Is this time different? A confidence check on the Maple Leafs

Last night for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, I decided to rewatch Avengers: Infinity War. The opening scene where Loki is stating his case for returning to earth seemed particularly relevant to the Leafs in game seven:

Anyway, here we are. I feel like if you didn’t think we’d end up at Game Seven in this series you were lying to yourself, but the biggest question now is about how confident we feel in the Leafs ability to close it out. It’s been easy to say “this time is different” and to be honest it has been. The Leafs are healthier, their stars are producing more, and suspensions haven’t factored in. The Leafs are more ready for this game than they’ve been for any previous series, but there is another difference and that’s the Tampa Bay Lightning. They are a better team. They are healthier than they’ve been all season, and they’ve won the Stanley Cup the past two seasons.
With all that considered, the question I posed to the TLN crew was: “How confident are you that the Leafs WILL win game seven, and why?” Here are the responses:
Dylan Murphy:
They can and they will. That sentence has been meme’d to death, but this time, it’s right. I’m dreading the game and the pain it will bring should something go wrong with every fibre of my being, and I’m mad that it’s even happening because if not for truly incompetent officiating, the Leafs would’ve won it in 6, but here we are, on …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

How does the Blue Jays’ offence stack up to the rest of the American League East?

It’s entirely possible that the Blue Jays add a third baseman once the lockout concludes. Whether they sign Kris Bryant or trade for Jose Ramirez, I find it hard to believe that the front office is done building this team. With that being said, let’s look at the Jays’ position players.

Infielders:
Danny Jansen (Catcher)
Alejandro Kirk (Catcher)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr (First Baseman)
Cavan Biggio (Second Baseman)
Bo Bichette (Shortstop)
Santiago Espinal (Third Baseman)
Otto Lopez (Utility)
Gabriel Moreno (Catching prospect)
Starting with Jansen, he struggled in the early part of the season and then got injured, but once September hit, he tore it up. From August 31-October 3rd, he had 65 plate appearances and hit 6 home runs, and slashed .322/.385/1.148. However, prior to his injury, he was slashing .176/.259/.595 with only 5 home runs in 140 plate appearances. 
Furthermore, he had a DRS of 0. Defensively, he’s only had a DRS above 1 once in his 4 seasons. The key for Jansen is to start hot. You can bet on him finishing hot, but until he proves he can hit above average for the majority of the season, you have to question his hitting ability.
23-year-old Alejandro Kirk played only 60 games and had 189 plate appearances. However, the catcher showed why he has a ton of promise. He slashed .242/.328/.764 and added 8 home runs. However, the most impressive aspect of Kirk’s game is his strike zone discipline. He walked 10.1% of the time while only striking out 11.6% of the time. The offensive tool set is there, but with a -3 …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

5 reasons why the Leafs are out of the first round… again

Well that sucked.
At the end of the day, I’m not entirely surprised, because this is the Toronto Maple Leafs and their entire brand is finding unique ways to crush your soul. But I definitely wasn’t expecting this. The Leafs had the best regular season in franchise history as far as points percentage goes, and they were up against arguably the worst team in the playoffs, and had a 3-1 lead in the series, and squandered it. Embarrassing.
But, we already know that. We’ve already processed what happened, and have more or less accepted it, some even before Game 7 even started, knowing the inevitable. It’s time to look at why the Leafs are where they are, what exactly went wrong with a team that looked so perfect going into the playoffs, poised to potentially end their cup drought, never mind their series win drought.
The John Tavares injury
I’ll keep this one short because it’s more or less just an unfortunate situation that the Leafs couldn’t have really prepared for. When it happened I already knew the Leafs weren’t going to win the Cup, but even then, I still expected them to …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation