Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Chin Brothers, Kallgren & Ending Offside

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ News & Rumors, I’ll look into the Maple Leafs past to share the story of a famous set of brothers who tried out for the Maple Leafs’ roster. Although they never made the roster of the big club, they had an impact on the history of the team. These were the Chin brothers from a small town in Western Ontario.

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Second, I’ll look at the emergence of young goalie prospect Erik Kallgren this season. His work during the regular season (along with Joseph Woll) offers hope that the Maple Leafs pipeline is not devoid of talent.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Kallgren, Sandin, Marner, Tavares & Ilya(s)

Finally, I’ll take a look outside the Maple Leafs to last night’s Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche game. During that game, a controversial goal was allowed when what was seen as offside was challenged (and lost). That goal in addition to the ensuing goal the Avalanche scored on the power play assessed for a failed challenge could have been the difference in the Avalanche winning and the Oilers’ losing.

Item One: Remembering The Chin Brothers from Lucknow, Ontario

In the 1940s, Lucknow, Ontario, (close to the eastern banks of Lake Huron) was the home of a unique hockey family. The three Chin brothers all played on the same team and had become such a potent scoring line that it led the town team’s to success in the WOAA (Western Ontario Athletic Association). 

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Bill, Albert, and George Chin were Chinese Canadians; and, they were all great young players. In 1942-43, they led their Lucknow Maple Leafs’ team to an undefeated season. In 10 games the Chin brothers scored 67 of the team’s 117 goals. In total, that season the Lucknow Maple Leafs totalled 280 points and the Chin brothers has scored more than half of that total – exactly 155 points among them. 

The Chin brothers were so good that, wherever they played, they attracted crowds. Obviously, part of it was their Chinese origin. Still, people came to watch them play. The brothers even drew the attention of Toronto Maple Leafs’ coach “Hap” Day, who was from nearby Owen Sound. As a result, the Chins were invited to attend Toronto’s training camp held in Owen Sound. 

Related: Oilers History: The Paul Coffey Effect

To make a long story short, although they were good players, they never made the Maple Leafs’ team. However, they did wear the Blue and White Maple Leafs’ jerseys in offseason games. 

Paul Henderson Team Canada 1972 Summit Series
Paul Henderson, Team Canada 1972 Summit Series
(Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images)

In fact, former Maple Leafs’ Paul Henderson (who scored the winning goal of the 1972 Summit Series) credits the Chin family with getting him into hockey and giving him his first hockey lessons. In a 1997 interview he noted, “If it wasn’t for a Chinese Canadian family, I would never have scored the most important goal in Canadian hockey history!”

Item Two: The Emergence of Erik Kallgren

One of the many good things that happened for the Maple Leafs during the 2021-22 regular season was the emergence of goalie Erik Kallgren from the Toronto Marlies. With injuries to both Petr Mrazek and Jack Campbell, Kallgren was called upon to fill the net on several occasions for the Maple Leafs. 

Related: 2022 NHL Entry Draft – Top 10 OHL Prospects

The 25-year-old Kallgren had a solid season for the team. He ended the year with a record of  8-4-1, a goals-against-average of  3.31, and a save percentage of .888. One thing that set Kallgren apart, especially from Mrazek, was his quiet manner in goal. He always seemed to be calm and didn’t have a lot of moving parts. 

Certainly, when Kallgren was good, he was very good. However, when he wasn’t on his game, he really wasn’t either. On some nights, he’d let in three or four goals. In his four NHL losses last season, Kallgren gave up 20 goals. On other nights, he was a shut-down goalie. Becoming more consistent might take some experience, but Kallgren has a chance to be special.  

What’s Next for the NHL?

Usually I do a “What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?” piece to end a post, but the game in Colorado against the Avalanche and the Oilers had one of the oddest (and most controversial) goals in NHL playoff history. I just wanted to weigh in on what I saw and what I think it could mean.

I thought Cale Makar’s goal was clearly offside; and, none of the explanations made sense to me. In fact, there was more time explaining the rule than critiquing it, which makes sense for right now.

The logic falls apart for me when the cameras focus to measure the milli-meters involved in a skater’s blade and its proximity to the line. Then, the highly discretionary concept of “control” is added in. The two simply are strange bedfellows. On one hand, the measurement of science; on the other, the assertion (a guess at best) of control laid over it. It doesn’t work.

A simpler way would be to simply look at players’ positions. The simple truth is that, regardless of how the referees or the NHL tries to explain it, the puck touched Makar’s stick and Valeri Nichushkin was already in the Oilers’ defensive zone. To me, nothing else should matter. It should be judged based only on position.

Related: Auston Matthews Is Better than Leon Draisaitl

There certainly will be a discussion of this goal after the Stanley Cup playoffs. I’m looking forward to a change. In fact, what might happen and how would the game change if the offside rule were simply tossed out. Then players could set up everywhere on the ice any time they wanted. It could certainly change how the game was played, especially near a game’s end or when a team desperately needed a score.

Too radical, you think?