One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed over the past now (almost) three years that I’ve been involved in the hockey blogging community is the quality of work that is part of the daily blogosphere. I’m amazed at the number of fine “non-mainstream” hockey writers there are “out there”, and how many pen well-presented perspectives on the Maple Leafs. (There are many outstanding non-Leaf sites, of course, but today I’m focused on the Leaf side of things…)
I’m sure I will inadvertently neglect mentioning a number of good ones, but I’ll try to offer a nod today to a few that have certainly caught my eye and made their mark:
We Want a Cup - Matteo’s @wewantacupcom site at WWAC brings together a really nice range of views on the blue and white. The site just continues to grow and get better all the time, including some great video stuff. If you’ve never checked it out, by all means do so. It’s filled with passion and, importantly, the site sets high expectations for the Maple Leaf hockey organization. That’s how it should be. I think you’ll end up going back.
Maple Leaf Hot Stove - founded by Alec Brownscombe @MapleLeafsHS this outstanding site includes some of the best young writing talent you can imagine. Really a quality site: you’ll get game-analysis (they’re doing great stuff on the Marlies these days) and personal opinion pieces on a regular basis. It all makes for a really strong site.
Everyone knows about Pension Plan Puppets
@mlse . They remain at the top of the heap with their blend of caustic wit, daily wrap-ups and plenty of high-end statistical analysis. PPP and Chemmy are the masterminds, supported ably by The Lone Ranger, Batman and their cohorts (who in real life are SkinnyFish, Bower Power, J.P. and birky…). There really is something for everyone who follows the Leafs at PPP.
The Leafs Nation, kind of a cousin of PPP, is growing weekly— with plenty of solid writers and regular podcasts thrown in to add color. It will likely evolve into a major player in the months ahead.
TMLFans.ca is another favorite. It’s been around for ages, and Rob Del Mundo
@bcphockeyblog is another site with solid writing and useful information galore....as is Hope in the Big Smoke @Hope_Smoke
@TMLFansRob and his colleagues have continued to build a really neat Leaf space.Blue Chip Hockey Prospects
TML’s Hockey blog is yet another worthwhile stop in the Leaf blog space…
There are so many solid individual writers who deliver quality regularly that I can’t possibly name them all. One personal favorite is Mark Ascione, a long-time hockey observer whose writing appears on The Hockey Writers site. An example of his strong work is this recent piece: http://thehockeywriters.com/brian-burke-is-his-own-worst-enemy/
I guess the thing that I enjoy most is that there is a genuine camaraderie within the hockey blogging community. Those who visit this site regularly know that I’ve tried to encourage an attitude of mutual respect here at VLM. That is, we may disagree on, say, players we “like” or “don’t like”, how Brian Burke does his job, who the team should keep or trade, who they might sign or draft, etc.— but at the end of the day, young or old, we are all lifelong Maple Leaf supporters and it’s crucial that people debate respectfully. Otherwise, this isn’t a lot of fun.
I’m an older guy now, approaching 60 years of age. When it comes to my writing here, I’m not a stats guy, and not particularly funny. I just write about what I remember, and how I feel about what I see with the current team. But I’ve been fortunate to be around long enough to remember vividly when the Leafs were Cup contenders every year. I cut my teeth on the team in the late 1950s, when names like Dickie Duff (right), Johnny Bower, George Armstrong, Allan Stanley and Billy Harris were household hockey names. This was, of course, long before all-sports radio and TV stations and NHL Center Ice. In those days we were thrilled to see one game a week on Saturday nights on Hockey Night in Canada—and the television coverage didn’t kick in until the game was already well into the second period! But those were special moments, wonderful memories, in part because it was something we were able to be a part of, as a fan, so seldom.
Here at Vintage Leaf Memories, I spend a fair bit (too much, perhaps) of time reflecting on and talking about my memories of those old days. But for me, it’s one way of staying connected with my youth, my team, and it gives me an opportunity to share personal memories with visitors who weren’t around at the time. And sometimes, there are indeed some interesting parallels between what I observed forty years ago or more and what’s happening with this Maple Leaf team now.
In any event, it’s nice to be part of a larger “community”, and one with so many talented individuals. And I just thought that, today, I’d throw a few bouquets, because they are so well-deserved.
If you’d like to add anything, just send your thoughts along. I’m sure I’ve missed some great sites that are very much worth mentioning.