Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’
Hockey is back.
There are old faces in new places (Mike Babcock and Lou Lamoriello in Toronto). There are new faces in old places (Slava Voynov in Russia). Jaromir Jagr is still employed in the NHL, joining Chris Chelios and Gordie Howe as a rare “once in a couple different generations” player.
Already a treasure trove of storylines have emerged, with more on the way. Here are eight to whet your appetite for the upcoming season:
The NHL expansion rumor mill has been heating up in recent weeks with a pair of reports connecting the NHL to Las Vegas as a done deal (Tony Gallagher’s column in the Vancouver Province and Howard Bloom’s Sports Business News tweet:
NHL expansion – four teams added by 2017, Quebec City, Toronto, Seattle, and Las Vegas $1.4b in expansion fees
— Howard Bloom (@SportsBizNews) August 27, 2014
The NHL was quick to shoot down these reports, but perhaps this is a situation where when there is smoke, there is fire, as the NHL has a least looked a few places for future teams in the past calendar year.
Maybe the NHL doesn’t really need expansion and 30 teams are enough, but considering the potential windfall to the league’s ownership by adding teams, and you can almost bet on the NHL expanding in the not-so distant future. Thirty-two or 34 teams would make sense as the next logical step, and if you believe the reports that are out there, it might happen as soon as 2016-2017, the NHL’s centennial season.
Here is a quick evaluation of nine potential NHL expansion or relocation cities in order from most likely to get a team by 2025 to least likely:
The Winter Classic took place a couple weeks ago, but the NHL’s showcase event this season was something to remember. I would say the Toronto-Detroit game ranks up there with the first Winter Classic with Pittsburgh-Buffalo. The atmosphere was perfect; the snowflakes falling from the skies provided a great setting.
Nobody sums up the majesty of the Winter Classic better than HBO’s “24/7,” which concluded its season with two good episodes. Read the rest of this entry »
Last year there was no “24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic” because of the lockout. The series featuring the Detroit Red Wings and Maple Leafs (and the game, the Winter Classic) got pushed back to this season.
Based on what I’ve seen so far, this was a wise investment — and the most interesting pairing of the three-year-old series.
Read the rest of this entry »
You’ve got to hand it to Toronto for going big.
How better to respond to the Maple Leafs’ first playoff appearance in nine years than by creating the world’s largest goal light?
What were you doing on this day 37 years ago?
If you were the Toronto Maple Leafs’ statistician, you were scrounging through the NHL record books to find out who had the record for the most points in a single game. (The answer prior to Feb. 7, 1976: Maurice Richard, with 8.)
Darryl Sittler scored 10 in the Leafs’ 11-4 win over the Boston Bruins that night, a record that is virtually unassailable. Consider that when Sam Gagner scored eight points in a single game for the Oilers last season, it was the most by any player since the 1980s.
Sittler had six goals and four assists in the game. To put that in perspective, Scott Gomez had 11 points – two goals and nine assists – all of last season. Link Gaetz had six goals in his entire NHL career.
Enjoy the ultimate goalie’s nightmare:
Brian Burke was named Senior Advisor to Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment President and C.O.O. Tom Anselmi and the MLSE Board of Directors today.
Put differently, he was fired.
It appears that Burke, the Maple Leafs’ general manager since 2008, was not expecting this.
“Told Burke was absolutely shocked by news,” TSN’s Darren Dreger wrote on Twitter. “Burke responded to a text saying he can’t talk at this point.”
A high-profile sports agent1 once told me that the job of every commissioner is to keep the owners of his eight poorest teams happy.
It makes sense. Think of an NHL owners’ meeting like an annual family get-together. Your annual family get-together, perhaps. Every year, a couple of siblings can’t stop talking about how miserable their lives are while their brothers and sisters can’t stand to be in the same room, appalled that they’re somehow related to these idiots. New York and Toronto have better things to do than listen to Florida and Nashville whine and complain. The same can surely be said of every league — for the NFL, just substitute Dallas for New York and Jacksonville for Nashville. In the NBA, substitute the Lakers for the Leafs and the Bucks for the Panthers.
From the outside, it doesn’t make sense. Psh, billionaire problems, we moan. We wonder, if the Leafs are so rich, why aren’t they more influential? Meanwhile, inside the room, you can just imagine them shaking their heads, sighing, saying “my family is so … ugh.”
As I type this column, I feel a great sadness. Snow is lightly falling outside my apartment window in the background and instead of watching the Winter Classic on NBC, I’m watching a bunch of unimportant bowl games on ESPN. Normally I enjoy college football, but until the BCS National Championship occurs next Monday, none of the games matter to me.
Since the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t hung a Stanley Cup banner of their own in any of the last five decades, there would be a cruel irony to hanging one in your own living room.
OK, that was a cheap shot.
Not so cheap: One of the six (1948, ’49, ’51, ’63, ’64, ’67) Cup banners that once hung in Maple Leaf Gardens. They’re among the myriad items currently up for bids at Frozen Pond Auctions.