Aaron Dell makes things interesting in net for the Leafs

It can’t be a coincidence that not 10 hours have gone by since The Leafs Nation posted an article on third string goalies and highlighting Aaron Dell as the superior option that the Leafs went out and signed Aaron Dell to a one year $800k contract.
Wait, I’m being told it can absolutely be considered a coincidence, or at the very least us stating the obvious doesn’t count as some brilliant insight that Kyle Dubas couldn’t do without.
Anyways, Aaron Dell was far and away the best free agent goaltender available. You could make a case that he was a better option than guys like Braden Holtby or Henrik Lundqvist (at this stage of their careers) and stating that he is better than Mike Smith again feels like stating the obvious, but nevertheless it’s enjoyable that the Leafs third string goaltender is better than the first string guy on the Oilers.
At a quick glance, this was excellent business by Kyle Dubas, and after years of having nowhere to look after Andersen, the Leafs find themselves three deep with quality NHL netminders. Dell is probably a cut above being a third string guy, and there in …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Yankees believe Sahlen Field’s lighting is the reason they allowed the Blue Jays to score 10 runs in one inning

The Yankees can’t accept that the Blue Jays are New York’s best team.

On Monday night, the Blue Jays hosted the Yankees at Sahlen Field in Buffalo for the first time this season. After going down 6-2, the Jays exploded for a 10-run sixth inning to run away with the victory and extend their lead on the Yanks to two games in the standings.
After the game, the Yankees suggested that the reason for their implosion simply came down to the fact that the lightning in Buffalo made it difficult for the pitchers to see which signs were being put down…
“A lot of it had to do with he had a tough time seeing the signs,” Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka said on a Zoom call, when asked following the game about his pitchers’ struggles. “It’s pretty dark there. Once it really got dark, yeah.
Naturally, if you can’t see the sign your catcher puts down, you just lay a soft meatball down the middle of the plate, which is surely what happened when Danny Jansen sent a pitch from Adam Ottavino into space for a grand …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Monday Morning GM: Nikita Nesterov is returning to the NHL. Should it be Toronto?

I can’t think of a less flashy topic to discuss than importing a bottom pairing defender from the KHL, but here we are. And here is what we’re dealing with…
From AllHockey.Ru (google translated):
CSKA President Igor Esmantovich spoke about the transfer plans of the Moscow club, and also said that defender Nikita Nesterov will leave the club.
“We talked with Kaprizov at the end of the season, he said that he would try forces in North America. We are not negotiating with him. They made an offer on Sorokin on June 1. He listened to the proposal with the agent and said that he would make a decision later. CSKA still plans to sign two defenders and a striker.
With Nesterov, the story is interesting. We agreed with him in December, shook hands that he will remain for five years in CSKA. We agreed on the conditions, gave him everything he wanted. But a week ago, he decided for family reasons to go to North America. We thanked him for three years at CSKA and wished him good luck, “Esmantovich said.
So, why does …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Tactical Issues: How will the Raptors and Warriors adjust in Game 2?

Are the Warriors screwed if Andre Iguodala can’t be effective? Should both teams expected more from Kyle Lowry and Draymond Green, respectively? Let’s figure it out. Some say it was rust, but the eye test suggests that the Raptors may be the better team overall if Kevin Durant is not able to come back soon for the NBA Finals.
Coach Nick Nurse and the Raptors came in prepared and held the Warriors at arm’s length for the entirety of Game 1. While Golden State tried to get back into the game a few times, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson did not get enough support from their teammates.
Coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors approached Kawhi Leonard with a game plan similar to the one used for Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. They were successful in slowing down Kawhi, but Pascal Siakam and the rest of the gang made them pay.
Let’s look at some of the tactics that both teams employed and predict what could come next for Game 2.
For the Warriors
Blitzing Kawhi
Heading into the Finals, it’s a big unknown as to how the Warriors will defend Kawhi. Given how Leonard was …

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Author: JD Quirante / Raptors HQ

What’s the secret to Sam Gaviglio’s early-season success?

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what’s going on with Sam Gaviglio this year. With reams of data available and logic suggesting otherwise, Gaviglio has been a godsend for the Blue Jays’ bullpen this season.
Last year, he made the second-most starts of any Blue Jays pitcher, purely because the team’s rotation was ravaged by injuries and they had no choice but to hand the ball to Gaviglio every five days.
This season is a much different story for Gaviglio. He’s flourishing in a new middle-relief role with the Blue Jays, posting some of the best numbers among Blue Jays relievers. Gaviglio, of all people, is having an All-Star calibre first half of the season.
The numbers suggest Gaviglio won’t post a sub-1.00 ERA at season’s end, but Charlie Montoyo has found a way to maximize the value out of the 28-year-old right-hander. Which brings me back to my original question … how on earth is Gaviglio doing it?
At first, I thought something might’ve changed in his delivery or his release point. Pete Walker is known for tinkering with pitcher’s deliveries, moving them around on the mound and helping …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation

Five thoughts on last night’s Game 1: Magic 104, Raptors 101 

I can’t believe we’re right back here again, talking about Game 1 struggles. This year’s Toronto Raptors team was supposed to be different. It is different! It has Kawhi Leonard! Three of the four mainstays in the “The Raptors are shaky in the playoffs” narrative are gone!
But it was same old, same old yesterday. Everything’s changed, but nothing’s changed.
Not a Bad Gameplan, But…
So it looked like the Raptors made a concerted effort to contain Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and Terrence Ross yesterday, and in that, they were successful. The Magic’s three leading scorers were held to just 31 points on 9-of-35 shooting yesterday; Marc Gasol bodied Vucevic successfully, and the Raptors doubled often, while Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Norman Powell did a great job denying Gordon and Ross and preventing them from getting good shots.
That meant the Magic needed big games from their backcourt players… and D.J. Augustin, Michael Carter-Williams and Evan Fournier came through. The Raptors had no answer for Augustin in the first half, where he got anywhere he wanted on the court and racked up 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting. That meant Nick Nurse had to switch Danny …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