Where the quality of writing is simple and straightforward:
== “The Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club: Official Centennial Publication: 1917-2017,” by Kevin Shea and Jason Wilson, Penquin Random House of Canada/McClelland & Stewart publishing, 384 pages, $50 (Released Oct. 18). The blurb: It’s all about the “honour, pride and and courage” that came with the creation of the Maple Leafs at the brink of WWI and documented with text by two Canadian historians. The Leafs, with 14 championships in their 100 years, may be in a Stanley Cup holding pattern having not been able to celebrate a title since 1967, the last year the league had only six teams. As the Kings fans know, the Leafs were one series away from the Cup finals when they were eliminated in the ’93 Conference championship. That’s all covered in the final chapter here called “Hope: 2015-16 and Beyond.” the final season in which the NHL was a six-team league. Still, that 49-year stretch is the longest of any NHL franchise currently. The last graph: “The Toronto Maple Leafs management has earned the patience of Leafs Nation. There is great optimism that, one day soon, promise will translate into deliverance.” Until then, they have the team’s glorious history of decades ago to hang their suspenders on. Frank Mahovlich would be proud.
== “Captain: My Life and Career,” by Darryl Sittler with Mike Leonetti, McClelland & Steward books, 224 pages, $32 (released Oct. 25). The blurb: As much as he was the face of the Maple Leafs through the 1970s and early ’80s, the franchise’s all-time goals and points leader, a record night of six goals and four assists against Boston in 1976, a five-goal playoff game two months later, an OT goal to beat the Czechs in the first Canada Cup tournament, Sittler was a very humble player who appreciated all that happened to him. This is a reflection of all that. (As well as another interesting story about how his first coach, Red Kelly, believed so much in the mystic power of the pyramid that the night Sittler scored five goals in a playoff game, Kelly had put a pyramid under the team bench.)
== “One Night Only: Conversations with the NHL’s One-Game Wonders,” by Ken Reid, ECW Press, 240 pages, $17.95 (released Oct. 11). The blurb: Brock Tredway, whose only NHL appearance was for the Kings on April 19, 1982, brought up because Jim Fox was fighting an injury, refers to himself as “Moonlight Graham,” after the one-game MLB player made famous in “Field of Dreams.” Tredway ended up in the financial world eventually and says “I would not trade my life for anything … there are so many guys who would give their eyetooth for just one little game. … even one shift.” It’s a beautiful idea carried out in a sensitive, yet investigative manner by Reid, knowing there are more than 300 people out there with just one NHL game to their resume, and he’s talking here to 40 of them — including one-time Kings Jack Stanfield (who ended up in the cable TV business) and Brandy Semchuk. The final chapter is on … wait for it … Don Cherry. Continue reading