Throwback Thursday: This week in 2002, Ed Belfour makes Maple Leafs debut recording a shutout

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 2002 (Oct. 10), Ed Belfour made his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs recording a shutout.
He had signed with the Leafs the July prior and was looking to rebound after a brutal season with the Dallas Stars — and that’s exactly what he did. He got off to a hot start in that first game as he stopped 33 shots en route to shutting out the Pittsburgh Penguins.
While he had a “rough” October recording a .909 save percentage, he blew the doors off the rest of the year. Playing in 62 games, he posted a 37-20-5 record with a .922 save percentage.
Over those three years in Toronto, he put up the best numbers of his career. He posted a 93-61-15 record and a .912 save percentage.
Belfour spent two more years in Toronto, before playing one season in Flordia prior to retiring.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 2003, Toronto Maple Leafs name John Ferguson Jr. general manager

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 2003 (Aug. 29), the Toronto Maple Leafs hired John Ferguson Jr. as the 12th general manager in franchise history.
He inherited a good team from Pat Quinn, but the Leafs took backwards steps every year Ferguson Jr. was managing the team. Despite a first season that saw the Leafs put up 103 points placing second in the Northeast division, the Leafs struggled in the playoffs.
While they beat the Ottawa Senators in seven games in the first round, the Leafs bowed out to the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round in six games.
They narrowly missed the playoffs with a 90 point season in 2005-06 and Ferguson relieved Quinn of his duties behind the bench in favour of Paul Maurice. Ferguson’s third season, 2006-07, saw the Leafs come out with another 91 point season and were a far shot from a highly competitive playoff season.
In his fourth and final year, the Leafs struggled mightily winning 36 of 82 games with an 83 point season. It spelt the end of not only Ferguson in the GM role but Maurice behind the bench too.
Ferguson didn’t make many trades in his time manning …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1985, Toronto Maple Leafs sign Marian Stastny

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This week in 1985 (Aug. 12), the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Marian Stastny.
Marian spent only one-year playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs scoring 23 goals and 53 points in 70 games. He joined his younger brother, Peter Stastny, in Quebec starting in 1981-82 and spent four years there before moving to Toronto.
All in all, Marian saw good success during his five-year career. Over 322 games, he scored 121 goals and 294 total points.
His year with the Leafs saw a great rebound year after a tough 85-86 season with Quebec, but Toronto was unable to get out of the first round and Marian was held off the scoresheet.
His brother, Peter, had a much longer career having left the Czech league for the NHL in 1980. Peter was a superstar for the Nordiques with multiple 100-point seasons. Peter played 15 years in his hall of fame career scoring 450 goals and 1239 points in 977 games. His sons, Yan and Paul, both had long NHL careers too.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1977, Toronto Maple Leafs give Roger Neilson first head coaching gig

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 1977 (July 25), the Toronto Maple Leafs gave Roger Neilson his first head coaching gig in the NHL as the 43-year-old replaced Red Kelly.
While Neilson’s time behind the bench in Toronto was short, it was full of wacky stories from owner Harold Ballard.
The oddness started when Neilson, who had been interviewed by Jim Gregory for the job, found out he was hired while reading an old newspaper in an Austrian library in the summer of 1977.
In his first year, he brought the Leafs to a 92 point, 41 win season and three rounds into the playoffs. Toronto beat the LA Kings in two games in the first round, before dispatching the New York Islanders in seven games in round two.
But in round three, those Leafs were no match for the Montreal Canadiens who swept Toronto in four games. The season marked a 10 point regular season increase over the year prior and the Leafs got one round deeper into the playoffs.
In his second year behind the bench, the Leafs struggled with an 81 point regular season.
Nielson was initially fired by Ballard after a 2-1 loss to the …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1998, Toronto Maple Leafs sign Curtis Joseph

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This week in 1998 (July 15), the Toronto Maple Leafs signed free agent goalie Curtis Joseph.
CuJo, then 31, spent four years playing for the Leafs and became a fan favourite into the early 2000s. Over what was a four-year stint, Joseph notched a 133-88-27 record to go along with a .912 save percentage — his best with any team he played for in his career.
He backstopped some deep runs for the Leafs between 1998-2002 where he continued his great play. In 60 playoff games over those four years, he posted a 32-28 record and .919 save percentage.
Joseph left the Leafs in June 2002 when he was traded to the Calgary Flames for a 2003 3rd round pick and future considerations.
Joseph had stints in Detroit, Phoenix and Calgary before ultimately returning to Toronto in 2008-09. While Joseph struggled that year posting a 11-5-9 record and a .869 save percentage, he ended up retiring after not finding a home the following year.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1973, Toronto Maple Leafs purchase winger Eddie Shack

