By Kevin McGran Sports Reporter Tues., May 7, 2019 Well that was certainly a strange end to the saga over Mike Babcock’s future as coach of the Maple Leafs. GM Kyle Dubas had made a big deal about having a performance review – not just of Babcock but of everybody -- that set off the speculation in the first place. He concluded with: “We’ll let you know when we know.” Then he sort of, trying to sound off the cuff, tells one reporter over the phone that the Leafs are “all in” on Babcock, either trying to treat it like it was nothing, really, or more likely, avoid making a bigger deal of it than it had become. And it had become huge, taking on a life of its own, which is entirely predictable in this market. The kind of circus that existed around this team for, oh, close to 100 years. Or at least most of the last 50. (There was the time in 2008 that then-MLSE president Richard Peddie traveled with the team on a West Coast … [Read more...] about Babcock Mailbag: How the coach kept his job
Power play hockey
By Kevin McGran Sports Reporter Mon., May 6, 2019 Let me start today with a correction. Last week I answered a question by saying that the Patrick Marleau’s contract could not be bought out since he signed it when he was over 35. That’s not true. It can be bought out, it’s just that the cap hit will remain with the team. So, kind of, there’s no point. But maybe there is. Credit here to a faithful reader, Dave B, who patiently corrected me. I’ll let him explain. “Hi Kevin. Thanks for answering my question last week about getting another team to buyout Marleau. I have a follow-up comment about it. In your answer, you said that Marleau's contract can't be bought out because it was signed when he was over the age of 35. According to capfriendly.com, a 35+ contract can be bought out, but the team receives no cap relief from the buyout. They would only save 1/3 of the salary remaining on the contract, with the rest payable over … [Read more...] about Dubas Mailbag: Can the Leafs trade Patrick Marleau?
By Damien Cox Sports Columnist Fri., May 3, 2019 What was already confusing is only more so today. And that’s probably the way it has to be right now with women’s professional hockey in North America. There have been many rumours and much speculation, and certainly a great deal of backroom fighting and disagreement, about what the future should look like. To get beyond that, many of the top players have banded together in what they are touting as an act of solidarity to protect the female hockey industry and its future. It’s admirable, particularly for those of us who have applauded the growth of the women’s game and would very much like to see professional women’s hockey become a viable business. But does this new strategy make any sense? Saying “it is time” for a sustainable league, 200 of the best players have said they won’t play at all until they get “the resources that professional hockey demands and … [Read more...] about Women’s hockey end game might not benefit from a boycott
By Mesfin Fekadu The Associated Press Thu., May 2, 2019 Mother’s Day is in a couple weeks, but Drake gave his mom an early gift with a heartfelt speech at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, where the rap star also broke Taylor Swift’s record for most wins. Drake turned up the love for his mom when he picked up top artist, besting Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Post Malone and Travis Scott. He won 12 awards Wednesday in Las Vegas, making his career total 27 (Swift has 23 wins). He looked up to the ceiling as he held the trophy, then said: “I just want to thank my mom for her relentless effort in my life. “I want to thank my mom for all the times you drove me to piano. All the times you drove me to basketball and hockey — that clearly didn’t work out. All the times you drove me to Degrassi. No matter how long it took me to figure out what I wanted to do, you were always there to give me a ride, and now we’re on one hell of ride,” … [Read more...] about Drake breaks Taylor Swift’s record at Billboard Music Awards
Mon., April 29, 2019 So for the rest of the week, I’m going to grade the 2018-19 Maple Leafs in this blog, starting at the top: General manager Kyle Dubas. (Tuesday: Mike Babcock) Before I get to that, I want to tell you a little tale about the last time the Maple Leafs hired a rookie general manager, when things didn’t end well. That rookie GM was John Ferguson Jr., who came with a reputation of being a great talent spotter and of course came from a famous hockey family. It was a rocky ride for the young GM, just 36 when he started in 2003. He was certainly a better GM by the end of his tenure than the beginning. MLSE was a different monster then, more concerned about profit and a few (actually budgeted) playoff dates rather than winning and long playoff runs. The hockey world was different then. With no salary cap, the Leafs could simply buy a winner. Article Continued Below Along the way, Ferguson made mistakes (Should I mention Tuukka Rask for Andrew … [Read more...] about Grading Kyle Dubas after his first year as Leafs GM