"The Leafs have taken precedence on Hockey Night for years, but as a non-playoff team currently second last in the Eastern Conference, they're contributing little to the telecasts. What's more, Hockey Night will be counting on the Senators, the top team in the Eastern Conference, to deliver substantial playoff audiences.
That won't happen unless the Canadian audience is given an opportunity to connect with the Senators in the regular season.
The problem for Hockey Night's network, the CBC, is that, among the six Canadian NHL teams, the Leafs produce the largest audiences.
"In television, you want immediate results," a TV source said. "But in this case, the CBC should probably suffer in the short term for long-term gains. Ottawa is going to be the CBC's bread and butter in the playoffs, not Toronto." "