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Maple Leaf memories poll results

Thanks to all those who took the time to take part in our Maple Leaf memories poll. The survey drew a wide range of responses, and it’s been fun going over the responses. Results are still trickling in, but I wanted to provide an update.

One thing I should mention is that, while I tried to draw on my memory bank as best I could in developing the questions, it was inevitable that I would forget something pretty obvious. That was the case in question number 10, when I omitted Doug Gilmour’s famous OT marker in ’93 against Cujo and the Blues. But there was a write-in section, and readers gently reminded me of my “mis-recollection”.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Johnny Bower was selected as the top Maple leaf goalie since 1955. (We’ve included a great game-action photo of Bower from the early ‘60s. It’s one of those fantastic Harold Barkley pictures, showing Bower face-to-face with Red Wing legend Gordie Howe at Maple Leaf Gardens.) Helping the Leafs win four Stanley Cups—and being one of the genuinely nicest guys in Toronto sports history—has earned him kudos even from Leaf fans for decades—even those who aren’t old enough to have ever seen him play and that’s likely reflected in this survey.

Here are the results of the poll to date. We’ve listed the two most popular answers for each question:

Your favorite Leaf of the ‘50s and ‘60s:
• Dave Keon 48%
• Johnny Bower 17%

Your favorite leaf of the ‘70s and ‘80s:
• Darryl Sittler 32%
• Borje Salming 23%
• Lanny McDonald 23%

 Your favorite Leaf from 1990s and 2000s:
• Wendel Clark 36%
• Doug Gilmour 32%

The most disappointing Leaf playoff loss since the 1950s:
• 1993 semi-finals versus LA Kings 64%
• 2002 semi-finals versus Carolina Hurricanes 18%

Best Leaf trade in modern history:
• 1992 acquiring Doug Gilmour 43%
• 1994 acquiring Mats Sundin 35%

Favorite Leaf individual achievement:
• Darryl Sittler’s 10 points in 1976 against the Bruins 48%
• Gary Roberts’ performance in the 2002 playoffs 13%
• Doug Gilmour’s performance in the 1993 playoffs 13%

Best Leaf goalie since 1955:
• Johnny Bower 48%
• Curtis Joseph 22%

The most exciting Leaf player since the late 1950s:
• Wendel Clark 35%
• Mats Sundin 22%

Favorite Leaf “team” moment of the past 50 years:
• 1993 beating Detroit in the quarter-finals 43%
• 1967 winning the Cup versus Montreal 24%

Most memorable leaf overtime goal since 1960:
• Nikolai Borschevsky 1993 quarter-finals versus Detroit 27%
• Lanny McDonald 1978 quarter-finals versus Islanders 23%

Of course, these results probably reflected only a small sample of opinion, and also are skewed toward the recent era—particularly the last twenty years or so. No doubt many people following this site are in their 30’s, and consequently may have an interest in—but not deep familiarity with—the “old days”. If an older demographic had responded, some of the great old names may have come up more often.

In any event is was fun to do, and we’ll plan another poll before too long.

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