Two books shouldn’t escape the attention of Maple Leafs fans during the holiday season.
Of course, the serious Leafs fan should have this pair on his or her shelf already.
Welcome to Maple Leaf Gardens, by official team photographer Graig Abel and Sun colleague Lance Hornby, doesn’t just take one back to the glory days of the fabled hockey arena.
Abel has been shooting the Leafs for 36 years and appears to have missed nothing, whether it’s intense game action or candid behind-the-scenes happenings, photos of which have not been published before.
What’s refreshing about the book is that it’s not loaded down with famous shots one can find anywhere on the Internet.
Yes, we see Doug Gilmour scoring on a wraparound during the 1993 playoffs against St. Louis Blues goalie Curtis Joseph, but there’s not much else which is familiar, and that’s a good thing.
It’s not only the Leafs who grace the pages. Concerts, international hockey, the Toronto Rock — if it went down at the Gardens and Abel was there to capture it, you will find photo evidence the book.
The art is just one part of the book that will have you picking it up often. Along the way, Abel and Hornby, who has been covering the Leafs for the Sun since 1986, provide anecdotes that you simply won’t find anywhere else. It’s insight that only those who were there can provide.
And what can you say about Dave Bidini’s Keon and Me that can properly capture the engaging read in about 200 words?
From the opening line — “The boy loved summer, but he loved winter more” — the hook is in. From there, we go on a revealing journey through Bidini’s childhood in west-end Toronto and the heartaches that are a part of every Leafs fan’s day-to-day existence.
The description of his youthful days, of becoming a man as a passionate fan of the Leafs, puts the reader no further away than arm’s length in just about every passage. You will feel like you there. It’s coming of age laid bare, something you won’t find in the any of the colour-by-numbers hockey books that are published annually.
Bidini’s respect for Dave Keon, his admiration for the Leafs great and the manner in which it is expressed, how it guides Bidini, takes the reader on a fascinating ride.
Bidini’s search for his hero is gripping. To say this is not a typical hockey book would be a understatement.
Bidini long ago made his stamp as a musician and author. With Keon and Me, he ensures it’s that much more indelible.
Two books shouldn’t escape the attention of Maple Leafs fans during the holiday season.
Here’s what Leafs fans should be looking forward to the most in the HBO 24/7 series that is scheduled to debut this weekend:
In a preview video released by the league, Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul talks about his years playing under Leafs coach Randy Carlyle. Essentially, Lupul says, one of the coach’s key commandments is that “everything stays in the dressing room.”
Under the prying eyes of HBO, not everything will remain there, of course, but how much of Carlyle’s personality, and those of the players, will be revealed.
The cameras have been trailing the team for a week now and in Sunday’s game vs. the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre, an HBO shooter between the player’s benches seemed focussed on the Leafs coach for most of the game. How much footage was worth using in documentary form? We’re about to find out.
Brendan Shanahan’s video explanation for suspending Dion Phaneuf for two games:
Sunday night in Toronto, Maple Leafs defenceman Dion Phaneuf checked Boston defenceman Kevan Miller into the boards from behind. As the video shows, Phaneuf moves deep into the offensive zone to pursue the puck as Toronto presses for a goal with its goaltender pulled for a sixth attacker.
After blocking a pass, Miller retrieves the puck in the corner and is attempting to control it, as Phaneuf closes in on him. While Miller is playing the puck with his left skate, and with his back to the play, Phaneuf hits him with significant force, driving Miller face-first into the boards. This is boarding.
It’s relevant to note, that just before contact and while Miller is trying to control the puck at his feet, he is slashed behind the right leg by David Clarkson. This causes Miller to buckle his plant leg, and although this clearly contributes to the awkwardness and violence of Miller’s contact into the boards, the fact remains that he was never eligible to be hit like this in the first place. At no point during his approach does Phaneuf see anything other than Miller’s numbers, so the onus is on him to either avoid the hit completely, or at the very least minimize it more than he does.
To summarize, this was boarding. Miller was shaken up on the play and left the game but did not suffer any apparent injury. Phaneuf has neither been fined nor suspended previously during his nine-season NHL career. The department of player safety has suspended Dion Phaneuf for two games.
The Maple Leafs will have to do without captain Dion Phaneuf for two games.
Phaneuf, who slammed Boston Bruins defenceman Kevan Miller into the boards from behind on Sunday night during a game at the Air Canada Centre, was suspended by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan following a hearing by telephone on Tuesday morning.
“I have taken pride in playing a physical game for a long time and a lot of games, playing physical and playing hard and I have taken pride in playing between the rules and doing it the right way,” Phaneuf said.
“So I’m disappointed in the hit and I’m disappointed in the suspension.”
The NHL said the two-game suspension was for boarding and that a video would be released later in the day.
There was no penalty on the play. Phaneuf, who had not been suspended in his previous eight NHL seasons, will miss the Leafs’ home game against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday and a road game in St. Louis against the Blues on Thursday.
Phaneuf will be eligible to return on Saturday night in Toronto when the Chicago Blackhawks visit.
Phaneuf will forfeit $66,666.66 US. The money goes to the NHL players’ emergency assistance fund.
“We support our player,” Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “The situation we thought Miller did kind of go off-balance, but the criteria the league takes into account, they felt it was warranted.
“But we have a difference of opinion. They don’t take our opinions one way or the other, so you accept it and move on.”
It’s the fifth suspension the Leafs have absorbed since the start of the exhibition season.
Also told to sit by the NHL for various transgressions were Phil Kessel, David Clarkson, Carter Ashton and Nazem Kadri.
Phaneuf practised with his teammates on Tuesday at the MasterCard Centre. Expect Mark Fraser to be back in the lineup with Phaneuf suspended.
Morgan Rielly was paired with Phaneuf during practice, an indication the 19-year-old rookie, who has been a healthy scratch in four of the past six games, will not return against the Kings.
Rielly has not been told whether the Leafs will loan him to Canada for the world junior tournament, but at this point, it seems like a good bet that he will be.
Meanwhile, forward Joffrey Lupul practised on a line with Peter Holland and Nikolai Kulemin, an indication he could return to the lineup against Los Angeles. Lupul has missed the past seven games with a groin injury.
“It felt good,” Lupul said after practice. “I think I am ready to play.”
And it’s likely that goalie Jonathan Bernier will start against the Kings, his former team, but Carlyle did not confirm as much, saying he would take into consideration that Bernier was with Los Angeles previously.
Bring the man some flowers.
In Toronto Life’s January issue, Joffrey Lupul is the interview subject in the magazine’s top 10 feature, where we learn about the items which that certain person can’t live without.
There are some answers you might expect from a socially conscious 30-year-old who just happens to make millions of dollars playing in the National Hockey League.
First on the list is Lupul’s Yamaha acoustic guitar. No surprise there, given the well-documented interest Lupul has in playing the instrument.
Watch collection? Check. One for every occasion.
A Klean Kanteen reusable bottle? For sure. Lupul isn’t kidding when he says that “it sucks” to see the amount of water bottles in the garbage cans in the Leafs’ dressing room at the end of each day. He’s trying to get his teammates to switch to reusable bottles.
Dr. Dre headphones, a Gotstyle peacoat, a pick punch that makes guitar picks out of old plastic, all are things on Lupul’s must-have list.
Lupul once bought a pair of UGG slippers on the way to a party at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles, not far from his off-season home in Newport Beach. Figured he would need them for just that night, but still wears them. Really comfortable, apparently.
The last item on Lupul’s list?
“I always have fresh flowers in my house,” Lupul told the magazine. “Usually orchids or sunflowers. I just think your house looks and smells better with flowers.”
No argument here.