Toronto Maple Leafs

It Feels a Little Like '93

LeafsThe Leafs won again last night. I missed the game, as I was playing one myself, but the record shows Phil Kessel scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to lead the Maple Leafs to a 4-3 win over the Rangers in New York.

You've likely heard that our 4-0 start is our best since '93. We won 10 in a row to start the '93-'94 season, making the calendar year of 1993 the most memorable one of my lifetime.

In the spring of '93, the upstart Leafs upset the Detroit Red Wings in a thrilling seven game series. My buddy Elvis just shared this tribute to game 7 of that series on Facebook, and I think everybody should watch it and remember what playoff hockey feels like. This was one of the most exciting games I've ever seen.

A couple of rounds later in '93, in a game seven against Los Angeles, Kerry Fraser ensured we wouldn't win the cup. But damn, 1993 was a fun year for Leafs fans.

You know what? It feels a little like '93.

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Justin Bieber Loves the Leafs

leafsThis Justin Bieber kids seems to be a pretty big deal these days. Did you know he's from Stratford, Ontario? That's prime Leaf fan territory, don'tchaknow.

Dude's got 5,707,831 followers on Twitter. 5,707,831 followers... that's even more than I have. He's got 5,707,831 influential, passionate fans clinging to his every Tweet, and guess what he just tweeted?


That's right, Bieber's a Leafs fan. And now so are 5,707,831 others.

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Jeff Finger Signing Never Made Sense

leafsJeff Finger has been placed on waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs. When he clears waivers, he'll be sent down to the Marlies and Brian Burke will get $3.5 million of cap room back.

One of the cool things about maintaining this blog for the past 8 years is that I can go back in time and read what I thought about events as they unfolded. For example, on July 1, 2008, I wrote an entry entitled "Uncle Cliffy Gives Us The Finger". The deal didn't make any sense to me at the time, and here's what I wrote.

I understood signing Cujo to a nice and tidy one year deal for $700,000 but I don't get why Cliff Fletcher just signed defenceman Jeff Finger to a four-year deal worth $3.5 million a season.

I understand the Toronto Maple Leafs need bodies, but do we really have to give four year deals to 28 year olds with 94 career games under their belts? Admittedly, I can't remember ever seeing him play, so if The Finger is Sylvain Lefebvre reincarnate I shall stand corrected.

In a sense, Uncle Cliffy just gave us The Finger and told Bryan McCabe to f*ck off.

It's also fun to read the comments that fateful day in July, 2008. I wrote this in response to a few "trust Cliff" comments.

C'mon, he was benched for half of the Avs' playoff games. How awesome could he be when he's a healthy scratch in the playoffs?

And, that's a mammoth raise for a guy with one season under his belt. Why did we pay so much for such a lengthy term?

A two year deal at $2 million per sounds about right for The Finger.

I also made a little image that day. It rings more true today than ever. Thanks Uncle Cliffy!


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Cleveland Show Tribute to Joe Bowen's Down Goes Brown

TVI PVR The Cleveland Show. It's part of the Sunday night cartoon block I record on Fox and watch when unwinding. Last night, while The Cleveland Show aired live, I started seeing tweets about a "Down goes Brown" call. Here's The Cleveland Show's "Down goes Brown" reference I just captured on my digicam and uploaded to YouTube.

If you Google "Down goes Brown", the results are flooded with info about this guy. But Down Goes Brown the hilarious Barilkospherian blogger took his handle from Joe Bowen's legendary call on The FAN 1430 back in 1992 of Sylvain Lefebvre knocking out Rob Brown. Here's Joe Bowen's "Down goes Brown" call.

I know what you're thinking... How is it possible The Cleveland Show would parody a local Toronto radio call this obscure? Surely this is one big coincidence...

My forensic analysis is complete, and I'm ready to declare this is in fact a homage to Joe Bowen's 1992 call. As you heard in the Zapruder film above, the announcer repeats several well known calls after he mimics Joe Bowen with "Down goes Brown! Down goes Brown!" They are:

  1. "I don't believe what I just saw!" - This was Jack Buck's famous call after Kirk Gibson's walk-off World Series homer in 1988
  2. "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" - This was Al Michaels' famous call after the USA hockey team stunned the Soviets in the 1980 Olympic Games
  3. "President Reagan has been shot." - This was the famous first announcement that John Hinckley had shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 (I'm not sure who said it first)
  4. "Soylent Green is people!" - This was the famous final line from Charlton Heston in the movie Soylent Green
  5. "Fahrvergn├╝gen" - This was an advertising slogan used by Volkswagen in 1990

With this additional context, it's clear "Down goes Brown!" is being used in The Cleveland Show as a parody of a famous call, and "Down goes Brown!" has no other meanings in popular culture. Some of you will say it's a spin on Howard Cosell's famous call when George Foreman knocked down Joe Frazier, as was Joe Bowen's original call. Cosell's call was "Down Goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier!". I feel sorry for those who choose to believe such things.

Without a doubt, someone on The Cleveland Show writing staff is a big Toronto Maple Leafs fan who felt it was time an American series paid homage to Joe Bowen's legendary call. Like The Hip said, it's been a long time coming, but it's well worth the wait.

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Made It, Ma! Top of the World!

LeafsIt was great fun watching the Leafs dominate the Sens last night. That's two wins over our two greatest rivals to start the season, our best start in 11 years.

On this 10th day of the 10th month in 2010, at precisely 10:10, let's take a moment to soak in this wonderful new reality. We're #1.


Too soon?

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Maple Leafs Opening Night Roster

mapleleafsThere's a Leafs game tomorrow night. The hateful Habs are in town. It's a clean slate, we're tied in first and we're all drinking from the fountain of eternal optimism.

Here's our opening night roster. Go Leafs Go!


42 TYLER BOZAK    6' 1" 195 19 MAR 1986 24 REGINA, SK, CAN
37 TIM BRENT    6' 0" 188 10 MAR 1984 26 CAMBRIDGE, CAN
18 MIKE BROWN    5' 11" 205 24 JUN 1985 25 CHICAGO, IL, USA
84 MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI    5' 11" 183 31 JAN 1984 26 POTSDAM, DEU
81 PHIL KESSEL    6' 0" 202 2 OCT 1987 23 MADISON, WI, USA
41 NIKOLAI KULEMIN    6' 1" 225 14 JUL 1986 24 MAGNITOGORSK, RUS
39 JOHN MITCHELL    6' 1" 204 22 JAN 1985 25 OAKVILLE, ON, CAN
28 COLTON ORR    6' 3" 222 3 MAR 1982 28 WINNIPEG, MB, CAN
38 JAY ROSEHILL    6' 3" 215 16 JUL 1985 25 OLDS, AB, CAN
11 FREDRIK SJOSTROM    6' 1" 218 6 MAY 1983 27 FÄRGELANDA, SWE
32 KRIS VERSTEEG    5' 10" 182 13 MAY 1986 24 LETHBRIDGE, AB, CAN
26 MICHAEL ZIGOMANIS    6' 0" 200 17 JAN 1981 29 TORONTO, ON, CAN


22 FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN "A"  6' 0" 213 4 JUN 1980 30 SOREL, QC, CAN
4 JEFF FINGER    6' 1" 209 18 DEC 1979 30 HOUGHTON, MI, USA
36 CARL GUNNARSSON    6' 2" 196 9 NOV 1986 23 OREBRO, SWE
15 TOMAS KABERLE 6' 1" 214 2 MAR 1978 32 RAKOVNIK, CZE
8 MIKE KOMISAREK "A"  6' 4" 243 19 JAN 1982 28 WEST ISLIP, NY, USA
29 MATT LASHOFF    6' 2" 204 29 SEP 1986 24 EAST GREENBUSH, NY, USA
23 BRETT LEBDA    ** 5' 9" 195 15 JAN 1982 28 BUFFALO GROVE, IL, USA
3 DION PHANEUF "C"  6' 3" 214 10 APR 1985 25 EDMONTON, AB, CAN
49 DANNY RICHMOND    6' 0" 192 1 AUG 1984 26 CHICAGO, IL, USA
2 LUKE SCHENN    6' 2" 229 2 NOV 1989 20 SASKATOON, SK, CAN


50 JONAS GUSTAVSSON    6' 3" 192 24 OCT 1984 25 DANDERYD, SWE

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I Love This Hartford Whalers Pic

photoMy bud Vinay Menon linked to an SI slide show on NHL / music collaborations.

As I was perusing the list I came across this write-up about the Hartford Whalers' Brass Bonanza.

But what struck me was the photo that accompanied the SI story. It's one of the most beautiful pictures I've ever seen. There's something about this pic...


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Of Darcy Tucker and the Jersey Jinx

LeafsDarcy Tucker has announced his retirement. The former Leafs forward scored 215 goals and 476 points and amassed 1410 minutes in penalties in 947 career NHL games.

Back in 2002, Darcy Tucker and Bryan McCabe had terrible seasons. That led my brothers and I to believe in the jersey jinx. You see, one brother wore a McCabe jersey while the other wore a Darcy Tucker. I, of course, stayed true to Bill Barilko. Here's a pic of us in our jerseys almost a decade ago.

Bill Barilko

Way back in 2003, during a comeback year for both Tucker and McCabe, my brother Ryan wrote the following guest blog entry.

A couple of Christmas' back I purchased a Maple Leaf jersey for both brothers. Mike was given the late great jersey of Bill Barilko, and it was given with confidence that his legend would live on and the value of the authentic leaf jersey would never devalue. However I took quite a risk when I grabbed a Darcy Tucker jersey for Steve. Last year I believe he used the jersey to clean up the mess Mike left behind after the Leafs took an exit in the playoffs. This year, however, that Tucker jersey must be worn proudly. Every Boo Tucker takes from every fan in every rink we play at makes me ecstatic!! He not only distracts players and gets them off their game, but he is scoring goals and getting to the right spot on the ice. Tucker is a boon to the Leafs, and I truly believe that every Stanley Cup contender needs a "Tucker" on their team. So continue yapping your yap Tucker... I, for one, love every word you say.. or cry....

Ya had to love #16's intensity and grit. Here's an autograph I got from Tucker many moons ago.

Darcy Tucker Autograph

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I'm Liking Kris Versteeg

leafsI'm liking what I've seen so far from new Maple Leaf Kris Versteeg. The Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak, and Kris Versteeg line has oozed with chemistry, with Versteeg showing an offensive flair above and beyond the expected. I can't wait to see what he does in the regular season.

Versteeg, by the way, had his name misspelled on the Stanley Cup. It was engraved as "Kris Vertseeg" before being corrected.


I don't care how they spell his name, I just want one of these suckers here in Toronto.

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A Leafs Fan Blogs

NotepadLast week, I met Toronto Star columnist Vinay Menon for dinner at Real Sports Bar & Grill. Real Sports Bar & Grill, if you haven't yet been, is amazing. 199 televisions and the largest indoor HDTV in North America makes it a pretty spectacular sports bar. Oh yeah, and the convo with Vinay was pretty awesome, too.

Vinay and I were talking about blogging. He's starting a Leafs blog that won't be all about stats and depth charts, but from a long-time fan's point of view. He's calling it A Leafs Fan Blogs.

If you're a Maple Leaf fan, you'll want to check this out. Vinay's not just a cool guy, he's a great writer.

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