In their seven years of meandering to make the playoffs, the Maple Leafs have seldom led the NHL in any category they’d care to promote.
But in its game-night media notes package, the team now makes mention of its top spot in fighting majors. It’s twinned with a stat on Toronto topping the league in hits, which is a greater source of dressing room pride. But the latter can be very subjective and for years has varied from arena to arena.
There is no grey area when the gloves come off and the Leafs are averaging one fight a game as they enter the second half of the season. Certainly, they’ve made conventional improvements such as a better defensive system, received consistentent goaltending and seen the blossoming of young talent such as Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk.
But without trumpeting it, the Leafs can make a direct link to being higher in the standings to walking taller on the ice. Some nights, just by sitting passively on the bench, Colton Orr, Frazer Mc