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[Wednesday's FTB]: Fête du Canada

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Today is the first day of free agency, and someone scheduled it so that all of Canada could take the day off to watch for moves. Amazing!

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I admit that before I started writing for PPP, I took very little notice of Canada Day. In the US south, today is widely regarded as "the first day of July," which is a lot less important to us than the fourth day of July, so I had to rectify my ignorance. Through wikipedia, I have learned that before 1867, Canada was divided into three bloody enormous colonies, and that on 1867 these were united into one kingdom. I always wondered why "67" was such an important year to Leafs fans, and now I know!

According to Wikipedia, Canadians celebrate this day with "outdoor public events, such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and maritime shows, fireworks, and free musical concerts, as well as citizenship ceremonies for new citizens." I wondered why free agency would fall on such a day, and then spotted something else in Wikipedia: "Canada Day also coincides with Quebec's Moving Day, when many fixed-lease apartment rental terms expire." From this, I surmised that the coincidence is due to the NHL being polite to Quebec-area players, so that they know not to renew their rental leases. What a polite country!

Leafs

Wally Stanowski passes away at 96 | Maple Leafs

Podcast: Draft Review + Free Agent Forecasting | PPP

Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco intends to prove people wrong | PPP

Solar Bears announce new head coach: Anthony Noreen | PPP

Why professional sports mask reality so well | PPP

Flames 'kicked the tires' on Kessel; Leafs were unwilling to retain salary | The Score

Phil Kessel owed $4 million bonus on July 1 | ESPN

Five potential UFA targets for the Maple Leafs | Sportsnet

Toronto Maple Leafs Rumors: Beleskey and Franson | Editor in Leaf

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Bring Cody Franson Back? | Tip of the Tower

Leafs preaching patience as the rebuild begins in earnest | Mirtle

Mike Babcock told you there would be pain. You believed him, of course. Then again you wanted the kind of pain the respected coach seemed to be talking about – the kind that would see all those underperforming, no-good Toronto Maple Leafs punted out the door of the Air Canada Centre with nothing but a "Will Play for Food" sign.

It hasn’t happened. It may not – not in the near future, anyway.

Hold onto your butts

All eyes will be on Stamkos’ contract talks with Lightning | Tampa Bay Online

The best NHL free agents in a very weak class | Mirtle

2015 NHL free agency: Matt Beleskey and the most expensive risks | CBS Sports

Brandon Saad makes Blue Jackets force in East | ESPN

NHL free agency: Red Wings seek top-four defenseman but concerned about money, term | MLive

Report: Oilers have contacted UFA defensemen Franson, Sekera, Green | The Score

The next 10 steps in the Buffalo Sabres' rebuild | ESPN insider

Stuff that sucks

David Poile defends ‘family man’ Mike Ribeiro, talks civil case | Puck Daddy

What does Mike Richards contract termination mean for Kings? | ESPN

Expansion, or not

Tukwila group to submit expansion application to NHL | Seattle Times

Coyotes moving to Las Vegas? Bettman calls report ‘garbage’ | Puck Daddy

And something cool

Harvard athlete believed to be first openly transgender swimmer in NCAA | Globe and Mail

Bailar, an incoming freshman, came out as transgender this year after already being recruited for the women’s team. Initially he planned to stay on that team but had mixed feelings about it – he wanted to swim, but he also wanted to embrace his identity.

The Harvard women’s coach saw that Bailar was torn and helped orchestrate another option: In a surprise move, the university offered Bailar a spot on either the men’s or women’s team.