I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s kind of checked out of sports for the last couple of months (you may have heard, there’s been a whole global pandemic thing, world-wide protests, massive social upheaval...) so hockey coming back period, much less in the middle of summer, is a bit of a surreal proposition. After all, I’m a Leafs fan – hockey is not supposed to be happening when it is 35 degrees outside and I’m busy lying on the floor in my apartment contemplating whether or not it is possible for a human body to literally melt. It’s just not the natural order of things! We call it a wrap at the end of April at the latest! But, natural or not, it is happening, so here’s some things that might help get you excited for the strange beast that is summer playoff hockey.

  • Someone is inevitably going to cuss into a live mic
    It might not be Jonathan Toews at the World Juniors, or Tyler Seguin at the 2016 All-Star Game, but someone, at some point, is going to very loudly swear on national television – delay or no delay. Place your bets today.
  • No matter who gets it, the team who gets the first round pick will not deserve it...
    ... and everyone else WILL complain about it. It’s going to be both terrible and hilarious, and we only have to wait for the first round to end to find out who its gonna be.
  • No national anthems
    I actually have no idea if they’ll do this – will they still bring someone to the arena to sing? will they just have Martina call in by Zoom? – but a person can dream.
  • Win or lose, nothing counts
    Leafs get knocked out in the first round? No problem! It’s summer, and we’re in a pandemic! Why are we even playing! What a weird time! Doesn’t count! Leafs make it past the first round? Maybe even... past the second? Amazing! We’re rising above in the face of unprecedented adversity! The resilience! The narrative!
  • We get to watch hockey again
    I don’t think I knew how much I missed this sport until I started crying because of a video of Auston Matthews scoring a goal in practice. In practice. /

Let’s GO!!


Top 25 Under 25 Official Voting Record
As we wrap up this year’s Top 25 Under 25, we review everyone’s voting record.

99 Reasons why Travis Dermott should just take his Qualifying Offer
The true sign of hockey being back: articles about upcoming contracts and how they might affect the cap. The good news is that this one shouldn’t be quite as fraught as previous iterations on the theme.

Back to Excited Episode 110: Leafs Lines, Columbus’ Defence
Nick Robertson, line combos, and the Columbus Blue Jackets... we’ve got it all covered here!

Who are the Columbus Blue Jackets?
For everyone who, like me, often forgets that the Columbus Blue Jackets exist as a hockey team: this article is for you.

NHL announces 2 positive tests in training camp
The first tests have come in from phase 3, from a pool that has now grown to over 800 players.

From the Branches

Leafs experiment with ‘All-Star Game line’ as intensity rises at camp
Keefe ran a line of Tavares-Matthews-Marner in scrimmage, because he likes to toy with fans’ hearts.

Matthews aiming to shoot more as Leafs camp ramps up
As everyone settles back into being on the ice with their team, Matthews is looking to get back to where he usually is in the middle of the season.

Vote for the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award
Voting for this award runs until Friday, July 24th.

Sportsnet has announced their broadcast teams for the hubs:

And that’s all for today! To tide you over until there’s more clips from training camp, please enjoy this video of all the Leafs OT winners from this season: