Doug Gilmour Jersey

Former NHLer Doug Gilmour will skate alongside fans at this Saturday’s second annual Havelock Festival of Fire and Ice.

The daylong event at the HBMProud-Havelock Community Outdoor Rink on George Street East in Havelock — 40 kilometres east of Peterborough — is a free family event. Festivities get underway at noon, featuring public skating, ice carvings, vendors, marshmallow roasting, a lantern walk, bonfires, chili tasting, an iceblock play area, a screening of the movie Frozen at the Havelock Centre and an outdoor fire performance by Trellis Arts and Entertainment.

Gilmour, the longtime captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, will lace up his skates for a one-on-one game versus Penny Lewis, a Stirling, Ont., fan selected in a draw, beginning at 1 p.m. at the outdoor rink. Gilmour will then hold an autograph-signing session along with a public skate at the arena.

“It should be a lot of fun — great events on and off the ice,” Gilmour posted on Facebook. “I just want to say I am looking forward to it.”

Nicknamed “Killer,” Gilmour played 20 seasons (1983-2003) in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens. He accumulated 1,414 points in 1,474 regular-season games and helped the Flames win the Stanley Cup in 1989.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.

In recent years, Gilmour, a native of Kingston, was general manager of the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs. However, in November 2019, he stepped down from the role to accept a position with the Leafs as a community representative.

On Tuesday night, organizers took advantage of the colder temperature to flood the outdoor rink and prepare it for the festival. The crews use a handmade ice cleaner and pieces of Zambonis to help flood the ice.

“The kids have been out skating on it like crazy so the ice was in pretty poor shape,” Dave Sharpe told Global News Peterborough at the rink. “So we are just putting it back together. So we scrape it down, give it a nice flood and do it all over again.”

A full schedule of events can be found on the festival’s Facebook page.

Last year, former Leafs captain Wendel Clark was the guest at the inaugural festival.

Zach Hyman Jersey

The Toronto Maple Leafs Zach Hyman is one of the NHL’s most underrated players.

Ever since his rookie year with the Toronto Maple Leafs Hyman has proven he belongs on an NHL team and is a great top 6 player.

Zach Hyman,who is turning 28 years old in June, has only played in three full seasons in the NHL and with this year’s season it makes it his fourth.

When you hear about the Toronto Maple Leafs rookies from the 2016-17 roster you may think Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and hey even Connor Brown, but Zach Hyman was one of the countless rookies on that team that made his full season debut.

From 2016-17 season until now, Hyman has just kept on improving his game and in my eyes has been a very important key piece to Toronto’s success and even might be one of the NHL’s underrated players today.

Hyman’s Career Stats

Like I said Zach Hyman has only played in three full seasons before this current season, making him only playing in just under 300 NHL career games.

In those three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs he has improved his numbers every year.

2016-17 season 82 GP ~ 8G 10A 18PTS

2017-18 season 82 GP ~ 15G 25A 40PTS

2018-19 season 71 GP ~ 21G 20A 41PTS

2019-20 season 39 GP ~ 17G 14A 31 PTS (missed 19 games)

Hyman has played alongside some of the leagues most talented players over his years in the blue and white like Matthews, Marner, and Tavares.

Yes you can say that’s the reason why his numbers are going up each year but I also think that his pure raw talent and his passion to win and play hard is what also helps his game out. (stats from NHL.com)

Hyman’s Type of Game

If you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs fan or just know who Hyman is, you know what kind of game he plays. Dump and chase, fight for pucks in corners, stay in front of the net kind of game, and of course that has worked for him, his line mates and obviously his team over the years.

Hyman isn’t known for flashy moves and being a pure goal scorer but he has maybe given himself a name for being a 20 goal scorer now, with 20 goals last year and now 17 goals in 39 games this year.

That puts him on pace for 27 goals by the end of the season which would be yet another career high in goals (27) and ultimately in points (50) passing his career high set last year at 41 PTS.

Former head coach Mike Babcock said Zach Hyman is the best forechecker in the NHL, and in my opinion he’s definitely up there.

He is one of, if not the best in the NHL. His mentality and his eagerness to chase pucks and fight for those 50/50 puck battles makes Zach Hyman who Zach Hyman is… a great hockey player (stats from NHL.com)

Hyman’s Contract

We all know by now that the Toronto Maple Leafs salary cap situation is tight, but the team does have some nice contracts currently on their roster, and Hyman is one of them.

Zach Hyman’s contract – 2.25 M signed through 2020-21

Hyman was given this contract at the beginning of the 2017-18 season, a year after his first full season (was given a two year entry level contract, 15/16 – 16/17)

In 290 career games as a Toronto Maple Leaf he has (67G 79A 146 PTS) 146 points in 290 games for a player making 2.25M is a steal, especially when Hyman continues to improve every year.

What do you think about Zach Hyman? Do you like him as a player? Do you think he is underrated?

Matt Martin Jersey

Andreas Johnsson scowled when a team trainer stopped him taking off his equipment after Friday’s practice to say he was required back on the ice for a few minutes more of 1-on-1 skating drills.

Getting back in shape from a five-week layoff with a broken foot is proving quite arduous for the Swedish right winger. It came on the heels of a busy game on Thursday, where coach Sheldon Keefe moved him up with top guns Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in the hopes of sparking him with a point or goal, as well as getting the club’s leading scorers rolling in a low-scoring affair against Calgary.

“I just didn’t feel like we had much going and for the Matthews line (with Zach Hyman on left wing). It was the one day where much wasn’t happening, so I tried to change the chemistry a bit,” Keefe said.

But you know Matthews and Marner will be cooking soon enough, where Johnsson is a point of concern.

“I did see (jump) at times from him, but it’s very apparent he’s behind in terms of conditioning,” Keefe said of last year’s 20-goal scorer, which netted a new contract.

“His shifts are really short. He gathers his energy, has a burst and then he’s pretty gassed afterwards. I saw him a number of times coming back to the bench tired. He’ll have to work his way through and we’ll help him do that.”

He has no points in the three games back, having been playing with two of the quickest skaters on the team, Alex Kerfoot and Kasperi Kapanen. Johnsson did come close to scoring against the Flames, but November had been a pretty dry month before the injury.

“I don’t know … I felt good yesterday,” said a reserved Johnsson. “It’s more timing and stuff to work on.”

Which will likely keep him close to Toronto during the coming bye week and all-star break.

LONG REHABS AHEAD

If Johnsson is taking awhile to come around after the cast came off his leg, the Leafs could be looking for an even longer adjustment period as Jake Muzzin slowly works back to skating after his foot was also cracked by a shot block. When Toronto resumes playing on Jan. 27 in Nashville, he’ll have been out a month. Muzzin will be doing some rehab work near home during the break. Morgan Rielly (broken foot) and forward Ilya Mikheyev (artery surgery) are a couple of months away from returning.

MAKE IT FAST

Kasperi Kapanen was about 3 1/2 when his father Sami first won the NHL’s fastest skater competition at the NHL all-star game, in 2000 in Toronto and then 2002 in Florida. It’s a subject bound to come up in father-son conversations as the 2020 skills contest happens this Friday in St. Louis.

“I’ve seen it a couple of times on YouTube, it’s a pretty special thing,” Kasperi said. “To be called the fastest skater in the NHL (Sami’s 13.649-second lap of the Air Canada Centre was a touch quicker than Florida), that’s pretty cool.

“He’ll bring it up and try to brag about it, but I’d like to think I could beat him in my time.”

Three-time defending champion Connor McDavid has yet to beat the time of 13.103 by Jonathan Drouin.

SOUP’S ON

Mikheyev is up and around after his delicate surgery and according to a tweet from agent Dan Milstein, filming TV ad material for “an undisclosed major soup company which would also feature his mom, Natalia.”

Milstein promises a formal announcement is coming shortly. Mikheyev’s love of soup and yearning to see more of it served since moving to North America from Russia in the summer led to the ad campaign.

LOOSE LEAFS

Those who did a double take when Matt Martin was announced Thursday as the Alumni player in the nightly Salute To The Troops spot — and noted it was not the belligerent winger who went back to the Islanders — will recall there were two Matt Martins, the first an American defenceman who played in the Pat Burns era … Frederik Andersen and Michael Huthchinson were doing an interesting core drill Friday with goalie coach Steve Briere, holding nothing but a basketball while they raised and dropped their pads into butterfly position to stop shots. Of course they couldn’t resist dribbling the ball on the ice during a break, Hutchinson a cager of note in his Barrie high school district, being more than six feet tall when he was in Grade 9 … Former Leaf Ed Olczyk will be signing copies of his book Beating The Odds in Hockey and in Life at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Eaton Centre’s Indigo store.

Felix Potvin Jersey

Known as The Cat in his playing days, the ex-Leafs goaltending great is behind the bench of the Magog Cantonniers at this week’s TELUS Cup.

Felix Potvin never managed to win a championship during his 13-year NHL career.

He might just make up for it in Thunder Bay.

Although a TELUS Cup championship is a far cry from hoisting the Stanley Cup, it might be just as satisfying for the 47-year-old, who leapt at the opportunity to take over the coaching reins of the Magog Cantonniers, the AAA midget team in the Quebec community, located about 120 kilometres east of Montreal down Highway 10.

Potvin, who led the Toronto Maple Leafs to the conference finals in 1993 and 1994, losing first to Los Angeles and then to Vancouver, said the coaching gig was a perfect fit at this point in his life – a retired goaltender looking for a way to stick around the game he loves.

“When the opportunity came, I started as an assistant coach. I loved doing it and now as a coach it’s a lot of fun. Having these kids, at that age, where it’s an important time in their life, to either keep going in major junior or in university – or even at school, it’s important.”

Potvin, a second-round pick of the Leafs in 1990, spent three years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with Chicoutimi before jumping to the professional ranks, where he was named the American Hockey League’s top goaltender and best rookie in 1991-92.

The Anjou, Que. native joined the Leafs for good in 1992-93, finishing fourth in the Vezina Trophy and third in the Calder Trophy voting.

Known affectionately as The Cat, Potvin spent seven full seasons with Toronto before being dealt to the New York Islanders after Toronto signed goaltender Curtis Joseph.

He spent a season-and-a-half in Vancouver before winding down his NHL career with stops in Los Angeles and Boston, finishing with a 266-260-85 record.

Potvin says he’s tried to impart the knowledge he gained on his journey to the National Hockey League and back, but only when asked.

“A little bit,” he said on Tuesday, after coaching the Cantonniers to a 3-1 win over Halifax.

“But that’s the main goal. I’ve been through it, so they know they can listen. But we’ve got good kids and the important thing is to show them the right path and then after that the job is done.”

Potvin, whose team took silver at last year’s TELUS Cup, said he tries to take a little from each of his coaches along the way as he transitions behind the bench himself.

It’s a list that includes the likes of Mike Milbury, Andy Murray and, particularly, hall-of-famer Pat Burns.

“Obviously Pat was a part of it,” Potvin said, adding he takes the best of each of his coaches and tries to avoid the worst.

His players seem to have responded, rolling to a 3-0 record after edging Calgary 3-2 on Wednesday afternoon.

“He brings a lot of experience,” said forward Alexandre Doucet, one of the Cantonniers’ top performers at the TELUS Cup.

“He played in the NHL, so it’s very fun for us. And when he talks, we listen to him a lot. He lets us do what we have to do, but defence is important to win games so he wants us to be great on the two sides of the ice.”

Magog takes on Toronto on Thursday afternoon, looking to keep their unbeaten streak alive.

Mitchell Marner Jersey

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without some of their offensive firepower for a significant amount of time.

The Maple Leafs announced forward Mitch Marner will miss at least four weeks after suffering an ankle injury during Saturday’s shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. He underwent an MRI on Sunday that revealed the extent of the damage, and he will be reassessed in a minimum of four weeks.

This is a disappointing setback considering the 22-year-old is coming off a career season and has been durable throughout his time in the league.

Toronto selected him in the first round of the 2015 NHL draft, and he appeared in 77 games as a rookie in 2016-17 and all 82 games in each of the last two seasons. He finished the 2018-19 campaign with a career-best 94 points on 68 assists and 26 goals.

He also posted a plus-minus of plus-22.

Marner wasted little time making an impact this season with 18 points in the first 18 games. He has been a bright spot for a Maple Leafs team that has been somewhat inconsistent at 9-6-4 this season, and it will be up to marquee playmakers such as Auston Matthews and John Tavares to carry the offense until he is ready to return.

Connor Brown Jersey

Ottawa Senators’ general manager Pierre Dorion could barely hide his elation at his Canada Day media availability when discussing the acquisition of forward Connor Brown in a multi-player swap with Maple Leafs.

“Of the four (ex-Maple Leafs) players we talked to today, I can tell you both D.J. (head coach D.J. Smith) and I can say that Connor Brown was probably the most excited to be here,” Dorion said at the time.

While it seems somewhat odd that a player would be excited about leaving a potential Stanley Cup contender for a club that finished 31st overall in league standings last season, Brown felt stifled in his role with the Maple Leafs.

Despite scoring 20 goals in his 2016-17 rookie campaign, the Toronto native saw his ice-time dwindle from 16:12 per game to 15:01 the following season, then to 13:48 in 2018-19. And his goal total dropped as well — Brown scored 14 in his second full year and just eight last season.

Brown told Sporting News that he relishes more playing time with his new team: “I don’t know if it’s a fresh start, so to speak – hopefully an expanded role, get that confidence back offensively.”

With an offensively-laden lineup that included Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and the free-agent addition of John Tavares in July 2018, it was no surprise the 25-year slid down the Maple Leafs’ depth chart. But in doing so, Brown rounded out his game, becoming a reliable bottom-six checking forward and penalty killer.

Currently finding himself on the right wing of the Senators’ top forward unit alongside Brady Tkachuk and center Colin White, the six-foot, 183-pound Brown will certainly get his wish of an expanded role in Ottawa.

In his Sept. 18 preseason debut, Brown led all Senators with a game-high 20:42 of playing time, which included stints on the power play and penalty kill. He also recaptured some of his offense, adding a goal and an assist.

Brown has a fan in his new head coach Smith, who had a first-hand view of his play in Toronto as an assistant with the Maple Leafs.

“He’s the conscience of the line, probably so far. He’s a guy that knows how to play, can track, he works, block shots. He does a bit of everything. I’d like him to get his offensive touch back. He had 20 goals a few years ago. We’d like to see him get back to that,” explained the Senators’ bench boss.

“I think part of it was how deep the (Leafs) team was last year, and how many good players were on that team. To his credit, he fit into the role he was given as a penalty killer and good checker. But on this team, we’re going to need him to provide more offense while continuing to do those other things. And I think that’s a big reason why we got him.”

Tkachuk, Brown’s preseason linemate, echoed his coach’s sentiments.

“I played against him a bunch last year,” Tkachuk said. “He’s a great player. He always works hard to get the puck back. I hope we stay together through the preseason and regular season, too.”

Brown reciprocated his new teammate’s assessment.

“I think we’re feeling each other out. We’ve played together in scrimmage. I think we’re getting better and better. We enjoy playing together, which is a big thing. It’s a good start,” Brown said, adding that Tkachuk and White are “two really good players — highly skilled, competitive.”

One bonus for Brown is that he immediately felt a comfort level in joining his new team, especially after being acquired in the trade with defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. The free agent signings of former Maple Leafs teammates Tyler Ennis and Ron Hainsey added even more familiarity to the group.

“I’m sure it’s a little odd. It’s comforting. You feel more relaxed when there are other guys coming over with you. It can be intimidating coming into a new dressing room, coming to a new team. They help make the transition a little easier,” Brown said.

Brown, who has never missed a game in his three full NHL seasons, isn’t expected to reach the lofty heights of his 128-point 2014 OHL campaign, however another 20-goal year isn’t out of the question.

“At the end of the year, we knew had to do something. We inquired about Connor Brown,” Dorion said. “Our pro scouts felt, after the season he had in his rookie year, and our amateur scouts saw that he led the OHL in scoring, that he still hasn’t reached his offensive upside. He’s a key part in the deal for us.”

Grant Fuhr Jersey

Grant Fuhr says he knows first-hand the thirst his fellow Canadians have for hockey while spending time in the Coachella Valley.

“They still love their hockey,” Fuhr said. “I know people who search for places to watch hockey. And they will go into LA to watch games. So they want their hockey.”

That’s one reason Fuhr is excited by news that an American Hockey League team could be coming to the desert.

The team would be affiliated with the expansion NHL team in Seattle and would play in a new 10,000-seat arena to be built in downtown Palm Springs. Those announcements were made Wednesday as part of a partnership between the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and Oak Valley Group, a development and investment group.

The arena and the team should debut in 2021, giving the Coachella Valley its first regularly scheduled professional sports franchise in more than two decades.

“It is awesome,” said Fuhr, the Hockey Hall of Fame goalie who won four Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s playing on the same team with legend Wayne Gretzky. “I think what American Hockey has been able to do just putting together a division just in California is great. There are several teams already in California.”

The AHL already has teams in San Jose, Stockton, San Diego and Ontario. The Palm Springs team, affiliated with the expansion Seattle team of the NHL which will also begin play in 2021, hasn’t been awarded yet, but is expected to be made official by this fall.

Fuhr, a long-time desert resident and the director of golf at Desert Dunes Golf Club in Desert Hot Springs, says he’s intrigued by the new AHL team and would even like to be involved with the franchise in some way. A goalie coach in the NHL after his 20-year playing career, Fuhr said hockey fans and even non-fans may be surprised at the caliber of play in the AHL.

“A lot of the boys in the AHL, they are NHL ready,” Fuhr said. “If someone for the Seattle team gets hurt or something like that, the AHL players can step right in.”

Fuhr believes one of the important elements in the success of the Palm Springs team will be not just selling tickets to hockey-mad Canadians but also to those who don’t know much about the sport.

“The key is to get people to come out and see that game live,” Fuhr said. “It doesn’t translate well to television. But if you come out and see the game live, people will enjoy it.”

While the arena is expected to seat 10,000 people, Fuhr knows live musical acts and other entertainment will be needed as well as sports in order for the facility to make a profit.

Grant Fuhr, former ice hockey goaltender in the National Hockey League, at Desert Dunes Golf Club in Desert Hot Springs on Friday, December 21, 2018.

“If they get 4,500, maybe 5,000 people a night (for hockey), I think that would be pretty good,” Fuhr said.

That would put the Palm Springs franchise somewhere in the middle of AHL attendance based on figures for the 2018-19 season.

The area and the training facility that will also be built in Palm Springs can only help junior hockey efforts in the desert,” Fuhr said.

“It might give them a place to play,” Fuhr said. “There are kids in the valley that travel all the way to Riverside to play. Now they will have a place to play here. And they can go to the games and they can stay excited about playing.”

Mike Palmateer Jersey

Mike Palmateer, the popular Toronto Maple Leafs goalie of the late 1970s, will be a head-table guest at the B’nai B’rith dinner in Hamilton on Jan. 28.

In typical Mike Palmateer fashion, he came way out of his net to foil Montreal’s Yvan Cournoyer on this breakaway.

Diminutive Maple Leafs goalie Mike Palmateer gave fans some very big moments

Mike Palmateer, the popular Toronto Maple Leafs goalie of the late 1970s, will be a head-table guest at the B’nai B’rith dinner in Hamilton on Jan. 28.

Kids who’ve grown up at a time when NHL goalies are roughly the size of billboards and whose idea of perfection would involve being hit square in the chest with every shot will likely have a hard time believing that once upon a time, the most popular Toronto Maple Leaf was a five-foot-nine puck stopper whose technique could best be described as goaltending-by-Picasso and who spent more time laying on the ice than a donated organ.

When the diminutive Toronto native — who’ll be a head-table guest at the B’nai B’rith dinner in Hamilton on Jan. 28 — started playing goal when he was nine, he had no goalie coach. He quickly figured what worked was to come way out and challenge shooters.

Like, way out.

“I just started sliding into everybody,” he laughs.

As he worked his way through minor hockey, then to the Toronto Marlies and eventually to the Leafs in 1976, not much changed. The tiny 22-year-old would sometimes be close to 20 feet out from his crease to cut down the angles. Sounds crazy today, but it worked.

And if he got caught too far out? He’d scramble back and throw any part of his body in front of the puck. Which meant, yes, he gave up some goals. But when it all came together — which it did a lot — it was spectacular. A little flourish at the end of a glove save or an extra dash of flash never hurt either.

Make no mistake, though. He wasn’t all butter with no popcorn. The Leafs won at least one playoff round in each of his first three seasons. That included the epic upset over the New York Islanders in the spring of 1978 during which he was incredible. What success the team had then was largely on him.

It all made him arguably the most popular Maple Leaf of the time. Probably the most-popular athlete in Toronto in any sport.

Unfortunately, that style of play also took a toll. Five times his ribs were fractured. Three times his collarbone was broken. All from shots. Equipment then wasn’t what it is now. His arms were constantly bruised.

His mask usually prevented cuts — he estimates he had 30 stitches in his face — but didn’t do much to dull the thud of a slapshot. Nor did it help when he went racing out on one of his safaris to the blue line (think it was Howie Meeker who coined that phrase) and an oncoming player smashed into him. A full speed 200 pounds crashing into a prone 170 pounds was a losing proposition.

“There were more than a few (of those),” he laughs. “Believe me.”

He’s still paying for those choices. Surgery to repair damaged discs he thinks are residual gifts from those days is coming soon.

But it was his knees that famously took the worst of it. Before his injury-shortened career was done he’d had 14 surgeries on them. Today the number is up to 21 including two replacements. He’s pretty confident it’s an NHL record. Compared to him, Bobby Orr is an amateur.

How did he even play on those joints with that much damage?

“It wasn’t easy,” he says. “A lot of cortisone to finish seasons.”

He spent just four seasons with the Leafs — it seems like it was so much more than that — before being traded to the Washington Capitals. After two injury-plagued years there he was dealt back to Toronto for two more seasons. Then with his body destroyed, he had to hang ’em up.

That was 1984. Thirteen years of zero goaltending later he got a call from Ron Ellis asking if he could play in an old-timers game. It was a 25th anniversary event for the 1972 Canada-Russia series but Tony Esposito and Ken Dryden were both no-go’s. Since it was at Maple Leaf Gardens, who better than Palmateer?

His knees were a mess. In fact, he was scheduled for double knee surgery the next day. He called the doctor and was told any further damage he did could be repaired the next morning. Go for it, was the encouragement. So he did. Using all his original equipment.

“It was still in the hockey bag,” he laughs. “Along with the 35-year-old A5-35 you could smell when you opened it up.”

He played a period and didn’t give up a single goal.

After another 17-year retirement, he was back in net for a short stint when the Leafs played the outdoor game at the University of Michigan in 2014. And on New Year’s Eve 2016, he strapped on the old gear for the outdoor game in Toronto.

“I played four minutes,” he says. “And I killed myself.”

The good news is, he stopped a penalty shot by Tomas Holmstrom. The bad news is he did it in Palmateer-esque fashion. Which means lunging, stretching and reaching to make the save. Great when you’re 20 but less so when you’re eligible for senior’s discounts.

But with his shutout streak now standing at 35 years, he recently gave his equipment to the Aurora Sports Hall of Fame where it now adorns a mannequin. Safely out of Palmateer’s reach. Clearly he had to be stopped before he could stop again.

What’s amazing to him is that all this time later, folks still recognize him and seem eager to tell him how much they loved watching him play. While helping his daughter move into her new condo the other day, three people approached him. He spends much of his winters in Florida and even there, transplanted Canadians recognize him and want to chat.

This visit to the B’nai B’rith dinner will surely offer nothing different. Especially since he says it’s his first sports celebrity dinner.

First since when?

“Probably since ever,” he says.

Back in the day they didn’t have many. Then he scouted for the Leafs for 16 years and he never knew where he was going to be night to night so he couldn’t commit. So, yeah, this’ll be new.

He knows the question he’s going to get when he gets here. Could he play today? If he was healthy and youthful again, could a five-foot-nine goalie whose shoulders barely reached the crossbar play in a league where most of the goalies’ shoulders reach that height when they’re on their knees?

Palmateer isn’t going to dump on the modern game but he admits it is cookie-cutter now. Everybody plays the same. Everyone has a similar style. Have perfect position, get square to the puck and let it hit you. Acrobatics and gambling and reflexes aren’t the tools anymore.

“A guy my size couldn’t play,” he says. “Period.”

Most would agree with that. That said, those who remember him at his flopping, diving, scrambling flying-by-the-seat-of-his-pants-and-bringing-fans-out-of-their-seats best would likely agree, that’s too bad.

Tie Domi Jersey

Kitchener Rangers coach Jay McKee will never forget his scrap with the ex-Maple Leafs enforcer in Hamilton.

Buffalo Sabres defenceman Jay McKee, left, and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tie Domi fight during a pre-season game in Hamilton in 2001. McKee is now the Kitchener Rangers’ head coach. - John Rennison , Hamilton Spectator File Photo

Jay McKee is transported back to Hamilton when he sees the photo.

“When you fight one of the toughest guys that played in the NHL you don’t forget that,” he said.

The image shows McKee in his prime with the Buffalo Sabres standing chest-to-chest with Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi during a pre-season hockey clash at Copps Coliseum back in 2001.

McKee, then 24, has his nose pressed up against Domi’s forehead and his hands clutched on his blue and white Maple Leafs sweater.

“I remember we were near the front of the net,” said McKee. “It was one of those pushing scrums and I ended up dropping my gloves first and we ended getting into a fight.”

The details of the actual brawl are a bit sketchy. But McKee says the fact that he’s in tight on Domi in the photo suggests that he wanted to minimize the damage.

“I didn’t want to stretch things out,” he recalled. “I probably didn’t throw any punches and just held him close and took a couple.”

McKee, now the coach of the Kitchener Rangers, heads back to the scene of the scrap Wednesday when his Blueshirts take on the Hamilton Bulldogs at the downtown barn since dubbed the FirstOntario Centre.

There was fallout from that bout with Domi.

After the game, the pugilist told mutual friend Doug Gilmour — who played for the Maple Leafs and Sabres during his career — to relay a message.

“He had called Doug after the game and said: ‘Tell that blank-blank that if he ever drops his gloves first with me again he’s dead.’ ”

McKee was no pushover but far from a goon. He figures he fought about twice per season during his 15-year career with the Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I was on a team (in Buffalo) with Matthew Barnaby, Rob Ray, Brad May, Bob Boughner and Paul Kruse,” he said. “I had guys that if I fought, they’d get mad at me because that was their job. It was a job back then.”

That said, McKee still has some heavyweights on his fight card.

His first duel was against Nick Kypreos and there were tussles with Scott Stevens, Eric Cairns and Jody Shelley, among others.

He once dropped the gloves with Gary Roberts and Adam Burt in the same game against the Carolina Hurricanes while a surprise attack from Montreal Canadiens centre Scott Thornton also stands out.

“It was the dying seconds of the game,” said McKee. “I had hit one of their small forwards. He cross-checked me from behind and starting punching me before I even knew what was going on. That one probably slowed my fight career down a little bit.”

Domi was a different breed.

“You knew when he was on the ice at all times,” said McKee. “You knew he was coming around like a cannonball. He was looking to run some guys and create some energy. He just played hard. He had a low centre of gravity and was a thick guy and could hit like a Mack truck and could obviously back himself up too.”

Those Sabres-Leafs games were intense. The fact that Buffalo eliminated Toronto in the eastern conference final to reach the Stanley Cup in 1999 only added to the rivalry.

“It was unreal,” said McKee. “Any time we played them in Buffalo — and it’s still like this today — half the crowd was Leafs fans. When you get scored on in your home barn it’s weird to hear 8,000 people cheering.”

As for Domi, he fought McKee once more later in his career but, for the most part, focused on Ray when the Buds battled the Sabres.

McKee and Domi have crossed paths often since their playing days, especially when Domi’s son Max was a member of the London Knights. But they’ve both moved past the punches.

“He was great off the ice,” said McKee. “Hockey is an incredibly unique sport. Guys can bare knuckle fight and if they run into each other that night at the bar they would share stories.”

Frank Mahovlich Jersey

Won Stanley Cup four times with Maple Leafs, twice with Canadiens, played on ‘Production Line II’ in Detroit

There was only one “Big M” — Frank Mahovlich. The nickname fit; at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, he was among the larger NHL players of his day. In addition to his size, he also had a big shot, big talent, wore a big number on his sweater and came to Toronto with big expectations — so big that Maple Leafs fans also took to calling him “Moses.” They hoped he’d lead Toronto to the promised land of Stanley Cup glory.

And when Mahovlich roared down left wing carrying the puck, the crowd inevitably let out a roar of its own. Most often it was a roar of anticipation, of hope that No. 27’s rush would result in a goal. But at times impatient fans in Toronto booed, wanting even more from a man who would score 584 goals (regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs combined) and assist on 637 between 1957 and 1974 for the Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens.

“Mahovlich moved like a thoroughbred, with a strong, fluid style that made it look as if he was galloping through the opposition,” Mike Leonetti wrote in his book “Maple Leaf Legends.” “In full flight, he was an imposing figure. An explosive skater, Mahovlich could spot the right moment to turn it on and burst in on goal. He had a great move where he would take the puck off the wing, cut into the middle of the ice and try to bust through two defensemen for a chance on goal. He didn’t always get through but when he did he scored some memorable goals.”

He was the son of a miner — a Croatian immigrant — from Timmins, Ontario, and blessed with elite talent. He’d pile up points, play on six Stanley Cup championship teams, appear in 15 NHL All-Star Games and be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981.

He was also shy and sensitive as a young man, ill-suited for abuse from an irascible Toronto coach and fickle spectators. That Mahovlich managed to become a superstar while combating emotional pain and even depression is a testament to his oft-questioned character and will to succeed.

He had been so dominant in juniors as a teenager for St. Michael’s, the Leafs promoted him to the NHL with a year of junior eligibility remaining. And when he scored 20 goals as a rookie and beat out Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks for the Calder Trophy in 1958, it seemed the fans’ expectations would be fulfilled.

Over the next two years, Mahovlich’s production remained about the same, and the criticism commenced. Billy Reay, who coached Mahovlich in his first full NHL season, called him “the greatest player in the world – when he wants to be,” and variations on that theme would follow him for as long as he was with the Maple Leafs.

His chief tormentor was his next coach, Punch Imlach, the fedora-wearing, defense-first disciplinarian who drove his teams hard – and often to success. Imlach forever wanted Mahovlich to play with more aggression and his goading eventually wore thin. While most of the Maple Leafs could handle Imlach’s berating, it unnerved Mahovlich, whom some teammates considered withdrawn, moody and aloof.

In 1960 Toronto traded for Detroit star defenseman Red Kelly and Imlach got the idea to play him at center, eventually teaming him with Mahovlich and right wing Bob Nevin. The three clicked, with the Kelly-Mahovlich chemistry especially potent, yielding a breakthrough, 48-goal season for the “Big M” in 1960-61. For much of that season, he was on pace to score well over 50 goals. His potential seemingly realized, the criticism faded.

But when he “slumped” the next season to 33 goals, the faultfinding resumed – until the playoffs, when Mahovlich had six goals and six assists in the Maple Leafs’ 12 games and they won the Cup for the first time in 11 years. “Moses” had delivered.

Then the 1963 training camp rolled around and Mahovlich and Imlach differed sharply on salary. Mahovlich refused to report and it became the talk of hockey. On the eve of the season, during the NHL’s pre-All-Star Game cocktail party at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel, Chicago Black Hawks owner Jim Norris mentioned to new Maple Leafs ownership partner Harold Ballard that he’d gladly take their problem off their hands, offering Ballard $1 million for Mahovlich’s rights – an unheard of sum at the time.

Ballard quickly accepted, Norris forked over 10 hundred-dollar bills right there as down payment and an agreement was written out and signed, legend has it, on a cocktail napkin.

Media reports the next morning hollered that Mahovlich had been sold in the biggest deal in sports history as Black Hawks general manager Tommy Ivan hustled to Maple Leaf Gardens to deliver Norris’ $1 million check. Embarrassed, Toronto brass backed off and the deal with Norris collapsed. The Maple Leafs immediately gave Mahovlich the raise he had sought, making Imlach more demanding than ever.

Two more championships with the Maple Leafs followed and Mahovlich by this point was considered one of the NHL’s two top left wings (Hull being the other). He was in the midst of six consecutive selections to either the NHL First All-Star Team or Second All-Star Team but it was not good enough for some Maple Leafs fans — nor Imlach, whose methods for motivating Mahovlich included never praising him.

Imlach’s constant jibes included regularly mispronouncing his name as “Ma-hal-o-vich” to the press. Maple Leafs fans not only began booing his rushes, they even booed during his curtain calls when he was named one of the game’s three stars. Many in the media, too, saw those rushes less as gallops and more like canters. One hockey magazine headlined a feature on Mahovlich, “Superstar or Super Lazy?”

“Hockey is a streetcar named desire,” Imlach once said, “and too many days Ma-hal-o-vich doesn’t catch the train.”

It was all too much. In November 1964, Mahalovich had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized with acute depression. He missed a month of the season, and treatments eventually allowed him to cope with Imlach and find some emotional balance. With 51 points (23 goals) in 59 games that season, he was still Toronto’s top scorer and was selected to the Second All-Star Team at season’s end.

In 1967 the aging Maple Leafs, by now tired of their coach, wheezed their way to one more Cup championship, the most celebrated of the four and the final hurrah of a great era. Early the following season, the 30-year-old Mahovlich, who had been contemplating retirement, had a second episode of crippling depression and was again hospitalized. A few months later, on March 3, 1968, he was traded, exchanging Toronto blue and white for Detroit red and white.

Feeling as if he had been freed from prison, Mahovlich thrived as a Red Wing, both on the ice and emotionally. “Gordie Howe wouldn’t let me be a loner,” he told a radio interviewer. He was installed on the left side with Howe and center Alex Delvecchio, and the threesome was dubbed the “Production Line II,” after the original Howe-Sid Abel-Ted Lindsay trio that had dominated the NHL in the early 1950s.

“We had a great chemistry,” Mahovlich told Maclean’s magazine shortly after Howe died in June 2016. “It seemed like we were on the same wavelength. We never spoke, but we understood each other just by thinking. Spots would open up, I’d go in there, and Howe would put the puck on my stick. It was an amazing year for me.”

The new environment gave rise to a new Mahovlich. Bob Baun, a teammate in both Toronto and Detroit, said, “In 11 years in Toronto, I don’t think I ever said more than 22 words to Mahovlich. I’ve spent the last year finding out what a great guy he is.”

He set a career high with 49 goals in 1968-69. He’d score 196 points in 198 games for Detroit over two full seasons and parts of two others. But by late 1970, the Red Wings were in turmoil and on Jan. 13, 1971, the 33-year-old Mahovlich was on the move again, traded to the Canadiens.

He initially was hesitant about reporting; he’d finally found happiness in Detroit. But Mahovlich flew to Minneapolis to join the Canadiens and when coach Al MacNeil and assistant GM Ron Caron met him at the airport, he felt wanted. Then they told him he’d be roommates with his younger brother Pete. “Right then and there I knew I was going to like it,” Mahovlich said.

MacNeil showed faith in him from the start. The “Big M” had never been considered a strong defensive player, but MacNeil sent him out to kill penalties. Mahovlich responded by playing the best hockey of his career wearing le bleu, blanc et rouge.

In the ’71 playoffs, he helped lead the way as Montreal shocked the hockey world by upsetting the defending champion Boston Bruins in the first round and the Black Hawks in the Final to win the Stanley Cup. Goalie Ken Dryden was the Montreal hero and Conn Smythe Trophy winner, but as broadcaster Dick Irvin recalled in the “Legends of Hockey” TV series, “The main reason, in my memory, they won that Cup was Frank Mahovlich, who I believe that year set a scoring record for points, which is long since gone, of course. But at that time, he had more points in one playoff year than anybody ever had.” Mahovlich scored 14 goals and 27 points in 20 games.

Both he and Pete were selected to play for Canada in 1972 in the historic, eight-game Summit Series against the Soviet Union. That victory preceded another Cup championship for the Canadiens in 1973, under coach Scotty Bowman.

“It’s hard to think of anybody playing any better two-way hockey in two sets of playoffs – ’71 and ’73 – than Frank did in those Cup wins,” veteran hockey writer Frank Orr said on “Legends of Hockey.” “He killed penalties with Jacques Lemaire, was on the power play, scored big goals, and was just a wonderful player.”

Mahovlich scored his 500th NHL goal on March 22, 1973, against the Vancouver Canucks. He was honored for the achievement on Nov. 28, 1973, when the Canadiens held “Frank Mahovlich Night” at the Montreal Forum, and he delighted the fans by addressing them in both English and French (Pete scored two goals that night in a 5-3 victory against the Los Angeles Kings). Although he had great affection for Canadiens management, which had treated him well, the chance to double his income with Toronto of the WHA led him to end his illustrious NHL career after the 1973-74 season at age 36. He’d play another four seasons in the WHA, the last two with Birmingham.

A successful business career followed, as did his appointment to the Senate in Canada. But Mahovlich never aspired to be anything more than a hockey player, and his impact has lingered for decades. “If you close your eyes and think about Frank Mahovlich, there is an image – it’s there,” Dryden said. “That image for me, and I think for a lot of people, is Frank Mahovlich in full flight. That was a sight.”