Leafs get a jump

GARY LOEWEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

The Maple Leafs are proving to be ahead of their time.

The puck will drop at 7 p.m. for weeknight games this coming season at the Air Canada Centre.

That’s 30 minutes earlier than in previous years.

On eight occasions, the Leafs will play a road game the following night, so the 7 p.m. start will let them get out of town sooner.

The earlier start should be welcome news for most fans, too — especially parents of junior members of Leafs Nation — as games continue to get stretched by overtime and shootouts.

Even more so for hockey beat writers who scramble to file stories on deadline.

Tiger’s temper

Clearly peeved at the flight of his crooked tee shots during the opening round, Tiger Woods took the early lead in body language at the British Open.

And maybe bawdy language, too.

Back, back, back

With the Olympics taking a two-week bite out of the NHL season, teams will have fewer off days.

An option would have been to reduce the number of regular-season games. Team owners painstakingly deliberated that thought ... for about two seconds.

Hence, the Leafs will have games on back-to-back nights on 18 occasions — up five from last season.

The Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders have the most back-to-backs, 19 apiece, according to research by Dirk Hoag of ontheforecheck.com.

Flames fly

The Calgary Flames are in line to collect the most air miles this season.

The frequent travellers will log 55,331 miles, rink to rink, as the crow flies, Hoag calculates.

Rounding out the top five:

Dallas Stars 51,182; Phoenix Coyotes 49,707; Edmonton Oilers 49,191; and Anaheim Ducks 49,068.

The five teams facing the fewest miles:

Buffalo Sabres 25,911; Philadelphia Flyers 29,087; New Jersey Devils 31,340; New York Islanders 31,550; and the Maple Leafs 32,313.

Mrs. Doubtfire

Golfer Sandy Lyle has been snubbed by Colin Montgomerie as he attempts to patch up their “cheating” dispute.

“He keeps disappearing,” Lyle said at the British Open

“We sometimes call him a bit of a drama queen.”

They also call Monty the best player never to have won a major.

Add to that, the best player never to have won an argument at a major.

Stroke of genius

Some readers reacted with disbelief to a story yesterday about golfer Rory McIlroy making 105 consecutive practice putts from eight feet.

“It’s impossible,” one caller said, suggesting that Associated Press writer Doug Ferguson needed a fact checker.

A call to AP confirmed the story. The reporter diligently counted as McIlroy put together the amazing string of putts.

The streak didn’t end because McIlroy finally missed one ... he just got bored and went away.

gary.loewen@sunmedia.ca



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