How Nick Robertson refined his confidence with the Marlies this season

It feels like Nick Robertson is outgrowing the AHL, yet he’s only played 48 games in the past year.
When the 2021-22 season began, the 20-year-old was focused on getting a full-time role in the NHL. But after two games with the Marlies, his season was put to a halt.
A broken leg put him out for almost four months and once he returned, there wasn’t a way to tell where his game would end up.
“I’m just more of an optimistic person,” said Robertson back in January when he was returning from his broken leg. “The whole year of 2021 was pretty much downward then upward and now that the new year, 2022, is here, I’m trying to make this my year.”
Once the 20-year-old returned to the Marlies lineup, he started to show glimpses of the player he was in the OHL. After nine games of being back in Toronto’s lineup, Robertson had 11 points, five being goals.
His confidence was growing, but there was still a ways to go. For most of his season, the 20-year-old played in the Marlies top-six, but was never on Toronto’s top power play unit.
Wit …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Kevin Gausman’s dominant start, this Blue Jays team having the “clutch” gene, and more!

It feels like the Blue Jays are unbeatable right now.

Since splitting their four-game series with the Yankees in The Bronx, the Blue Jays have gone 9-2, and the two games that they lost featured epic comebacks that came up just short.
Looking back at all of the games the team has played this season, you can’t really find too many instances in which it felt like the game was over before the last out was recorded. The Blue Jays really set the tempo on Opening Day when they rallied back after going down 7-0.
A message was sent to everyone else in baseball that this team seriously has some magic.
On Tuesday, Kevin Gausman tossed yet another gem but the bullpen imploded and the Red Sox carried a 5-2 lead into the ninth inning. That came unraveled very quickly as Raimel Tapia and Santiago Espinal hit back-to-back doubles off of reliever Jake Diekman and then George Springer smashed a game-tying two-run bomb.
Jordan Romano came in and stranded the ghost runner in the 10th inning, setting the table for a walk-off in the bottom half. The Sox opted to intentionally walk Vladdy Jr., obviously, and then Alejandro Kirk worked a walk in a wildly impressive at-bat in which it looked like making him whiff was literally …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

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

The Maple Leafs don’t need a top four defenseman, they need a top four defenseman who can defend

In someways it feels later than usual, but from a scheduling perspective it’s much earlier than usual, but no matter how you look at, trade rumour season seems to be upon us.
Now I fall into the crowd that loves trade rumour season. Most of my school workbooks were half filled with trade proposals I’d write out, and when I was cleaning out my parents basement a few years back I reflected on the horrible trades of an eight year Jets fan trying to build a dynasty. I love this. The fact that any minute there could be an announcement that changes the direction of a team is exciting, and I don’t buy into the idea of going with who got you there. I’m not sentimental. Upgrades galore, baby.
That’s said, I can appreciate that not everyone wants to read about every player rumoured to be available and how they’d fit in with the Leafs. It’s exhausting. There’s going to be no shortage of trade deadline content on this site and others, but not every available player needs an article on them. That’s decidedly why this is not a “John Klingberg is available, should the Leafs be after him?” article. James Mirtle is in favour of Klingberg as an option for the Leafs,respectfully I am decidedly less convinced, so I am going into why the Leafs don’t to look at offensive …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

This Raptors-Pacers trade brings Myles Turner to Toronto

This Raptors-Pacers trade brings Myles Turner to Toronto

It feels like Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner has been on the trade market for years. With the Pacers starting to slip down into the ranks of the lottery-dwellers, could the Toronto Raptors finally pounce on a deal after years of speculation? Always an awkward fit next to Domantas Sabonis, trading a hot ticket […]
This Raptors-Pacers trade brings Myles Turner to Toronto – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Michael Bunting is just what the Leafs need, but they still need to identify where

It feels strange to say that a 26 year old rookie making less than $1M/yr might not be ready for the Leafs top six, and be prepared to meet resistance from making that statement, but here we are. Bunting, who has been very solid with four goals, and seven total points through his first 16 games with the Leafs is doing what could have reasonably been expected of him, but at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if his modest success is coming at the cost of slowing down the Leafs top six.
Earlier in the year it was the case for Nick Ritchie. He simply wasn’t a fit with Tavares and Marner and then Matthews and Marner. As time progressed onward we found ourselves with Michael Bunting seeing time with the Auston Matthews line, and what we’ve seen is a steady cooling off of Bunting’s game as well as a number of question marks around how well Auston has been doing this year. Presumably, this duo isn’t a match, and Bunting could be better off in a sheltered situation alongside Alex Kerfoot, assuming that placing him back at center is an option again.


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Marlies Mailbag: Which of the defencemen has stood out most?

It feels like yesterday that the Marlies started their season, and I began my quest on following this team for real. Yes, I did technically do that last year, but not to the extent where I am now. I’m going to practices, every home game and just trying to talk to every player possible.
I wanted to do a mailbag series because I know people have a lot of questions.
Here at TLN, we do put out a weekly update on the Marlies’ season, but I know some of you might want to know about specific players, and that’s what I’m going to try and bring here. I’m not too sure how often I will be doing this, but I will try as best as I can to get one or two every month.
But without further ado, let’s answer some Marlies questions.

should josh ho sang be on the maple leafs
— Please Do Not Get Mad At Me Online (@notabunchofcats) October 30, 2021

This is a question almost everyone has, and it’s understandable. The 25-year-old has five goals in his first six games with the Marlies. He’s doing an incredible job.
I, personally, don’ …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The TLN Three Stars: Shesterkin spoils Matthews’ return, Leafs fall to Rangers in OT

For the first time since what feels like the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Leafs faced a non-Canadian team tonight, welcoming the New York Rangers to Scotiabank Arena. It was a refreshing break from the monotony of the last 66 games: while last season’s North Division had some initial charm and ignited some hostilities between Canadian franchises, it quickly became overkill playing the same six teams over and over again for months. Let’s honestly never do it again. Variety is the spice of life.
Speaking of the overdue arrival of Americans, the Leafs also welcomed Auston Matthews back to their lineup for the first time this season after wrist surgery, and boy he came to play.
Recap
Before we get into a recap, a quick disclaimer: I watched the first period on any extremely pixelated treadmill television while chugging through a 5k run, so my recollections of the first 20 minutes are hazy.
Toronto got an early opportunity to break the ice when William Nylander was high-sticked by Barclay Goodrow during the second shift of the game. Our first glimpse of the new-look powerplay featuring Matthews was encouraging as the unit zipped the puck around, opening Matthews up for …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays, in what felt like their first home game of 2021, beat the Marlins

It feels good to be back home close-ish to home!
Robbie Ray put together a great start, the bullpen was good, Vladdy hit a three-run homer, and, most importantly, Sahlen Field was packed with Blue Jays fans. That’s a nice sight.

Things worth mentioning…

Robbie Ray had a nice bounce-back after his first rough outing of the season last week at Yankee Stadium. Ray went six innings, allowing one earned run on six hits and two walks while striking out nine. The one run that Miami scored came on a double by Starling Marte that prooooooooobably should have been caught by Gold Glove Nominee Lourdes Gurriel. All in all, excellent stuff from Ray.
Since I pointed out that Gurriel had an ugly go in the outfield, I should also mention that he made up for it with the stick, going 3-for-4 with a solo dinger. The star of the day offensively, though, was Vlad Jr., who put together a 4-for-4 day at the plate with a three-run bomb. The crowd starting doing an MVP chant for Vladdy and also gave him a standing ovation when he ripped from first to third on a ground out by Teoscar Hernandez. Vladdy …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Win it for JT

It still feels weird getting ready for a game. I think I can speak for a lot of Leafs Nation when I say that it feels like there’s stuff much bigger than the game going on. Tavares’ injury made me lose all interest in game 1, and for the most part, that’s carried into the second game.
But, Tavares is out of the hospital, and has been cleared of all structural damage to his head, neck, and spine. It’s still a concussion and a knee injury for him, and he’s still probably not going to play in the playoffs, but Tavares is for the most part okay, although I can only imagine how scary that must have been for him.

An update on @MapleLeafs captain John Tavares. pic.twitter.com/sV0dlfpdI8
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) May 21, 2021

However, the games must go on. The Leafs find themselves down 1-0 in the series, even though it’s not a loss you can fault them on. But, there are lots of things to go off of in this game. They ended up being the better team as far as driving play and generating scoring chances, although they didn’t generate …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation