SUNRISE, Fla. — Nazem Kadri has already gotten the word out to friends and family who are looking to score some Toronto Maple Leafs playoff tickets: You’ll probably have to watch on television.
Even the players who will appear in Toronto’s first post-season run in nine years have limited access to the hottest tickets in town.
A technical glitch delayed the sale of the limited number of tickets the team made available Thursday for the first two games of the opening round. Seats in the lower bowl were priced as high as $800 apiece.
“It’s still going to be sold out regardless; that’s the good thing about Toronto,” said Kadri. “I mean I guess that’s what you’ve got to do to make some money.”
The playoff tickets were a hot topic of conversation in the dressing room before the Leafs faced the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Thursday. Players have clearly been hearing from those who want to watch the games live since they officially clinched a playoff berth last weekend.
“Today a few guys were looking at the prices,” said defenceman Mike Kostka. “I think lower bowl are going for $800 or something like that. I think it just speaks to how crazy it’ll be.”
Asked if he knew anyone that was trying to secure some online, the native of nearby Ajax, Ont., responded: “None of my friends are spending that kind of money on tickets.”
The Leafs are still waiting to find out who they’ll face in the first round.
In the meantime, the team is looking to rediscover the game that helped them end their long post-season drought. No one was happy with Wednesday’s 5-2 loss in Tampa Bay, which makes Thursday’s game against the last-place Panthers a big one.
“We’re not about what happened in the past,” said coach Randy Carlyle. “We’re about being in the present and trying to create more of the future. The past, yeah you use that as a reference point, but you can’t live in it.
“We’ve got to play the game to a higher level. I don’t know how much more I can explain that to you. It’s a fact.”
There was a feeling among the players that they were a tad sluggish in the Lightning game after spending a few days relaxing in the sun.
They would still like to climb to fourth in the Eastern Conference, which would allow them to start the playoffs on home ice. For that to happen, victories were needed in both of their remaining regular season games.
“I think maybe (we’ve been) just being a little lackadaisical from how these last couple weeks have went,” said Kadri. “They’ve been pretty intense. But we’ve got to step up the intensity meter for the next couple games because they’re big points.
“Other people might not think so, but home ice is something that we’re really striving for.”
It promises to be quite a scene once playoff hockey finally returns to Toronto.
Kadri indicated that players receive two free tickets to each home playoff game and he’s already promised his pair to his parents.
“My old man wouldn’t miss it for the world, especially if it’s that Montreal-Toronto matchup he’ll be there,” said Kadri. “Probably in Montreal, too.”