This weekend would have been the first playoff game for the Maple Leafs against their division opponent, one of the Bruins or the Lightning—I’m sure we’d all agree on “not the Bruins, again”— but, obviously, that’s not happening. And it may not ever happen, though the NHL continues to try to find some path forward to complete this season, perhaps as Katya noted by taking advantage of the hole blown in TV broadcast schedules by the postponement of the summer Olympics, which would have started in July.

Crisis, as they say, is also opportunity.

MLSE has launched their own new entry to the Toronto media landscape over the past few weeks. It’s called SYRUP. Yes, the stylisation is all-caps, like the Ottawa REDBLACKS (!!!!) which, oh no.

We are not sure why MLSE is shouting SYRUP (!!!!) at us. Maybe it’s an acronym (Should you read us? Probably!). Their press release says SYRUP is “a new digital media platform serving fans premium content focused on sports, music and entertainment culture from a distinct Toronto perspective.”

That sounds like what twenty years ago may have been called an alt weekly. One of our writers summarised it as “the farthest possible name from Vice I can think of; that’s what an MLSE ‘alt weekly’ would be.”

SYRUP is definitely not an alt weekly. It’s sponsored by a content owner to promote it’s own brand, but, hopefully, that doesn’t mean it will be only a bland repackaging of the players’ boring Zoom chats, like a new Bar Down. There’s a lot of talented writers from the various Toronto culture scenes out there looking for work right now, which hopefully they can tap into. And, no, I am not talking about Instagram influencers.

If you want to follow SYRUP, they have a daily live show on their Instagram. The one I watched had a lot of shouting about boy bands, which, well why not with no sports to discus (NSYNC is GOAT, period.) Though to really get my interest they should debate which host of the Dax symbiont is GOAT (it’s Emony Dax, period.)

This was all brought to my attention almost simultaneously with one member of MLSE’s ownership group making more cuts, including at TSN.

Both old and new media face a massive revenue collapse right now. Ad revenue is drying up because of business closures, but also from advertisers blocking their brands from posts about the COVID-19 virus. Things are dire. Beyond simple job layoffs, entire organisations face collapse. The Toronto Star’s parent company has lost 99% of it’s market value and has essentially become a penny stock, threatened to be delisted from the exchange by the TSX. We don’t know about the condition of the privately owned Postmedia, but I’m sure the situation is grim. Our support goes out to all those in media impacted, but particularly, the behind the camera people that make it all happen.

Let’s end on all this on a happy note: it’s a long weekend, and a holiday one at that. We’re pleased to have all of you still with us today. The PPP Community is number one.

Leafs Signings Catch-up

Kyle Dubas and his team have signed seven players to new contracts so far this month.

Toronto has won the Alexander Barabanov sweepstakes
Leafs Sign Filip Kral, Kristians Rubins to Entry-Level Contracts
Toronto Marlies sign Gordie Green and Bobby McMann to AHL contracts
Marlies sign D Noel Hoefenmayer and RW Jeremy McKenna to AHL contracts

Hockey News

Auston Matthews is binging on terrible reality TV and forcing his roommate Frederik Andersen to watch it too. Regardless of social distancing, we need to organise a rescue party for Freddie.

Cooper and Lightning were preparing for first round showdown with Leafs - Sportsnet
[AUDIO/VIDEO:] "Jon Cooper joins Hockey Central and talks about how the Tampa Bay Lightning were preparing for a first round matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs before the season went on pause."

Oilers forward Cave remains in coma after suffering brain bleed - CBC Sports
Colby Cave remains in a medically-induced coma at a Toronto hospital after suffering a brain bleed earlier this week.

Hamilton '100 percent' to play for Hurricanes if season resumes, GM says - NHL
Dougie Hamilton will be ready to play if the NHL is able to resume the 2019-20 season, Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said Thursday.

Pat Stapleton, former Blackhawks captain, dies at 79 - Second City Hockey
During the 1972 Summit Series, Stapleton starred as a defenseman for Team Canada as they defeated the Soviet Union in an eight-game series.

Florence Schelling 1st female GM in men’s pro hockey - CBC Sports
Veteran Swiss women’s hockey goaltender Florence Schelling has been named general manager of one of the top men’s teams in her home country.