Finding the next Robbie Ray

We don’t have any idea how the off-season is going shake out but it is entirely possible the Blue Jays enter next season without their ace Robbie Ray.
Ray, the likely American League Cy Young Award winner, is in line for a big payday, potentially as high as the 6-year, $140 million deal Patrick Corbin signed with the Washington Nationals. If the Blue Jays are unable to bring Ray back (and even if they are), they need to find the next version of Robbie Ray.

This is easier said than done of course. Nobody expected Ray to have the season that he did. He was coming off his worst season, and one of the worst seasons in baseball. His 2017 success was well in the rear-view mirror. However, he was only 28 and still had that good strikeout stuff. The Blue Jays took a chance, got Ray’s mechanics sorted out, got him throwing harder, got him throwing strikes, and the rest as they say is history.
What follows, is three pitchers in their late 20’s who have had some success in the past, but who struggled majorly in 2021. All three are free agents and given the seasons they had are likely …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Has Yuta Watanabe locked up a roster spot?

Toronto Raptors: Has Yuta Watanabe locked up a roster spot?

The Toronto Raptors don’t have a ton of 100% known quantities on this young roster at the moment, meaning that the preseason could be a perfect opportunity for some younger players or those without a ton of NBA experience to make their mark. Yuta Watanabe took full advantage on Monday Night. Not only was Watanabe […]
Toronto Raptors: Has Yuta Watanabe locked up a roster spot? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Mike Commito talks to TLN about his new book, Hockey 365, The Second Period: More Daily Stories from the Ice

If you follow Mike Commito on Twitter (and if you don’t, why not?) you probably know him as the hockey history guy. Every day he shares really cool, sometimes well known and sometimes lesser known, “on this day” moments from the history of hockey. And if you follow him on Twitter, you probably know that he turned some of those moments into an incredible book – Hockey 365: Daily Stories from the Ice.  
And maybe you also know that tomorrow, September 28th, the second volume, Hockey 365, The Second Period: More Daily Stories from the Ice, will be available for purchase (and if you didn’t, now you do.)
But what you might not know is that Mike has TLN to thank for launching his hockey writing career!
…Okay, I’m exaggerating a little bit. But Mike does have a bit of history (pun intended) with TLN, and I was lucky enough to speak with him about how he got started writing about hockey, how he brought his two passions together, the books, and his hopes for future projects.
I first asked Mike to tell me and our TLN readers about how he got started writing, and tweeting, hockey history. It was …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: New signings show Bulls are building with ex-Toronto players

Raptors: New signings show Bulls are building with ex-Toronto players

If the Toronto Raptors have decided that you don’t fit into their future plans, you might be able to find some work with the Chicago Bulls, as Arturas Karnisovas has added players like DeMar DeRozan, Matt Thomas, and Stanley Johnson in the course of just a few weeks this offseason. While acquiring DeRozan in a […]
Raptors: New signings show Bulls are building with ex-Toronto players – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Looking back on the best moments from the Blue Jays’ homecoming

If you’re a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, you don’t need me to tell you that it’s been a good couple of weeks.

After 670 days playing home games in Buffalo and Dunedin, the team finally returned to the Rogers Centre, something that the players seemed to have been every bit as excited for as the fans were. What followed was nothing short of magical. The Blue Jays won 9 of their 11 games on the homestand, sweeping the Royals in the opening series, then taking 3 of 4 from both Cleveland and the Red Sox respectively.
There’s an argument to be made that this was the greatest regular-season homestand in team history. I’m sure it’s far from the first time the team has taken 9 of their 11 games, but the combination of a playoff race heating up, and the fans getting a chance to see their beloved team for the first time in almost two years builds a pretty strong argument. 
I haven’t been able to get these last 11 games off of my mind, and based on the current state of the Blue Jays online community, it appears I’m far from alone. All I want is …

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Author: Isaac Boloten / Blue Jays Nation

Jason Spezza deserves so much better

The Toronto Maple Leafs don’t deserve Jason Spezza.
In the final episode of TLN’s Year In Review coverage, we look at a living legend who, despite watching this team utterly and completely crumple under pressure not once, but twice now, and is still willing to come back for more at way less than market value. All for the love of the game and the love of that absolutely cursed team crest.

Jason Spezza: “If I could take less I would.”
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 16, 2021

Jason Spezza deserves so much more than playing for a team that is wasting the twilight years of his career. He should have by rights, taken the first offer he got from a team like Tampa, or Colorado, or any other legitimate contender, make a couple million and at least have a taste of success, rather than come back for more (almost guaranteed) punishment that comes with being a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
There were only two other players on the ice in Game 7 who gave a full, complete effort- William Nylander and Jack Campbell. On a team with two $11-million forwards, Jason Spezza should not have to be both the beating …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

The only reason why the Leafs could win game 7

Listen, I know you don’t want to hear it. The Leafs lost in overtime and are back in another game seven. It sucks, yes, but there’s something you have to think about here and why it may be good.
There is so much on the line. Somebody will likely get traded if they lose on Monday night. Do the players want that? No. And that, to me, is the only recipe for success. Nothing else. I hope you enjoy today’s video.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

What Is There to Even Do: A Brief Dive Into the Toronto Maple Leafs Current Predicament

I don’t know that I can speak for everyone else, but I know that I am not having a good time watching this series. Against all odds, because of course, the Toronto Maple Leafs are going the distance against the Montreal Canadiens. A team the Maple Leafs owned during the regular season to the tune of a 6-2-1 record, then proceeded to own for four more subsequent games this postseason until they found a way to completely collapse under the weight of their own deeply ingrained ineptitude. Perhaps I’m fortunate that I’m a lot younger than many other long suffering Maple Leafs fans and don’t have much of anything in the way of pre-2005 lockout Maple Leafs memories. To be completely honest, I don’t even know what’s worse: The years of complete bumbling lunacy that defined this team between 2006 and 2013, culminating with “It Was 4-1”, or this current era of rebuilding, seeing a product that genuinely looks like it’s going to go somewhere, only to have your heart ripped out over and over and OVER again.
Perhaps the Maple Leafs win Game Seven. To be completely honest, the circumstances are there and …

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Author: Jori Negin-Shecter / The Leafs Nation

What’s the most cursed way the Leafs season could end?

We all know it’s coming don’t we? The Leafs seem to have a supernatural ability that prevents them from simply losing games or playoff series in a normal way. Whether it’s blowing a 4-1 lead, getting shut out twice in five games, or losing to a zamboni driver, the team is continuously finding spectacularly unique ways to let their fans down. It could be the result of a curse, or it could be just plain old bad luck – either way, with the team set to take on its arch-rival Montreal Canadiens to begin the 2021 playoffs, anyone who knows what the Toronto Maple Leafs are capable of can’t help but allow one terrible intrusive thought into their mind.
What is the most cursed way this Leafs season could end?
Simply winning a round or two and then eventually going down in a hard-fought series that everyone agrees featured an excellent performance by all players isn’t the way we do things in Toronto. If we lose it’s going to be messy, and if we win it’s only to set up an even messier loss later on. While the eventual heartbreak will no doubt be something …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

How good is the Leafs goaltending? Bad.

I don’t really know how to start these anymore. The Leafs have played good, but their goaltending sucked. That’s it. Where do they go from here? I have no idea.
My main hope is that Frederik Andersen can return to the net soon and hopefully provide some stability.
As we wait for that though — give my video a watch. Maybe it’ll help you like it helped me. Enjoy!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation