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Toronto Maple Leafs change hands, a trade and more!

Media Giants Unite to purchase the Canucks

Toronto Maple Leafs

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Canada’s two largest telecommunications rivals banded together for a feel good moment and bought equal majority shares in the Toronto Maple Leafs in an effort to boost their media content across the spectrum of television, smartphones and more. Rogers Communications and BCE Inc each acquired 37.5% of the Leafs and, as a result, the Toronto Raptors of the NBA in a $1 billion dollar purchase from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, weeks after the pension plan managers announced they’d given up trying to sell their stake in one of the most storied franchises in the NHL.

Speaking of rivals, BCE Inc also owns a minority share in the Montreal Canadiens, a rival team of the Leafs. Both the NHL and NBA have to approve the deal, but all signs point to this being a done deal. Minority owner Larry Tannenbaum increased his stake from 20% to 25% and will continue as chairman of the company, overseeing daily operations while the two media giants enjoy bringing more Leaf action to the masses. Toronto sits 6th in the Eastern Conference, 4 points behind the first place Philadelphia Flyers.

Kaberle’s brief stay in Carolina

Well, he wasn’t there long and certainly didn’t leave a great impression, nor pad his stat sheet, but defensemanTomas Kaberle is out of Carolina all the same. ‘Canes GM Jim Rutherford made it pretty clear last week that, absent some major improvement in his play, he’d be sent packing before long. 29 games yielded all of 9 assists and a –12 with no goals and Rutherford apparently had enough, stating that Kaberle came into camp this summer unprepared after having just gotten his name on the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in the 2010-11 season. Then again, it’s not like the ‘Canes haven’t had other issues than one player with a Stanley Cup going to his head. Less than two weeks ago, they fired coach Paul Maurice (again) after they jumped out to a last place start going 8-13-4 in the first quarter of this season. Since being replaced by Kirk Muller, they’ve continued their spiral going 1-5-0.

The Hurricanes found a dance partner in the Canadiens who traded defenseman Jaroslav Spacek who has been out since November 12 with an upper body injury but is cleared for play and could have played as soon as tomorrows road game against the Devils. In 12 games this year, Spacek has posted  3 assists and a +2 for the 37 year old vet.

Cleared for takeoff?

Which takes us to the Winnipeg Jets’ game against the faltering ‘Canes. The Jets (nee Atlanta Thrashers last year) started this year in a rather inauspicious fashion going 4-6-1 through October, finding a little bit of purchase in ending November at 9-11-4 and have fallen in love with December where they haven’t lost a game yet.

Tonight they won their fourth straight and are now 13-11-4 and though they’re still 7 points behind Southeast Division leading Florida, they’re only one point out of the playoff bubble in the Eastern Conference.  Their next three games, however, will test their mettle as they go on the road to face Detroit (17-9-1) and then begin a 6 game home stand by hosting Minnesota (19-7-3) and division rival Washington (15-12-1).

Crosby Watch

CrosbyEverything is fine, expect to see him make another triumphant return when the Pens host the Red Wings Tuesday night after being held out 2 games as a precaution due to a couple of hard shots he took and his not feeling 100% afterward.

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