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Brendan Shanahan will bring change to the hapless Maple Leafs … slowly

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Coach Randy Carlyle and the Toronto Maple Leafs

Expect a new look on the ice and perhaps behind the bench in Toronto next season. (Abelimages/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

Forced into an early reveal by rumors that spread on Thursday night — apparently the defense is as leaky in Toronto’s front office as it is on the ice — the Maple Leafs confirmed this morning that Brendan Shanahan has been appointed to the position of President and Alternate Governor of the struggling club.

It’s a sensible career move for the Hall of Famer, who leaves a thankless gig as the NHL’s chief disciplinarian in order to oversee all team operations for a club that could really use a firm hand after missing out on the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years.

And given the reputation for innovative thinking and consensus building that he earned during his tenure with the league — remember the post-lockout Shanahan Summit that led to the creation of the competition committee and implemented ways of enhancing skill and speeding up the game? — he seems like a fairly safe bet for the Leafs, too. Shanny’s shy on front office experience, but he’s a guy who has proved that he can learn on the job, a skill that will come in handy as he takes on this new exercise. And he has some seriously thick skin, a necessary tool for anyone signing on with this organization.

SI.com Fan Misery Rankings: Maple Leafs take top dishonor

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  • Published On Apr 11, 2014
  • Maple Leafs’ Jonathan Bernier leaves game with apparent leg injury

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    By Darian Somers

    Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier left Thursday’s game with an apparent leg injury after defenseman Paul Ranger pushed Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron onto the netminder about midway through the third period.

    Bernier was slow to get up, and once he did, he hobbled off slowly with help from a teammate and a trainer.

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  • Published On Apr 03, 2014
  • GIF: JVR sets Leafs record by scoring four seconds into period vs. Flyers

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    JVR :04

    By Darian Somers

    Safe to say James van Riemsdyk was ready to go at the start of the second period on Friday.

    Van Riemsdyk set a new Toronto Maple Leaf record when he scored just four seconds into the second frame, taking a pass off the opening draw and rifling it top shelf past Flyers goalie Steve Mason. The goal was his 29th this season, and was two seconds faster than Mats Sundin’s old franchise mark, set in a 1995 win in St. Louis.
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  • Published On Mar 28, 2014
  • Blues’ David Backes nets hat trick in offensive showcase against Maple Leafs

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    David Backes led the Blues' barrage of goals against Toronto, scoring three of the five. (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

    David Backes led the Blues’ barrage of goals against Toronto, scoring three of their five. (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

    By Darian Somers

    The Maple Leafs were under siege on Tuesday night in Toronto as the visiting Blues pumped 49 shots at netminder Jonathan Bernier en route to a 5-3 win.

    The Blues came out and unloaded 23 in the first period, two fewer shots than the Leafs’ total for in the entire game, as T.J. Oshie and David Backes scored. In the second period, the St. Louis outshot the Leafs, 13-7.

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  • Published On Mar 25, 2014
  • VIDEO: Phil Kessel, cats, lasers and the worst song of all time

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    I’m not sure there’s much that should — or could — be said about this video other than that I suspect this is what it’s like to be insane.


  • Published On Mar 15, 2014
  • Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier leaves game vs. Kings with lower-body injury

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    Jonathan Bernier has set career highs in games played (50) and wins (25) this season. (John Cordes/Icon SMI)

    Jonathan Bernier has set career highs in games played (50) and wins (25) this season. (John Cordes/Icon SMI)

    By Nick Stoico

    After stopping 8-of-10 shots in 19:38 of play on Thursday night, Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier mysteriously left the team’s game against the Los Angeles Kings with what the Maple Leafs would later describe as a ‘lower-body injury,’ adding that he would not return. Bernier was replaced in net by James Reimer.

    Bernier, acquired from Los Angeles in a trade last June, has been the number one goalie for the Maple Leafs this season — Thursday night marked his 50th game in their net, and he’s posted a .926 save percentage and 2.59 goals-against average. Should he be sidelined for an extended period of time, Reimer has proved to be a capable NHL goalie during his career, going 63-40-15 in 130 games, all with Toronto.

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  • Published On Mar 14, 2014
  • VIDEO: Dion Phaneuf misses hit, takes out teammate James van Riemsdyk

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    By Nick Stoico

    Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf lined up Sharks winger Patrick Marleau for a big hit in the third period on Tuesday night. The only problem was that Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk was on the receiving end as Phaneuf delivered a check hard enough to send his teammate to the quiet room.
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  • Published On Mar 12, 2014
  • Video: Dallas Stars skewer Rob Ford in “Boy Dance Party” remix

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    By Allan Muir

    The evil geniuses behind the Stars’ game-night presentation earned a lot of pub for flashing Justin Bieber’s mug shot along with a caption that read MAPLE LEAFS FAN on the video board at American Airlines Center during Thursday night’s 7-1 romp over Toronto.

    Funny, sure, but that was just the amuse bouche ahead of the main course: a brilliant remix of the SNL “Boy Dance Party” sketch featuring the beached orca gyrations of Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

    Bonus marks to the camera crew for spotting the Bruce Willis doppelganger in the AAC crowd.

    Nice job, boys.


  • Published On Jan 24, 2014
  • Justice? Joffrey Lupul fined $10K maximum for Winter Classic cross-check

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    Joffrey Lupul of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2014 NHL Winter Classic.

    Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul will pay for besmirching a record Winter Classic with his dastardly stickwork. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    It’s hard to tell who was more stunned after the latest cheap shot in the NHL. Was it Patrick Eaves, the recipient of a two hander to the side of his head during the Winter Classic on Wednesday, or the legions of hockey fans who were left to wonder how a flagrant foul committed by repeat offender Joffrey Lupul didn’t draw a suspension from the Department of Player Safety?

    Not that the Toronto forward got off scot-free after his lumber delivery. Lupul was fined $10,000 by the DOPS today. That’s the maximum fine allowable under the CBA and roughly what he makes over the course of three shifts.

    Doesn’t quite feel like enough, does it?

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  • Published On Jan 03, 2014
  • Snowy 2014 Winter Classic enchants, but game was the worst one yet

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    Wintry conditions hampered the quality of play for both the Maples Leafs and the Red Wings. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

    Wintry conditions hampered the quality of play for both teams, but they battled through them. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Winter? Sure. The NHL’s game of the year was postcard pretty, with the falling snow clashing brilliantly with the bright red and blue sweaters of the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs.

    But a classic? Not quite.

    Toronto’s 3-2 shootout win over Detroit at the Big House was heavy on the spectacle that draws in the casual viewer — which, of course, is the primary focus of the event — but it was a miserable display of hockey. For most of the contest, this was two middling teams playing to prevent goals rather than score them. Even the Red Wings’ sublimely gifted Pavel Datsyuk was reduced to playing dump-and-chase rather than showcasing his skills in front of the largest crowd in NHL history and a massive TV audience.

    ROSENBERG: Biggest Classic proves NHL’s winning formula | The scene in tweets and photos | Outdoor games gallery

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  • Published On Jan 01, 2014


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