Toronto Raptors: VanVleet shares his free agency plans on JJ Redick’s podcast

Toronto Raptors: VanVleet shares his free agency plans on JJ Redick’s podcast

It’s always fun when a Toronto Raptors player reflects his thoughts on the team and himself. If you haven’t heard. Toronto Raptors guard, Fred VanVleet, has appeared on The Old Man and the Three (JJ Redick’s podcast). He shares his journey to the NBA, thoughts on the bubble, and most importantly what he is prioritizing this […]
Toronto Raptors: VanVleet shares his free agency plans on JJ Redick’s podcast – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

4 Players Leafs Fans Want That Would Probably Be a Bad Idea

The offseason always brings a ton of crazy speculation, especially the first week or so after the Stanley Cup is awarded, as teams try to figure out their game plan going into the draft and free agency. And of course, fans will eat up every bit of speculation in anticipation of what their team should do. Lots of brainstorming happens, and with every great idea comes a few bad ones.
So, let’s look at some of the bad ideas that I’ve seen about who the Leafs should bring in, ideas that probably hurt the Leafs more than help them in the long run.
Radko Gudas
Gudas might be the one consistent I’ve seen on everybody’s wish list. And why wouldn’t he be? He’s been a consistent analytics darling throughout his career, is physical, is a defenseman, and shoots right. He sounds like someone who could help round out the top four for the Leafs.
Except for one problem:

While it’s just one season, he is also 30 years old and plays a style of play that doesn’t age well. It could be an anomaly, or it could be the start of his decline. …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Jake Sanderson?

In every NHL draft, there is always one player that is ranked fairly high but ends up getting picked much later on due either teams going in other directions or scouts getting scared heading into the first round. When the team that finally snags him up in the first round, a lot of analysts clamours that this team got a steal. Some players in this category that come to mind are Seth Jones, Jakob Chychrun, and Joseph Veleno. While the odds of this happening aren’t too high, perhaps this years’ version of that phenomenon could be Jake Sanderson who the Leafs need to jump on if he remains available at #15.
Why did I say the odds of it happening are low? There’s a bit of recent bias is having him slotted to be taken in the top five of the draft due to the strong play of players like Victor Hedman and Miro Heiskanen. There’s a good chance he could be taken very early, but let’s assume he miraculously falls all the way down to the Leafs pick.
He is currently ranked high by scouts and rightfully so. As I mentioned in my contribution to TLN’ …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

John Tortorella Defends Sheldon Keefe Following Leafs’ Elimination

John Tortorella is a coach who always finds a way to make his media availability interesting, and today’s session following the Blue Jackets ousting the Leafs from playoff contention was no different.

Full quote from #CBJ coach John Tortorella, who felt the need to come to #LeafsForever coach Sheldon Keefe today at the start of the Blue Jackets’ media availability: pic.twitter.com/g5Ft2xozVE
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) August 10, 2020

Torts very neatly put into words here what many players have implied but never outright said over the years: Toronto is a brutal hockey market. The fans, the media, the reputation around the league make The Toronto Maple Leafs a difficult club to play for.
Of course there are many, many benefits to playing for the Leafs: this team is steeped in hockey history, and when they’re good the players are heroes to the city and broader fanbase. Obviously, their financial success can make for a luxurious stint for players, as well.
But as coaches, GMs, and many players have experienced, when things go wrong they go really, really wrong, and nobody is immune from harsh criticism. Not even a brand new …

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Author: MerOutLoud / The Leafs Nation

My Story: Trying to Break Into Hockey (Media) as a Person of Colour

I’ve always received jokes from friends and coworkers asking me how I’m such a big hockey fan, being a brown male who follows such a white sport so closely. To be honest, it’s because the sport is so complex and incredibly fun to play. It’s how I’ve developed friendships. My closest friends are those who played hockey with me, whether it’s on a frozen sheet of ice or on a large paved area of asphalt. The amazing thing is that a majority of those close friends from hockey aren’t white.
But the sport that I’ve always tried to professionally crack into is, and that’s what has been problematic for me.
Since I have struggled to find my way into the industry, I have wanted to tell my story about perseverance of trying to make it into the hockey industry, whether it’s in media, or in a hockey related position. Here’s my story.
I have always been told, make connections and you’ll find your way in. Since the end of my first year of university, I have …

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Author: Matthew Henriques / The Leafs Nation

NHL and PA agree on reseeding format for the playoffs

As always, any of this is dependent on the NHL actually moving forward for games. The NBA announcement today probably makes the reality of the NHL working something out seem more plausible, and in addition, there is an actual agreement on how the playoffs will work…

NHL/NHLPA have put finishing touches on format agreement announced last week. Among the open issues resolved:
_ both sides have agreed that it will be best-of-7 in all four playoff rounds (best of 5 in play-in round)
– Teams will be re-seeded after each round (not bracketed)
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 4, 2020

Keep in mind, this is just the format agreement. Still to come are Phase 3 (training camp) and Phase 4 (games/hubs/protocol) which still have to be negotiated. Only preliminary talks so far on those fronts.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 4, 2020
How does this affect the Leafs?
Well, assuming the Leafs beat the Blue Jackets in a best of five series, they wouldn’t be locked in to playing the top seed team (presently the Bruins), and instead would face an opponent based on the initial ranking (Leafs are ranked 8th in the Eastern Conference).
If there aren’t any upsets …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Preseason Pre-Game #5: It’s the Habs again

One of the things that always bothers me about the preseason is that the teams the Leafs play are the teams they’ll face another five times this year. Spice things up, give me some Golden Knights or Dallas Stars or any of the other Western Conference teams I forget exist.
Logistically I get that this is a pain in the ass, as most teams want to play their preseason game and quickly get back to their training facility, but dammit, I think stealing baseballs idea of training out of town has a lot of appeal too. The Leafs doing their entire camp in Newfoundland would be fantastic. Have the Habs or someone set up in Halifax, and build a Maritime preseason league similar to the Grapefruit league. We’ll call it the cod league and it will be fantastic.
Anyways, here’s the lineup…

#Leafs lines at morning skate:
Johnsson-Matthews-Nylander
Kapanen-Tavares-Marner
Mikheyev-Kerfoot-Moore
Timashov-Spezza-Gauthier
Rielly-Ceci
Muzzin-Barrie
Sandin-Marincin
Andersen
Woll
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) September 25, 2019
Some pregame thoughts…
1. The Spezza vs. Gauthier battle
The fact that the practice lines yesterday listed Spezza and Gauthier as alternating at center is interesting, and it certainly provides some intrigue to see who lines up …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Cavan Biggio is proving that he’s worth the roster spot

The narrative surrounding Cavan Biggio has always been tricky.

Despite not having the same pedigree as a prospect as Vladimir Guererro Jr. and Bo Bichette, Biggio frequently gets lumped into the same category as the Blue Jays’ cornerstone duo. They’re viewed as a Big Three, largely because they came up at the same time and they’re all the sons of former Major League stars.
The reality is, Biggio isn’t in that same class as Bo and Vlad. And that isn’t a knock against Biggio. That’s more a testament to how good the other two are. Biggio came into 2019 as Toronto’s No. 9 rated prospect thanks to a breakout season in Double-A fuelled by an overhaul to his swing. Before that, he was looked at as an org guy who was only really even noticed because of his last name.
So, on one hand, you have the Blue Jays side of things, in which fans are hyping up Biggio as part of this Big Three who are going to change the fortunes of the organization. On the other hand, you have the outside perspective, in which analysts don’t see Major League upside worth writing home …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Dear Toronto Raptors fans, America doesn’t hate you

Toronto Raptors fans are always worried about the American media and a bias against Canada. While the claim isn’t completely baseless, it is often overblown. I am an American citizen. I grew up in Ohio, about an hour west of Cleveland. Through all my years, I’ve met very few Americans with a strong stance on […]
Dear Toronto Raptors fans, America doesn’t hate you – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Bossetti / Raptors HQ

Stroman: “I’ve come to terms with it and I’m ready to dominate”

Always wearing his heart on his sleeve, starter Marcus Stroman had some words for fans, media and the front office during a scrum after his fantastic start Wednesday night.
The 28-year-old pitcher was clearly emotional after what could be his last start as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays and will most likely be his last start at Rogers Centre.
“This start could be my last outing here” said Stroman. “I’ve always been emotional, I feel like I’ve had a pretty good tenure as a Blue Jay, I feel like I’ve pitched pretty well in the best division in baseball.”
While rumours swirl on what team might be acquiring Stroman, he might in fact stay within the division and be on the Yankees roster as the July 31 trading deadline passes.
It almost feels like a forgone conclusion that he won’t be in Toronto once that deadline passes and any talk of a possible extension has been smothered.
“There’s been no willingness from the front office to sign me, so I’ve just come to terms with it and I’m ready to dominate, wherever that may be,” said Stroman.
What was assumed to be …

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Author: Thomas Williams / Blue Jays Nation