Looking back at Mike Babcock’s tenure with the Maple Leafs

As you already know — the Toronto Maple Leafs fired Mike Babcock one year ago today. Spending four seasons with the team, Babcock made his presence known very quickly. The way he presented himself, the way he spoke, and the way he treated players was all unveiled at the end of his tenure.
I’m not going to sit here and say he was a bad coach because he wasn’t. Although there were some questionable decisions, Babcock got the team to where they are today. An almost cup contender. That’s it.
What I remember most about his career with the Maple Leafs was how stubborn he was. Babcock was never wrong and that’s a fact. Unfortunately though, that’s what got him fired. Now we look back — on the good memories and the bad.
Actually, just the bad.
Here’s a montage of all the times I’ve yelled about Babcock and his stubbornness, lack of accountability and the words he used during his interviews. I hope you enjoy!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 5 things we’ll remember the most from Marc Gasol

If you haven’t already heard, Marc Gasol is going to finish his career at FC Barcelona, meaning it puts an end to his wonderful time for the Toronto Raptors. 2772 minutes. That’s how many total minutes Marc Gasol has played in a Toronto Raptors jersey and we’re going to be reviewing 2579 minutes and 15 seconds […]
Toronto Raptors: 5 things we’ll remember the most from Marc Gasol – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

On Us.

If you haven’t already, I urge you to read Matthew Henriques’ Open Letter to the NHL before reading this article. If you have, I urge you to read it again.
For over half of my life, I have been a metalhead. It all started for me around the age of twelve when I was gifted a copy of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. I was already listening to harder rock (primarily AC/DC and Led Zeppelin) but this was different. This triggered something in me. I needed more. Two years later, on a whim, I picked up a copy of Megadeth’s Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying? on a two for $25 special at a record store in Vancouver and had my mind blown all over again. This was exactly what I had been looking for, and it was just the beginning. Megadeth opened me up to other American thrash acts such as Metallica, Exodus, and eventually Slayer. From Slayer, I was able to more easily expand my tastes to heavier, more sinister German bands like Kreator and Destruction. And know, here I am, a 29-year-old who listens to …

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Author: briancrd / The Leafs Nation

The NHL and its players need to care

If you haven’t already read the open letter to the NHL by Matthew Henriques, I strongly encourage you start there before reading my post. 
One of things that repeatedly gets said around the hockey world is that we’ve got the best sport, but we’ve got the worst league. Sometimes it would be nice if the NHL would stop proving that statement right, but yesterday was not the day.
On a day when the a move by the Milwaukee Bucks led to the postponement of the entire NBA schedule, and led to similar actions in the WNBA, MLS, and MLB, the NHL responded to these players boycotting their games by having a 33 second moment of reflection before one game with the words “End Racism” on the jumbotron.

Before puck drop. pic.twitter.com/mktWdvrqKd
— Christine Simpson (@SNChrisSimpson) August 27, 2020

Obviously this is an incredibly embarrassing moment for the league. At a time when people are demanding real action be taken on the continuous police shootings of African Americans and players in other sports are using their platform to demand real change be taken beyond simple lip service to a substantial human rights …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

News and Notes as the Blue Jays host the Rays in Buffalo

We’re already one-quarter of the way through this miniature season.

Amazingly, despite having the fewest wins in the American League (tied with Boston with six) the Blue Jays are very much so still hilariously in the playoff hunt. That’s what happens when you double the playoff field.
The Jays are 6-9 and that record, as we know, could easily be much better if not for some ugly, heartbreaking losses. But, maybe we have to accept that’s just who these Blue Jays are. They’re a young, mistake-prone team and frustrating, avoidable losses comes with the territory.
Regardless, the Jays will host the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend for a difficult American League East series. Tampa just finished kicking the everloving shit out of the Red Sox this weekend and they’ve won six straight, putting them at 12-8 after a slowish start to the season.
Taking two of three against a red-hot Rays team would go a long way in helping forget about some of those losses we’ve seen recently. It won’t be easy to cool off this offence, though!

The Rays outscored the Red Sox 42-22 in …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Are the Raptors Legitimate Title Contenders?

With the Toronto Raptors already halfway through their seeding games with the NBA’s restart, the playoffs are set to begin on August 17th and fans can not wait any longer. The Toronto Raptors have shown they aren’t a team to mess around with during the regular season and even through their seeding games in Orlando. […]
Toronto Raptors: Are the Raptors Legitimate Title Contenders? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Joseph Zita / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays need to cut their roster from 30 to 28 players today. Who will be the odd men out?

The 2020 season is two weeks old, so it’s already time for teams to trim their active rosters from 30 players down to 28 players.

Originally, the plan was for teams to get two weeks with a 30-man roster and then another two weeks with a 28-man roster before getting down to the normal 26-man roster, but it was decided that teams would be allowed to carry 28 players for the entirety of the season.
So, from a Blue Jays perspective, the team needs to send a couple of players down to the Alternate Training Site and they’ll also have to make room on the active roster for Chase Anderson, who was apparently set to be activated at some point during the series in Atlanta.
We’ll start off with some names that obviously aren’t going anywhere. The entire starting rotation of Hyun Jin Ryu, Matt Shoemaker, Nate Pearson, Trent Thornton, and Tanner Roark will remain intact, and position players like Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel, Danny Jansen, Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez, Travis Shaw, Reese McGuire aren’t going to be sent down.
Given the way pitchers are dropping like mad …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays take a conservative approach on Day 2 of the draft, selecting three college pitchers and an outfielder

The 2020 draft already looked like a slam dunk for the Blue Jays as Austin Martin, arguably the best all-around player available, fell into their lap with the fifth-overall pick.

Given Martin was expected to go second overall, the Jays will likely have to sign the Scott Boras client to an over-slot deal. Had Martin gone second overall as he might have been expecting, his recommended lost value would have featured a $7.79 million signing bonus. Sliding to fifth brings that suggested bonus to $6.18 million.
Obviously, the Boras thing might make fans worry about Martin’s signability, but Ross Atkins noted after the draft that the Jays had been in contact with Martin’s representation ahead of making the selection. Had they not felt comfortable they’d be able to reach a deal, they probably wouldn’t have picked him. None of the top picks made in the Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins era have gone unsigned.
“We were extremely happy that Austin was there,” Ross Atkins told Sportsnet. “We were prepared for that. We had worked through that scenario (and) have had dialogue with his representation as well. We felt very good about making …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Tyson Barrie is preparing to hit free agency

It may seem painfully clear already by looking at the Leafs salary cap situation, but also by looking at the season that Barrie has had in Toronto this year, he’s not going to stick around. The Leafs defenseman did an interview with Chris Johnston of Sportsnet hammering home that point repeatedly…
“It’s a weird time to be heading into free agency, that’s for sure,” Barrie said Wednesday. “It’s an odd time, but at this point, I think all I’ve got to do right now is focus on getting ready to play, if we are going to play, and to take a run with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs.”
“I think it has to be a spot where they obviously are in need of someone like myself and a good team heading in the right direction and a good organization,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of organizations that fit those boxes, so it’ll be a process where you sit down and just go through everything and what’s important to me.”
I’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Top Leafs Players Outside the NHL: #11-#15

Good news! We’ve already profiled Kalle Kossila, Kevin Gravel, and Mikko Salomaki, so there’s no risk of you ever having to endure that again. In fact, the rest of the list is much more of an interesting balance between prospects and usable NHLers, hopefully providing a bit of context to where we see those prospects meshing ability wise with the callups at this point.
#15 Joseph Duszak
Duszak is showing signs of being a solid found wallet, after the Leafs signed him as a free agent from Meryhurst University at the end of the 2018-19 season. While getting his feet wet in pro hockey for the Growlers, Duszak exceeded a point per game pace, and when promoted to the Marlies he kept the offense going picking up 18 points in 23 games. Not bad for a defenseman.
Duszak is a bit undersized and maybe that’s going to make his journey to the NHL a bit more of a challenge, but like Jesper Lindgren, the fact that he’s got a right handed shot, he’s going to get his opportunities.

TEAM
LEAGUE
GP
G
A
P
PIM

2016-17
 Mercyhurst Univ.
NCAA
29
5
16
21
34

2017-18
 Mercyhurst …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation