Archives for the 'Toronto' Category

Early NHL struggles can lead to changes

Originally published in Eishockey News in 2007 By Lucas Aykroyd Life would be so much simpler for NHL coaches if every team won all its home games in overtime. In fact, it’s hard to imagine any other scenario where all coaches could succeed in keeping their jobs. However, the fans would probably start to get […]

Fletcher: wrong man at the wrong time

I have to disagree with TSN analyst Bob McKenzie’s assertion that hiring Cliff Fletcher as interim GM is a smart move for the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s not that the 72-year-old veteran NHL executive is underqualified to take over this much-ballyhooed National Hockey League franchise after John Ferguson Jr. was fired on Tuesday. Winning the […]

The good, the bad and the ugly in hockey on Saturday

The Good: Canada Golden Again at World Juniors Congratulations to Team Canada for winning its fourth consecutive gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic. A couple of days ago, I questioned whether Canada’s mental focus was where it needed to be heading into a potential final with the Russians. Of […]

Fire Ferguson, hire Steve Simmons as next Leafs GM

In Toronto, as we all know, the dream of winning a Stanley Cup for the first time in more than 40 years takes priority over combating international terrorism, finding a cure for AIDS, and putting the brakes on global warming. (Among other back-burner issues.) With that unwavering focus in mind, Toronto Sun sports columnist Steve […]

In the NHL, October is the coolest month

The leaves are turning brown and the nights are getting colder. But NHL hockey in October always seems livelier than any other time of the year. It’s nice to think the peak excitement occurs with the Stanley Cup finals, but in June, when you’re down to two not necessarily beloved teams and it’s hot enough […]

Those awkward interview moments

NHLers, as a rule, are very accommodating interview subjects, even with buses and planes to catch, PR guys hovering nervously in the background, and sometimes a ridiculously repetitive stream of post-game questions from reporters. (After a Chicago game last season, I witnessed Martin Havlat giving almost the same answer verbatim about five times in a […]

Sundin wants to make some noise

Originally published on EuroReport in 1999 By Lucas Aykroyd The silent Swede sat in a sled, staring at a snowbank outside Stockholm. That’s definitely not Mats Sundin. In conversation, his affable personality is eons removed from the somber tone of an Ingmar Bergman film. But the Toronto Maple Leafs captain must hope he makes more […]

Enigmatic Reichel brings offensive flair to Toronto

Originally published on in 2001 By Lucas Aykroyd By now, most hockey fans know Robert Reichel is back in the NHL. But is the NHL back in Robert Reichel? The cunning center from Litvinov doesn’t enjoy the same sterling reputation in North America as he does in Europe. Since his 1990 debut with the […]

Markov making his mark in Toronto

Originally published on in 2000 By Lucas Aykroyd With no goals and 10 assists last year, Danny Markov didn’t exactly tear up the NHL offensively. But entering his fourth season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Moscow-born defenseman is looking to improve on those numbers and his overall game. Chosen as Toronto’s seventh pick […]

Berezin returns to spark Toronto attack

Originally published on in 2000 By Lucas Aykroyd Titanic is Sergei Berezin’s favorite movie. That fits. The 28-year-old Russian left wing must have had a sinking feeling over Toronto’s last 14 games, as a hamstring injury kept him out of the lineup. Lacking the opportunity to waltz around opposing defensemen or rescue his club […]