Articles in Toronto Maple Leafs

A Legend Passes

11/26/2022 at 9:36pm EST

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

The beautiful part of it is that Borje Salming knew how the world perceived him before his passing as a victim of ALS on Thursday at age 71. The word “iconic” doesn’t quite do justice to the Hall of Fame defenseman. Salming was more that. He was revered.

He was revered not only as a player, but also as an individual. Love and adoration flowed to Salming as a groundbreaker who became a pioneering role model in opening the door for an influx of his fellow Swedes into the NHL after he conquered an unwelcoming, antagonistic environment that confronted him and any who might threaten the Canadian hegemony of the league.

Salming knew that. He knew that when he received a thunderous ovation at Maple Leaf Gardens during pregame introductions while representing Team Sweden prior to playing Team Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup. He knew that two weekends ago in Toronto on consecutive, emotional nights featuring one impromptu tribute and a second formal one that evoked tears.

Similarly, he knew that at the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation Centennial Gala celebrating the country’s all-time greatest players at Avicii Arena in Stockholm just over one week ago, when his introduction evoked an emotional response. Salming was not only a beloved hockey player, but also a beloved individual in the way of Rod Gilbert, Jean Beliveau and Gordie Howe, and a beloved cultural icon in the way of Maurice Richard.

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Börje Salming Has Passed Away

11/24/2022 at 12:59pm EST

via the Toronto Maple Leafs,

On behalf of the Salming family, it's with great sadness that the Toronto Maple Leafs announce the passing of franchise icon Börje Salming. He was 71.

Statement from Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan:

Video- Morgan Rielly Place On LTIR

11/22/2022 at 2:29pm EST

from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,

In the third period, Rielly collided with Islanders forward Nick Palmieri and fell to the ice, clutching his left knee. Rielly tried to take another shift but then departed the game.

In going on LTIR, Rielly will miss at least 10 games and 24 days.

The Leafs recalled defencemen Victor Mete and Mac Hollowell from the Toronto Marlies.

Already without veterans TJ Brodie (oblique) and Jake Muzzin (neck), the Leafs couldn’t afford to lose another defenceman, and certainly not Rielly. He annually leads the Leafs’ defence corps in ice time and is at the top of the pack again this season, playing an average of 23 minutes a game.

Next among defencemen is Brodie at 21 minutes 23 seconds, and then Justin Holl at 20:45.

“It’s tough,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game on Monday, before the club knew the extent of Rielly’s injury.

“We’re already missing guys and Morgan is so important to our team and our back end in particular. But we lose Muzzin, we made a big deal of it, it was not a big deal. Brodie, we made a big deal of it, it was not a big deal. Just have to keep playing. That’s the way it goes.”

more

Video of the injury is below.


Morning Line -Nick Kypreos

11/17/2022 at 9:07am EST

Most Leafs fans are banking on the post-season. Even with all their warts, Tuesday night showed the Leafs should be fine over the course of an 82-game regular season. And gaining a top-three position in the Atlantic Division is all the more likely given how these first few weeks have shaken out.

But the reality is Leafs fans may have to accept who this team is — and isn’t. You can expect to watch this spaghetti western for the rest of the regular season. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” did not win an Oscar. This regular season may not either. But it should be good enough to give the Leafs another chance to get past the first round.

-Nick Kypreos on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Read more from Kypreos at the Toronto Star.

Tough News For Jake Muzzin And The Toronto Maple Leafs

11/14/2022 at 11:06am EST

Video- A Wonderful Tribute For Borje Salming

11/12/2022 at 7:42pm EST

added 7:59pm, YouTube version is below.

Video Borje Salming Is Welcomed Back In Toronto

11/11/2022 at 7:29pm EST

Auston Matthews Is In Control

11/08/2022 at 9:05am EST

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

The hockey world, it seems, just wants Auston Matthews to react.

React to those who seek to knock him off his game. React emotionally to stressful hockey situations like painful playoff losses. React to his coach criticizing the team’s stars. React to widespread speculation over his uncertain future as one of the finest athletes ever to play for the Maple Leafs.

To all of this, Matthews has chosen to keep his own counsel. And smile.

And that is driving people a little crazy.

Long-time NHLer Mike Rupp, now a broadcaster with the NHL Network, spoke for many hockey traditionalists last week when he berated Matthews for his response to being challenged by Travis Konecny of the Philadelphia Flyers. Konecny desperately tried to goad Matthews into a fight in the dying moments of a game already won easily by the Leafs. Matthews seemed to stand back and smirk at Konecny while his teammates jumped in and pummelled the Flyers pest.

“You can’t just stand there and be OK with your teammates coming to your defence, and you just laugh about it,” fumed Rupp. “We’ve seen this movie. I’ve seen this time and time again with Auston. Playing the cool card doesn’t work, it doesn’t float. It may look cool on social media, but in that locker room at some point it will wear thin.”

If Matthews was bothered by Rupp’s criticism, or snippy references to a similar incident in a playoff series against Montreal two years ago, or the social media hollering the incident incited, he didn’t show it.

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TSN Insiders Tonight

11/01/2022 at 6:50pm EDT

The TSN Hockey Insiders discuss the Senators exploring a sale of the team, whether there's a feud between Mitch Marner and Sheldon Keefe, when we are likely to see Barry Trotz behind a bench again, and more

Watch at TSN

Too Early To Fire Sheldon Keefe

11/01/2022 at 8:55am EDT

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

Sheldon Keefe’s primary shortcoming as head coach of the Maple Leafs lies in failing to guide his team past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Can we agree on that?

Assuming we can, why would you then evaluate his worthiness to continue as head coach on the basis of the first 10 games of this regular season?

No, it’s not too early to ask hard questions about this squad after a lousy western road trip. But it’s definitely too early to reach any meaningful conclusions, particularly after Keefe’s team had a nearly identical start last season and ended up setting a franchise record with 115 points.

He’s proven he can wake this team up after a snoozy start and guide it to an excellent regular-season finish. What he hasn’t done is prove he can win a playoff round, and surely next spring will be his last chance to make that happen.

But he can’t win a playoff round in October. Or any time before April.

continued

Topic Of The Day, The Toronto Maple Leafs

10/31/2022 at 9:39am EDT

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

It was capped in monstrous fashion Sunday, a 4-3 overtime defeat to the Anaheim Ducks, who‘d not won in seven straight, a match Toronto led all night, 3-1 at one stage with a penalty shot chance to extend it.

Add that collapse to earlier defeats against lesser lights Arizona, Montreal, and on this trip San Jose and Los Angeles and there is further doubt cast on this new look roster that Dubas constructed and Keefe is trying to tame.

Dubas was requested for interviews after the game by various Toronto media outlets, but declined. After 10 days away, the Leafs will have time off, a Tuesday practice and an improved Philadelphia Flyers club visiting Wednesday.

Outside Scotiabank Arena, expect little support or sympathy for the GM and coach, who needed a good start this month to cleanse memories of another spring playoff defeat.

“We’re used to dealing with noises,” Keefe said with a shrug of the rough reception that awaits.

more

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

Video- You Make The Call

10/30/2022 at 10:46pm EDT

The Ducks were down 3-1 at the start of the 3rd period. This goal would have given the Ducks a 4-3 lead with under 5 minutes to play. The call on the ice was good goal, Toronto challenged.

The Ducks won in OT.

Late Evening Line -Morgan Rielly

10/30/2022 at 4:29am EDT

“You keep confident. You keep working. You believe in your structure. You believe in your system. You believe in your teammates and the group that we have here and that's what we're gonna do."

-Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs after a 4-2 loss to the LA Kings. Luke Fox of Sportsnet has more and the game highlights are below.

Morning Line -Jim Matheson

10/20/2022 at 11:52am EDT

Matt Murray Out At Least Four Weeks

10/15/2022 at 6:55pm EDT

The Toronto Maple Leafs Are No Longer A Young Team

10/12/2022 at 8:28am EDT

from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,

When the members of Toronto’s NHL brain trust were asked to account for the sixth straight first-round playoff ouster of the Shana-plan era last spring, the rationalizations were many.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe said with a straight face that he was heartened the Maple Leafs got more “respect” in the handshake line than they had been afforded in other post-season defeats. If coming up with new explanations for the same old results isn’t easy, Keefe, at least, got points for creativity, if not credibility. Team president Brendan Shanahan insisted he was encouraged to see his team play with “fight.” General manager Kyle Dubas, meanwhile, said he was pleased the team faced the reality of another abrupt exit with less “excuse-making” than in previous years. If the overdog Leafs have never been lovable losers, at least they’re accountable ones.

Amid the stay-the-course rhetoric, in which Dubas insisted they were “proud of the progress” even though they’ve yet to make any actual hay in the post-season, the GM also tossed in an eyebrow-raising claim about his team.

“It is still a young group,” the general manager claimed.

That, of course, was the go-to rationalization of perennial defeat in Leafsland for a long while. When the Leafs gave the Capitals a first-round scare back in 2017 — even when they lost to Boston in Game 7s in 2018 and 2019 — it was easy enough to play the age card and assume inevitable maturation. It was easy enough to make the case that the Leafs were an ascendant team with an unlimited ceiling, and that the pileup of first-round outs would add up to teaching moments for eventual triumph.

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