BJN Radio Ep. 10: A split in Oakland, the Springer Saga, Free Manoah, and more!

There was a lot to talk about after the Blue Jays’ four-game set out west in Oakland.

We recapped the good from the A’s series, including Robbie Ray again not walking anyone and Marcus Semien popping off in his return home, and we talked about the bad, including the injury bug that won’t leave the Blue Jays alone and Steven Matz’s second consecutive rough start.
We also went into a bit of a rant about the puzzling George Springer injury saga. After being told Springer wasn’t playing simply because he needed some rest, the $150 million man is back on the Injured List. Who would have guessed! Why the Blue Jays are being so coy about this whole thing is a mystery and it’s incredibly frustrating.
After that, we talked about the Angels releasing Albert Pujols and how funny it would be if he inexplicably finished off his career as a Blue Jay in Buffalo. Finally, we wrapped things up by talking about Alek Manoah’s amazing Triple-A debut and how he could factor into the team’s plans when the trade deadline comes around.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Frederik Andersen makes 12 saves on 14 shots in Marlies debut

Frederik Andersen makes 12 saves on 14 shots in Marlies debut

After being out since March 19th due to an injury, Frederik Andersen makes his return to the ice in a Toronto Marlies jersey. It was his first AHL game since January 12, 2014 with the Norfolk Admirals, which was the Anaheim Ducks AHL team at the time.
The start for Andersen was a little tough. Toronto gave away the puck, which lead to a breakaway goal from Jeff Malott.

Jeff Malott beats Frederik Andersen.#Marlies down 1-0. pic.twitter.com/gaS2ewsvGN
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) May 6, 2021

Then, 1:42 later, Ty Pelton-Byce makes a nice move to get around Filip Král and scores.

Ty Pelton-Byce scores the second goal for Manitoba.#Marlies down 2-0 with five shots against. pic.twitter.com/8BTMDrWUNX
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) May 6, 2021

Andersen allowed two goals on five shots in the first half of the period. He would then make three more saves to finish off the first.
He would then face a few more shots through the first half of the second period, making every save.

Better sequence for Andersen here as he makes a couple of decent stops: pic.twitter.com/JGh9Z1CQLP
— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) May 6, 2021

Andersen finished off the afternoon with 12 saves on 14 shots.
What’ …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

George Springer is headed back to the Injured List

I guess it wasn’t about fatigue after all. Shocking!

According to the Blue Jays, the $150 million man will be headed back to the 10-day Injured List with the same right quad injury from before. It’s retroactive to May 3, so Springer will be able to come off the IL in just over a week.
Springer made his Blue Jays debut last Wednesday but appeared to re-aggravate his injury on Saturday. Despite that, Springer managed to smack two dingers in that huge comeback win, but was then removed mid-game on Sunday with what the team called “fatigue.”
Apparently, Monday was a “scheduled day off” for Springer after the team took a flight to the West Coast, but Springer was also kept out of the lineup on Tuesday and Wednesday, making it very, very clear something else was going on. After running an MRI on Wednesday, the team decided to put him back on the IL.
This truly is a weird situation. Why the Blue Jays felt compelled to pretend this was about fatigue is puzzling, given the fact that everyone paying any sort of attention could realize that wasn’t the case. It made the organization come across as disingenuous …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Auston Matthews has already quickly become the best goal scorer in the league

After being drafted first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs back in the 2016 NHL Draft, Auston Matthews has done more than just live to the hype of being the first overall selection in that draft, he’s put his name in the conversation as arguably a top-three player in the NHL today in some peoples eyes. If not top-three, then he’s more than certainly a top-five player in the NHL today in most people’s opinions with how this season has gone and especially his season last year too.
Matthews stepped onto the scene in the NHL right away and with that, he made a massive impact scoring four goals in his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators as a 19-year-old who just turned 19 not even a month ago at the time. It was in that game, that first game of the 2016-17 regular season that all of Leafs Nation knew that Auston Matthews was a special player and that he was going to be dominating the league very, very soon.
Well fast forward to this season, his fifth year in the NHL, Auston Matthews has quickly become the league’s best goal scorer, yes you read that right. …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

It looks like Reese McGuire will be back with the Blue Jays

After being designed for assignment and clearing waivers, it looks like Reese McGuire will be joining the Blue Jays again.

According to Ben Wagner, given the severity of Alejandro Kirk’s injury (he’s expected to be out for up to six weeks), the Blue Jays are planning to activate McGuire. But since he isn’t at the Alternate Training Site, he has to pass COVID protocols before he can join the team.
We don’t yet know if the plan is for McGuire to be added to the roster to play in tandem with Danny Jansen or if they’re going to put him on the Taxi Squad. If it’s the former, he needs to be added to the 40-man roster again, but if it’s the latter, he doesn’t need to be rostered.
I would imagine the plan is to put him back on the active roster because the Blue Jays likely don’t want a prospect in Riley Adams sitting around on the bench when he could be getting playing time in Triple-A. If that’s the case, somebody will either need to be DFA’d or moved to the 60-day Injured List.
Another thing …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Minor League Rosters: Notes and Observations

So, after an irrationally-edge-of-our-seats-wait (I mean, this literally happens EVERY year) the Blue Jays’ various affiliates dropped their “tentative” Opening Day rosters on Monday and, as you might expect, not a few of us will find it necessary to weigh in. Myself of course included.

