Report: Rogers in talks to buy Toronto Maple Leafs as part of $1.3B mega deal

The Toronto Sun reports that media company Rogers is looking into possibly buying the Toronto Maple Leafs along with their minor league team the Toronto Marlies as a part of an enormous deal said to total $1.3 billion. Along with the Leafs and the Marlies, the sale would reportedly include the Toronto Raptors as well as the Toronto FC soccer club.

Rogers already own the Toronto Blue Jays, so such a deal would seem to give them a near monopoly on sports teams in that specific region. In fact, those Toronto Sun reporters (Robert Cribb and Tony VanAlphen) wrote that the move might be seen as a preemptive one to keep rival network TSN from launching a regional network for the Toronto sports teams.

While a lot of this talk focuses on big money matters for two huge media companies, the two Sun reporters interviewed a source who said that the deal could also be good for Leafs fans, noting that Rogers would be less “bottom-line oriented.” At least from the standpoint that winning teams draw higher ratings than losers do.

Cribb and VanAlphen point out that this deal would make Rogers one of the biggest sports networks in North America.

For Rogers, the programming enticements of a deal are irresistible.

Rogers, which already has epublishing, cable, radio and wireless interests and owns the Blue Jays baseball club, could merge Leafs and Raptors TV, add the Toronto FC games and effectively start the most powerful regional sports network in the country. It would be among the biggest in North America.

“It’s a home run,” said one source. “Content is king. The only way you can draw new subscribers is through compelling, unique and exclusive programming.”

When pressed, Maple Leafs front office people more or less gave the reports a “no comment” response. While that doesn’t confirm the reports, it certainly won’t do much to stop the rumors from getting hot and heavy.

That being said, do note that this is far from confirmed at this time. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?