The Habs vs. Jets series is a reminder of what could have been if the Leafs weren’t so committed to failing spectacularly

The Habs vs. Jets series is a reminder of what could have been if the Leafs weren’t so committed to failing spectacularly

I guess everyone needs a gimmick, and the Leafs have chosen finding interesting and exciting ways to fail as theirs. No longer satisfied with blowing Game 7s, the Leafs upped the ante this year and blew games 5, 6, and 7. That’s commitment. Setting the NHL record for longest Stanley Cup drought in history, well, 54 years of failure is commitment defined.
Yes, this series is doing wonders to keep the anger alive and well as we embark on week two of the offseason, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be any easier anytime soon.
So here’s the thing. We’ve just watched the Canadiens in a series. We saw the Leafs outscore them, and at times outplay them. For the Leafs playing to even 80% of what could reasonably be expected of them, they would have won that series.
Now enter the Winnipeg Jets. They seemed to be sending a message by sweeping Connor McDavid and the Oilers. They looked like they could potentially be a hard out. Apparently that is not the case at all. They are now on the verge of being swept, and it’s hard not to see Montreal waltzing neatly into the Semi-Final …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors Draft: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is the best Round 2 sleeper

Toronto Raptors Draft: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is the best Round 2 sleeper

While everyone keeps both eyes trained on the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft lottery (June 22), we fans should also keep in mind that president Masai Ujiri has two second-round picks at his disposal that he could use to turn this Toronto Raptors draft into a franchise-changing event. One way to do this is nabbing Villanova […]
Toronto Raptors Draft: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is the best Round 2 sleeper – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

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

Toronto Raptors: What can Kyle Lowry do during Toronto’s playoff push?

Toronto Raptors: What can Kyle Lowry do during Toronto’s playoff push?

The Toronto Raptors are officially confusing everyone again. Just when it seemed they were in tank mode and headed for the lottery, the Raptors have won four games in a row. The Raptors, and leader Kyle Lowry, are toying with the emotions of their fans and the NBA at large. The Raptors, like Lowry, don’t […]
Toronto Raptors: What can Kyle Lowry do during Toronto’s playoff push? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jose Guzman / Raptors HQ

An exciting announcement from The Nation Network and how it affects the Leafs (coverage)

Good news everyone, especially those of you looking for even more Leafs coverage and hockey coverage in general.
The Nation Network have asked me to be the messenger regarding the growth in NHL coverage you’ll find both on The Leafs Nation, and other network sites, but most specifically DailyFaceOff.com.
The Nation Network will be scouring Canada looking for talented journalists they can add to DailyFaceOff.com to build out the site’s coverage of the league. Writers will be covering each NHL market, and for those of us seeking more Leafs coverage, this likely means you can count on Daily Face Off as well as The Leafs Nation to give you even more Leafs than you’ve already been getting from us. The site will feature some of the best writing, podcasts, and hockey video content you will find on the internet.
Many of you are already using DailyFaceOff.com which is the best resource for current line combinations, starting goaltenders, injury updates, and anything you could require as far as fantasy hockey goes, but over the next few months we’ll see the site completely take off from where it is today, to not only be a …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs by the Numbers: Zach Hyman

Zach Hyman proved everyone wrong. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. He was a 5th round (123rd overall) pick in the 2010 draft who wasn’t really thought of, at the time, as anything special. Acquired by the Leafs from the Panthers in 2015, Hyman has become one of the team’s most invaluable players.
Workhorse. Reliable. Consistent. Gives it his all, every game.

Zach Hyman is a one-man army pic.twitter.com/9bkS9m0Aft
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 6, 2020

These are just a few of the phrases used to describe Hyman on the ice over the last couple seasons – especially the 2019-2020 shortened season, where he was on track for some of his best play ever. On a team plagued by inconsistency, unreliability, and often apparent lack of motivation, Hyman stands out as an exception. He has regularly played on the top line alongside players like Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander, surpassing expectations and cementing his role as one of the team’s most important guys. He battles for the puck, he gets in the corners, he’s always there.
And he’s the unofficial Leafs king of empty-net goals.
Zach Hyman’s number …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: A Christmas Wishlist of what needs to be done in 2021

Toronto Raptors: A Christmas Wishlist of what needs to be done in 2021

2020 has been a rough year for everyone, but through it all the Toronto Raptors have consistently performed well. From being second place in the Eastern Conference last season to reaching the semifinals in the playoffs last season with the recent departures of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Although it doesn’t feel as Christmas day […]
Toronto Raptors: A Christmas Wishlist of what needs to be done in 2021 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Zelniker / Raptors HQ

The NHL wants you to binge hockey

Exciting news everyone, from noon until past midnight (or 10am to 11pm for us Mountain timers) you’ll have the opportunity to do nothing but watch hockey.
From Bob McKenzie:
The plan is to play three games a day both in Edmonton and Toronto and the timetable template in local times is to schedule those games at noon, 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Now, keep in mind the two-hour time difference between Edmonton and Toronto. It means basically there’s going to be six games a day spread out over a 15-hour window, if not longer.
That sounds damn good to me and having games in other time zones is paying off.
Of course the immediate question is what about Overtime and Bob McKenzie’s thoughts are:
In the preliminary round, when you’ve got four placement teams in the East and the West – the top four teams in each conference – playing seeding games, there isn’t unlimited overtime. So, what they will do there, they’ll just use regular season overtime and shootout. They would put those games in the 4:00 spot to try and make up time if the first game …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Were the Maple Leafs ever at full capacity this season?

Remember the good old days, when everyone was marvelling at how consistently healthy the Leafs were? It wouldn’t be unreasonable for some to believe the ever-competitive Leafs GM Kyle Dubas exploited another market inefficiency and invested in the NHL’s first Team Shaman, but in reality the Leafs’ injury fortunes were likely the result of a combination of luck, the team’s revered Sports Science & Performance division, and the team’s low-contact style of play. The numbers bear out this last point: Leafs have the third-lowest road hits-per-game since 2016-17 (road stats used here because some home arenas, like Scotiabank Arena, can sometimes be a little overzealous with their counting). Deep down Leafs fans knew that the Hockey Gods would rebalance the scales with a plague of injuries at some point. Enter the 2019-20 season, one of the most tumultuous this franchise has seen in over a decade, both due to off-ice distractions and on-ice performance issues.
The damage was early and often:

Zach Hyman and Travis Dermott missed the first 19 and 14 games of the season respectively following offseason surgeries.
John Tavares missed seven games with a broken finger, and it took months …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Should the Maple Leafs Re-sign Jeremy Bracco?

Remember when everyone in Leafs land was trying to put together a package for a top pairing right-shot defenseman? Remember when Jeremy Bracco was usually at the forefront of those trade proposals? It’s crazy how much can change in a year. Bracco went from having one of the best offensive seasons in Toronto Marlies history, to becoming an afterthought when discussing the team’s top prospects.
At season’s end (whenever that is), Bracco will be a Restricted Free Agent and in need of a new contract. The 2020-21 season will see Bracco become waiver eligible for the first time which means the clock is ticking on Bracco taking that next step to becoming an NHLer.
For those who have not kept up to date with Bracco, let’s take a look at his progression over the course of his Entry-Level contract.

Year
Team
League
GP
G
A
P
PIM
+/-
SH
S%

2017-18
Toronto Marlies
AHL
50
6
26
32
10
6
71
8.5%

2018-19
Toronto Marlies
AHL
75
22
57
79
16
1
129
17.1%

2019-20
Toronto Marlies
AHL
44
4
30
34
2
-10
58
6.9%

Looking solely at Bracco’s boxcar stats, Bracco’s breakout season in 2018-19 coincided with a massive spike in his shooting percentage. That season, Bracco recorded 129 shots …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation