4:10 AM EST, Tue November 24, 2020
9 hours ago

NHL notes: McDavid + Matthews = Magic

If a Canadian division is a go next year in a re-aligned NHL, who’s up for Connor McDavid head-to-head against Auston Matthews six to eight times in the regular season? While hockey is on hiatus in Canada, two of the country’s prominent stars have been whetting appetites in the Arizona heat. McDavid, captain of the Edmonton Oilers, and Toronto Maple Leafs’ leading scorer Matthews were on the same rink...
Nov 21, 2020

SIMMONS: The 50 most influential Toronto sporting figures of last 50 years

Fifty years and 50 people. That was the assignment. How do you come up with the 50 most influential Toronto sports people of the last 50 years? From 1970 to today. The list could probably be 200 names long, maybe more. And how exactly is “influential” defined? That’s personal, isn’t it? Mostly, you take educated guesses here, find the obvious names or, in some cases, pairings. You also try to find...
Nov 21, 2020

SIMMONS: NHL infighting puts start of regular season in doubt

Gary Bettman isn’t used to losing any negotiations — or anything else for that matter. But right now, the commissioner of the National Hockey League is in the kind of fight he has never been in before; this one three-sided, in the middle of a global pandemic, without a way out, necessarily. Normally when Bettman negotiates a deal — or in this case tries to re-negotiate a deal with the players — he is...
Nov 20, 2020

NHL NOTES: COVID-19 closures threaten travel

The sound of padlock chains and doors slamming around Canadian and U.S. cities the past few days just adds to the angst of when — or if — an NHL season will start. The closed borders of COVID-19 splitting the schedule into Canadian teams and three U.S. divisions is already on the horizon, but the seven northern franchises can’t be too assured yet about moving freely around their own...
Nov 20, 2020

Lehtonen's KHL loan terminated ... Snowden laments no Growlers hockey ... Leafs' Russian prospects to camp

Mikko Lehtonen is on his way to Toronto.   Jokerit Helsinki, Lehtonen’s team in the KHL, announced on Friday that the club and the player have mutually agreed to terminate Lehtonen’s contract. Signed by the Maple Leafs in May to a one-year, entry-level pact, the 26-year-old defenceman had been loaned to Jokerit by the Leafs in August. ...
Nov 20, 2020

Maple Leafs' Lehtonen heading to Toronto after point-a-game pace in KHL

Mikko Lehtonen is on his way to Toronto.   Jokerit Helsinki, Lehtonen’s team in the KHL, announced on Friday that the club and the player have mutually agreed to terminate Lehtonen’s contract. Signed by the Maple Leafs in May to a one-year pact, the 26-year-old defenceman had been loaned to Jokerit by the Leafs. ...
Nov 19, 2020

One year on the job under his belt, Leafs coach Keefe looks ahead with optimism

Approaching the one-year anniversary on Friday of his hiring as coach of the Maple Leafs, Sheldon Keefe would be found where you might have figured. Hunkered down in his office at the Ford Performance Centre, continuing preparation for the next time the Leafs are on the ice. That’s about all that would have painted a picture of normalcy, however, some 12 months after the Leafs fired Mike Babcock and Keefe...
Nov 18, 2020

NHLPA meets, time ticking on 2020-21 season

It’s far from beer-leaguers paying for ice time to play their beloved sport at odd hours of the day or night. But many National Hockey Leaguers wonder how much more of their money should be sacrificed to get a season, even an abbreviated one, under way. The NHL already set a 20% escrow on salaries in the new six-year CBA in July, then a 10% deferment on the balance owing. That was back when a normal 2020-21...
Nov 16, 2020

New Maple Leafs' 'Reverse Retro' jersey sparks debate

The Toronto Maple Leafs sweater had remained largely unchanged since 1927. But the new ‘Reverse Retro’ third jersey by Adidas for the 2020-21 season (whenever it starts) will take some getting used to. Especially when defining what ‘traditional’ means. Having just moved to a popular throwback for their 2017 centennial, the third jersey has ‘everything-but-the-kitchen-sink’ elements to it. A main...
Nov 14, 2020

SIMMONS: PR aside, the Raptors can't be allowed to play in Toronto

On the day the NBA called a halt to the season last March, there were 21 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario. On the day the Canadian government informed the Blue Jays they would not playing in Toronto this past baseball season, there were 166 new COVID-19 cases. On Thursday, when Masai Ujiri did a goodwill press tour in an attempt to sell the public on the Raptors playing home games in Toronto this quickly...
Nov 13, 2020

Leafs' prospect Villeneuve glad to take advantage of opportunity to play this season

The text message alerts on William Villeneuve’s phone wouldn’t let up. It was the afternoon of Oct. 7 and the 18-year-old Saint John Sea Dogs defenceman had just been selected 122nd overall by the Maple Leafs in the 2020 National Hockey League draft.   Among the congratulations from friends and family, other texts started popping up. ...
Nov 12, 2020

Maple Leafs await green light for season

On Thursday’s anniversary of the opening of Maple Leaf Gardens, there was some hope for a hockey season in Hogtown. The National Hockey League board of governors had an online meeting regarding various plans to re-launch in January. No official release was provided afterwards, but it’s becoming obvious that a shortened schedule with a seven-team Canadian division is in the Maple Leafs’...
Nov 10, 2020

Lest we forget athletes who served

Pat Quinn, son of a naval officer on Second World War convoy escorts, grandson of a munitions’ runner on the First World War front, would often encounter grey-haired patrons at a bar or coffee shop who recognized him and loved talking hockey. After the late player/coach/GM talked of his NHL experiences, he’d politely ask the oldtimer what his hockey background was. ...
Nov 9, 2020

Amirov lights up Karjala Cup as Leafs first-rounder named best forward in tournament

The hope, as you would imagine, in the Maple Leafs’ front office is that Rodion Amirov will one day arrive in Toronto and start filling the net. For now, the Leafs will have to settle for a remarkable performance by their 2020 first-round pick at the Karjala Cup in Helsinki. Picked 15th overall by the Leafs in October in the...
Nov 9, 2020

Trebek's passing touches entire hockey world

Alex Trebek and Jeopardy! were a big part of hockey, whether it was its theme music playing at rinks during a trivia question, on-ice video review or the proud Canadian host using his show’s powerful reach to help the game grow. “Alex was a passionate fan and a true friend of our league,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated after the...