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Is Toronto a Brown Town?

- February 24th, 2012

Rick Nash? James Van Riemsdyk? Evgeni Nabokov? Jonathan Bernier? Steve Ott? Ryan Malone?

Who will the Maple Leafs end up with by the Feb. 27 trade deadline, if anyone?

However it ends up, you can add Dustin Brown’s name to the list of players the Leafs are said to be interested in.

With Jay Rosehill and Darryl Boyce being placed on waivers Friday morning, speculation ballooned throughout Toronto that the team was clearing roster space for the prospect of welcoming incoming players involved in a potential deal.

How that plays out remains to be seen.

What does seem apparent, however, is the Leafs’ interest in Brown, the Los Angeles Kings captain who fits Toronto’s thirst for a power forward.

Once again among the league leader in hits with 215, Brown, like the rest of his team, is having problems putting points on the board this season, registering just 14 goals and 17 assists in 61 games. At the same time, this is a guy who has registered 50-plus points in each of the past three seasons.

With a cap hit of $3.2 million US per year for the next two seasons, Brown’s contract would be easy to digest for the Leafs. Keep in mind, too, that Brown played for coach Ron Wilson and general manager Brian Burke during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics for Team USA.

According to various reports, the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are among the other teams said to be interested in Brown.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca
twitter.com/zeisberger

Jet Setters

- December 29th, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. – Whenever the Maple Leafs travel to western Canada, a electric buzz immediately ripples through the host city.

Whether it be Edmonton, Calgary or Vancouver, a visit by the Leafs becomes an event throughout the community; partially because they play in those rinks just once per season; partially because of the number of Toronto fans who live in those places.

Keeping that in mind, the environment surrounding Toronto’s game in Winnipeg on Saturday night will be crazier than usual.

Forget, for a moment, that it will be New Years’ Eve. No, the bigger story is that the Leafs will be playing in Winnipeg for the first time in almost 16 years.

Indeed, the Leafs have not competed in a regular season game in Winnipeg since Feb. 28, 1996 when they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Jets at the old WInnipeg Arena.

Former Leaf Ed Olczyk led the way for the Jets in that victory, scoring twice and adding an assist. Keith Tkachuk and Alexei Zhamnov added singles for Winnipeg while Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 37 of 40 Toronto shots.

Mats Sundin, Dave Andreychuk and Todd Warriner replied for the Leafs while Felix Potvin was saddled with the loss.

Come Saturday, more than 1-1/2 decades later, the Leafs once again will step onto Winnipeg ice.

Whichever team wins, this much is certain: It will be some kind of party.

Stanley Cup final diary: Day 9

- June 7th, 2011

BOSTON – The scene outside the TD Garden prior to Game 3 on Monday resembled a circus.

First off, kudos for the hundreds of Canuck fans who were on hand. Travelling from ocean to ocean to see your team play shows some deep dedication, not to mention a deep wallet.

I do have to question those who wore Canucks jersey with the name BURROWS on the back. Given the incident in which he bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron in Game 1, you are pretty much asking for a beer shampoo if you make that fashion statement when you are watching a game in the raucous Gah-den.

The most eye-catching getup, however, was the 300-lb blob who was dressed as one of the Green Men. His green suit was so tight, it was ripping at the back.

You get all kinds at a Stanley Cup final.

Stanley Cup final diary: Day 8

- June 7th, 2011

BOSTON – Sometimes questions are posed by media members that make you shake your head.

Such was the case on Sunday as this best-of-seven final shifted to Boston with the Canucks holding a 2-0 lead.

After Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was caught flopping out of position on the OT winner by Alex Burrows, he was actually second guessed about his style of play. In fact, it was suggested to Thomas by reporters that he might actually think of changing his style to a more conservative one.

What a stupid concept.

Thomas has led the Bruins to the final. He won the Vezina two years ago. He is a finalist for that same award this year.

Imagine if Roy Halladay’s fastball was getting swatted around in the World Series. Would Phillies manager Charlie Manuel come out and tell Halladay to start throwing knuckleballs, a pitch he doesn’t even throw?

No.

Nor will Claude Julien tell Thomas to start playing a butterfly, stay-in-the-net style, one he has never used.

The Bruins will live and die with Thomas flopping all over the ice. That’s the way it should be.

Stanley Cup final diary: Day 7

- June 5th, 2011

VANCOUVER – If this is what happens to to this city after two Stanley Cup final wins, it will be true chaos if the Vancouver Canucks manage two more.

When Alex Burrows scored just 11 seconds into overtime of Game 2, the Canucks jumped into a seemingly commanding 2-0 lead in the series.

And, in the process, ignited a party out on the streets outside. In some places, it was a bash that almost turned out of control.

Eight blocks were closed off in downtown Vancouver as flag-waving fans went nuts. As the media shuttle took us back from the arena to the hotel, the sidewalks were clogged with giddy people celebrating the win.

But in some places, things got out of hand. For the next three hours, the sirens of police cars and fire trucks could be heard wailing into the Vancouver night.

There are still memories here of the ugly riots that broke out the night that the Canucks lost Game 7 of the final to the New York Rangers back in 1994. After the incidents seen here after Game 2, you can bet the authorities will be taking measures in case the Canucks do win the Stanley Cup.

For the most part the partiers were well behaved. Let’s hope it stays that way.

As for the idiots who caused damage on Saturday night, let’s hope they are strictly dealt with.