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Good morning MLHS,
First off, let me start by thanking Alec, Michael and Michael for inviting me to participate in Maple Leaf Hangout Episode #17 – if you guys and gals had nearly as much fun watching as I did filming, then you and I are off to a good start!
Secondly, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to anyone that didn’t catch the Hangout and wonders what the heck I’m doing here. I’ve been following Alec’s writing since he started out at that ‘other site’ and I quickly moved over to the greener pastures of MLHS when he made the move. Along with reading all of the incredible content that the writers here put together, I’ve also stealthily followed the comments sections, and although I never actually posted myself, I feel like I’ve gotten to know a number of you by reading your comments over the years. So on that note, let me say that it’s an honour to have the opportunity to write to you along with the rest of the stellar (myself excluded) MLHS team.
Briefly, I’m a lawyer working downtown in Toronto with a concentrated litigation practice. As part of my education I’ve had the opportunity to study and write extensively about sports and entertainment law, and I now work at a firm with a practice in media litigation. As a guy with dreams of working in sports, I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent immersed in this site getting my hockey fix. My hope is that I can provide a slightly different take on some of the news and events that concern hockey and our Toronto Maple Leafs. But make no mistake, I’m a fan of the game – and more specifically the Maple Leafs – first and foremost.
I know that the Michaels and I addressed the Rogers deal with the NHL earlier, but I thought I’d just provide a quick run-down for anyone that missed the Hangout, or who simply wants a quick reference.
The Rogers Deal: The Basics
The proposed deal is for 12 years and approximately $5.2 Billion, which averages out to more than the $400 million/ season that the Commissioner was reportedly seeking from a new Canadian broadcasting deal. The deal is one of the longest in sports broadcasting history, and is unprecedented in that it is the first time in North American sports that a major sports league has granted exclusive distribution rights to a single broadcast network. As a result of the deal Rogers gets exclusive rights to all Canadian hockey, across all media platforms (including television, digital, and mobile) until the end of the 2026 season (or roughly until Rick Dipietro’s deal with the Islanders was supposed to expire). Rogers will have the exclusive right to broadcast Canadian hockey on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
As part of the deal, Rogers will sublicense two games a week to the CBC under the Hockey Night in Canada moniker over the next 4 years, while TVA will carry all French language broadcasts in la Belle Province. It’s not clear what will happen to the CBC’s affiliation with Hockey Night in Canada beyond four years. The CBC will also retain playoff games and Stanley Cup finals games that fall on a Saturday. Interestingly, because HNIC has now become part of the Rogers programming platform, editorial control over HNIC (including on-air content, talent and creative direction) now belongs to Rogers. In other words, if you’re tired of hearing Glenn Healy malign the Leafs call Nadir Mohamed (don’t actually) because the CBC can’t help you anymore.
Probably the single greatest impact of the deal is that is promises to mark the end of “regional games” and “blackouts.” So what does this all mean for us Leafs fans?
The Rogers Deal: Through a Blue and White Lens
Unequivocally, the end of “regional games” and “blackouts” is a good thing for Leaf fans living outside of the Leafs broadcast region who just want to watch hockey games featuring the Leafs. Regional games and blackouts occur as a result of agreements reached between the NHL, the national broadcaster (currently TSN and CBC), regional broadcasters (currently Sportsnet), and to some degree the hockey club. Take for example a poor Leaf fan stranded in Vancouver, far removed from his or her favourite team.
Under the current (expiring) deal, when a regional Leafs game is scheduled only those viewers residing in the Leafs broadcasting zone can see it. Making matters worse is that when a regional game is scheduled on a night when a national broadcaster is airing another game coast to coast, in order to prevent the games from competing for viewership the regional Leaf broadcast is limited to a 50 mile radius around the ACC.
Under the new deal, it would appear that even where the regional broadcaster (which will now be TSN as the station retains 10 regional Leafs games in 2014 and 26 in 2015) is broadcasting the Leafs game in Ontario, Rogers will have the right to broadcast the game outside of Ontario, so our Vancouver residing Leafs fan is now a happy camper. This is one of the major benefits of having a single media broadcaster because the concern over games competing against one another is a lot less pressing when you own the rights to all of the games anyway.
