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Popular Leafs Doug Gilmour, Wendel Clark, Johnny Bower and some posts you might have missed

We often, in Leafland, talk about our “favorites”  As in, who is your favorite Leaf right now?  Who is your favorite Leaf of all-time?

In the modern era, I’m guessing that the most popular Leaf may well be Doug Gilmour.  For that relatively short window of time, Gilmour was the heart and soul of those wonderful Pat Burns team from now almost twenty years ago.

Gilmour played with so much determination ( a kind of latter-day Bobby Clarke, actually)—not to mention his tremendous vision and passing ability—that he stood apart from most other Leafs in terms of being a a true “fan favourite”.

To this day, you just have to say “Dougie”  (click to see an earlier post on Gilmour) and Leaf fans know who you are talking about. 

A guy who was drafted into the organization and played here on three separate occasions was the much-loved Wendel Clark.  I haven’t probably written enough about him here, but did post a piece a while back (click here to see that column…)

Still, I wonder if the most popular Leaf of all-time may be the old “China Wall” as he was sometimes known, Johnny Bower.  Bower, now in his 80s, remains by all accounts (I interviewed him only once, about ten years ago, but what a gentleman he was) as nice a guy as you could ever want to interact with.  And what a treasure he was on the legendary Maple Leaf teams that won those four Cups in the 1960s of my youth.

I posted recently on Bower’s “last great game” in blue and white, which happened during the 1968-'69 playoffs.  You might want to have a peek by clicking here

With training camp now only days away, really, you could also check out a post on some of the bigger issues facing the Leafs heading into training camp (click), including stories on Gustavsson, Connolly, where the squad's leadership will come from as well as some thoughts on the depth concerns the Leafs will have to deal with.

Our hockey fix is not far off now…


  1. Norm Ullman, my fave of all I saw. Absolutely relentless forechecker, best I ever saw. Great scorer, total class.

    After that, Salming. People today loved Kaberle, but Salming was just a monster by comparison - better offensively, much tougher, and leadership pouring out of him.

    Gilmour, Sittler, Keon, Lanny, Wendel, all rank up there.

    Ok ok, and Tiger. ;-)

  2. Quinn esq...those are all great names, for sure. Ullman was a wonderful player in Toronto, even better in his early prime, perhaps, with the Red Wings.

    And yes, Tiger Williams was the favourite of a lot of Leaf fans (and Harold Ballard, too!) in the mid and later '70s...

  3. Found a little present for you and everyone who reads here, Michael-
    You can almost hear his spine snap.

  4. Thanks KidK...I think I posted on that very hit a few months ago...I was trying to remember the details. The video reminds us just how hard a hit it was. Norton was a good d-man with the Sharks and that was a huge hit in that memorable series. Wonder how that "type" of hit would be gauged today?

  5. Michael-
    I ended up rooting around for that hit because of that Wendel post you linked to.

  6. Thanks KidK...that video was all Wendel...