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Thursday Wrap-up

Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff know one thing - it's summatime.

For most people June 21st signifies the beginning of summer. For others it’s when they can consistently put the top down on their cars or pull their bikes out of storage. For me? The end of the NBA and NHL seasons is the true indicator that summer has arrived.

And with summer comes an unbearably slow news cycle with the exception of our beloved Blue Jays. However, considering their penchant for summer blues, it might end up being a rather bitter news cycle as the reality of another season without postseason baseball starts to hit home. But, in this space we’ll do our best to keep the news coming to make sure you get your daily fix.

Firstly, congratulations to the Boston Bruins on a much deserved and long-awaited championship. They fought back from a huge series deficit against Montreal, carried that momentum to their series sweep of the defending Eastern Conference Champion Flyers (expelling their demons from last postseason in the process), and then dug deep to win two very long and grueling series against the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning and the absurdly talented Canucks. So, hats off to the Bruins and their organization. And oh yah – you’re more than welcome for Tomas Kaberle and Tyler Seguin.

Speaking of the Leafs, they very quietly re-signed two key players from last season in the past week. James Reimer, the rookie sensation affectionately and awesomely known as “Optimus Reim” signed a three-year $5.4 million contract to remain with the Leafs. Reimer will be given the starting job and the expectations that go along with a fantastic rookie campaign and 44 years of futility. However, at a price tag of 1.8 million per season the investment in Reimer is small enough to be a gargantuan steal or at worst a fair price for a steady backup goaltender.

Since the departure of Ed Belfour, Reimer and the Leafs are looking for some goaltending stability that was so abundant and taken advantage of for the better part of 15 years in this city. Here’s hoping Reimer doesn’t follow in the footsteps of Felix Potvin or god forbid Andrew Raycroft.

The Leafs also re-signed young defenceman Carl Gunnarsson to a two-year $2.6 million contract. Gunnarsson will be entering his third season with the Maple Leafs and again showed lots of promise in the second half of the season. With the departure of Tomas Kaberle, Gunnarsson benefited from the extra ice time and responsibility recording 3 goals and 13 assists in 2011. Gunnarsson’s next task (along with the entire team’s) is to turn that half season into a full one.

In perhaps the least televised event in TSN’s history Toronto FC played to another dreadful 0-0 tie against the New England Revolution. Toronto FC now have one win in their last ten including six ties which gave them a league best (?) nine ties. I can’t bring myself to speak about the state of soccer in Toronto, or Canada for that matter, but we’ll take a closer look some time next week.

The Blue Jays, buoyed by the reassuringly consistent Ricky Romero, beat the Orioles 4-1 last night. Romero went 8 strong and struck out 12 while the Jays got solo homers from Yunel Escobar, Juan Rivera and a game-clinching two-run shot by perhaps the AL’s hottest hitter in Adam Lind. To note, Frank Francisco picked up the save by not blowing a 4-run lead in the ninth. Way to go Frank!

If only the Jays could play the Orioles 162 times a year we might be on to a cure for the summertime blues.

The NBA draft is in a week and frankly I’m sick of it already. The Raptors will take one of these players if available: Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, Jonas Valanciunas, Enes Kanter, or dark-horse Jimmer Fredette. I have no idea who it will be and neither does anybody else. I’ll see you on June 23rd for the only draft that I can actually sit through.

Enjoy the weekend folks because there ain’t much going on besides a weekend series in Cincinnati for the Blue Jays where Joey Votto is going to look to smash against his hometown team.

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