‘Todd Crocker’s Blog’ Posts

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The Marlie is not a bird I recently, for the tenth time, informed some fans in another city.

Certainly flight was difficult at the beginning of last week as once again the team jetted to Texas via a re-route to Shreveport for their annual trip to the southern most tip of the AHL world. After a couple of circles around Dallas the plane landed in Shreveport with the not so reassuring words of the pilot who informed the passengers we didn’t have a enough fuel to keep circling. Despite this information […]

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Matt Finn burst into the first game of his pro career. He started with veteran D-man and warrior class Marlie Korbinian Holzer, a savvy coaching move to steady any nerves. Up front, directly in front was his old, (as old as these young guys can be) pal Connor Brown with whom he won many championships growing up in Etobicoke. There was nothing right away that said he was out of place, out of his depth, a half step behind, and it would stay that way.

Head Coach Gord Dineen didn’t hesitate […]

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“There are a lot of bodies here right now and we have a some veteran issues…” David Broll was speaking about line combinations and how many different looks there have been for the Marlies this season.

It isn’t unusual for teams to change the notes to see if they can find winning tune. It will happen all year long and into the playoffs. The changes from trades, call ups, injuries, send downs, all contribute to a turbulent bit of matchmaking. That isn’t the current case. As Broll indicates it is choice […]

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There was a time when film directors would complete a project, really dislike the results then disown the film. Essentially they would work all film season then take what became known as an Alan Smithee credit. A made up name so that their reputation wouldn’t be affected by the results. There could have been a case to be made that Sylvain Lefebvre might have wanted this special treatment the past two seasons with the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Marlies Friday night opponent. The case does not extend to the Toronto Marlies […]

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Making changes and moving bodies is the work of an American League team. The story about moving up like Stuart Percy is always more enviable to tell than the story of players going the other way. The other way, just like those who come from the NHL, seems to bring with it an air of failure. This isn’t the case most of the time but it helps for folks who aren’t invested fully to understand better when you say demoted instead of re-assigned.

The Marlies need to see something more from […]

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The youth movement never ceases in the American League. Every team could say they were going to rely on their youth for energy and their veterans for leadership. Last season for the Marlies it was about working class. A lunch bucket team that if they didn’t gut it out they didn’t win. That was mostly true. There were a few nights that didn’t go their way for other reasons but you could pin a lot of losses on the third game in three days, the end of a road trip, […]

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Standing in the lobby of the Centennial Centre in Gravenhurst I was speaking with a fan who was dissecting the past five to ten years of the Maple Leafs organization. It’s always interesting to hear what people think has happened and what will happen. So many different takes. The opinions as sometimes they do, turned critical and a little negative. Standing to one side of us was an old time Leaf fan who been a citizen in Leaf Nation since the 50’s, prior to that he didn’t want to say […]

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Math problems. For some, the figuring of how a train leaves Chicago and meets a train leaving New York is a little bit more about outcomes than it is about the equation. The two trains are going to meet, like it or not, and that seldom turns out in a positive manner. The idea of the word/math problem is to marry the abstract of a situation with the ease of which it can be solved. It truly doesn’t matter if it’s trains or planes or buses.

Well transportation does matter if […]

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Toronto Maple Leafs v Nashville Predators

In the complicated game of Chess there is a famous opening set of moves. Ruy Lopez is the name of the Spanish priest who almost 500 years ago thought them up and presumably beat everyone for a long time before no one would play him anymore. His name was put on the opening and people still play it today. Of course there have been several rebuttals in the chess world since then but that’s quite a testament to the person when the game still reveres you hundreds of years later.

As […]

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Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars

Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars

There is good quiet, when the only sound you hear is the crackling of a dim campfire. Then, there is bad quiet, when the there is only the  sound of bus wheels on the pavement  after a game seven loss. The Marlies endured the latter this morning. The playoff run ended as will every other team save one, with a loss. This one coming not in a sweep, not in a over-matched toss of the coin but in a tight series where the year long battle […]

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History, when it comes to team play, often doesn’t mean much in the American Hockey League. What happened last year is so disconnected from what is happening now that establishing any kind of rivalry beyond geographical is a reach. Even what happened during the year doesn’t play into the current narrative that much.

