Toronto Maple Leafs v Vancouver Canucks

ESPN the Magazine tabs Maple Leafs as worst team in major sports


As Puck Daddy’s Harrison Mooney points out, the Toronto Maple Leafs finished last overall in ESPN’s “Ultimate Team” standings.

They’re ranked 122 out of 122 teams in the four “major” professional sports – edging the woeful Sacramento Kings – so they’re not just last among NHL teams.

The Columbus Blue Jackets were the second lowest ranked NHL team while – wait for it – the Phoenix Coyotes were the No.1 pro hockey team.

How did ESPN come to such conclusions?

The quirky poll ranks teams in such categories as “bang for the buck” and “affordability,” so it makes some sense that a team that struggles in the standings but lights up the box office would perform so poorly.

Mooney goes into Toronto’s history in this specific format:

The Leafs have finished no better than 120th since 2008, but they’ve never been last before. In 2008, they were edged out by the New York Knicks. In 2009, it was the Knicks and the L.A. Clippers. In 2010, only the Clippers remained, and in 2011, the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins beat them out.

Note: the table in the link seems a little funky, so Mooney’s account of the magazine itself should be more reliable read on the study’s specifics.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.