Author: Matt Reitz


Rogers, Bell close to purchasing controlling interest in Maple Leafs


It was only two weeks ago when the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan said they weren’t going to sell their controlling interest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE). It’s amazing what (as much as) $2 billion can do to change people’s minds.

Telecommunication rivals Bell Media and Rogers Communications are pooling their assets to purchase the 79.5% of MLSE shares that are owned by the Pension Plan. The $2 billion would include the Toronto Maple Leafs, Leafs TV, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, the Air Canada Centre, and various real estate holdings.

Two billion dollars doesn’t goes as far as it used to.

QMI Agency is reporting that the deal could be completed as early as Friday; but more likely, the deal will be completed sometime before Christmas.

It’s noteworthy that Bell and Rogers are buying the Maple Leafs in the midst of their best start in awhile. The team hasn’t made the playoffs in six seasons, but they’re currently only two points behind the Boston Bruins for first place in the Northeast Division. The team is as desirable as they’ve been in years. What will they be able to do when they have ownership that is desperate for ratings?

Either way, let’s be real: the Maple Leafs could win five games per season and still make money. Now if we could get Bell or Rogers to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, all the ownership problems in the NHL would be cured.

Bruins just keep getting stronger, sign Dougie Hamilton

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders - Rookie Game

Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins signed 2011 first-round pick Dougie Hamilton to a three-year entry level contract on Thursday—and the rich just keep on getting richer. It might not be the most surprising news of the week, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important for the Boston Bruins’ future.

If you aren’t familiar with Hamilton, you will be. Hamilton was the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft; one of the picks the Bruins obtained from Toronto in the infamous Phil Kessel trade. Hamilton was regarded as one of the best two-way defensemen available in June’s entry draft and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down this season. He’s already won OHL Defenseman of the Month honors twice this season and it’s only December. He received an invite to Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp represent in hopes of representing Canada at the World Junior Championships later this month.  Things are going well.

It’s no wonder that GM Chiarelli expects the young Hamilton to compete for a spot on the Bruins’ roster next season. The 6’4” blueliner has a huge shot, knows how to play the offensive game, and can use his size in the defensive zone. At 18-years-old, he already looks like he’s ready to make the jump to the NHL. Just wait until he gets another year of season with the Niagara Ice Dogs.

Hamilton celebrated the contract in style tonight. One goal, two assists, three points, and the No. 1 star of the game. Not a bad way to commemorate the contract.

Shanabanned: Ville Leino suspended for one game

Toronto Maple Leafs v Buffalo Sabres

Brendan Shanahan has been a busy man tonight. Fresh off issuing a four-game suspension to Kevin Porter, the league announced that Ville Leino will receive a one-game suspension for his elbow to the head of Philadelphia’s Matt Read on Wednesday night. More importantly for Leino, the elbow will cost him just over $24,000 in money that he could have used for Christmas gifts.

Shanahan explains in the league issued video that Leino was in the process of stealing the puck from Read with his feet as his elbow came up and hit him in the shoulder and head. The league viewed the contact as an accidental elbow, they also viewed it as a “reckless” hit “without intent” to injure from Leino. Additionally, Shanahan took into account that Read was not injured on the play and Leino has no history of dirty play in the NHL.

Leino should consider himself a lucky man, because the play looked like it would warrant more than just a single game suspension.

Maybe Leino can take the one game mandatory vacation to find his game that he left in Philadelphia last season. Despite making $6 million this season, he’s only managed three goals in 27 games over the first two months of the season.

Three goals, one suspension, and a lot of criticism over the first two months of his 6-year stint in Buffalo. It could have started a little better.