It’s going to be quite a couple of weeks for Toronto spots fans. For the first time in 15 years, the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs are in the postseason together. Add in the Toronto Blue Jays playing their home opener this week and Toronto FC up and going, and, uhh, what a time to be alive. Raptors 905 are headed to the conference finals, too! That phrase is outdated, but seriously. This city has so much sports momentum right now, and the next few weeks should be awesome.
For those wondering how MLSE was going to handle the Leafs and Raptors both being in the playoffs together, there’s no need for our earlier Raptor inferiority complex to set in – the teams will be sharing the area outside of the Air Canada Centre known as Jurassic Park. MLSE sent out a release on Monday explaining plans for the outdoor area on days either team is at home, on the road, or when both play – home games take precedent, of course, but if both teams are away, it’ll be a joint fan party.
From the release:
From game to game, Air Canada Centre will become a playoff hub for whichever team is playing at home. If the Leafs or Raptors are playing within the arena, the tailgate party in Maple Leaf Square will also be dedicated exclusively to that team
Both the Leafs and Raptors will host tailgate parties for away games, provided the other team is not playing a home game at the same time
If both teams play on the same day at different times, Maple Leaf Square will transition from one team’s tailgate party to the other after the first game of the day has concluded
If both teams play away games on the same day, at the same time, the Bremner Board will feature a split screen broadcast with both games shown simultaneously
If two games are being shown, Maple Leaf Square will also feature additional, smaller support screens
Basically, if there’s a home game going on, that’s the party. If there’s an away game and no home game, that’s the party. If both teams are playing away games, it’s a double-party.
The Leafs know their playoff schedule, playing road games on April 13 and 15, playing at home April 17 and 19, and then going road 21st, home 23rd, road 25th if extra games are necessary. This doesn’t tell us a ton about the Raptors’ schedule, but it likely means whether Game 1 falls on Saturday or Sunday, Game 2 will almost surely be on Tuesday, April 18. (Some NBA playoff schedules have leaked showing there is no longer a 12:30 Saturday game, but that happened last year, too, and didn’t turn out to be the case.)
The only issue that could possible pop up is the split-screen plan if both teams are away on the same night, but if fans can’t figure that out and celebrate both games together, that’s on us, not on MLSE. And not to be negative, but the Leafs are kind of up against it with the Capitals, where a trip to the second round would be a bit of a surprise and a major upset. (Am I talking myself into it, though? Yeah, of course. You’ve seen Auston Matthews and the kids, right?)
This should be a ton of fun, however it shakes down.