Way back in the previous era that was November (it just seemed that long ago) the teams split home games with a SO win in Toronto for the Marlies. Korbinian Holzer had the game tying and Jamie Devane […]

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L-R Piero Greco, Steve Spott, Derek King, Gord Dineen

Fred Smith who once owned the now defunct CFL’s Memphis Mad Dogs has another notable accomplishment. His college professor wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about his paper on running an overnight delivery company. There was some praise for the plan but not a lot for thinking of something that could realistically be achieved. Smith overcame significant obstacles including where to hide airplanes from folks who wanted to be paid but, his idea called Federal Express took off.

At the beginning of this year Steve Spott heard from all corners about how patient he […]

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Photo courtest Christian Bonin / TSG Photo

Urgency is never hard to find in the playoff word search. In a five game series you could capitalize it and underline it and it likely wouldn’t be enough. This is what the Marlies face in the first round. Their sense of urgency must be peaking because they face a team they have not beaten this year. The Marlies were only swept twice this season. The Syracuse Crunch managed it in a two game set and these Milwaukee Admirals that they face in the first round of the […]

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It’s a good bet that you haven’t heard of Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans the mountain climbers. They were a part of the team that ascended Mount Everest in 1953. They achieved an excellent climb and for a short period of time they had been higher than anyone in the world. A few days later two other members of the same team started out in the early hours of May 29th.  By noon Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay were at the top of the world and were forever […]

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Timing. It is everything in the world of AHL team pictures. You can’t show up the day before…though for the Marlies there was no shortage of trying…you have to be with the team the moment they snap the photo. Now whatever happens to you after or before matters very little. For all of history, a hundred years from now when they look at the photo on the walls of whatever rink they’ve built, you will have been on the team.

Take Jerry D’Amigo who has been instrumental […]

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Science is to academics what baking is to cooking. When you cook, you can add a little of this, a little of that and maybe come up with something interesting. When you bake, there is only following the recipe. IF you want the cookies to look and taste like the cookies in the book…you need to follow the recipe. This kind of rulemaking applies to a lot of science. There is no room to discuss how two negatives make a positive…it is just the rule. Creative people will […]

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When something becomes very complicated there are always people willing to create a correlation that simplifies it so everyone might understand it. Often times, of course it becomes so simplified that people misconstrue what the original intent of the information was. Take the Big Mac index; originally created by The Economist newspaper to help people understand worldwide currency value. It has been hijacked by commentators the world over to show how expensive goods and services might be in another country.

The Marlies have an abundance of Macs. Anywhere else all these […]

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Toronto was vastly different landscape in 1964. Do you remember? The Gardiner Expressway was finished and traffic was eased through downtown coming in and out of the city. Do you remember? The skyline was telling tales of things to come but it was still dominated by the Royal York Hotel. You remember.  The Cork Room served a mean dinner for under five bucks.  Is it coming back? Water fountains,  lumbering streetcars, a busy industrial waterfront…and a phenomenal junior team in the Marlboros.

Likely there are a lot of you who don’t […]

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What did people conclude prior to 1913 when events happened causing other events to unfold? That was the year Max Bodenstein first put together the idea of chain reaction. While his thoughts ran more toward molecules than social miscues and diplomatic tension it did give a name to something that will continue to happen year in year out in the hockey season. Trade deadline.

The AHL dressing room is a microcosm of the greater world of hockey.  There is chatter, possible combinations, quizzical looks, plenty of posturing  and there is kidding […]

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At the Outdoor Game morning skate

At the Outdoor Game morning skate

The painter Claude Monet, as he progressed in the mental side of his art, began a series of paintings that recorded the same subject at different times of the day. A kind of time lapse before that particular photographic trick was possible. What Monet was doing was illustrating that small changes make you appreciate something a little bit more than you otherwise might. His paintings of Haystacks or Water Lilies are remarkable enough by themselves but next to each other you are able to […]

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