The Leafs Management press availability offers little in the way of optimism

Brendan Shanahan: “Words aren’t going to fix this.”
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 12, 2020

This quote from Brendan Shanahan speaks largely to the tone of the Leafs Management press availability. There was no comfort to be found here. No excuses. No blame. What we found was Dubas is unwilling to put any of this on individuals, and there is still a united front of optimism around this group, either rightly or wrongly.
I couldn’t help but feel that Shanahan came across most displeased of the group, and that could lead to interesting speculation in the future, especially with a talented GM candidate like Laurence Gilman waiting in the wings, and Bruce Boudreau available for hire.
For now, we’ll assume the band will be back together next year.

Brendan Shanahan: “I have complete faith in Kyle as a general manager, in Sheldon as a coach and complete confidence in what we’re going to do here in Toronto.”
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) August 12, 2020

Take votes of confidence with a grain of salt in hockey, but nothing to date leads us to believe that Shanahan isn’t a man of his word. He’s certainly going to …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Friedman Speculates on Jujhar Kharia to the Leafs, and the Joe Thornton rumours won’t go away

Rumours aren’t going anywhere. And much like those of us on this site, insiders know that you can get a lot of eyes on their coverage by connecting the Leafs to players. Are we going to stop covering it? No. Are they going to stop with Leafs rumours? No. I just thought at some point being up front about the grain of salt required on any and all things we hear was a good idea.
Anyway, here is rumour #1…

Friedman wonders if TOR rekindles their interest in Jujhar Khaira; Stauffer connects Khaira to BOS.
(Oilers Now)
— Rocky Hockey (@akaRCN) February 21, 2020
Khaira has been connected to the Leafs for as long as he’s been in the league. Though he is wildly inconsistent, at his best he can be a strong complimentary player anywhere in the bottom six forward group, and he certainly adds a lot of toughness people say the Leafs need. The bonus is that he can play hockey when he wants to, as well. There isn’t going to be much of a price tag on him, so I’m intrigued if anything comes of this.

Friedman lists DAL, BOS & …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs Pregame #62: 5 Things to watch in the Pittsburgh rematch

After getting destroyed by Pittsburgh on Tuesday, aren’t you thrilled the next game the Leafs are playing is against Pittsburgh? YAAYYYYYYY!!!
You could go into this hoping the Leafs are going to make a statement. You could go into this game hoping the Leafs will continue to fight to stay on the right side of the playoff bubble. You could point to how talented this team is, but ultimately, you probably aren’t feeling too confident tonight. That’s probably the biggest issue with the Leafs. Lots of talent, but no certainty of success.
This is the second last game the Leafs play before the trade deadline, at the very least they should be playing to show Kyle Dubas they don’t want the roster blown up.
Lineups

LW
C
RW
Forwards
ZACH HYMAN
Rating: 75.3#27 LW

AUSTON MATTHEWS
Rating: 82.4#3 C

MITCH MARNER
Rating: 77.7#10 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.44#6 FL1

WILLIAM NYLANDER
Rating: 76.5#15 LW

JOHN TAVARES
Rating: 78.7#13 C

ALEXANDER KERFOOT
Rating: 72.1#86 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 75.75#5 FL2

PIERRE ENGVALL
Rating: 71.3#95 LW

FREDERIK GAUTHIER
Rating: 68.3#157 C

KASPERI KAPANEN
Rating: 71.5#99 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 70.35#30 FL3

KYLE CLIFFORD
Rating: 69.9#125 LW

JASON …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs Pregame #61: 5 things to watch for in Pittsburgh

The Panthers closed the gap last night. The Leafs aren’t looking good and have a much tougher schedule over the next six weeks. It will be interesting.
As for Pittsburgh they are 7-2-1 in their last 10, and have generally been good beyond those 10 games as well. Joy.
Lineups

LW
C
RW
Forwards
ZACH HYMAN
Rating: 75.1#30 LW

AUSTON MATTHEWS
Rating: 83.2#3 C

MITCH MARNER
Rating: 78.2#8 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.82#3 FL1

WILLIAM NYLANDER
Rating: 76.9#11 LW

JOHN TAVARES
Rating: 79.4#12 C

ALEXANDER KERFOOT
Rating: 72.2#81 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 76.19#4 FL2

KYLE CLIFFORD
Rating: 69.7#125 LW

PIERRE ENGVALL
Rating: 71.9#89 C

KASPERI KAPANEN
Rating: 71.9#91 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.16#22 FL3

EGOR KORSHKOV
JASON SPEZZA
Rating: 70.5#125 C

MASON MARCHMENT
Rating: 73.5#47 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 72.00#6 FL4

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Defense
JAKE MUZZIN
Rating: 73.9#34 LD

JUSTIN HOLL
Rating: 71.6#77 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 72.73#23 DL1

TRAVIS DERMOTT
Rating: 71.7#83 LD

TYSON BARRIE
Rating: 75.9#16 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.79#13 DL2

RASMUS SANDIN
Rating: 73.2#55 LD

TIMOTHY LILJEGREN
Rating: 72.9#48 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 73.04#8 DL3

LW
C
RW
Forwards
JASON ZUCKER
Rating: 74.5#37 LW

SIDNEY CROSBY
Rating: 81.7#6 C

DOMINIK SIMON
Rating: 70.0#125 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 75.39#16 FL1

JARED MCCANN
Rating: 73.2#51 …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Doing the Marlies Shuffle: Petan Up, Liljegren Down

The Leafs aren’t wasting anytime when it comes to shuffling their roster and moves that were strongly hinted or outright promised last night are official today…

The @MapleLeafs have recalled forward Nic Petan from the @TorontoMarlies (AHL).
Defenceman Timothy Liljegren has been loaned to the Marlies. #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 3, 2019
During his first period media availability Kyle Dubas stated that Liljegren would be returning to the Marlies and taking his rightful place as a top pairing defender on the farm team. It’s what’s best for his development, and no good comes from having him sit around the Leafs press box indefinitely. It’s best to level that someone with experience doing that like Justin Holl. Timothy Liljegren served his purpose by allowing the Leafs to maximize their LTIR cap space, and now most of the Marlies can be recalled without it interfering with the Leafs cap situation, with the exception of Egor Korshkov and Pierre Engvall who make slightly too much.
Additionally, Elliotte Friedman pointed out last night that Nic Petan was in the press box for the Leafs game last night and that created evidence based speculation that Petan was getting recalled. This really shouldn’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Sitting Vlad Jr. on Victoria Day is dispassionately tone-deaf

There aren’t many boxes circled on Blue Jays’ fans calendars this season. The team is navigating through a painful rebuild so, expectedly, people aren’t going to be tripping over themselves to come out and watch the team on a regular basis.

Three major dates that would drive fans to the gates are Opening Day, Canada Day, and Victoria Day, which, for Canadians, signals the beginning of summer. Fans that showed up to this afternoon’s Victoria Day game were met with a disappointing surprise when Vlad Jr., one of the only reasons to actually watch this team, was left off the lineup card.
Today’s game was the first at home after a six-game road trip. During that trip, Vlad finally broke out. He went 7-for-24 with four home runs and a whopping 1.321 OPS. Unfortunately, today’s game was a scheduled off-day for Vlad, as the organization slowly builds him up from missing virtually all of spring training.
Manager Charlie Montoyo was left in an awkward situation, having to justify what was ultimately not his choice:

The manager did not make this decision. The front office did.
— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) May 20, 2019

I mean, on paper, you can understand …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Five thoughts on last night’s Game 3: 76ers 116, Raptors 95

Those playoff ghosts aren’t gone yet! They re-emerged last night and gave Philadelphia control of the series. Remember this feeling? This feeling of helplessness, as an opponent absolutely clowns our team — and our team just folds up? It’s the worst feeling you can have as a fan, to see your team get run off the floor right in front of your eyes.
That game sucked. What else is there to say?

Kawhi Leonard Knows All About “The Hump” Now
When Kawhi Leonard was asked about the Raptors’ playoff struggles at the start of the postseason, he shrugged it off. Had nothing to do with him, or this iteration of the team, right? And, it was being borne out; since Kawhi Leonard arrived, we were all looking forward to finally have a proven playoff performer, a bona fide superstar, the best player in a series… and he’s it. Leonard has been even better than we could have expected.
And yet… despite the new coach, and the three new starters, and plenty of new bench players… that hump is still there. What we saw last night was like so many Raptors playoff moments past: The team seems to fall …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