed about scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal, for my Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Road to Glory is Gruelling
The Olympic gold was locked up after 7 games. We had to win 4 playoff games, against Germany, Russia, Slovakia and the USA. Compare that to what you have to do to win the cup. There is no tougher tournament than the Stanley Cup playoffs.
This City Would Go Nuts
I remember well how this city exploded in 1992 and 1993 after the Jays won their World Series titles. I was on the streets, screaming and hollering. If the Leafs were to win a Stanley Cup, this city would go absolutely ape shit. Take that World Series celebration and multiply it by 10.
J pointed out this cool video of Torontonians celebrating our gold medal on Yonge street last Sunday night. It looks like a fun party, but I've seen far bigger crowds when the Leafs advance past the first round of the playoffs.
Is there a single Leaf fan who wouldn't give up this gold for a Stanley Cup?
Culture Shock (Or How Canada's Gold Ruined Leaf Games)
Published by Toronto Mike on March 5, 2010 @ 10:48 in Toronto Maple Leafs
Last night, I sat down to watch my first hockey game since Sunday afternoon. This one felt a little different.
On Sunday, I capped off a couple of weeks of Olympic hockey by watching quality play from the world's best with the highest of stakes on the line. It simply doesn't get any better than that. My team won in overtime, sending my house and my country into a frenzy. It was the highest of highs, and I was top of the world.
Last night, reality sunk in. My other team, my NHL team, stinks. We're threatening to finish last overall, we don't own our first two picks and we're just playing out the string. Watching the Leafs right now is just about the polar opposite in terms of intensity, meaning and skill that we witnessed watching Team Canada win Gold in Vancouver.
I'm sure I'll get used to this, but for now I feel the way I felt returning to normal television after watching all five seasons of The Wire. It's culture shock.
Leafs Trade Joey MacDonald to Anaheim
Published by Toronto Mike on March 3, 2010 @ 15:55 in Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded goaltender Joey MacDonald to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 7th round draft pick in 2011.
It was a weird day for the Ducks and Leafs and their goaltenders. Joey Mac came to town last summer to replace Justin Pogge who was traded to Anaheim. Then, earlier this year, Vesa Toskala was traded to the Ducks. And today, the Ducks traded both Pogge and Toskala and got Joey Mac from the Leafs. That means there will be four goaltenders who have played for both the Ducks and Leafs over the past twelve months: Jean-Sébastien Giguère, Vesa Toskala, Justin Pogge and Joey MacDonald.
Now where was Burke before he came to Toronto again?
Leafs Trade Lee Stempniak to the Phoenix Coyotes
Published by Toronto Mike on March 3, 2010 @ 15:46 in Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded forward Lee Stempniak to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a fourth and seventh round draft picks and defenseman Matt Jones.
I didn't mind Stempniak, but he was a UFA and had to go. The trade that really bugs me happened in 2008 when we shipped Carlo Colaiacovo and Alex Steen to the St. Louis Blues for forward Lee Stempniak.
Leafs Trade Martin Skoula to New Jersey
Published by Toronto Mike on March 3, 2010 @ 11:22 in Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Martin Skoula to New Jersey for a 5th round draft pick in 2010.
Say what you will about Martin Skoula, but he never faltered in a Leafs uniform. No Maple Leaf in history, outside of Olaf Kolzig, committed as few errors.
Farewell, Martin Skoula. You will be missed dearly by the Barilkosphere.
Leafs Trade Ponikarovsky to Penguins
Published by Toronto Mike on March 3, 2010 @ 07:59 in Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded Alexei Ponikarovsky to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Luca Caputi and defenceman Martin Skoula.
Poni was one of the longest serving Leafs, this being his ninth year with the blue and white. He recorded 114 goals and 257 points in 477 NHL games since he was drafted in the fourth round (87th overall) by Toronto in 1998.
Today is the NHL's trade deadline, so I'll be keeping my good eye on all deals involving the Leafs. And no, I'm not recapping that game against Carolina last night. I don't have the heart.
WWWD Tee Shirt Arrives
Published by Toronto Mike on February 18, 2010 @ 16:08 in Toronto Maple Leafs
My WWWD tee shirt has arrived!
No, it wasn't a freebie, I paid actual hard earned cash for this sucker, and I love it. It is now my official Tuesday night volleyball shirt.
What would Wendel do? I like to think he'd be rather proud of my selection. Get your funny hockey tee shirt today at http://www.puckinghilarious.com/.
Maple Leafs 2, Sharks 3
Published by Toronto Mike on February 9, 2010 @ 07:52 in Toronto Maple Leafs
J.S. Giguere's perfect Maple Leaf career is over. I honestly thought he could do it, but it was not to be. J.S. Giguere is not the impenetrable fortress of doom.
It was fun to see Future Stanley Cup Winner Nazem Kadri making his NHL debut ahead of schedule. I thought he looked pretty good.
And Phil Kessel got his 21st. We'll be happy with 30 from Phil this season. Next season, we're looking for 40.
It was Giguere's first loss as a Leaf, but will it be his last? Only time will tell.
Maple Leafs 5, Senators 0
Published by Toronto Mike on February 7, 2010 @ 00:05 in Toronto Maple Leafs
Chatting with Mississauga Blogger earlier today, we agreed that the Leafs fans love to hate the Habs but just simply hate the Sens. There's no love to hate about it. I just despise that franchise and wish them nothing but failure.
This 5-0 shellacking reminded me of the four playoff series we had against the Senators over the past 15 years. All four ended with justice prevailing. Tonight, the same justice was evident in spades.
There were several things to get excited about. Jean-Sebastien Giguere became the first goaltender in franchise history to open his debut season with back-to-back shutouts, both Phil Kessel and Luke Schenn had three-point nights, and, most importantly, we ended Ottawa's 11 game winning streak.