Toronto Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs 2010/2011 Season Countdown Clock

ClockIf you click on over to you'll learn there are 95 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes, and 22 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener against the Habs.

That countdown clock will track the seconds remaining until we drop the puck for real once more. I've done this every summer for eight years and there's always at least one fan who checks it daily.

I recommend checking it hourly.

Our Most Important Ornament

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Colby Armstrong Signs With Maple Leafs

LeafsBrian Burke has pulled the trigger on his first free agent signing of 2010. He's signed Colby Armstrong, who played with the Atlanta Thrashers last season. He'll make $3 million a year for the next three years.

He's a tough 27-year old with with 78 goals, 100 assists and 317 penalty minutes in 360 career games. Burke sure likes the players that are tough to play against, but at some point he's going to have to add a skilled forward or two or we're in for another long season.


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Kris Versteeg Traded to Maple Leafs

LeafsOn the eve of this free agent frenzy we call Canada Day, Brian Burke pulled the trigger on a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks that has Kris Versteeg coming to town.

The Leafs get the 24-year-old Versteeg along with the rights to left winger Bill Sweatt, Chicago’s 38th choice in the 2007 entry draft. Toronto give up winger Viktor Stalberg and prospects Chis DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis.

I'm sorry to see Stalberg go but delighted we landed Kris Versteeg, and not just because I took him in this year's playoff pool. He played in 79 games last season, picking up 20 goals and 24 assists to place sixth in team scoring.

Today should be fun.

Update: Versteeg raps!

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Damien Cox, Why Do You Hate Us So?

NewspaperAs a sports fanatic who is also a long time reader of the Toronto Star, I've been reading Damien Cox for what feels like forever. Sometimes I disagree with him, sometimes I agree with him, but I always read what he has to say.

Damien Cox, I just have one question for you. Why do you hate Leafs fans so much?

I've noticed this more and more lately. Damien Cox seems to have a serious hate-on for fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Just this morning I was reading his blog entry from yesterday entitled "A Face to Match a Trade". He opens this entry with the following.

So Leaf fans can finally stop obsessing about losing out on Taylor Hall.

It was Tyler Seguin.

That's fine, the Phil Kessel trade will be debated for many years and we'll be talking about Tyler Seguin as one of the players we gave up. But it's this idiotic statement later in the same entry that pops out as a moronic and naive viewpoint of Leafs fans.

Phil Kessel? To those worst afflicted, he's barely an afterthought, even if he wins the Rocket Richard Trophy the next five seasons.

Really, Damien? Is there a single Leafs fan who would complain about Burke's deal for Kessel if he wins the Rocket Richard Trophy the next five seasons? Are you trying to be an asshole or do you really believe this ridiculous nonsense you're spewing?

I follow Damien Cox on Twitter, and the night the Blackhawks won the cup, there were these precious tweets.



In reality, most of us are proud to own this record. The drought fuels our passion. And the distinction regarding the Kings and Blues is just fair and full disclosure. They too haven't won during our drought.

It seems the Pension Plan Puppets guys struck a nerve with Damien that night, because he tweeted this sucker punch a few days later.


But then again, Damien Cox never really got Twitter.


I'm not sure why Damien Cox hates us so, but I sense he feels threatened. Suddenly you don't need to work for the Toronto Star to have a publishing platform to voice your opinions. Suddenly your detractors can do more than simply write a letter to the editor. We can harness the power of Twitter, Facebook and blogs to be heard.

Damien's comfortable world is dying. You can almost understand why he's lashing out.

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When Your Google Juice Haunts You

GoogleGo ahead and Google Tuukka Rask trade. Do it... I'll wait. One of the top results, if not the very top result, is Leafs Trade Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft | Toronto Mike's Blog.

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. Firstly, that entry was written exactly four years ago today. Happy birthday, Rask for Raycroft trade entry! Secondly, due to my Google ranking, that entry continues to haunt me. Whenever Rask has a good game, I see visits to that page from Google spike. I hate the fact that four years later my ridiculous thoughts on that absolutely brutal trade are read over and over and over again.

Bloggers, be very careful what you publish. With a little Google juice, your words could come back to haunt you.


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The Secret MLSE ~ Barilkosphere Summit

LeafsLast December, after watching a Maple Leafs game from the press box at the ACC, I wrote Barilkosphere Call to Arms: Our Time is Now.

The digital space belongs to us. It's our blogs, our forums, our podcasts and our content. MLSE would have no editorial privilege and no veto power. MLSE would give us access normally reserved for the traditional mainstream media, and would empower us with tools, funds and some degree of promotion, but we would be the stars of this show. This is where our biased but realistic voices would be heard.

Following the entry, I had further discussions with Jonathan from MLSE. Then, during halftime of a TFC match, we agreed on what the next move had to be. We needed to get MLSE and a few key members of the Barilkosphere in the same room. I spent the last few months putting that together.

Last night, at Wendel Clark's Classic Grill and Sports Lounge, I joined Jonathan and Down Goes Brown, Bloge Salming and one of the two founders of Pension Plan Puppets for some good eats and a hearty discussion about how MLSE currently manages their digital space and what, if anything, the Barilkosphere needs from them.

I won't divulge the juicy details, because what happens at Wendel Clark's, stays at Wendel Clark's. I've been enjoying Down Goes Brown, Bloge Salming and Pension Plan Puppets since I first discovered their respective sites, so it was a great pleasure meeting the people behind the personae.

The fact MLSE wanted a sit down with the Barilkosphere is a huge step for this organization. The wheels are in motion...

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Dion Phaneuf Leafs Captain: Sounds Good to Me

LeafsIt's no surprise our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs are about to announce Dion Phaneuf will don the C next season in our newly designed sweaters. Heck, even I tweeted about this last week.


I sense Leafs fans are split on this one. It's a classic case of a player's reputation preceding him, and some fans are buying the crap spewing out of Calgary that Phaneuf was a problem in the dressing room and not a team leader. To borrow a phrase by Flava Flav, don't believe the hype.

I was pleased as punch to see Phaneuf come to town and upon further reflection, shocked at the deal Burke managed to pull off that day. I was in the third row for his Leafs debut and I've read just about everything I could find about Phaneuf's attitude with the Leafs, his leadership skills and his approach to the game. I'm convinced Dion Phaneuf should be the Leafs next captain, and I'm glad it's being announced Monday.

Phaneuf is our guy, Barilkosphere. There's no other player on this team right now capable of doing the C proud. We're going big or going home.


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Farewell 1961, Hello 1967

stanley cupThis Maple Leafs fan is rooting for Chicago. The Blackhawks are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup since 1961. This Leafs fan couldn't be happier.

It's time to say farewell to 1961 and hello to 1967. 1967 is the last time my team won the Stanley Cup, and we'll soon be the proud owners of the longest drought in the NHL. The Barilkosphere is ready.

When we do win, and we will win, I want it to be all that much sweeter. This record and the 1967 cross we bear guarantees maximum satisfaction and optimal relief. Your chants of "1967" don't humiliate us, it fuels our passion.


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Why This Leafs Fan Is Rooting For Chicago

Stanley CupYou've no doubt heard that the Chicago Blackhawks haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1961. That's significant because it's the longest current drought in the NHL.

You've no doubt heard that the Toronto Maple Leafs have the 2nd longest current Stanley Cup drought in the NHL. My Leafs haven't won it all since 1967. If the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Philadelphia Flyers in these Stanley Cup finals, my Toronto Maple Leafs will be the answer to that old bar trivia favourite.

Maple Leaf haters, namely Habs fans without a rooting interest, are cheering for the Blackhawks for this very reason. They think it will hurt us to hold this streak of futility. They think it will crush our spirit and break our hearts. They think it will sting.

I'm a lifelong, loyal and devout fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and I want the Chicago Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup. I want my team to hold this record. I want it to feel all that much better when we finally do win it all and hoist Lord Stanley's mug.

Go Blackhawks Go!


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For Cheryl as Her Habs Are Eliminated

puckThe Habs have just been ousted from these Stanley Cup playoffs. They won exactly nine more games than I thought they would, but ding-dong the witch is dead.

I'm not going to gloat... my Leafs didn't make the playoffs, and I'd give anything right now to witness 9 playoff victories in one post-season, so I'm going to collect all the comments left on this blog by a Habs fan named Cheryl.

First there was my appearance on The Team 990 where I made a bet with Metric Julie. Cheryl didn't like that.

Right on.  Go Habs go.  I didn't like that thing.  I'm a Habs fan.

No no, Leafs have no chance.  Go Habs go.

No no, the Leafs won't win the cup.  The Leafs are not the best.  Go
Habs go.

I lost that bet with Metric Julie. Cheryl chimed in again.

I'm from toronto, but I'm a Habs fan.  Go Habs go.  Habs will win.
Habs and Coyotes to the finals.

Even if I wrote about going to a TFC match, she was there.

Yes, Habs in DC.  Habs will win.  Washington isn't that good at all.
Habs all the way.  Habs and Coyotes to the finals.

I then wrote about the Sens being eliminated, and she was ready to pounce.

No, the Habs do not suck.  The Habs are great.  The Sens may suck, but
not the Habs.  Habs and Coyotes to the finals.

An entry I wrote about the final four series was blessed with four visits from Cheryl.

Habs all the way.  Yes, they lost yesterday, but they're going to win
it in six or seven.  My habs will win the cup again.  Just wait.  Go
Habs go.  My Coyotes are out.  Who cares about the rest.

Habs are going to win.  Halak is unbeatable.  So they lost on Friday,
but they will win today and win the series in six or seven and then no
more Penguins.

I told you so.  habs won.  Habs in six or seven if it goes that far,
but maybe Habs in five.  Penguins have no chance.

Of course, the Habs are going to win.  So they had a bad day last
night.  Tomorrow they'll win and they'll win on Saturday and monday.
Halak is going to be unbeatable again.  you'll see.  Go Habs.

I wrote an important message to Habs fans from Leafs fans, and Cheryl was there.

The Habs are going to win.  This is it.  They're going to win the cup.
Sid the Kid isn't that good honestly.  The Pens have no chance.  The
Habs are really going to win the cup.  There is no way anyone can stop
them now.  Go Habs go.  Just get used to saying that.  They are really
going to win.

Well, I told you so.  Habs all the way to the cup.  They are going to
win it.  The Flyers or Bruins have no chance at beating the Habs. Habs
all the way.

The Habs will win the cup.  Halak is that good.  The Flyers have no
chance.  Nobody is going to beat Halak.  Go Habs go.  Get used to
saying that.  The Leafs won't win the cup any time soon.  I hate the

Finally, I had enough and wrote If You Love The Leafs, You Hate The Habs.

Well, this year a Canadian team will win the cup, the Habs. I am a Habs
fan, but I live in Toronto.  I've been a Leafs hater for life and that
will never change.

As I said, I'm a Habs fan.  I've always been a Habs fan.  I live in
toronto, but have always loved the Habs for years.  This blog may be a
nightmare, but the Habs won't choke.  Just wait and they'll beat the
Flyers.  Halak is so good.  He won't allow the Flyers to score, not
even on the power play.

If we bet on it, I would win.  The habs are that good.  I am going to
cheer for my Habs.  You'll see.  They'll win tonight.  Just wait.
Halak will stop every Flyer he sees.

I'm not happy.  My Habs lost.  This sucks, but this is just one game.
I have faith.  The Habs will win the next one.  They'll come back.  I
know they will.  The flyers had their win.  Habs in six or seven.
Trust me.  Go Habs go.

Habs are going to win.  Trust me.  The game last night was a real

Another fluke game last night and the Habs lost again.  Trust me.  The
Habs are going to win the cup.  They'll win the next four.  It will be
Habs in six or seven.

A follow-up call to arms resulted in a similar barrage of Cheryl comments.

I am cheering for my Habs.  Yes, my wonderful Habs.  They are going to
win tonight.  I am not a Leaf fan.  I never was and never will be.  The
habs will win this round in six or seven.  The Flyers won't win
tonight.  There's just no way.  Get used to it.  Halak will be on his
game again.  The Habs will win big time and if you don't like it,
that's just too bad.  Go Habs.

I told you the Habs would win.  Leighton has come back to life.  See,
he's not so good and neither are the Flyers.  They're going to be
toast.  Habs all the way to the cup.  Yes, they're going to win the cup
so get used to it.  Go Habs go.

Habs are going to win to even the series.  Just wait.  The Flyers are
out of gas.  Go Habs go.  On the way to the Stanley Cup.

Well, the Habs got shut out.  This sucks.  This was another fluke game.
 It won't happen again.  Habs in seven.  They will win the next two to
get to game seven and win game seven.  Honestly, the Habs won't go
away.  They're going to win the cup like it or not.  The cup is theirs.

Habs in seven.  Like it or not and I am not doing your crazy bet.  No
thanks.  I just know that the Habs won't win the cup.  See, afterr
Washington was winning three to one, the Habs come back.  After
Pittsburgh was winning, the Habs come back.  The Flyers will be toast.
They got lucky so they won yesterday.  It won't happen again because
Halak will shut the Flyers down.  Trust me.  The Habs are going to win
the cup, like it or not.

Habs are going to win tonight.  Just wait.  Habs all the way to the
cup.  They will win the cup.  Now the Flyers fans can cry because they
are going to lose.

Cheryl, I'm going to miss you.

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