Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2151 by stoney » Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:05 pm

vf wrote:You mean like the Maine Mariners that are set to begin playing next season and have no current NHL affiliation?


Listen man. No one cares for your logical responses.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2152 by vf » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:18 pm

stoney wrote:
vf wrote:You mean like the Maine Mariners that are set to begin playing next season and have no current NHL affiliation?


Listen man. No one cares for your logical responses.


I know. Believe me I know.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2153 by Thomas Malthus » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:01 pm

vf wrote:You mean like the Maine Mariners that are set to begin playing next season and have no current NHL affiliation?


Getting in on the ground floor is either buying a team or being part of the reason that team exists. That gives the Leafs leverage in getting more control over the team's hockey ops. What leverage do the Leafs have with Maine? You don't think that they have their own plan and management group that would be resistant to the Leafs managing the team?
"If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything." - Ronald Coase
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2154 by vf » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:33 am

Thomas Malthus wrote:
vf wrote:You mean like the Maine Mariners that are set to begin playing next season and have no current NHL affiliation?


Getting in on the ground floor is either buying a team or being part of the reason that team exists. That gives the Leafs leverage in getting more control over the team's hockey ops. What leverage do the Leafs have with Maine? You don't think that they have their own plan and management group that would be resistant to the Leafs managing the team?


The St.Johns team came to be before the Leafs were involved. In the 11th hour before the Leafs bailed the franchise owner and the existing tenant at the arena came to an agreement on operations. The existing tenant being the ownership group from the Ice caps and they pulled most of their front office from hockey into their basketball team. Their plan was to get a q league team and share the front office between both teams. It seems that one of the things the two groups have agreed upon is this idea of sharing the front between both teams. The Leafs have no more leverage with St. John's then they would with Maine.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2155 by Thomas Malthus » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:00 pm

vf wrote:
Thomas Malthus wrote:
vf wrote:You mean like the Maine Mariners that are set to begin playing next season and have no current NHL affiliation?


Getting in on the ground floor is either buying a team or being part of the reason that team exists. That gives the Leafs leverage in getting more control over the team's hockey ops. What leverage do the Leafs have with Maine? You don't think that they have their own plan and management group that would be resistant to the Leafs managing the team?


The St.Johns team came to be before the Leafs were involved. In the 11th hour before the Leafs bailed the franchise owner and the existing tenant at the arena came to an agreement on operations. The existing tenant being the ownership group from the Ice caps and they pulled most of their front office from hockey into their basketball team. Their plan was to get a q league team and share the front office between both teams. It seems that one of the things the two groups have agreed upon is this idea of sharing the front between both teams. The Leafs have no more leverage with St. John's then they would with Maine.


The Mariners are owned by Comcast, already have a GM (Briere) and a head coach (Colby's little brother). It sure looks like that ownership group wants their GM making decisions about that team including on personnel.

It seems the St. John's team came about with the Leafs involved decently early in the process and were an integral piece to getting the team into existence since the ECHL wouldn't allow a team until there was an area to play out of (which this ownership group didn't have due to the exclusivity rights of the other group). Without the Leafs, it's unlikely that the exemption, arbitration and negotiation between the two groups would have occurred and thus there would have been no team in St. John's. I'd call that significantly more leverage than trying to outmuscle Comcast (who also own the Flyers). Based on Dubas' plan for the team the Leafs would be providing resources that few ECHL teams have and can also potentially flash some cash if needed. Again, that looks like leverage to me.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2156 by vf » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:19 pm

I disagree, Edge tried landing a q league team and failed. They had no other realistic shot at getting a hockey team in the arena. Dubas' plan to throw money at the team gives them leverage over any ECHL.

The Mariners is owned by a subsidiary of Comcast which is now owned by NBC. One would assume if they wanted to align with the Flyers it'd be done by now. They appointed Briere GM in July last year and the coach days ago. If the Leafs had of been involved they could have certainly had more of a stake in what happened.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2157 by Thomas Malthus » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:55 pm

vf wrote:I disagree, Edge tried landing a q league team and failed. They had no other realistic shot at getting a hockey team in the arena. Dubas' plan to throw money at the team gives them leverage over any ECHL.

The Mariners is owned by a subsidiary of Comcast which is now owned by NBC. One would assume if they wanted to align with the Flyers it'd be done by now. They appointed Briere GM in July last year and the coach days ago. If the Leafs had of been involved they could have certainly had more of a stake in what happened.


We'll see about the Mariners and the Flyers, their contract with the Royals ends after 2018-19.

I definitely agree that Dubas' plan to spend gives them leverage anywhere they would go. I just think that helping St. John's get a team gives them more. This kind of setup with the extent of control the Leafs are going to have doesn't seem to existent on any other ECHL teams and they'd be fighting with the entrenched interests elsewhere. I can't imagine that having the Leafs as an affiliate didn't help get this team into existence.

Maybe we'll learn more as the team gets built. I guess it wouldn't surprise me if this was part of the Leafs nostalgic "historical" push in line with some of their other actions. I just think there's probably a hockey ops explanation that makes a bit more sense.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2158 by vf » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:04 pm

From what I've read it's much more about nostalgia then hockey ops. Nothing from the analytical world would say it's a good idea to put your club two time zones and a thousand kilometres in the north Atlantic as being a good idea.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2159 by Thomas Malthus » Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:39 pm

vf wrote:From what I've read it's much more about nostalgia then hockey ops. Nothing from the analytical world would say it's a good idea to put your club two time zones and a thousand kilometres in the north Atlantic as being a good idea.


Well in that case I admit I'm wrong and that I've been arguing with you over nothing. Sorry, vf!
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2160 by Zardoz » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:25 pm

Newfoundland has an old and established Leafs fanbase.
[CENTER]Image[/CENTER]
[SIZE="1"]Bring us your idiots, your hussies, your blue and your dreamy. Your steady, your huddled, your fisted and creamy. Your villains, your filthy, your cunts and your meese. Your carpenters and fishers and pastors and beasts. Your rednecks, your Safas, your trolls and your Brits. And like all good sailors, we like us some tits.[/size]
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2161 by vf » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:21 pm

Thomas Malthus wrote:
vf wrote:From what I've read it's much more about nostalgia then hockey ops. Nothing from the analytical world would say it's a good idea to put your club two time zones and a thousand kilometres in the north Atlantic as being a good idea.


Well in that case I admit I'm wrong and that I've been arguing with you over nothing. Sorry, vf!


Susf, isn't that all this place is for?
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2162 by Thomas Malthus » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:09 pm

vf wrote:
Thomas Malthus wrote:
vf wrote:From what I've read it's much more about nostalgia then hockey ops. Nothing from the analytical world would say it's a good idea to put your club two time zones and a thousand kilometres in the north Atlantic as being a good idea.


Well in that case I admit I'm wrong and that I've been arguing with you over nothing. Sorry, vf!


Susf, isn't that all this place is for?


Pretty much.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2163 by WTF » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:32 pm

Thomas Malthus wrote:
vf wrote:
Thomas Malthus wrote:
Well in that case I admit I'm wrong and that I've been arguing with you over nothing. Sorry, vf!


Susf, isn't that all this place is for?


Pretty much.


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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2164 by MonkeyWrench » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:20 am

That Monty python clip made me go down memory lane.

Unrelated to the subject matter, but I came across this. :pacman:
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2165 by LeafOfBread » Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:41 pm

Image
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2166 by vf » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:23 pm

Well that's gonna fail.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2167 by cawbber » Wed May 23, 2018 2:51 pm

How the mighty have fallen.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bergerbytes
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2168 by vf » Wed May 23, 2018 3:52 pm

Not there's anything wrong with being a funeral director. :bettman:
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2169 by AGENT ZERO » Wed May 23, 2018 3:58 pm

*Assistant Funeral Director
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2170 by vf » Wed May 23, 2018 5:54 pm

Susf, one does not simply become a Funeral Director! You have to start as an assistant.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2171 by cawbber » Thu May 24, 2018 12:59 pm

AGENT ZERO wrote:*Assistant Funeral Director

Assistant to the Funeral Director
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2172 by clawfirst » Thu May 24, 2018 1:35 pm

Where is that sweet sweet ron wilson video where he proclaims him the winner of twattters
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2173 by Big Susf » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:11 pm

McCool. :mkbert:


McCool overcame ulcers, sparked Maple Leafs to 1945 Cup

Most goaltenders would find one shutout in the Stanley Cup Final satisfying. Two would be considered a bonus. When a goaltender puts up three straight shutouts en route to winning the Cup, you'd think he'd be pretty cool about his game.

But that wasn't the case with Frank McCool of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1945 Final. On the ice, his stomach turned like an out-of-control merry-go-round. Goaltending, the toughest, most nerve-wracking job in sports, was a poor fit for the Calgary native.

McCool was afflicted throughout his adult life with ulcers -- the big-time, painful variety. That alone should have dissuaded him from giving up his gig as a sports writer for life as an NHL goaltender.

But 1944 was a strange year all around. World War II was raging from Europe to the Far East. As a result, some of the NHL's best players were serving in the Canadian and American armed forces, leaving the League's six teams searching for talent.

Toronto opened training camp in Owen Sound, Ontario, in search of a competent goaltender. In 1943-44, the Maple Leafs tried Paul Bibeault, who was on loan from the Montreal Canadiens, as well as Benny Grant and Jean Marois.

But the Canadiens wouldn't let Bibeault play for Toronto in 1944-45, and Maple Leafs coach Hap Day had no use for Grant or Marois. He did like what he saw in McCool, a 26-year-old with no pro experience.

"Frank quickly established himself as the team's best option, and one who didn't take his position lightly," Eric Zweig wrote in his book, "The Toronto Maple Leafs: The Complete Oral History."

How could he? Between the anxiety produced by his chosen profession and his chronic aliment, McCool had problems on top of his problems.

"Every time I feel like laughing," he once told Frank Ayerst of the Toronto Star, "I remember what those ulcers do to me and that isn't funny."

McCool won the No. 1 goaltending job and opened the season with six straight victories before the Maple Leafs slumped. However, he managed to get them into the Stanley Cup Playoffs; Toronto finished third by going 24-22 4 in a 50-game season.

But it wasn't easy.

"Every game was a life-and-death struggle for Frank," longtime Maple Leafs publicist Ed Fitkin wrote. "He sipped milk in the dressing room between periods to calm his fluttering stomach. There were times he took sick during a game. But one thing about Frank: He'd never quit."

Sure enough, McCool was good enough to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. But the question was whether he would be able to last through the pressure of the playoffs.

"If Frank holds up," Day declared before the postseason started, "we may surprise a great many people."

When the playoffs began, the third-place Maple Leafs faced the powerhouse Canadiens. Montreal had finished 38-8-4, and the first-place Canadiens ended the season 28 points ahead of Toronto.

McCool was unimpressed and helped Toronto win 1-0 in Game 1.

"McCool was a hero," Fitkin said. "He scored a shutout in the first Stanley Cup game he'd ever played."

The Maple Leafs went on to stun the Canadiens, winning the series in six games, largely because McCool outplayed six-time Vezina Trophy-winner Bill Durnan. But in the Toronto dressing room, McCool -- while being mobbed by teammates -- called out in a weak voice, "Quick, somebody, give me my milk before I faint!"

The key question for the Maple Leafs entering the Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings was whether McCool would hold up. One person in the organization was adamant that McCool and his teammates would emerge victorious; the ever-defiant Conn Smythe, Toronto's hockey boss.

"We'll win this series," Smythe predicted. "We'll win it because we've got too good a fighting team to lose. The boys proved that against Canadiens, and they'll prove it to Detroit."

But only if McCool's ulcers held off enough for him to stay focused on stopping the puck.

The game plan, as devised by Smythe and Day, was to concentrate the line of Bob Davidson, Mel Hill and Sweeney Schriner against Detroit's best scorers.

"If it worked against the Canadiens," Smythe said, "it should work against the Red Wings."

Even in his wildest dreams, Smythe couldn't have imagined that it would work so well. Ulcers or not, McCool was unbeatable. Toronto won the first two games at Olympia Stadium, 1-0 and 2-0, then returned to Maple Leaf Gardens, where McCool came up with his third straight shutout, a 1-0 win that made him the first goaltender in NHL history to have three consecutive shutouts in Stanley Cup play.

"It doesn't look like the puck is ever going to go in for us," Red Wings general manager Jack Adams said.

But forward Mud Bruneteau, the hero of Detroit's win in the NHL's longest playoff game nine years earlier, was more optimistic. Playing alongside his brother Ed, Mud figured that Toronto still was beatable.

"These Maple Leafs can't be that good," he said before Game 4. "We'll just have to go out and win four straight."

Meanwhile, McCool extended his shutout streak against the Red Wings to 188 minutes and 35 seconds before former Maple Leafs forward Flash Hollett scored at 8:35 of the first period in Game 4.

But the Maple Leafs, within one victory of the Stanley Cup, counterattacked. Ted Kennedy scored three goals; the third put Toronto ahead 3-2 entering the third period. However, McCool finally betrayed signs of fatigue and pain from his ulcers. Sparked by rookie left wing Ted Lindsay, Detroit rallied for a 5-3 victory.

If the Maple Leafs were worried, they didn't show it until after Game 5, in which Detroit scored twice in the third period for a 2-0 victory. Toronto fans had more cause for anxiety when Game 6 went to overtime tied 0-0. McCool and Detroit goalie Harry Lumley looked unbeatable that night until a bizarre bounce of the puck decided the game.

Seconds after the clock had ticked off the 14th minute of the first overtime period, Harold Jackson blooped a high shot into the Maple Leafs' zone that bounced off the wire netting far out of range of the goal. Calm to the point of unconcern, McCool awaited the response of his teammates with a counterattack after the puck caromed off the wire mesh.

It never happened. The puck struck the netting at a crazy angle and bounced back into play with unusual force, falling in front of the net. Ed Bruneteau was there and easily pushed the puck past the stunned McCool for a 1-0 win.

The humiliation that Toronto had foisted on Detroit in 1942 -- four straight victories after three consecutive defeats -- now confronted the startled Maple Leafs. It appeared that Detroit's superiority over Toronto during the regular season (8-1 with one tie) finally had asserted itself.

The specter of playing Game 7 on Olympia Stadium ice was just that much more proof that Toronto seemed doomed. Day examined the evidence and called a team meeting before Game 7, on April 22, 1945.

"I see by the Detroit papers," Day said, "that we are about to get beaten. I don't believe it and I hope you don't believe it. Show me a game like you did the other night in Toronto and we'll win the Cup."

Hill made Day look good by scoring 5:38 into the game, giving the Maple Leafs an early 1-0 lead. McCool kept Detroit off the scoreboard until 8:16 of the third period, when Murray Armstrong picked up the rebound of Hollett's shot and beat McCool, tying the game 1-1.

In theory the momentum should have shifted to the Red Wings. But it didn't.

At 11:55, referee Bill Chadwick penalized Syd Howe of the Red Wings for high sticking Gus Bodnar. Day immediately sent his power play onto the ice, and defenseman Babe Pratt soon became a hero.

Pratt sent a pass from the blue line to Metz, who was standing in front of the net. Lumley anticipated the move and blocked Metz's shot, but the rebound skimmed out to the onrushing Pratt, who beat Lumley at 12:14 to give Toronto a 2-1 lead.

For the final 7:46, McCool was unbeatable. Ulcers or no ulcers, he fought off the pain and helped Toronto hold on for a 2-1 win and the Stanley Cup.

When the ice had cleared, McCool cornered Day and, almost tearfully, whispered: "Thanks coach for sticking with me."

Day later added "Of all the boys on my team, Frank got the greatest kick out of achieving Stanley Cup eminence in his rookie year!"

Then, a pause and a postscript: "If I were to single anyone for individual praise I would have to say that McCool came farthest since training camp in Owen Sound!"

That's about as far as McCool's rewards went. He was slightly less than a hero to Smythe, who, the following autumn, refused his request for a $500 raise despite McCool's threat to retire.

"You'll probably hate yourself for the balance of your active life," Smythe warned McCool when the goaltender threatened to hang up his pads.

Though McCool eventually re-signed, he played only 22 games in 1945-46, going 10-9 with three ties as the Maple Leafs missed the playoffs. He retired for good at the end of the and eventually became sports editor of the Calgary Albertan.

McCool's stomach ailments eventually did him in. He died in 1973, at age 54. According to his daughter, ulcers were a partial cause of death.

Looking backward, Smythe was wrong: McCool was as courageous as any goaltender who ever donned the pads. What's more, he'll be remembered as the only one ever to have three straight shutouts to open a Stanley Cup Final -- and win the 1945 Cup for Toronto!


https://www.nhl.com/news/toronto-goalte ... -298956176
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2174 by LeafOfBread » Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:14 pm

Some trades are just straight up bad.

Some are so terrible, that even the players being sent the other way know exactly what a one-sided deal it is. Take the trade that sent former first-rounders Carlo Colaiacovo and Alex Steen to St. Louis in exchange for Lee Stempniak, for instance.

Interim GM Cliff Fletcher made the deal back in November 2008 and first delivered the news Colaiacovo and Steen without divulging some key details.

“(Cliff Fletcher) is like ‘you’ve been traded, so thanks for everything and good luck,'” Colaiacovo said on TSN’s ‘Landsberg In The Morning’ Wednesday.

“And me and Steen look at each other like ‘okay, we’ve been traded, but where are we getting traded too?”

“‘Oh, oh, sorry yeah, you’re getting traded to St. Louis.’ Then me and Steener look at each other again and Steener’s like ‘okay great, what’s the deal, who are we being traded for?’ He’s look ‘oh, oh, oh sorry yeah, we’re getting Lee Stempniak,’ and then he just pauses… we’re like… ‘and?'”

Waiting and fully expecting for Fletcher to tell them who else is included in the package coming back from the Blues, the former Leafs GM delivered some ego-slaughtering news.

“Thats it. Just Lee Stempniak.”

How did that one work out? Well, Colaiacovo had a decent six-year career after leaving Toronto, while Steen has been exceptional — posting over 450 points over the past decade with the Blues. Stempniak, meanwhile, managed to play just 123 games over two seasons with the Leafs.

Oh, Cliff.


dark times :fingered:
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2175 by Philthy Thrillz » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:49 pm

Where are the Leafs contacet wise? They traded Vesey, could be clearing spots.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2176 by WTF » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:02 pm

Philthy Thrillz wrote:Where are the Leafs contacet wise? They traded Vesey, could be clearing spots.


According to CapFriendly, we're at 35/50:
https://www.capfriendly.com/teams/mapleleafs
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2177 by WTF » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:11 pm

Of course, we still need to fill in some gaps, some of which may be filled with our own RFAs/UFAs:

#3C, #4C, #3LW

Hyman - Matthews - Nylander
Marleau - Kadri - Marner
Johnsson - ? - Kapanen
Martin? - ? - Brown

Rielly - Hainsey
Gardiner - Zaitsev
Dermott - ?

Maybe Grundstrom shows up to camp ready to compete for a spot but I wouldn't expect Timmy to be ready just yet. There's always the chance Babcock decides to try Willy at C for a season and bumps Brown or Kapanen up to play with Matthews (although let's be honest, it's probably Brown so he can keep retrying Hyman - Matthews - Brown). If Aaltonen or the Goat show up to camp and show something, we might be able to at least solve our #4C problem internally. Just give us more than what Dom Moore gave us.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2178 by Philthy Thrillz » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:51 pm

Is it time for a franchise player in his prime to come home? To embrace Leafs nation, and lead this team alongside Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Knads, and Mo to victory?
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2179 by Whit Dickman » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:21 am

Hockey's best coach, Babs, finishes 12th in Adam's voting.

Morons.
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Re: Random Leafs Shit That Isn't Threadworthy

Post #2180 by LeafOfBread » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:51 am

cawbber wrote:How the mighty have fallen.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bergerbytes

Feschuk did a whole piece on him.

Howard Berger, the one-time Maple Leafs beat reporter, was telling a story about his new life outside the sports business.

At the drugstore not long ago an acquaintance asked him how he’d been occupying his time. Berger, who hasn’t filed a report to air on Toronto radio since 2011, explained that he had recently made a career transition. He’s been working as a funeral director’s assistant at a mortuary.

“(The acquaintance) looked at me and said, ‘That’s got to be awfully depressing,’ ” Berger said. “And you can understand that reaction, because when you think of funerals, you think of death. The concept of death, for most people, is depressing, even though it’s as much a part of life as being born.”

But Berger doesn’t see his job in the same grim light.

“So I looked at her and I said, ‘I understand where you may be coming from, but it’s the most delightful, most meaningful work I’ve ever done in my life,’” he said. “She said, ‘Delightful work, carrying around dead bodies …’ ”

And so goes the typical skepticism. Berger, who began work at Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel on Steeles Avenue in November, has come to accept that there exists a certain percentage of society who find it hard to believe a job at a funeral home is the gilded road to personal fulfilment. To which he shrugs. As a man who spent the bulk of his adult life covering a star-crossed NHL team whose considerable ineptitude frequently made it an NHL punchline, you could say he is accustomed to folks making jokes about what he does for a living.

“If you want to be flippant, I guess people could say covering the Leafs after the (2004-05) lockout got me affiliated with the concept of death,” said Berger, 59, speaking of a stretch in which the Maple Leafs missed the playoffs 10 of 11 years. “I don’t like to make light of it. But we did enough post-mortems on hockey seasons that it was a natural progression to this job.”

Berger, of course, was well-known to many Maple Leaf fans during the 17 years he spent covering the bulk of the team’s games, home and away, for the radio station now known as Sportsnet 590 The FAN. Along the way Berger also wrote for three of Toronto’s four daily newspapers, ghostwrote the autobiography of late Blue Jays broadcaster Tom Cheek, and penned a book about travelling with the Maple Leafs in the 48-game season that came after the 1994-95 lockout.

He was, in the words of Pat Park, the Maple Leafs director of media relations until 2014, a “dogged reporter.” He was also, as the job sometimes demands, an occasional pain in Park’s keister.

“Whenever security called and said there was a reporter out in the back area where he wasn’t supposed to be, I always had a gut feeling it was Howard. And it usually was,” Park said in a recent interview. “Because he would go to any extent to get a story, or get a quote. There wasn’t much you could do to control Howard and where he was going to be. Because he was dead set on getting a quote, whether it was from Mats Sundin or Tie Domi or Tomas Kaberle …”

The tumultuous media business, especially its radio arm, is notoriously fickle. And so after Berger was fired from The FAN in June of 2011, he struggled to find work as a reporter. For a while he tried monetizing his still-active blog, an endeavour that landed him in federal tax court after authorities disputed the combined $64,406 in business losses he claimed in 2011 and 2012 after he continued travelling on the road with the Maple Leafs. Berger, as it happened, won his tax appeal but soon halted his blog-related travel. And while he continued writing, a media gig proved elusive.

“No regrets. Wonderful time. I worked for great people. They let me be me,” said Berger, a divorced father of two, speaking of his sports-journalism run. “The end wasn’t pleasant, but to this day I’m friends with the guy who let me go, (former FAN manager) Don Kollins. No hard feelings. It was a business decision.”

Kollins, for his part, is among those who find some measure of humour in Berger’s post-radio calling.

“I have to say I’m a little surprised,” Kollins wrote in a Twitter message. “Working with Howard, I never got he sense he was a ‘mourning’ guy.”

Berger, sitting in one of the chapel’s comfortable family rooms on a recent afternoon, said he finds his new occupation compelling because there are “no do-overs.” On any given day his on-the-job to-do list can include a number of solemn tasks. He might drive a hearse — a “coach” in the industry parlance — to pick up a body from a hospital or a retirement home or a residence. He might guide a group of pall bearers to a windblown gravesite north of the city. If it’s another day on the job for him, he has come to understand it’s often a seismic moment of grief for those he’s helping to serve.

“You’re going to see people in some of their most difficult hours,” Berger said. “And we only get one chance. It has to be done right. Whereas, I would put a Leaf report together in the studio, and if I didn’t like something I could erase it and start again. Human beings make mistakes in any given situation, but here, we can’t do it.”

It’s a long way from staking out the dressing-room exits to procure a soundbite from an escaping Maple Leaf. But as Park was saying the other day: “Howard seems to be taking to it,” even if some days are heavier than others.

“The hardest thing I’ve had to do so far, I had to pick up a stillborn child at the hospital. This poor little thing was wrapped up in a small sheet. You could fit it in both palms of your hands.. … It was a very quiet ride,” Berger said. “That is the most and the least appealing part of the job. Most appealing because you can apply your skills as a human being and feel like you’re helping people. Least appealing because what fundamentally decent person wants to see someone else grieving? There’s that sort of paradox to it. That’s the powerful part of it. … You’re guiding the deceased to his or her final resting place. It’s a terrific honour. It can be extremely moving. But ultimately you’re there for the living. Funerals are for the living.”

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