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From the Branches: Fourth of July party

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Canada's long weekend is over, but America's is not, so let's keep the party rolling!

D'AWWWW look at the cute Americans.
D'AWWWW look at the cute Americans.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs development camp begins today in Toronto. The development camp is an opportunity for newly signed players from junior and college leagues to have their first formal meetings with Maple Leafs staff, a health and fitness check-up, and an introduction to the to the Maple Leafs system. They will leave camp with goals and objectives from management giving them an idea of what they need to do to get signed to a pro contract in the future.

ElSeldo wrote up the invitee list here. After today's media events and medical checks the players will travel down the QEW to Niagara Falls (good luck with that holiday weekend traffic) for a week of practices, scrimmages, and probably some casino gambling tourist activities.

There will be a scrimmage open to the public on Friday with free admission (donations for the food bank encouraged), unlike the Sabres public scrimmage which will cost $20!

In other news, it was a busy, and controversial, weekend for the Leafs. Two UFA signings have brought out strong opinions and heated discussion.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign Matt Martin to FOUR year contract - PPP
But why?

Toronto Maple Leafs sign Roman Polak - PPP
A one year at a reported $2.25M salary.

We have some great writers with their own strong opinions on these signings from whom you will hear soon.

Gone but not forgotten - PPP
Where are all the former Leafs after the opening of free agent frenzy?

What have you done so far this summer?

Leo Komarov participated in a ball hockey tournament in which he wore his Maple Leafs gear. Then this weekend then he got married.

Leo Komarov is married! - Pension Plan Puppets
[Species: Much more interesting is the outfit worn by Dickey Clune to an unrelated wedding.]

Sure beats your summer of getting drunk on Saturday afternoon and passing out in a chair in the backyard getting a nasty sunburn, eh?

Other News

Colin Smith signs AHL contract with the Toronto Marlies - MLHS
The centreman was originally acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs from Colorado back in February of this year in the trade that sent Shawn Matthias the other way.

A Telling Year For Morgan Rielly - Editor in Leaf
The Maple Leafs have made it pretty clear they view Rielly as a top pairing defender for the future of this club. The 2016-17 season is going to tell an important tale in his growth.

Leafs sign Marlies defender Justin Holl to NHL deal - PPP
From the ECHL to a big-league contract in two years, way to go Holl!

Should the Leafs consider a Luke Schenn reunion? - Shanaplan Debate
The Leafs drafted Schenn 5th overall in 2008 only to trade him for JVR in 2012. Should they consider a reunion, four years later?

Winnipeg Jets sign Patrik Laine to entry-level contract - Arctic Ice Hockey
The three year deal is worth an average annual value of $3.575 million, including $2.65 million in bonuses. [Species: That's Kris Russel Money!]

A Hockey City: Goodbye, P.K. - Eyes On The Prize
A Hockey City loses one of its most beloved residents...

Why Changes At Rogers NHL Hockey Is Troublesome - TSM Blog
After two short seasons in an Ice Aged long term, Rogers has firmly hit the panic button retreating it's coverage across the board.

Was Stroumboulopoulos too edgy or not nearly edgy enough? - Eyes On The Prize
Most observers say that Stroumboulopoulos failed because he was too friendly to young hockey fans. Maybe he wasn't friendly enough.

Don't expect a rush to trade away Ben Bishop - Raw Charge
Perhaps I'm drawing the wrong conclusion, but I think Gudlevskis new deal highlights how Tampa Bay isn't in a hurry to deal Ben Bishop.

Happy Fourth!

The cake that brought Ina Garten and Taylor Swift together - New York Post
Forget apple pie. When it comes to celebrating on the Fourth, there’s nothing more American than a flag cake, specifically Ina Garten’s flag cake.