The Jays, helpfully, published a nice set of graphics with all the rosters for our perusal and commentary. Let’s start at the top:

It’s also been noted by the beat guys that the early rotation goes Pearson, Allgeyer, Manoah, Zuech, Waguespack. Which, as you can see, Zuech isn’t on the graphic but it was reported days ago that he’ll be assigned to this team. The other thing that jumped out at me was that Joey Murray was initially listed as a member of the bullpen. When questioned about this Manager Casey Candele spoke of the need to stretch him out. He used the terminology of “he will be joining us in a week or two” which implies things we can’t know about but my entirely ill-informed guess is that maybe he was riding the taxi squad (the Jays have been unhelpful about letting us know who made up that group) …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Nation Network World Under-18’s Round Robin Recap

What a tournament we’ve had! After the 2020 U18’s in Plymouth, Michigan was canceled, the hockey world found a way to get the 2021 event off the ground despite the global pandemic continuing to present issues. The biggest factor in getting the annual U18 tournament going was the fact that they had the foresight to move the event from Michigan to the state of Texas, where rules are, let’s say, more relaxed surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. So Frisco and Plano, here we come! 
Now that we’ve taken care of the logistics of the event before we dive into the recap we should take a look at why the tournament was so adamantly put on. The IIHF World Under-18 Championship is one of, if not, the premier events for NHL scouts to see draft-eligible talent in a best-on-best competition against their own age group. It is an equalizer of sorts as players in Europe are often playing in men’s leagues such as the SHL and Liiga while most North American players play in junior leagues such as the CHL or USHL. 
With so much uncertainty shrouding this year, the event was even more important as it is the …

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Author: Tony Ferrari / The Leafs Nation

IIHF announce Women’s World Championships will return in late August

After much backlash over the cancellation of the Women’s Worlds Championships while many other events continued, the IIHF has announced that the Women’s World Championships will indeed be happening this year.
Currently, the event is scheduled for August 20-31 with Canada acting as the host country. Venues and host cities have yet to be decided upon but an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.
Over the past few weeks, many advocates of women’s hockey spoke out about the hypocrisy of cancelling one of the most important events in women’s hockey while other tournaments such as the men’s U18 Championship were allowed to continue. Most notably, Team Canada goalie Shannon Szabados spoke out on twitter, even volunteering herself to join the hockey operations team and add some much needed insight and experience.

There are so many young girls coming up that need a voice. An advocate. A leader.Im sure there are many great people doing their best but it would be silly not to offer over a decades worth of international insight & experience! Offer stands @IIHFHockey pic.twitter.com/zmri76gPof
— Shannon Szabados (@ShannonSzabados) April 30, 2021

With the Stanley Cup playoffs expected to end …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Let’s do this again — It looks like George Springer will be playing tonight

After yesterday’s false alarm, I assume that many people out there won’t believe this until they actually see him physically standing in the batter’s box, but it looks like today will finally be George Springer’s Blue Jays debut.

Ben Wagner appeared on Sportsnet 590’s Leadoff show and said that he’s led to believe that Springer will be playing on Wednesday night against the Nationals, either as the centre fielder or as the designated hitter. He then quote tweeted the post with his quote and said more definitively that Springer is playing tonight.

George Springer is playing tonight. https://t.co/7ePKPjQYjk
— Ben Wagner (@benwag247) April 28, 2021

A lot of responses are already along the lines of “he wasn’t 100% yesterday, so what difference does one day make!!!?”
To be completely honest, I’m going to assume that the Blue Jays opted not to start Springer in the first game because they didn’t want his first big-league action since last October to be facing Max Scherzer. Getting him going on Wednesday against a weaker pitcher in Erick Fedde is a better way for Springer to hit the ground running after missing a month due to injury. …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Should Rasmus Sandin stay in the Leafs lineup?

Should Rasmus Sandin stay in the Leafs lineup?

The Leafs have won, finally. After a five-game losing streak, Toronto’s big guns all came out firing. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner with three points each, Jason Spezza with a goal assisted by Joe Thornton, and even Nick Foligno who got his first point as a Leaf.
But the most intriguing part to me is Rasmus Sandin. He’s played incredible with Toronto in his last few games but I get the sense that once Zach Bogosian is healthy, Sandin comes out of the lineup. I don’t like the idea of that, yet I feel like it’s inevitable.
In my video today, I discuss why he should stay in the lineup and also why I think he’ll be taken out. I hope you enjoy the it!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation