Toronto Maple Leafs
Today is the anniversary of the most legendary goal in the rich history of Canada's team. It was April 21st, 1951, game 5 of the Stanley Cup final between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. At the 2:53 mark of the first overtime period, Bill Barilko scored the last goal of his life winning the Stanley Cup for the Leafs.
The 24 year old defenseman perished in a light plane crash that summer while on a fishing trip to Northern Ontario. Not until his body was recovered 11 years later in the bush near Cochrane, Ontario, did the Leafs win another championship.
I recently received several documents from the daughter of Ron Boyd who was the helicopter pilot who found the crash site of Bill Barilko. I also conducted an interview with Kevin Shea, author of "Barilko: Without a Trace".
He's our Buddy Holly, and every year, his legend grows. Join me in celebrating 4/21 this year as we tip our hats to #5 Bashin' Bill Barilko.
For more Bill Barilko videos, pictures, stats and info, visit my Bill Barilko tribute page.
On July 5, when the Leafs announced the signing of David Clarkson, I was okay with it. In fact, I wrote that "he's a physical player who can score goals and he's a proud Toronto boy".
I will never, ever hold a player's contract against him. That's on the GM, not the player. The term of the contract and amount of money is for others to fret about, I was just pleased a player like Clarkson was coming to town.
51 games into his Leafs career, David Clarkson has been a massive disappointment. With 4 goals and 10 points to show for his efforts, he's not producing and often seems completely out of sync. Something is very, very wrong.
Clearly, Randy Carlyle doesn't know what to do with him, and when he is on the ice, he appears to be trying to do ten things at once, none of them effectively. I'm convinced this is a Toronto boy coming home and trying too hard to make an impact. The result is a hairy mess, regardless of the contract.
My Twitter feed is full of people comparing the goal total of Toronto FC's Jermain Defoe to David Clarkson's, and the point is valid. Clarkson was brought to town to score goals and he hasn't delivered.
But he's not going anywhere. That contract is unmovable. David Clarkson might be a disastrous signing, but he's our disastrous signing, so I'm rooting for one thing and one thing only: David Clarkson's redemption and absolution.
Two seconds into last night's Canucks~Flames game, a line brawl resulted in a penalty summary that looked like this:
00:02 CGY Ladislav Smid Fighting (maj) - 5 min against Kevin Bieksa
00:02 VAN Kevin Bieksa Fighting (maj) - 5 min against Ladislav Smid
00:02 CGY Brian McGrattan Fighting (maj) - 5 min against Tom Sestito
00:02 VAN Tom Sestito Fighting (maj) - 5 min against Brian McGrattan
00:02 CGY Blair Jones Fighting (maj) - 5 min against Dale Weise
00:02 VAN Dale Weise Fighting (maj) - 5 min against Blair Jones
00:02 CGY Chris Butler Fighting (maj) - 5 min against Jason Garrison
00:02 VAN Jason Garrison Fighting (maj) - 5 min against Chris Butler
00:02 CGY Kevin Westgarth Fighting (maj) - 5 min against Kellan Lain
00:02 VAN Kellan Lain Fighting (maj) - 5 min against Kevin Westgarth
00:02 CGY Kevin Westgarth served by Joe Colborne Roughing - 2 min against Kellan Lain
00:02 CGY Kevin Westgarth Game misconduct - 10 min against Kellan Lain
00:02 CGY Chris Butler Game misconduct - 10 min against Jason Garrison
00:02 CGY Blair Jones Game misconduct - 10 min against Dale Weise
00:02 CGY Brian McGrattan Misconduct (10 min) - 10 min against Tom Sestito
00:02 CGY Ladislav Smid Game misconduct - 10 min against Kevin Bieksa
00:02 VAN Kellan Lain Game misconduct - 10 min against Kevin Westgarth
00:02 VAN Dale Weise Game misconduct - 10 min against Blair Jones
00:02 VAN Tom Sestito Misconduct (10 min) - 10 min against Brian McGrattan
00:02 VAN Kevin Bieksa Game misconduct - 10 min against Ladislav Smid
Here's how the penalty box looked.
In total, 188 penalty minutes were handed out in the first, and during the first intermission, John Tortorella made his way to the tunnel that leads to the Flames' dressing room for more silliness.
While they were having it out in Vancouver, we in Toronto were celebrating JVR's game winner against the Habs.
If you thought Saturday night's Leafs game was disappointing, you should see my Maple Leaf gloves.
I opened these gloves in November 2013 and have been wearing them over my biking gloves on really cold days. They've completely torn open at the top.
My Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings in today's 2014 NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 105,491 braved the cold while I watched from my living room.
Here are some of the better photos I've seen in my digital travels tonight.
If you were there, let us know in the comments what we missed out on. It looked like great fun.
The Toronto Maple Leafs ~ Montreal Canadiens rivalry is almost 100 years in the making. That music you hear over this fantastic Hockey Night in Canada montage is Luciano Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma.
I was just looking at the NHL statistical leaders and there are a number of ex-Leafs at or near the top.
As of this moment, the best save % in the league belongs to Tuukka Rask with .945. We gave up Rask in a deal for Andrew Raycroft I'd rather not remember.
The best GAA belongs to Ben Scrivens with 1.43. This trade doesn't look nearly as bad for the Leafs, as it landed us Jonathan Bernier.
Alex Steen is currently second in both points (behind Crosby) and goals (behind Ovechkin). Steen, you may recall, was dumped with Carlo Colaiacovo for Lee Stempniak.
It's not all doom and gloom, however. Rask, Scrivens, James Reimer and Bernier are amongst the league leaders in save % making this franchise a bonafide goaltender factory.
With last season's late start due to labour strife, I almost forgot that we'll be the focus of HBO's 24/7 this year leading up to the Winter Classic.
HBO will be filming the Leafs and Red Wings throughout the month of December leading up to the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on January 1.
I can't wait for this season of 24/7...
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