Toronto Maple Leafs

John Brophy, Dead at 83

John BrophyJohn Brophy was 83. He spent the bulk of his hockey career as a player and coach in the Eastern Hockey League but I knew him best as head coach of the Leafs from 1986 to 1988.

He was coach for one of my first favourite Maple Leafs memories, a first round sweep of the Chicago Black Hawks in 1985-86.

John Brophy

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Leafs Win 2016 NHL Draft Lottery

The Leafs had a 20% chance of winning tonight's 2016 NHL Draft Lottery and the balls bounced in our favour for once. We've won the lottery and will draft first overall on June 24.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty happy. It's nice to know all that losing last season has paid off. Auston Matthews is all but a lock to go first, so if the Leafs don't trade the pick, Matthews will be the big talented center we've lacked since Mats Sundin.

AM

If the Raps win game 7 tomorrow night, this would be one helluva sports weekend in this city.

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Time Machine

I was catching up on some work last night when I saw this tweet from TSN1050 host Mike Richards.

Immediately, I knew what game he was watching. It was my game. It was the final Maple Leafs game of the 1980s and I was in attendance at Maple Leaf Gardens to witness the most exciting game I'd ever seen live.

It was 6-1 Bruins, and my buddy Joe and I were playing the funeral march over a megaphone he had smuggled in. We didn't get to many games, so when you got a dog, it hurt. And there were plenty of dog games in the 80s.

When I saw this tweet from Mike Richards, I turned on the television and tuned in LeafsTV. I got to relive that night in 1989 and it was as glorious as I remembered.

Vincent Damphousse scored late in the second period to make it 6-2, and that's how it stood with 5 minutes left in the third. Then, Gary Leeman scored, and Luke Richardson scored, and Ed Olczyk scored. Suddenly, it was 6-5.

At this point, it felt like we couldn't lose. Eddie O made sure of it, with a nifty breakaway goal to tie it up late. Then, in OT, Mr. ALL HEART whacked home the winner. Leafs win! Leafs win! Leafs win!

I spent last night in 1989. That wasn't a tweet, that was a time machine.

December 30, 1989 - Maple Leafs

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#TeamReimer 4 Life

The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded goaltender James Reimer, along with forward Jeremy Morin, to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for goaltender Alex Stalock, forward Ben Smith and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

I'm not going to write about every Leafs trade over the next few days, as I'm sure there will be a bunch, but I will write about James Reimer.

He owned this city back in 2011. Don't believe me? Click here. I was quick to pick up my Optimus Reim shirt, which I still wear all the time. I even dropped his name in the song I wrote and sang at my wedding.

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James Reimer is now a member of the San Jose Sharks, but that won't stop me from wearing my Reimer tee shirt, and that won't stop me from enjoying this gem from Bloge Salming and Down Goes Brown.

#TeamReimer 4 life.

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Watching the Leafs from the 600 Level

On Thursday night, I had three tickets to watch the Leafs and Hurricanes at the ACC. They were in the Fan Deck and courtesy of @TheFordFanatic. Me and my two oldest donned our Leafs jerseys and got set for Maple Leafs action.

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The Fan Deck, if you've never been, is on the 600 level of the Air Canada Centre. To get to the 600 level you have to take an elevator to the 400 level and walk up a couple of flights of stairs. When you've hit the ceiling, you know you've arrived.

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Last year, I took my daughter to a game in The Fan Deck and we enjoyed free all-you-can-eat popcorn. This year, for unknown reasons, we got the popcorn and all-you-can eat pizza and wings. It was amazing.

I'm still full, actually. The game was surprisingly good, too, as the Leafs won 3-1.

Just follow @TheFordFanatic on Twitter and you could score yourself one of those 200 tickets to every home game. Just don't ask me when they bring out the pizza and wings to accompany the free popcorn.

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Dion Phaneuf Traded to Sens

The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded captain Dion Phaneuf, Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey in exchange for Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michálek, Tobias Lindberg and a 2nd-round draft pick in 2017.

Dion Phaneuf was brought to Toronto in a big 7-player swap with Calgary back in 2010. I enjoyed his Leafs debut from the 3rd row.

Today, Phaneuf is a 30-year old with five years remaining on a seven-year contract he signed two seasons ago worth an average annual value of $7 million. Quite simply, he had to go.

I never hated him the way many Leafs fans did, but I understand where that anger comes from. He was our captain, paid to be a top pairing defenseman, but failing to deliver on the promise of either. It's time to move on....

Update:

On episode 74 of my podcast, Jeff Marek told me what went wrong for Dion in Toronto. Here's that short 1:45 clip.


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Good! Let Others Have the Points

Last season was the first time in my life that I rooted for Maple Leaf losses, and I didn't start doing that until the second half of the season. I hated it.

This year, I'm finding it much easier. At this point, unless my son wants to watch the game with me, I don't even tune in. I scoreboard watch. Often I don't even check until the next morning, and when I see a Leafs loss, I'm happy. When I see a Leafs win, I'm disappointed.

Last night, on Twitter, I saw a number of Leaf fans embarrassed by the effort in Ottawa. Many, apparently, wanted the two points. This was me:

meme

This season, the goal is as high a draft pick as possible. Let others collect the points.

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The New Leafs Logo

When I first learned the Maple Leafs were going to change the logo for next season, I had one simple request: stick to history.

Last night, the new logo was unveiled.

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I liked it right away. It reminds me a great deal of the old 50s logo on the front of my old heritage jersey. I love that logo!

The Hip @ Fort York

So I'm happy, because they didn't fuck it up. Are you happy with the new Leafs logo? Do you care?

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Do You Want Free Leafs Tickets?

Ford of Canada has partnered with the Toronto Maple Leafs to award 200 tickets for every home game. I scored a couple of these tickets last season and my daughter and I had a blast. Nothing makes a kid happier than free all-you-can-eat popcorn.

Here we are, guests of the Ford Fanatic last season. Don't we look happy?

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Just follow @TheFordFanatic on Twitter and you could score yourself one of those 200 tickets to every home game. You simply cannot beat that price.

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Love this Tournament!

I absolutely adore the world junior hockey championship. Every year, I look forward to watching Team Canada and catching as many games as I can.

I've been watching every year, but this is the first year my son is as excited as I am. I asked him why he's suddenly on board, and he tells me it's because of William Nylander and Mitch Marner. My son is following their AHL and OHL seasons closely, getting excited about his Leafs' future. He'll be beside me at 1pm today when Canada faces USA in the opening game.

The Leafs are actually sending five prospects to this year's world juniors.

  • Mitch Marner
  • William Nylander
  • Travis Dermott
  • Dmytro Timashov
  • Kasperi Kapanen

Let's hope for a repeat of this.

Canada vs.  Russia

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