With a 4-1 win over Ottawa, Toronto clinched its first playoff berth in nine seasons. (Jana Chytilova/Getty Images)
You think they're worked up in Toronto about their Maple Leafs making the playoffs?
Just take a look at Stub Hub. The cheap seats for Home Game 1 at the Air Canada Centre, whenever that might be played, start at $299 each, or about 50 percent more than you would have paid for season tickets to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning this year. Have an aversion to the nosebleeds? If you're looking for something closer to sea level, the site advertises a pair in the first row of section 107 (around the face-off dot) for just $1,099 each.
And that's just for the first game of the first round.
Those prices may sound crazy, but Toronto long-suffering fans have been waiting since 2004 for the opportunity to bend over and pay them. Now they'll finally get their chance. The Buds punched their ticket to the playoffs tonight with a 4-1 thumping of the Senators.
Outside of area golf courses, which are in for their worst spring in nearly a decade, most everyone is busy imagining the potential for a record-breaking payday. Including opposing players.
San Jose's T.J. Galiardi, like every other financially savvy, card-carrying NHLPA member, has been secretly rooting for the Leafs (and probably the Habs) to clinch a postseason berth. After all, nothing outside of the lockout has damaged the pot of hockey-related revenue that helps determine salaries more than the ineptitude of the Leafs over the past nine years. And no team has the potential to fill it to the brim quite like the league's first billion-dollar franchise.
And while the NHL surely loves all 30 member teams equally, you can bet Gary Bettman is doing a happy dance at the thought of the ratings spike Hockey Night In Canada will see with both Toronto and Montreal back in the postseason just ahead of the negotiations for a new Canadian broadcast deal. Nice timing, eh?
Now just imagine if the Leafs get out of the first round...