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Tie Domi: the Greatest Toronto Maple Leaf of All Time?

Eric WarrenCorrespondent IIDecember 17, 2009

TORONTO - APRIL 3: Tie Domi #28 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at Air Canada Centre on April 3, 2006 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Sabres win 3-2 after shootout. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)
Graig Abel/Getty Images

Right about now, there are a few hundred Toronto Maple Leafs fans gasping for air. Tie Domi? The greatest Leaf of all time? Are you nuts?

There are numerous players in the annals of Toronto Maple Leafs  lore who are perhaps deserving of the moniker. It depends in large part, I suppose, on your own personal criteria.

For example, my criteria obviously does not include points, for the most part.

To me, Domi was perhaps the greatest Toronto Maple Leaf Ever simply because everything he did while he played here was about the team.

To begin with, he was a tough guy, pound-for-pound perhaps one of the best fighters in the history of the game.

In 1,020 career NHL games, Domi logged 3,515 penalty minutes. Although they weren't all fighting majors, a lot of them were. During his 16-year NHL career, he was involved in over 330 fights.

Fighting couldn't be the only reason for my arriving at such a lofty decision, though. Another big part of it is the reason for the fights. Domi rarely ever backed down from anyone. There were several up-and-coming players over the years that went looking for him, trying to make their mark against arguably the league's greatest enforcer.

He only fought for the right reasons. If some new kid was looking to "cut their teeth" and went after him, he was usually willing to oblige.

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Or, if someone went after one of his teammates and it was either a dirty play or a bad mismatch, Domi was there. Always.

Tie Domi has become very well known for several different incidents during his colorful career. A few that come to mind include the infamous "fan fight." Who can forget the awesome "Ulf Samuelsson knockout?" This is probably one of the greatest highlights of his career—an apparently very shrewd Pat Quinn sent Domi out to take a penalty shot!

Domi was always very active in the community here as well, with visit to local charities, children's hospitals, and a myriad other events that numbered in the hundreds.

He was never a prolific scorer, although towards the end of his career here in Toronto, he figured his hands couldn't take the fighting anymore, and he was actually pretty entertaining with the puck on occasion.

Tie always bled Blue and White, ALWAYS. So much so that in 2006, when the Leafs bought out the remainder of his contract, he retired, saying that he just couldn't see himself wearing anything but the Blue and White.

To me, he is the greatest Toronto Maple Leaf of all time!

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