Legendary coach Al Arbour welcomes fan notes in battle with dementia

Al Arbour

The man who led the New York Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cups is now looking for a little motivation from his fans.

Hall of Fame coach and player Al Arbour, 82, is reportedly being treated for dementia and Parkinson’s disease at a retirement home in Florida. Toronto journalist Howard Berger tweeted this photo of Arbour in Florida earlier this week.
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Great Toskala’s Ghost: Leafs’ Jonathan Bernier allows abysmal goal vs. Coyotes

Jonathan Bernier (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Just when you thought things couldn’t get much worse for Jonathan Bernier and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the ghost of Vesa Toskala and the infamously abysmal goal he allowed in 2008 entered the Air Canada Centre Thursday and a new embarrassing Leafs netminding moment for the ages was born.

It took place at the beginning of the third period, with Toronto on the power play and leading Arizona 1-0. Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson grabbed the puck at his own blueline after the faceoff, and fired a harmless shot towards the Toronto zone. The next part should have its own horror music: Read more

ECHL team trolls Maple Leafs, will host “Toss Your Jersey” night

Jared Clinton
Nazem Kadri (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

One of the stranger stories of the NHL season is the number of times Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys have been thrown onto the ice in protest of the team’s subpar performance. So the ECHL’s Brampton Beast, being nearby and all, thought they would turn a negative into a positive.

Enter “Toss Your Jersey” night, which will take place on Thursday, Feb. 5 when the Beast host the Allen Americans at the Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ont. After Brampton scores their first goal of the game, fans have been “strongly encouraged” to throw their sweaters onto the ice, and they’re doing it for a good cause. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Maple Leafs, Kings, and Hurricanes buzz

Phil Kessel (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Toronto rumor mill continues to churn with speculation over possible moves by the struggling Maple Leafs leading up to the March trade deadline. TSN’s Darren Dreger believes the next few weeks will determine if the Leafs become deadline buyers or sellers.

Over the weekend, the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran cited a source claiming the Leafs were quietly shopping defenseman Dion Phaneuf, winger Phil Kessel and others exclusively to Western Conference teams. McGran claimed nothing was imminent, suggesting interested clubs could wait until the deadline to pursue Phaneuf and Kessel because of their hefty contracts. Read more

Separation between East’s have & have-not teams will make NHL trade deadline unique

Cody Franson (Abelimages/Getty Images)

If you don’t know by now the NHL’s points system is essentially a competitive funhouse mirror designed to give more teams the appearance they’ve got a shot at a playoff spot, you should. The league has, to the credit of its business acumen, recognized more teams can sell tickets to fans deeper into their regular-seasons if those fans see the teams are only four or five points out of a post-season berth; now, there’s very likely a very slim chance that team can leapfrog a bunch rivals playing each other down the stretch for one of the last playoff positions, but that’s not the point. It’s a mirage of sorts, and it works.

But the way things are shaping up in the Eastern Conference this year, not even the “loser point” looks like it’s going to create the illusion of competitiveness between the teams that make the post-season and the ones that don’t. Of course, most teams still have approximately 35 games to play, so you can’t be sure about anything just yet, but with the trade deadline set for March 2, it’s starting to look like the East’s eight non-playoff teams are going to serve as a feeder system for the much tighter West. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Stars eyeing pair of Maple Leafs defensemen

Cody Franson (Abelimages/Getty Images)

In recent days there’s been some buzz claiming the Dallas Stars could be interested in Toronto Maple Leafs defensemen Dion Phaneuf or Cody Franson. The basis for this was a report on the Stars needs by Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.

Heika, however, didn’t say the Stars were actively interested in the pair, only that the club’s focus “seems to be on minute-munching defenders with size.” He merely listed Phaneuf and Franson among several blueline options (Arizona’s Zbynek Michalek and Ottawa’s Marc Methot being the others) who might be available leading up to the March trade deadline. Read more

Rumor Roundup: What to watch as trade deadline draws near

Fleischmann Kopecky featured

With the 2015 NHL All-Star Game now history and teams returning to action on Tuesday, the focus shifts toward the approaching NHL trade deadline on March 2. It’s expected trade activity will increase over the next five weeks as more clubs fall out of playoff contention.

As the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch observes, only four teams – Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers – can be considered non-contenders and therefore sellers in the trade market. Between now and the trade deadline, Garrioch believes they will be joined by the Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers. Read more

Toronto to get All-Star Game and outdoor game in 2017: Source

Phil Kessel  (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

COLUMBUS – The Toronto Maple Leafs will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2017 with the All-Star Game and an outdoor game, a source with close ties to NHL ownership told thn.com.

And it looks as though the Winter Classic for 2016 will be held in Boston at Gillette Stadium with a game against the Montreal Canadiens. And, of course, the World Cup is scheduled for Toronto in 2016 with eight teams, including an all-star team made up of smaller hockey countries and a team of 23-and-under North Americans. Read more