The win against Ottawa on Saturday gave the Leafs 20 on the season, matching the entire output of the 1984-85 team. There were no shootouts in 1984-85, though, nor were there overtime points. If we were to score this team the way it used to be done, this year's Leafs would actually be 18-42-5. That's a .315 winning percentage.
The '84-85 Leafs were 20-52-8 (.300), good enough for dead last and the opportunity to select Wendel Clark with the number one pick in the summer. Now, since I "went there" with the whole draft pick thing, I should already mention that potential #1 Craig Simpson was telling the Leafs he wouldn't report, so not to bother drafting him. At least those days are done. Should also mention, I guess, that had the Leafs managed to finish last one year sooner, it would have been Super Mario.
On the bright side, if you'd told a fan of that team that the time would come when the Leafs and Oilers would be neck-and-neck in the standings, I think we'd have been pretty happy with that.
As it stands, this team is every bit as bad as the worst of the Ballard teams. All that is missing is the soap opera. Anyone who wondered what 80's Leafs hockey looked like, this is pretty much it. The only difference is that those Leafs would lose 5-3 instead of 3-1 and there would be a couple of extra fights.
That season, some of those fights would have been handled by Jeff Brubaker. On Friday, DGB in a moment of prescience mused that Bru would be a great LotD. By virtue of his wearing #23, that moment has come.
Just as we all yelled "Looouuuuuuuuuuuuu" for Lou Franceschetti, Brubaker was always serenaded by a chorus of "BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU's" every time he came on the ice.
Jeff wasn't exactly a finesse guy. He was a borderline NHLer who got everything by virtue of his willingness to step up for his teammates and tangle with the heavyweights of the '80s. By the time the Leafs got him in the 1984 waiver draft, he'd been part of five organizations in as many seasons. Other than with Hartford in 1979, he was getting a game here, a game there in which to try to make an impression.
With the Leafs, Bru got the chance to play a little bit and on that '84-85 team he was able to make a bit of a name for himself. He set career highs in games, goals, assists, points and penalty minutes. The Norris was home to no shortage of tough guys and Bru faced them all. The fans loved him.
What was more, he looked like a guy who could contribute. He'd get in front of the net and cause trouble and even score on occasion. He had one two-goal game in which he was an eyelash away from the hat trick. Had he got it, it could well have been the end of MLG. It would have been that loud.
Heading into 1985-86, Bru was confident enough to predict a 20-goal season from himself. 21 games in (and no points), he was claimed on waivers by Edmonton (that was not too shabby on the surface) and was back to his sporadic callups. A kid defenseman by the name of Todd Gill would adopt #23, and the rest was history.
After his playing days, Bru coached for a number of years in the minors.
|1974-75||St. Paul Vulcans||MWJHL||57||13||14||27||130|
|1975-76||St. Paul Vulcans||MWJHL||47||6||34||40||152|
|1976-77||Michigan State Spartans||WCHA||18||0||3||3||30|
|1978-79||New England Whalers||WHA||12||0||0||0||19||3||0||0||0||12|
|1981-82||Nova Scotia Voyageurs||AHL||60||28||12||40||256||6||2||1||3||32|
|1982-83||Nova Scotia Voyageurs||AHL||78||31||27||58||183||7||1||1||2||25|
|1984-85||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||68||8||4||12||209||-18|
|1985-86||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||21||0||0||0||67||0|
|1985-86||Nova Scotia Oilers||AHL||19||4||3||7||41|
|1986-87||Nova Scotia Oilers||AHL||47||10||16||26||80|
|1987-88||New York Rangers||NHL||31||2||0||2||78||0|
|1988-89||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|1988-89||Adirondack Red Wings||AHL||63||3||10||13||137|
|1995-1996||Jacksonville Lizard Kings||ECHL|
|1996-1998||San Antonio Dragons||IHL|
- Selected by New England (WHA) in 1978 WHA Amateur Draft, June, 1978.
- NHL rights retained by Hartford prior to Expansion Draft, June 9, 1979.
- Claimed by Montreal from Hartford in Waiver Draft, October 5, 1981.
- Claimed by Quebec from Montreal in Waiver Draft, October 3, 1983.
- Claimed by Calgary from Quebec in Waiver Draft, October 3, 1983.
- Signed as a free agent by Edmonton, June 21, 1984.
- Claimed by Toronto from Edmonton in Waiver Draft, October 9, 1984.
- Claimed on waivers by Edmonton from Toronto, December 5, 1985.
- Traded to Philadelphia by Edmonton for Dom Campedelli, March 9, 1987.
- Traded to NY Rangers by Philadelphia for cash, July 21, 1987.
- Signed as a free agent by Detroit, October, 1988.
The HHOF take on Jeff:
Jeff Brubaker was a hard-nosed left-winger who spent parts of eight seasons in the NHL during the 1980s. He was on hand to play a physical role but also chipped in the odd goal and saw occasional duty on the power play where he caused commotion in the slot.
Brubaker played two years with the St. Paul Vulcans of the USHL before attending Michigan State at the start of the 1976-77 season. Two months into the schedule he headed to the OHL where he put on the uniform of the Peterborough Petes. After scoring 20 goals and racking up 307 minutes in penalties, the rugged forward was chosen 102nd overall by the Boston Bruins in 1978.
Brubaker opted to start his pro career in the WHA with the New England Whalers then ended up in the NHL anyway when the franchise became part of the merge in 1979-80. He spent most of the 1979-80 season with the AHL's Springfield Indians but dressed for 43 games in Hartford the following season. Brubaker then spent the majority of the next three seasons in the minors while making brief appearances with the Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames.
The burly winger scored eight goals in 68 games and was one of the more consistent players on the dreadful Toronto Maple Leafs in 1984-85. His playing time was reduced when the team improved the next season then he was claimed by the Edmonton Oilers to add depth to their AHL farm club. Brubaker later played a few games for the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings before retiring in 1989.