Burke and Gretzky Join Forces

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 27) — It has been more than five years since Brendan Burke died in an automobile mishap in Indiana, but it must seem like 500 years to his father, Brian Burke. To endure the passing of a child is the cruelest fate of all. Brian’s tragic nightmare began on Feb. […]

Leafs Go One Better Than Blues

New boss; same as the old boss. – From Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 27) — After a full and exact month of searching, the St. Louis Blues found their coach on Tuesday. Turned out to be the same guy we last saw on the afternoon of Apr. 26, […]

Of Course Leafs Are “Canada’s Team”

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 25) — That was no Freudian slip by Mike Babcock. When the new and incomparably moneyed coach–in–town called the Toronto Maple Leafs “Canada’s team” at his inaugural media gathering on Thursday, you could hear teeth grinding and knives sharpening from coast to coast. It was the old equivalent — figuratively […]

Leafs Need Hunter in Current Role

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 24) — Now that Mike Babcock will not be named general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs (confirmed) — and has told the hockey universe there is no provision in his contract with respect to player jurisdiction (I’m unconvinced) — president Brendan Shanahan needs to fill the important role vacated […]

Babcock Needs a Trump Card

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 21) — It has been unmistakable during Mike Babcock’s 13–season career as a coach in the National Hockey League: You play the way he commands or you watch others play. This will not change in Year 14. Ominously for Mike, however, he will soon encounter an 82–game schedule in which 18 […]

Leafs Deserve Full, Unconditional Credit

By HOWARD BERGER TORONTO (May 21) — For reasons that aren’t difficult to comprehend, the Toronto Maple Leafs and skepticism have long–been intertwined. When you hold the existing record for lengthiest championship drought in a professional league, distrust and apprehension are unavoidable by–products. But, let’s pause for a moment and recognize what the Maple Leafs […]

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