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From the Branches: Hockey is legal now!

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The Maple Leafs and the PWHPA are both playing hockey this weekend.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Five Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

While it’s mostly a formality at this point, yesterday the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators received provincial approval to host home games in the 2021 NHL season, which is good, because it would be hella awkward to reschedule stuff now. The Leafs also announced a televised scrimmage on Saturday, so we’ll get to see them in action tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile, in matters of similar crucial importance:

Please leave your nomination for Maple Leafs dressing room DJ in the comments. I’m going with Joe Thornton, entirely for my own personal amusement, because he seems like he’d mostly listen to stuff that’s best enjoyed while high.

If you (like me) have been missing women’s hockey over the past year, the PWHPA is currently participating in a showcase in Tampa, playing USPHL teams. While the PWHPA All-Star team is limited to their American all-stars (sorry, Canada), the lineup features names like Brianna Decker, Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, and Amanda Kessel. The games are being streamed on HockeyTV, which does require making an account, but Saturday and Tuesday’s games are both free to watch.

ICYMI

Maple Leafs Blue vs White game to be televised - Pension Plan Puppets
On TSN and Sportsnet. Geez. That’s like the Leafs and the Habs cooperating on something.

Toronto Maple Leaf season preview: Why we hate the Winnipeg Jets* - Pension Plan Puppets
There’s a lot to hate and it’s all perfectly rational.

Know your Maple Leafs Enemy: The Winnipeg Jets - Pension Plan Puppets
Oh, right, there is a team in Winnipeg, I always forget that.

Stuff We Didn’t Write

2020-21 Calgary Flames Preview: Defence - Matchsticks and Gasoline
Heading into the 2020-21 season, the defence core strikes me as the biggest wild card facing the team.

Games on! The Maple Leafs and Senators can officially play on home ice | The Star
Manitoba is the lone province with an NHL team that hasn’t formally given the green-light for games when the season starts next week, but is expected ...

Sheldon Keefe on mixing Auston Matthews into the penalty kill rotation: "We've seen so much in his growth as a defensive player and we think he can bring a lot there" | Maple Leafs Hotstove

Toronto Maple Leafs season preview: Can they break through in 2021?
The Toronto Maple Leafs come into the 2021 season with great expectations. Now, without Tampa Bay and Boston in their division, this has to be the season they advance in the playoffs. Luke Fox previews Toronto's season.

Nazem Kadri brings stabilizing leadership to the Colorado Avalanche lineup - Mile High Hockey
The Avalanche will look to Nazem Kadri to provide a stabilizing veteran presence.

NHL GMs unsure what pandemic will mean for ability to trade in-season | The Star
NHL general managers are about to enter yet another great unknown.

Down Goes Brown: Which team makes the best lineup of stolen late-career stars?

Souperman? There are more ads coming for Leafs winger and soup lover Ilya Mikheyev | The Star
The folks at Campbell’s noticed when Russian winger expressed his love for soup last year.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Travis Dermott not afraid to fight for top-six spot - TSN.ca