It's day one of your favourite Maple Leafs off-season content series! The Pension Plan Puppets Maple Leafs Top 25 Under 25 begins its 14th edition today. It's now been well over ten years since we proclaimed Phil Kessel as #1 all the way back in our September 2012 list.
We are getting a fast start today with ranking #25 at 8:00 a.m. and #24 at 9:00 a.m.. We'll have #23 and #22 out tomorrow at the same times and then switch to one player per day.
This is so exciting to have our first iteration of the Top 25 here on our new platform. Remember if you want to join any of the debates in the comments you have to be a subscriber, and even our free subscription tier allows you to join in and comment.
Hockey careers will be both made and destroyed by the stroke of our pens in the coming weeks, and we will have arguments more heated than debating whether the northern border of "downtown" in Toronto is Dundas or Bloor or Eglinton (you're all wrong, it's actually at Carlton/College.) Enjoy.
Some big news in the world of streaming sports broadcasts came out yesterday.
"WBD" here means Warner Bros. Discovery, the entertainment and media company created in a 2022 merger which has not been particularly well received by the financial markets.
The "Discovery" part you probably recognise for its cache of niche specialty cable channels including its namesake The Discovery Channel, but they also owned related popular cable channels like the Food Network, HGTV, TLC, and many more that focus on factual or reality based programming for a niche audience.
"Warner Bros.," obviously owns the famous film studio and all of its intellectual property (including DC comics movie rights), but it also notably owns the TV networks CNN, HBO, and TNT; TNT happening to be one of the two US broadcast rightsholders for NHL games, and it also has the rights to some NBA, MLB and US college sports broadcasts.
WBD is also currently famous for being one of the "villains" in the strike by actors and writers against the big Hollywood studios, with WBD CEO David Zaslav taking the role of the mustache-twirling comedic villain with his average ~$40 million /year salary a talking point, plus his several hundred million dollar stock option performance bonus package, and also his out-of-touch demeanour including a champagne reception at a luxury resort in the French Riviera right as the writers' strike began.
What's interesting and relevant to hockey here is that it has been revealed the rights deal with NHL allows for exclusive games on the WBD streaming service Max, formerly known as HBO Max.
This would mean WBD could move games off TNT on cable and make them only available on their subscription streaming service. What games these would be is up in the air, but it's an unsurprising result given the rise of cord-cutters and cord-nevers, and the collapse of the regional sports network model because fans don't want to have to jump through hoops to see any particular game of their team, or others. However, what all this means is of course you will end up having to pay more to see that "exclusive" content.
None of this is applicable to Canada right now as the existing rights deals will carry on a few more seasons largely functioning as they do today, but the time will come where Rogers and Bell will find a way to force you to pay more to watch any hockey game via streaming while simultaneously making sure they are not available on broadcast TV at all.
Enjoy your Tuesday.