January 4: On this day in 1971, a single signature changed the course of Leaf history. The son of Maple Leafs founder Conn Smythe, Stafford, and pal Harold Ballard had gained complete control of Maple Leaf Gardens and the team. Ballard had drawn up a will for Stafford to sign including a clause that allowed Ballard the option to buy all of Stafford’s shares upon his death. After once again having consumed way too much to drink, Stafford signed the document. A few months later, Stafford died and Ballard exercised his option. Harold Ballard successfully wrested control of the Leafs and MLG from the Smythe family.
January 5: On this day in 2008, Leafs captain Mats Sundin became just the 5th player in NHL history to score 20 or more goals in 17 consecutive seasons. His 2nd goal of the evening and his 20th of the season came in game 42, a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Sundin fired 8 of the whopping total of 56 shots on goal for the Leafs. The milestone put Sundin in the company of all-time great players – Gordie Howe, Brendan Shanahan, Marcel Dionne and Brett Hull.