Tag: Steve Simmons

Randy Carlyle

PHT Morning Skate: Randy Carlyle fired/Bruce Boudreau hired reaction edition


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In case you missed it, the Ducks fired Randy Carlyle after beating Montreal 4-1 last night and hired Bruce Boudreau to take his spot just three days after getting canned by the Caps.

Eric Stephens at the OC Register is the go-to guy on all things Ducks. (OC Register)

Stephen Whyno was prescient when asking Boudreau about Anaheim as a potential future landing spot. (Washington Times)

The kids at Anaheim Calling are very proud of themselves as they’ve been calling for Carlyle’s ouster. (Anaheim Calling)

Puck Daddy, meanwhile, is calling the hiring of Boudreau to take Carlyle’s spot a “genius” move. (Puck Daddy)

Elsewhere around the league:

David Perron is shaping up to be back in the lineup for St. Louis this weekend. Good news all around. (Post-Dispatch)

Calgary’s top defenseman Mark Giordano is on injured reserve. Just what they needed, more bad news. (TSN)

The Kings are getting Dexter-like in their ability to kill. Kill penalties that is you sick freaks. (L.A. Kings Insider)

Joe Finley the “Lawnmower Man” gets the call to join the Sabres. (Buffalo News)

Mark Spector had a great piece about the late, great Jim Kelley. (Sportsnet)

Anatomy lesson: Jo Innes breaks down what it’s like to break your jaw. (Backhand Shelf)

The Sharks be line shufflin’. (CSNBayArea.com)

Oh sure, the Bruins beat down the Maple Leafs but Steve Simmons says it felt like a win. Sure, it did Steve. (Toronto Sun)

Mike Danton is upset with the author of his tell-all book


The Lost Dream is a book written by the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons on the life of former NHL player Mike Danton, who spent five years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder. The book details the bizarre relationship between Danton and his former agent, David Frost, and the circumstances which led to Danton hiring a hitman to allegedly kill Frost.

The word “allegedly” is important because to this day, neither Danton nor Frost will confirm Frost was the intended target. That information is important contextually, given what Danton tweeted at Simmons earlier:


The Lost Dream leans heavily on interviews and anecdotes from most of Danton’s estranged family, the Jeffersons (Danton changed his surname after being drafted by the New Jersey Devils.) This might explain the series of follow-up tweets between Danton and an Ontario-area TV reporter:


Not sure why Danton picked this particular time to open up a can of worms. He’s worked his way back to playing professional hockey (currently with IFK Ore of Swedish Division 1) and the book has been out for over a month. It’s also not as if Simmons’ work was the first bit of coverage the incident received.

Perhaps it’s an effort to drum up bids on Danton’s game-worn jersey, available on eBay now.

Update: Simmons has responded to Danton via Twitter…


Did a Toronto radio host use a homophobic reference to describe Cody Franson’s play?

Cody Franson

When the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Cody Franson from the Nashville Predators it was hailed as a great move by Leafs GM Brian Burke and a solid addition to the Leafs lineup. After all, Franson is a younger player and a blue liner that plays with offensive skills.  While the Leafs have physical defensemen in the lineup like captain Dion Phaneuf and Keith Aulie, Franson will be able to help them score goals.

Toronto AM 640 host Bill Watters in talking about the acquisition of Franson, however, had a different way of discussing Franson on the air and Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets is doing their part to point out how crass it was. As for what Watters had to say on Franson, it may seem innocuous on first glance, but it’s possible there was a darker meaning to it all.

“Well, I’m at a loss. The only… you’ve got to look through his statistics, he’s got some offensive flair, he is not what you would call a rugged, truculent, testosteronic, guy… He’s more of a 3rd of July parade guy. He likes to enjoy the good life and I don’t, I just can’t put a reason behind why you’d give up on a 6’5 defenceman with offensive skill unless he’s just a bit too soft.”

If you’re wondering what parade went on in Toronto on July 3rd, that was the Gay Pride parade. The same parade that Leafs GM Brian Burke participated in in honor of his son Brendan. Now you see why this statement could be a lot more foolish.

At Pension Plan Puppets, they’d like answers and they’d like to know what Watters meant by what he said. Watters has not responded to them but the site is making their case very clear and Burke’s involvement in supporting gay rights is at the center of it.

If Watters intended this as an anti-gay slur, it is unacceptable. Leafs fans haven’t had a lot to be proud about over the last few years as far as on-ice matters are concerned, but off the ice, the Leafs organization has given us several reasons to cheer. The Leafs have been at the forefront of the developing movement to confront and eliminate homophobia in hockey.

Burke’s commitment to fighting homophobia and intolerance, particularly since the death of his son Brendan, has been truly inspiring. While we would like to think that the organization would reconsider their relationship with AM 640, “the home of the Leafs” because of something like this, we realize that will never happen. These contracts go to the highest bidder, and every penny counts (especially if we’re going to buy more Cody Fransons). Moreover, we don’t know if Watters reflects the views of the station’s ownership.

If Watters meant what it seems like he did with his phrasing, he’s flat out wrong for describing a player in such a way. It’s careless, pointless, and needlessly hateful to say things that way. Playground insults borne out of cruel beliefs have no place in the media. If Watters meant something else by what he said, he’d be better served to clear the air and explain himself.

Given how the Toronto media likes to act out, however, we’re not expecting anything to come of it. After all, when Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun went after and “deeply offended” Brian Burke for going to Afghanistan to visit Canadian troops on the day NHL free agency kicked off on July 1, nothing came of that other than Burke being especially cold towards Simmons in press conferences. It’s tough to make your mark in Toronto media and to do what it takes to get ratings or readers, but if Bill Watters opted to take a potshot at a new player in such a foul way… That’s unnecessary and wrong.

Maple Leafs re-sign Tyler Bozak to discount two-year, $1.95M deal

Tyler Bozak, Martin Brodeur

For quite some time, it was easy for Toronto Maple Leafs fans to dislike Tyler Bozak. Fair or not, his $3.725 million salary cap hit brought some heavy expectations for the young forward and he failed to satisfy the rabid Leafs fan base. Sure, there were some who made some logical arguments in defense of his play, but that price tag and misplaced expectations kept staring many playoff-starved fans in the face.

It should be easier for Leafs fans to cut Bozak some slack after Tuesday, though. The right-handed center signed a two-year, $1.95 million deal to remain in Toronto. That takes his cap hit to under $1 million per year ($975K to be exact), an eyebrow-raising drop from that previous $3.725 million mark. The Bozak deal completes a nice day of work for Leafs GM Brian Burke, who gave Clarke MacArthur a healthy raise but limited his risk by making it a two-year contract as well.

Perhaps such a nice day of signings should keep Steve Simmons and other Toronto media types from criticizing Burke for his work schedule?

Bozak scored 32 points in 2010-11 and 27 in 09-10. The 25-year-old center won’t be the kind of player who will make or break the Maple Leafs’ hopes of finally ending their playoff curse, but if the team makes enough solid decisions like these, they have a nice shot. We’ll take a look at the Maple Leafs’ work during the off-season later on this week.

Note: thanks to Crash the Crease and Tyler Schocks for clarification regarding Bozak’s contract.

Brian Burke “deeply offended” by Toronto columnist criticizing his visit with troops in Afghanistan

Brian Burke

There’s a saying that goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Apparently for Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke it’s one he’s gotten to be acquainted with recently. During TSN’s free agency frenzy broadcast this past Friday, Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons took Burke to task for being out of the country while the madness of free agency began at noon that day. Simmons took issue with Burke being in Afghanistan visiting Canadian troops (video).

While you’d think that those guys taking time out, especially when there’s business to be done back at home, to pay respect to those serving abroad and trying to lift their spirits would win Burke points with anyone and everyone, Simmons complained on the air and in print about Burke not being in Toronto to do Leafs business. At heart of his argument was Burke not being in town to negotiate with and convince Brad Richards to be a Maple Leaf. Richards, of course, signed with the New York Rangers and made Leafs fans disappointed they weren’t landing a #1 center.

Burke upon returning to Toronto had a few comments for Simmons criticisms of how he handled business from thousands of miles away. Michael Traikos of The National Post heard from a very upset Brian Burke.

Insults, taunts, slurs — he takes them all with a grain of salt. But when a Toronto columnist criticized the GM’s decision to visit the Canadian troops in Afghanistan on the same day that NHL free agency began last week, Burke said Monday he was “deeply offended.”

“They ask you to go,” said Burke, who was joined on the trip by Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn. “It’s not like you call them and say, ‘Hey, it would be good PR if I went to Afghanistan.’ I didn’t tell anyone I went and I didn’t talk to anyone when I got back. I did it because it was the right thing to do.”

Doing things because it’s the right thing to do is something Burke’s gotten very good at of late. Upon returning to Toronto this weekend, he marched in the city’s gay pride parade to pay respect to his son, Brendan, who died in a car accident and fought stereotypes by coming out of the closet while working as an assistant coach at Miami University.

While Simmons has a point to be made about Burke not being there on one of the biggest days of the year for a team in the NHL, choosing to pick an argument and raise hell with Burke over this situation is pathetic. If he wants to criticize Burke for not landing Richards, fine. Taking issue with him doing a goodwill mission to lift the spirits of the troops fighting abroad is ridiculous. It’s not as if the Canadian government will bend to Burke’s schedule, they tell him when he can go and then he has to make it work.

As for Simmons, he stands by what he says.

“I don’t regret anything,” Simmons said in an interview. “I made a point that a lot of people thought and weren’t willing to go forward on. I think that’s something that needed to be done.

“To me, it’s like you go to court and you hire Eddie Greenspan to defend you and then when it comes to the closing arguments of the trial he hands it off to someone else. Well, that wasn’t what you bargained for. Why didn’t Brian Burke make the pitch for Brad Richards?”

With the amount of stupid money thrown around on Friday and the insane offer Richards accepted from the Rangers, perhaps the Leafs were better served staying out of that fight. As it was, Burke’s assistants including Dave Nonis had everything locked down and even had Burke available by teleconference from Afghanistan should they need to call him in. It’s not as if Burke left the office and didn’t do his job.

In the end, Burke comes out smelling like a rose because he’s doing the right thing as a human being and Simmons comes off looking like a rather petty man with poor timing trying to brown nose with Leafs fans who might be upset about losing out on Richards. We know that it’s the job of a columnist to generate discussion and to push buttons on occasion, but taking potshots at a guy that’s doing a lot of good in the world isn’t the way to go about it. Pick on a failed trade or a bad signing, not when he’s helping people.