‘Todd Crocker’s Blog’ Posts

Back when there wasn’t hardly an Internet and Leafs prospect Lonny Bohonos  was in the league’s top ten in scoring, there was an Empire Division. It was not named after the apple (created in Cornell, NY) or the Romans. (though the Marlies will see plenty of Syracuse and Utica, and pass Rome and Troy in their travels next year) It was so named because New York’s nickname is the Empire State. You might know this because they built a building around this theme somewhere downstate. The Marlies will join this […]

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After a first round exit that saw them give up a two game advantage, many comments have been thrown about that give people who actually saw games this year a case of the head shakes. This Marlies team has been highly successful these past four years. Four straight years of playoffs. If that isn’t the right direction, your expectations of how the AHL works is unrealistic.Wins are not the number one priority; they are a by-product of total player development. This organization has done as good a job as most […]

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Matt Frattin. This is the turning point. No one knows it yet. It is late December and when Frattin arrives to the Marlies it is with the information from the folks up top that he won’t be coming back for a while. At first Frattin is all business. No one is ever puppies and picnics when they get sent down. The coaching staff with the Marlies is wondering whether the Frattin they know will come back or is this a different one. Has this new situation challenged him past the […]

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Hamilton provided fans immediately with toughness when they first arrived on the scene. I was the Director of Operations for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at the time and along with Norm Miller who ended up being the colour voice of the Dogs on local TV. We decided that if we thought folks should buy our season tickets we should do the same for the new hockey team. My name was put on the tickets and as such it also ended up on a plaque in the rink as founder. Yep, voice […]

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Utica Comets v Toronto Marlies

On December 1st of 2014 you could hear rumblings about whether the Leafs choice for their Marlies coaching was the right one. The team had five wins in two months and didn’t seem to have much in the way of possibilities for more. Emergency, urgency and panic comes easily to some critics but inside the Marlies room not one blaring horn, not one wailing siren, not even a screaming hysterical mob. Mathematically, the history of making playoffs when a team gets that far behind is near zero. In recent history […]

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It isn’t often Gord Dineen has to speak to the entire bus without relying on the front folks to pass it along to the people in the back somewhat accurately. That changes when there can be no mistake about the information and no kidding around.

Moments earlier Ben Simon called up the Marlies one of the most dominant player last season for the Marlies and a larger reason they went to the Conference finals, Spencer Abbott. You don’t spent hardly anytime in sports before you realize these are moments when you […]

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Sitting with Troy Bodie in San Antonio eating breakfast on the famous Riverwalk, the conversation is about the food and the unique setting. It doesn’t stroll too far into hockey before it comes back to the burritos and bets that were won wading into the waist deep water. The Manitoba bred Bodie who can play at times like like someone just backed into his car on a snowy day, is smiling. Not because he isn’t where he hopes to be, in the NHL, but because this is another day in […]

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The Marlies get on the bus in a frigid Utica parking lot. Not even the usual autograph collectors are out to pad their online sales inventory. Casey the bus driver has the wheels ready and sneakers skid across the slick snow searching for the steady first step of the ride home. The stinging wind slaps the skin rudely after a 5-2 loss to a team that just called up a guy with 313 AHL games in his stick.

Prospects. It seems like a simple bit of business to name who is […]

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Getting off the bench and in the game.

Perhaps it is because of the snow that just fell but the new practice of naming of winter storms is, as goaltender coach Piero Greco might say, junk. Giving names to things officially is never preferable to organically coming up with one by consensus. Winter Storm Juno does not even come close to names like The Schoolhouse Blizzard or Knickbocker Storm or Storm of the Century.

Trying to nickname someone or something is tough work and usually you know you have something when it sticks for longer than a month. Take […]

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When the Maple Leafs moved out to St. John’s back when the internet was first made available to commercial use, one of the reason bandied about was that they were tired of always hearing about players in the minors who should be playing for the big club. It seemed like a pretty ridiculous excuse at the time. Who could think that just because a goaltender had a shutout one night in Newmarket, that they deserved a call to Toronto? The access, the whispers went, to the AHL team was too easy. […]

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The human hand has 27 bones (28 if you include the sesamoid bone but really who ever includes that?) and an intricate connection of nerves and muscles and tendons that comprise a fairly complicated and not easily replicated piece of the human anatomy. While we aren’t the only species with opposable thumbs as some folks like to point out (koalas have two opposable thumbs so take that human superiority) we do use out hands for more than just gripping eucalyptus leaves and shoving them in our mouths. We use our hands […]

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Director of Hockey Operations

The gatekeepers of Guinness Records might want to come with the Marlies on a road trip. The team doesn’t have the tallest, shortest, biggest or smallest of anything. Brad Lynn, Director of Hockey Operations, might just hold a record for answering the most questions on a hockey road trip. Some business school graduate might misinterpret that as lack of communication but they have never tried to move a hockey team from San Antonio to Oklahoma City to St. John’s all with someone going up to the Leafs and two guys […]

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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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