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This week in 1973 (July 3), the Toronto Maple Leafs purchased Eddie Shack from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Shack, then 36, had been reacquired by the Leafs for his second stint with the team. Shack had first been with the Leafs after he was traded there in November 1960.
During that first stint in Toronto, one that lasted him six years. During that first stint, he scored 177 points in 419 games and helped the club win their four Stanley Cups in the ’60’s.
Shack ended up playing stints with the Boston Bruins, LA Kings, Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins before his return to Toronto. In his final two seasons, Shack played in 85 games scoring nine goals and as many assists before retiring.
Sad news to end this piece with, as reports have surfaced that Shack is in palliative care due to a battle with cancer. The Sudbury-born Shack, now 83, had radiation done early this year and appeared to be doing better, his nephew Peter Woitowich told the Sudbury Star.
All the best to the Shack family.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1986, Toronto Maple Leafs Dave Keon named to Hockey Hall of Fame

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This week in 1986 (June 24), Toronto Maple Leafs legend Dave Keon was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Keon joined the Leafs in a way so many did at that time — right out of St. Michael’s College — playing his rookie season in 1960. That year, the 20-year-old scored 20 goals and 45 points in 70 games edging out teammate Bob Nevin for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.
Winning multiple Byng trophies along the way, Keon was a superstar for the Leafs throughout the 1960’s and into the 1970’s. By the time he left the Maple Leafs in 1975 to play in the WHA, Keon had scored 365 goals and 858 points in 1062 games.
He ranks among the top players in team history in many categories including fourth in games played, third in goals, fourth in assists (493) and third in points.
In 2017, Keon was named as one of the 100 greatest players in NHL history and a statue of him rests on Legends Row.
Also named to the HHOF that year were Leo Boivin, Serge Savard and builder William Hanley.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1964, Toronto Maple Leafs select Terry Sawchuk in intra-league draft

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This week in 1964 (June 10), the Toronto Maple Leafs selected legendary goalie Terry Sawchuk from the Detroit Red Wings.
Sawchuk, 35, joined the Leafs after having 14 successful seasons with both the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins. He joined Johnny Bower in sharing time in net and formed an incredible duo splitting time.
Some of his most successful years in the NHL were with the Leafs. In 91 regular-season games, he posted a 42-30-13 record and .912.
Sawchuk was a key player in the Leafs 1967 cup win posting a 6-4 record with an amazing .931 save percentage. The 37-year-old stood on his head and was a big reason why those Leafs took home the cup.
After the cup win, Toronto left him unprotected in the expansion draft and Sawchuk was selected by the LA Kings. Sawchuk spent three more years in the NHL before he died at the age of 40.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1958, Toronto Maple Leafs draft Johnny Bower

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 1958 (June 3), the Toronto Maple Leafs selected future hall of fame goalie Johnny Bower in an inter-league draft.
Bower got his start in the hockey world playing for the Prince Albert Black Hawks after returning from serving in world war two in 1944-45 and turned pro playing for the Cleveland Barons.
He proved himself to be a star in the American Hockey League winning numerous awards and three Calder Cup championships. His NHL debut came in 1953-54 when at the age of 29, Bower played all 70 games for the New York Rangers.
But the next year, he found himself back in the minor leagues. When the 1958 inter-league draft came, Toronto selected Bower but it wasn’t immediately a homerun selected.
Punch Imlach, who had recently been hired by the Leafs, visited Bower and convinced him to give the NHL one last shot. Bower’s preference had been to remain with the Barons, but gave the Leafs a chance.
It turned out to be worth it, as Bower ended up becoming one of the best goalies to ever play in the NHL. A late start didn’t hamper …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1984, Toronto Maple Leafs hired Dan Maloney as head coach

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 1984 (May 26), the Toronto Maple Leafs hired Dan Maloney as their head coach.
Maloney’s time in Toronto, however, was short and not-so-sweet lasting two seasons. He mustered a 45-100-15 record making the playoffs in only one of two seasons.
But in that year the Leafs did make the playoffs, 1985-86, they were able to make a bit of noise. Toronto eeked in with the fourth seed in the Norris Division and faced off against the Chicago Blackhawks.
There, the Leafs completed a three-game sweep advancing into the second round. Toronto took the St. Louis Blues to seven games, but fell in that final game 2-1.
Maloney was fired after the Leafs lost in those playoffs and was replaced behind the bench by John Brophy.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation