Women’s hockey, unlike lazy sports journalism, belongs

Women’s hockey, unlike lazy sports journalism, belongs

It feels like every couple of days we are graced with the publishing of another out-of-touch sports article from a member of the old guard of Toronto’s sports media.
At this point, the lack of quality insight emanating from the sports pages of Toronto’s once-relevant newspapers comes as no surprise: it seems as though many veteran sportswriters in this town long abandoned trying to keep up with the rapidly-changing game of hockey. Instead, they have lingered well past their prime, unchallenged by their editors, skating by on name recognition from a readership that is 80% people who found the sports page on a vacant bus seat.
They use plus/minus as a measure of defensive skill, over-focus on intangibles, and assume the role of expert body language analysts. They ask boring, unimaginative questions in scrums then get outraged about the boring, unimaginative answers they receive. They use reductive terms like “nerds” and “geeks” to describe an analytics community whose concepts they cannot, or care not to, grasp. They stick around for the access, the camaraderie in the press box, and the after-game whiskies as they file low-effort, uninsightful columns that do nothing to elevate the reader’s understanding of the game.
Occupying one of the spots on the Mount Rushmore o …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Did losing to Montreal wake up Toronto like getting swept woke up Tampa?

A couple years spent falling short of expectations, an embarrassing first round loss, an abysmal start to the new season, and then suddenly becoming the NHL’s hottest team. It’s a sequence of events both the 2021/2022 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2019/2020 Tampa Bay Lightning took that got fans excited that this year may be different. For Tampa Bay, that sequence ended with the Lightning winning their second ever Stanley Cup, and then repeating as champions the following season. For Toronto, the end result is still waiting to be seen.
It’s hard not to notice the parallels between the path that these two teams took after one of the most embarrassing first round exits in franchise history. Much like how Toronto entered last season’s matchup against Montreal as heavy favourites, Tampa Bay was expected to walk all over Columbus during the 2019 playoffs. Instead, the Lightning were not only swept by the lowly eight seed but were absolutely dominated in the process, getting outscored 19-8.
The next season, the question on everyone’s mind was how Tampa Bay would redeem themselves after a monumental choke that was only made worse by one of the most mocked social media posts …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Joseph Woll provided a lot of hope for the future of the Leafs net

It’s hard to believe it was just a couple of weeks back that I was writing about how we shouldn’t expect too much of Joseph Woll, and this was more about the organization getting a chance to assess him, not a situation where he was going to come in and immediately steal the net. And while I want to stay very true to the spirit of that article, there is something about a shutout in his second start that warrants both some excitement and a need to pour some cold water on our new expectations.
Joseph Woll’s debut will provide the Leafs with an assessment opportunity

When talking about Woll’s arrival there was an acknowledgement that things haven’t gone particularly well in the AHL, but also with the recognition that statistical success in net in the AHL isn’t much of a predictor of NHL success. It certainly doesn’t hurt to do well there, it probably gets a look at a NHL job a little earlier, but it’s by no means required to be a capable NHL goaltender as the realities of the game are very different between the two levels of play.


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: A look at Steve Greenley’s change of scenery candidates and if they are a fit for the Leafs

A few weeks back I took a look at a couple of players I deemed reclamation projects, Dylan Strome and Vitali Kravtsov. I am unapologetic in my love of this type of transaction because it is a low risk swing for the fences. This is basically a no outs runner on third, swing for the fences because you aren’t risking a whole lot and there’s a very good chance that even if it isn’t a home run, you’ll get a bit of help you need. The Leafs being a cap tight team without the resources to sink into bona fide stars at the moment, reclamation projects seem ideal.
Today in his article at DailyFaceOff.com, Steve Greenley put a bit more formal terminology to my reclamation projects by outlining his change of scenery candidates and the definition that GMs use to identify these players.
You can check out the details and full list of players at DFO, but here is the criteria for change of scenery candidates:

Lack of ice time

Road block in the current organizations depth chart that prevent player success

Not meeting expectations of where they were selected in draft

Minimal special teams …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: Leafs somehow don’t lose to the league’s worst team, plan the parade!

Well that was a rollercoaster.
After a couple straight beatings at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes, the Leafs came out of the gate with another flat effort against Chicago, allowing two goals in the first, only to make a nice comeback thanks to backhanders from John Tavares and David Kampf, and a nice breakaway goal from William Nylander to win the game in overtime. It was far from perfect, and it’s still pretty sad that they barely beat a team without a win, but they managed to come out without being their first win, so that’s a plus.
Here’s to hope.
Three Stars
3rd Star: William Nylander
Even when the team was dead, you could still see William flying out there, even getting a little bit physical when it seemed like the team didn’t have a spark. It wasn’t his best night analytically, with only 50.68% of the expected goals at even strength, but he seemed like one of the few Leafs with life, and it paid off with the OT winner.
2nd Star: David Kampf
IT FEELS SO NICE TO SEE LEAFS SCORE AGAINST THEIR FORMER TEAMS! Kampf was a …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Burning Question: Will the Leafs make it beyond the first round this year?

Over the course of the past couple of weeks we’ve been running some Burning Questions posts on this site, trying to deal with some of the big questions surrounding the Leafs. The one big burning question that has always been left looming is the one that has a lot of fans willing to completely throwaway or ignore the regular season and focus entirely on the postseason, and that question is “Is this the year the Leafs finally make it out of the first round?”
We’ll start with the fact that it’s impossible to know for sure. Law of averages say that a team as good as the Leafs will eventually have something break their way instead of things going against them, and they’ll get there. I can appreciate that appeal to the math of it. The problem with math though is that it ignores the fact that it’s the Leafs we’re talking about. They’ve always been able to find new spectacular ways to have things fall apart on them. No other team blows a 4-1 lead in a game seven, no other team loses to an emergency backup goaltender that they employ, no …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 47: Hyun Jin Ryu’s struggles, Gerrit Cole’s spaz, Josh Donaldson’s ovation, and more!

Another series, another couple of wins for the Blue Jays! That’s the way it’s been for the past month-and-a-bit and the hope is that it continues as the Blue Jays head to The House of Horrors.

The Blue Jays got the job done this weekend, taking two of three from the lowly Minnesota Twins. Things started off ugly as Hyun Jin Ryu got knocked around on Friday but Steven Matz and Jose Berrios led the team to back-to-back wins on Saturday and Sunday, so all ended well.
We talked about Ryu’s struggles, the “injury” that landed him on the 10-day Injured List, and what to expect from him moving forward. We also talked about Matz’s excellent run and what it means for him in the off-season. Finally, we talked about the Blue Jays lineup and why it needs to involve Alejandro Kirk more often than not.
We then took a look at the out-of-town scoreboard and gave a hat tip to Cleveland, who did us a solid by beating the Yankees on Saturday and Sunday. We finished off by talking about the series ahead against the Rays at The Trop, a place that’s never fun …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #9 Mikhail Abramov

After a couple of seasons where the Toronto Maple Leafs have struggled to graduate prospects on entry-level contracts to the NHL lineup, their 2019 draft class will be looking to change that narrative. Four of Toronto’s selections in that draft feature inside our top 10 and fourth-round pick Mikhail Abramov is a big part of that group.
Abramov falling three positions, from 6th in 2020 to 9th, is extremely harsh. A breakout campaign in 2019/20 saw him shoot up the rankings, but similar results in 2020/21 from the year prior were not enough to maintain his rank with some of the Leafs 2020 draft class seeing breakout seasons of their own.
Still, after captaining the Victoriaville Tigres to a QMJHL championship, a three-position fall is not an indication of the year Abramov had. Making the transition to the professional game in 2021 with the Marlies, Abramov will be high on the list of Leafs prospects to keep an eye on this upcoming season.
Position: Centre
Age: 20
Height: 6’0
Weight: 185 lbs
Drafted: 115th Overall, 2019 NHL Draft by Toronto
2020-21 Team: Victoriaville, QMJHL
2020 Prospect Ranking: #6
Mikhail Abramov took a massive step forwards in 2019/20, and while he didn’t take another big leap forwards in 2020/21, he maintained a lot of …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

The Toronto Raptors are embracing the positionless basketball movement

The Toronto Raptors are embracing the positionless basketball movement

In the last couple of years, the NBA is slowly transitioning to positionless basketball. After all, if DeMar DeRozan played power forward position last season with the San Antonio Spurs, anything is possible. One team that is fully embracing this trend is the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors have built a roster full of players that […]
The Toronto Raptors are embracing the positionless basketball movement – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Pirasanth Gunasekaram / Raptors HQ

Raptors: Can Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam duo work together?

Raptors: Can Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam duo work together?

It’s been a couple of days since the Toronto Raptors drafted Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Many Raptor fans were surprised with the selection, as Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs, who was taken by the Orlando Magic, was still available and Pascal Siakam is still on the […]
Raptors: Can Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam duo work together? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Pirasanth Gunasekaram / Raptors HQ