Bob Baun, hero of what most consider to be the gutsiest playoff goal in Maple Leafs history, has died at age 86.
Of 100 players in franchise history ranked by an alumni/media panel in the club’s 2017 centennial, Baun placed 30th and seventh among all club defencemen.
Baun had some foot bones broken while shot-blocking early in his career and nearly died in a freak injury during the final game of the 1960-61 regular season in New York.
In a collision with Rangers’ Camille Henry, the latter’s skate bruised Baun’s throat. Baun came back in the game’s third period, but afterwards was found by teammate Tim Horton gasping for air as the Leafs were about to board their bus. An emergency operation was needed to restore his breathing.
Not only did Howe’s shot crack his ankle in that ’64 final, it was impossible in a six-team league that a fearless defenceman such as Baun wouldn’t get struck by a Bobby Hull slapper. After maskless goalies, the most victimized opponents of The Golden Jet’s drives — the first to be timed in excess of 100 mph — were bare-headed blueliners with ancient shin guards. Baun caught one of the Chicago star’s drives on his right ankle in the ’64-65 season.
But Baun’s brawn had already attained legendary status the previous spring when the Leafs took aim at their third straight Cup.
On a night he had already been in the thick of it with two penalties, he got in the way of Howe’s shot in the scoreless third period, taking it on the right leg just above the ankle.
“I wheeled and my leg turned to cream cheese,” Baun recounted.
After play stopped, teammates helped stretcher him to the dressing room. The Olympia was one of the few NHL rinks at the time with a portable X-Ray machine and though a hairline fracture of the ankle was suspected, Baun convinced Haggert and team doctors to have his leg wrapped tight and pumped with pain killer.
Video showed Baun clomping back to the bench by the end of the third frame and, in overtime, he countermanded general manager/coach Punch Imlach’s attempt to have Kent Douglas go out and took the shift with Carl Brewer. Baun pinched to cut off Al Langlois’s clearing attempt and the man who was hardly feared for his shot delivered “a triple-flutter blast with a follow-up blooper.”
Baun delighted in ribbing his off-ice pal Gadsby for years later, dubbing him ‘Jinxsie.’
In the hoopla that followed his goal, Baun avoided Imlach for two days and kept his foot in ice around the clock for fear of being replaced in Game 7. But Imlach sensed he and injured teammate Red Kelly (knee ligament) would be ready and purposely kept them in the room before warmup at the Gardens until the last second. The building went bonkers when they appeared.
“Nothing could have held back Baun,” Imlach said after the game. “He had a charge to him that could have blown up the rink.”
Both Baun and Kelly factored in the 4-0 Cup clincher.
“It was the best break I ever had.”
Baun was born in Lanigan, Sask., to a farming family and came East to play with Toronto’s junior farm team, the Marlboros in the mid-1950s. He only spent half a season in the minors with Rochester before becoming a full-time Leaf, quickly establishing himself one of the league’s hardest hitters.
By the early 1990s, open-ice hits, leading with the shoulder or the classic hip check, became a hot-button NHL issue, led by Scott Stevens’ kayoing of Eric Lindros.
Imlach had some rogue methods to get the most out of every Leaf and while he didn’t have to worry about Baun, the two men had issues away from the rink.
Baun, who once made as little as $12,500 a season, was an early convert to a strong NHL players’ union, which Imlach just as vehemently opposed. Baun’s business sense also saw him advise teammates on contract salary clauses and off-ice opportunities such as the stock market that Imlach considered distracting and detrimental to team success.
As such he didn’t bother showing up to what would have been his fourth Cup parade, joking later he’d have led the entire motorcade if he knew there wouldn’t be another for what has been 57 years.
Unprotected in the ’67 expansion draft a month after the Cup, he was selected by the Oakland Seals. Rather than dominate the new six-team Western Division as many predicted, the Seals suffered in their inaugural campaign and Baun asked to be traded back to an Original Six team.
He was with Detroit for two seasons, but when Imlach, as new GM of the expansion Buffalo Sabres, re-acquired Baun as part of a three-way deal with St. Louis, Baun refused to report to the Blues.
But early in ’72-73, Baun suffered a neck injury after a hit from Detroit’s Mickey Redmond and did not play again.
Baun had already begun carving his post-playing career. He’d farmed 800 hectares near Pickering before urban sprawl for cattle.
“Don’t call me a gentleman farmer,” he told sportswriter Paul Hunter in 2004. “I had manure on my boots.”
Owner of three Tim Horton’s donut franchises (he lent Tim some start-up cash and claimed to have sold Horton on the drive-through concept), Baun’s store at Highway 2 and White’s Road in Pickering did the most business in 1987 of 400 outlets in the fast-food chain.
Baun said he realized his talent for salesmanship back in his Cub Scout youth on the Prairies. When Apple Day came along, Baun had polished his for three days for the best presentation. He saved enough money by age 15 to buy a Cadillac.
“He was the nicest man and had such a soft voice for a player so tough,” said Leafs historian Mark Fera, whom Baun entrusted his ’64 game-winning puck. “And he took so much precision signing autographs. He relayed to me something Howe had first told him in the 1960s, that many people had come a long way to see him play, some of them on lengthy train trips, so you better make sure your signature was legible.”
No stranger to hospitals — he once stopped by the bed of this reporter during a childhood tonsils operation at the East General for an autograph — he eased his stay for surgery by secretly stocking a bar and having lobster bisque delivered from La Scala restaurant.
He was a great believer in Norman Vincent Peale’s bestseller in the ‘60s, The Power of Positive Thinking and related publications, attending some of Peale’s live lectures.
He was one of the best, a sound defenceman
Dick Duff on Bob Baun
Left winger Dick Duff played on two of the three consecutive Leafs Cup teams in the early ‘60s and came to appreciate Baun’s contributions.
“He was one of the best, a sound defenceman,” Duff told the Sun after hearing the news. “Teams that won in those days did it defensively. Our forwards backchecked and guys such as Bob, Horton and Brewer bodychecked at the line. We were dedicated and knew the system. No one got in our zone.
“People might forget we learned to be that competitive in junior, the guys like me from Kirkland Lake and Northern Ontario playing for St. Michael’s College against the Marlie guys like Bob. The criteria was understood, we were the best prospects for the Leafs and there was no love lost in those junior games.
Duff said Baun helped solidify the Leafs’ room as well.
“His wife (Sallie) used to play bridge and cribbage with the other wives and girlfriends. They were an important part of us being so close. The team meant so much to all of us.”
Current club president Brendan Shanahan stated Monday: “Bob possessed unquestionable toughness and incredible pride in being a Leaf. His inspirational presence continues to embody the heart of the game. He will be greatly missed by the team and its fans.
“Our thoughts are with Bob’s loved ones at this difficult time.”
Baun is survived by them and numerous grandchildren, including forward Kyle Baun, who briefly played for the Chicago Blackhawks and in Toronto for the AHL Marlies.
Finding Your Perfect Match: The Best Ways to Choose an Online Sportsbook
In the ever-expanding world of online sports betting, selecting the right sportsbook is crucial. This is to ensure an enjoyable and secure gambling experience. With numerous options available, it can be challenging to find the perfect fit. For instance, you can be looking into sites like BestOdds to find a sportsbook to go with but do not know what exactly to check.
This article will explain the basics of finding an excellent online sportsbook.
Licensing and Regulation
The first and most critical factor when choosing an online sportsbook is ensuring it operates in a legal and transparent manner. A reputable sportsbook should possess a valid license from a recognized regulatory authority. These licenses indicate that the sportsbook adheres to strict standards, including fair play, responsible gambling and financial security.
Before registering, check for the sportsbook’s licensing information. In most cases, you will find this in the footer of their website. Some of the most reputable regulatory bodies for online sports betting include the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.
Additionally, research the sportsbook’s track record for regulatory compliance and any previous non-payment or unethical practices incidents. User reviews and industry news sources can provide valuable insights into the sportsbook’s reputation.
Odds and Betting Markets
The quality of odds and the variety of betting markets offered are key factors in determining the suitability of an online sportsbook. Competitive odds provide better potential returns for your bets, while a wide range of markets allows you to explore different betting options.
Compare odds from multiple sportsbooks to ensure you get the best bet value. Some websites and apps even offer odds comparison tools to make this process more convenient.
Moreover, consider the breadth of sports and events covered by the sportsbook. Whether you’re into mainstream sports like football, basketball, or soccer or niche sports and events, the sportsbook should offer diverse markets to cater to your preferences.
Security and Payment Options
Security is paramount when sharing personal and financial information with an online sportsbook. Look for sportsbooks that employ the latest encryption technologies, such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer), to safeguard your data. Consider factors like two-factor authentication (2FA) to enhance account security further.
Payment options are another critical aspect. Ensure the sportsbook offers convenient and secure methods for depositing and withdrawing funds. Common payment methods include credit/debit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets (like PayPal or Skrill) and cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin). Choosing a sportsbook that supports your preferred payment method is essential to streamline your betting experience.
As LeBron James enters Year 21, the theme of Lakers media day was passing the torch and sharing the load
The budding relationship between fifth-year forward Rui Hachimura and four-time MVP LeBron James has been one of the stories of the offseason for the resurgent Los Angeles Lakers. Stories of the two working out together have become commonplace. “I call him my Daniel-san and I’m Mr. Miyagi,” James joked at Lakers’ media day Monday. It was an appropriate comparison not just between James and Hachimura, but the legend and his entire team.
Now that Udonis Haslem has called it a career and Andre Iguodala is seemingly headed in that direction, James is officially the NBA’s oldest active player. He proved that he is still a superstar on the court last season, but aside from Anthony Davis and Taurean Prince, all of his Laker teammates are at least a decade his junior. In a perfect world, the days of James pushing for 30-point triple-doubles on a nightly basis are now over. He has a group of young teammates eager to learn from his example and lift him up when he needs it.
“I think with this team we have the most depth,” new Lakers big man Christian Wood said Monday. “No team in the league has more depth than we have.” This was the goal of the Lakers’ offseason. Though they didn’t make any particularly splashy additions, six of the seven Lakers to play at least 200 postseason minutes are back this season. Joining them are Gabe Vincent, a starter on Miami’s finalist from a season ago, and Wood, one of the NBA’s most dynamic scoring big men. Rounding out the new-look bench are former first-round picks Taurean Prince (29), Cam Reddish (24) and Jaxson Hayes (23). That youth-oriented approach was no accident, as Lakers coach Darvin Ham explained Friday.
“Now that we have, top-to-bottom, what we feel is a highly balanced, skilled, athletic, younger team of guys that have logged a ton of NBA minutes, we can surround both he and AD with these players who are coming in eager to contribute, eager to show that they can impact winning,” Ham said. “That’s gonna allow us to be able to be more efficient with his game-to-game minutes.”
Managing James’ minutes was difficult last season. The Lakers lacked depth on a roster depleted by the Russell Westbrook trade, and when Davis was hurt, James needed to carry a remarkable burden just to keep the Lakers afloat. He averaged 24.1 shots and 34.6 points per game between Dec. 18 and Jan. 24, Davis’ longest extended absence of the season. Roughly one month later, he suffered the foot injury that hampered him for the rest of the season. It’s an outcome Davis is hoping to avoid this time around.
“It’s my goal every year to play 82,” Davis said. Though likely unobtainable, keeping Davis on the floor will be essential to the Lakers’ championship hopes this season. In fact, James might even argue that his co-star’s health is more important than his own. “He is the face [of the franchise],” James said at media day. For stretches last season, he was among the NBA’s best players. Between Nov. 13 and his own injury on Dec. 13, Davis averaged 32.4 points per game while doubling as the league’s best defensive player.
But for the Lakers to realize their considerable potential, he’ll have to sustain that dominance for longer stretches. The supporting players, who were so instrumental in lifting the Lakers from out of the top-10 in the West and into the Western Conference finals, will have to continue to benefit from James’ presence as Hachimura has. The Lakers went from cellar-dweller to contender last season when they morphed from an older, star-driven roster to a younger, balanced one, and whether that means Davis stepping into James’ role as the focal point of the team or the role players improving with another year in the system, the Lakers made it clear at media day that they plan to continue that transformation.
The Growing Popularity of Online Casino Apps in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide
Online casinos have surged in recent years, partly because the pandemic moved people from traditional brick-and-mortar establishments to playing from the safety of their homes and partly because technological leaps have made online gaming more engaging and immersive.
In response to the rise in online casinos, companies have invested in bringing the experience to mobile apps. Apps provide players with an accessible way to enjoy their favorite casino games—plus, there are usually more features and gameplay is more convenient.
This guide explores the benefits of online casino apps, the legal considerations surrounding gambling in Canada, the different types of casino games available on apps and future trends in the industry. If you’re an online casino enthusiast looking to sample the best apps, try this list first to see if your favorite casino already has an app. Chances are, they do.
Why an app?
Smartphones have brought a level of convenience to life that is not always appreciated, especially as users become increasingly accustomed to having a tiny computer in their pocket. Ease of access to everything from email to real-time maps to e-reading devices allows for an unprecedented level of flexibility.
Online casinos are no exception. You can access a wide range of casino games while you’re waiting for a bus, relaxing at home on the couch, or during a lunch break. Apps, in comparison to online casino websites, provide a user-friendly interface that is specifically designed for your phone.
Online casino and gambling regulations
It is important to understand the legal considerations and gambling regulations in Canada, or from whichever country you are partaking in online gambling. Engaging with licensed casinos is the best way to protect yourself from potential harm associated with cybercrime, scams, or other unethical practices. Reading reviews from online casino comparison sites or verifying casino licenses is recommended before playing, especially with real money.
In Canada, the legality of online gambling varies across provinces. Some provinces have their own online gambling platforms, while others rely on offshore operators. As a general rule of thumb, online gambling is legal in Canada. The legal gambling age varies by province, so it’s best to check laws and regulations depending on your specific location.
Which types of games are available?
Most casino games have been adapted for mobile apps. Slot games are particularly popular because developers have been able to introduce vibrant graphics and exciting themes to the app experience. Table games such as blackjack, roulette and poker are also popular for those seeking a more strategic, reflective experience.
A lot of online casino apps also offer live dealer games, where players can interact with actual dealers and other players in real time. By leveraging a smartphone’s unique features, such as vibration, these types of games played on an app can feel even more immersive and authentic.
Future trends and advanced gameplay
The online casino app industry is continuously developing, with cutting-edge innovations and trends shaping the industry’s future. One emerging trend is the integration of virtual reality (VR) technology. VR technology, while still not fully mimicking physical casinos, does create a more interactive gaming environment for players.
Another trend is the improvement of mobile payment options. By incorporating a variety of payment options, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, making deposits and withdrawals in mobile casino apps is increasingly more simple and secure. Additionally, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are being leveraged to enrich the gaming experience, with AI-powered chatbots providing personalized customer support.
In today’s age, apps are a normal part of our daily routine. Online casinos have successfully tapped into ever-evolving smartphone technology to create engaging and accessible entertainment options. It is as important as ever to choose reputable service providers and practice responsible gaming, but as the industry continues to innovate, more complex and engaging options are on the horizon.
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