Toronto Maple Leafs Dec 6, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; A view of the Toronto Maple Leafs logo during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Toronto Maple Leafs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After knotting the series at 1 apiece with a 7-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lighting on Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs will head south for Games 3 and 4. But they’ll do so without their radio broadcasters, play-by-play voice Joe Bowen and analyst Jim Ralph. And they’ll likely do so for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, for as long as they remain alive.

Bowen and Ralph have been calling games remotely since 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced most broadcasters to call games from a separate off-site location, or even their own homes. Still, this outdated policy, and a cost-cutting measure at that, remains in effect for the first round of the playoffs, and could continue if the Leafs were to win a best-of-seven series for the first time since 2004.

“Our radio broadcast plans for the playoffs will be consistent with the regular season, with games being called remotely through Round 1,” separate emails via a spokesperson for each Sportsnet and TSN (which split the radio games between them) read to The Athletic.

Of course, that doesn’t address the obvious elephant in the room, but one could infer that Sportsnet and TSN will stay consistent with their policies, considering their messages to The Athletic were both identical and in unison.

While the Leafs are away, which they will be for both Games 3 and 4 and possibly Game 6, Bowen and Ralph will be limited to calling the game from television monitors inside both respective radio stations, depending on which station is carrying the game that night.

Though those stations are owned separately, this isn’t anything new. If that outdated policy sounds familiar it’s because another major Canadian sports team is doing the same with its announcers. Sportsnet owns the radio and TV rights for the Toronto Blue Jays, and for the second season in a row, the team’s radio broadcasting crew will not be traveling for road games.

Sound familiar?  

The issue with remote broadcasting has now transcended multiple major sports leagues, but this is the first time it has truly bled into the playoffs. But after a convincing win by the Leafs in Game 2, the pressure to send Bowen and Ralph on the road with the team, regardless of the trivial cost (estimated at around $10,000 per game in the Athletic article), could be a lot higher.

[The Athletic]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.