The concern for Leafs fans is that as part of the deal struck between Rogers and the CBC it may become necessary to subscribe to cable to see any Leafs games. The way the sub-license has been structured it’s not necessarily the case that the CBC will be carrying the Leafs on HNIC in Canada on a Saturday night. While Rogers owes the CBC two NHL games a week, the company retained control over on-air content and may simply decide that it would prefer to have the marquee Leafs matchup on CityTV rather than CBC. If that is in fact the case, then fans will not be able to tune in to the CBC’s free HD feed, and may need to start shelling out for games.
While the deal has not yet been ratified, the NHL Board of Governors is set to meet during the second week of December and will vote on the deal. That being said, anything less than resounding approval by the Board would be shocking at this point. In short, get ready for a whole-lot more Kypreos for the next 12 years.
Until next time,
The Leafs face off against their third consecutive Western Conference opponent as Dallas Eakins, Keith and son Will Acton, and Mike Brown return to town on Hockey Night in Canada.
Team Records: Leafs – 3-0-0 vs. Avalanche – 2-0-0
2012-13 Season Series: Two teams haven’t met since October 17, 2011.
Key Matchup: Patrick Roy vs. ACC stanchions
Fantasy Hockey: There’s a new way to play fantasy hockey that turns the season long grind into quick hitting one night leagues. And the best part is that you can win cash every single day. You draft a team for one night and get paid out as soon as the games end that night. Click here to play.
Headlined by first round draft selections Tyler Biggs (2011), Stuart Percy (2011), Morgan Rielly (2012) and Frederik Gauthier (2013), the Maple Leafs’ 2013 prospect tourney roster features one member from the 2008 (Andrew MacWilliam) and 2009 (Jamie Devane) draft classes and then four prospects from each subsequent draft class since 2010.
MLHS’ Alec Brownscombe chatted with assistant coach of the Leafs Greg Cronin over the phone this afternoon. Topics covered include the penalty kill, the team’s possession play and possession statistics, the Bruins series, and more. Enjoy.
Crazy eyes Clarkson
Heading into free agency, nearly every Leafs fan knew that Nonis wanted to bring in David Clarkson, considered your prototypical Carlyle guy. Well, I’m sure you all know that Nonis got his man, and at a hefty $5.25 million cap hit for 7 years. There’s been much discussion since the signing about the contract Nonis gave to Clarkson and I don’t particularly want to beat a dead horse. So, without really delving into the subject of whether or not I think he’s worth that money or term, I want to give Leafs fans a look into what Clarkson brings to the table.
Joe Colborne Traded
Joe Colborne, restricted free agent no longer, has re-signed with the Maple Leafs to a one-year, one-way contract valued at $600,000.
The Leafs remaining RFAs include Cody Franson, Carl Gunnarsson, Mark Fraser and Nazem Kadri. By handing out the one-way deal, Colborne came in at a pretty cheap hit of $600,000, leaving the Leafs with around $10 million in available cap space.
The more I think about the Jonathan Bernier trade, the more I realize it was a straight-up judgment call by the Leafs’ pro scouts (led by Steve Kasper, this staff includes Mike Penny, Tom Watt and Rob Cowie.. the trade also likely involved a consultation with amateur scout Mike Palmateer). While Bernier has an edge in pedigree based on his draft position, projecting goaltender development can be alchemy and neither Scrivens or Bernier have significant enough sample sizes to their name to really know what either could become. James Reimer’s biggest workload in a single season is 37 games, so despite what he proved in his first stint as a rookie and then again in the shortened season, there is still a fair amount of projection involved in definitively labeling Reimer a high end starter as well.
Why not turn to goalie scout Justin Goldman, Director of Goalie Scouting at McKeen’s Hockey, for his take?
We reviewed Clarke MacArthur the other day here at MLHS. The feedback seemed rather divided on the question of whether to keep or not to keep the pending UFA. Meanwhile, there’s no doubting that David Clarkson’s name will only continue to remain attached to the Leafs in rumour circles as we approach free agency and the Toronto native remains without a contract past July 5.
With a glut of wing talent already, and Phil Kessel in need a contract extension, there’s no way Dave Nonis should re-sign MacArthur and then also go and sign David Clarkson. It’s not a smart allocation of dollars when depth wingers are the easiest assets to come by in the NHL.
Of course, things could play out in such a way where the Leafs lose out on the Clarkson “sweepstakes” (he re-signs or they are outbid or whatever) and then turn and try to bring back MacArthur. But as of today, with both options on the table, there is certainly merit in the question of MacArthur vs. Clarkson. And it’s a tough one.
The Leafs are on Long Island tonight looking to bounce back after a dismal showing at home against the Habs less than 24 hours ago. Tonight is like most game nights in that I’d highly recommend the Leafs win, but it’s especially the case given they’re playing the Islanders and have New Jersey and Pittsburgh on tap after the upcoming three-day break.
The big story as far as lineup changes go is the return of James Reimer, who banged up his knee 17 days ago. Tonight hopefully marks the beginning of a two- (healthy) Leafs goalie platoon where both ‘tendies push each other for the opportunity to provide quality starts. Reimer’s last start was the Leafs’ 5-2 win over Philadelphia and he enters tonight looking to belatedly continue a three-game win streak. He’s 6-3-0 with a .931 save percentage on the season.
Photo: QMI Agency
Prior to this one, the Habs lost only four regulation games this season, but two of those loses have come at the hands of the Maple Leafs, including the 6-0 shellacking handed to them in the Bell Centre. The 6-0 win also featured physical dominance by the Leafs so this one was expected to be a fiery affair. The Habs added Michael Ryder and PK Subban to the lineup just to make things more difficult.
“When the schedule first came out, you know, you look forward to it. But I think both teams have moved on now and they’re having some success, too.” – Luke Schenn
The definition of success is a funny one. It seems like it should be the Flyers who are proudly sitting in fifth place in the East, poised to make a leap into a tie with Pittsburgh or surpass a division leader with a victory on Monday night. It seems like it should be the Leafs who are taking pride in getting over the hiccups of a slow start, pleased to be part of an early tie for the last playoff spot in the Conference. Surprisingly, the tables have turned, and with very little changing for either team besides the Schenn/van Riemsdyk trade, it seems like Schenn has a lot to prove against his former club on Monday. Moreover, he’s got to show his current club that he can eventually become the type of shutdown defenseman that can warrant giving up a player who now seems to be discovering his true offensive upside.
On Hockey Day in Canada in February of 2012, the Leafs organization added special lustre to their matchup against the Montreal Canadiens with the decision to honour Mats Sundin with a pregame banner raising ceremony at the ACC. The Leafs were 28-21-6 at the time, in the playoff hunt, and had even more reason than usual to put on a good showing. They proceeded to get stomped by a score of 5-0, slipping silently into the night and initiating a disastrous slump that would eventually extend the team’s playoff drought and end their head coach’s tenure behind the bench.
Hope you’ve all been enjoying a day chock full of awkward interviews on CBC.
The main event gets underway in about an hour as the Leafs take on the Habs at the Bell Centre in their second meeting this season. At the quarter point of the season, the Leafs could pass the Habs in the division and conference standings with a win and pull into a tie with the Senators after their 1-0 loss to the Jets this afternoon.
The Maple Leafs, one of the league’s better road teams through five away games (4-1), will visit one of the loudest buildings in the league tonight, the acoustic MTS Centre, where the Jets are 3-1 this season and 26-14-5 since their return to Winnipeg.
Photo: Greg Flume/Getty Images
The Toronto Maple Leafs bounced back from last night’s drubbing, defeating the Washington Capitals 3 – 2. But did you really expect a team with Tim Hunter coaching and Joey Crabb featuring heavily on the PK to actually win a game?
With just a single goal in their past two games, the Leafs need their top six to wake up offensively as they begin a three-game road trip at the Verizon Center tonight in Washington, DC.
Photo: Getty Images
Prepare yourself, this loss is going to invite some doomsday, trade-everybody overreactions.
This is a big of a test as there is in game #8 of the season for Carlyle’s team. How the Leafs look against the 5-1-1 Boston Bruins tonight is going to be an early measuring stick when it comes to the team’s level of improvement this season over last.
In the process of losing all six games to the Bruins last season, the Leafs never allowed less than four and were lit up by scores of 7-0, 8-0, 6-3 and 6-2 throughout the season series. The way in which the Leafs were roundly outplayed in all facets of the game, and at times physically outmatched to an extent hard to imagine of an NHL team, in those blowouts was an embarrassment to all wearing Blue and White; the types of performances against a hated division rival the Leafs must avoid if, as Carlyle pledged, his team isn’t going to be a laughingstock.
The Capitals are not a good team at the moment and for a while there the Leafs looked in danger of walking away with nothing in a winnable game. Thankfully, a two-goal third period saves the day and the Leafs move to 4-3-0 with their first home win.
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