Good morning, everyone, and happy Friday. This break in Leafs games has been a nice rest, but they do play a back-to-back this weekend. First up is Florida and then Washington.

We don’t expect a lot of news today beyond will Auston Matthews play in tomorrow’s game. I don’t think the NHL will have anything Toronto-related to announce. It’s been four days since DoPS fined Mat Barzal, so maybe they’ll do something today to some other team that played last night.

The Growlers playoffs start tonight:

Ty Voit and the Sarnia Sting got absolutely blasted by the Windsor Spitfires last night.

The NHL announced their Global Series yesterday:

This interview is worth your time even if women’s hockey is the last thing you care about. I’ve read this site’s reporting, and it is standard bland facts-first stuff, not anything like what I’d say about the PHF.

John Boynton does that fun modern trick where he goes right for the interviewer for picking on his wonderful league that tries so hard, and she doesn’t ever even say the word Russia! This is what ordinary reporters face from the people who want publicity. Think about that the next time you’re super mad they aren’t saying exactly what you like in the way you like it about William Nylander or someone’s contract.

Meanwhile in Russia, Boynton’s other business interest is not having a great time:

Everyone was talking about this thread yesterday:

And I think it’s worth thinking about that there is no one in hockey that isn’t trying very hard to get in on the gambling money spinner in some way. The NHL cannot easily be extricated from gambling interests even if they ever wanted to be. It’s here to stay, and like a lot of new industries, there will be too much of it, then it will consolidate, and eventually there will be a Coke and Pepsi of sports betting and we’ll feel like it’s part of the scenery.

How long does it take to normalize something new? Attacks on journalists for asking reasonable questions, promotions of gambling disguised as reporting, a pretence of “player safety” in rule enforcement. It’s just how it is.

Okay, to possibly happier things. The Marlies have a fan appreciation night coming up:

And also, they really need to win some games right quick or their playoff hopes will be over. They play Laval tonight, so Go Marlies Go!

Happy Friday, everyone. Hockey is back tomorrow.

You can draw a straight line (or maybe it dekes and dives around lesser players) from Guy Lafleur to Trevor Zegras. He was the flash and sizzle when the NHL needed it most. He was the 70s to many of us who remember him. He was new and exciting and glorious, and he was cool: