AL East Report – June 8

The pandemic is “over” and it is the first day that you return to the office.

You wake up late as you’ve been used to hoping on Zoom calls right after waking up. You notice you haven’t done laundry in some time, so you throw on your freshest clothing. You’re about to leave when you realize that you don’t have sox, so you run upstairs and throw on one white sox and one red sox and you make the bus in time. While the analogy leaves a lot to be desired, the Jays have a Sox-filled week as they play both the White Sox and Red Sox.
This past week was another winning week as they went 3-2, yet the Blue Jays are still 6 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the division lead. Eventually the excuse of “it’s still early” ends and quite frankly, I believe we are already past that point as we’ve made it through a third of a season.
It is pivotal that they have a winning week as the Rays’ schedule is easy as hell. Furthermore, Boston is second in the AL East, so winning that series gives the …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Lakers and Heat struggles prove Kyle Lowry was the missing piece

Raptors: Lakers and Heat struggles prove Kyle Lowry was the missing piece

The first round of the 2020-21 NBA playoffs is almost complete with the Mavericks and Clippers as the last remaining series to be decided. The biggest surprise, however, has been the poor performance by last year’s finalists in the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Miami Heat. Perhaps Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry might’ve helped […]
Raptors: Lakers and Heat struggles prove Kyle Lowry was the missing piece – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alaa Alarashi / Raptors HQ

Tavares and Muzzin injury updates

Here we are heading into Game Seven of the first round, and the Leafs will appear to be doing so without their captain, and one of their top defensemen. Welcome to Leafs Nation. Here are the updates on where they are at…
Tavares skating…

John Tavares participated in the @MapleLeafs optional morning skate ahead of Game 7 tonight. #NHLonSN pic.twitter.com/JLJqoHZhpj
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 31, 2021

Yep, that’s John Tavares skating (although not looking completely comfortable) in advance of tonight’s Game Seven. The Leafs were quick to rule out Tavares for tonight, and that shouldn’t really be a surprise as this is the first full skate he’s participated in. Having the captain back to work with the players today was hopefully a positive for the team, and maybe, just maybe the Leafs want to play well enough to give Tavares a chance to come back during the playoffs.

“It’s progress that he’s on the ice with other players … He’s had no setbacks” … Sheldon Keefe on John Tavares #Leafs “His recovery has been quite remarkable.”
— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) May 31, 2021

Playing guess the return for Tavares is irresponsible, so we won’t, but we will say that it …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Khem Birch could earn role on Canadian national team

Toronto Raptors: Khem Birch could earn role on Canadian national team

Although the Toronto Raptors missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons, it looks as though at least two members of the organization may have a busy summer ahead. With the announcement of 21 players invited to Canada Basketball’s mid-June training camp, we know that center Khem Birch will join head coach Nick […]
Toronto Raptors: Khem Birch could earn role on Canadian national team – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Fisher / Raptors HQ

Should the Toronto Raptors draft a big man based on their history?

Should the Toronto Raptors draft a big man based on their history?

The Toronto Raptors are in the lottery for the first time since 2016, when they had the New York Knicks’ pick that was acquired from the Andrea Bargnani trade. This is also their first time that they are using their lottery pick since 2012. They are no strangers to the draft lottery, as the Raptors […]
Should the Toronto Raptors draft a big man based on their history? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Pirasanth Gunasekaram / Raptors HQ

TLN Three Stars: The Leafs finally get to play in the good kind of elimination game

After a truly unfortunate first game of this series there was a bit of pause for concern about how the Leafs would do in this series. Without Tavares, and now without Foligno, the Leafs looked to be in an uphill battle situation. Thankfully the Canadiens really aren’t good at all and that has been the great equalizer as the Maple Leafs now have a 3-1 series lead on the strength of the 4-0 shutout tonight. You can definitely hook this series up to my veins.
The first period held true to how things have gone for the Leafs in the first throughout the series. Not to say they looked bad, but just not able to get on the scoreboard. The second period was a different story and with William Nylander stretching his goal streak to 4 games, and Galchenyuk starting a night to remember, the period would end 3-0 and basically seal the game as Spezza and Thornton also found the net.
It goes without saying that with a shutout Jack Campbell had one hell of a night, and playing on back to back nights and only giving up one goal is incredible. I’m going to be cautious not …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 2021-2022 starting lineup prediction with Bradley Beal

Toronto Raptors: 2021-2022 starting lineup prediction with Bradley Beal

The Toronto Raptors are on the outside looking in of the playoffs for the first time in a long time. It’s going to be a long, yet exciting offseason for the Raptors as they try and make the necessary moves to bring this group back to contention. Could Bradley Beal be included in that ambitious plan? This […]
Toronto Raptors: 2021-2022 starting lineup prediction with Bradley Beal – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jack Long / Raptors HQ

Leafs face the difficult challenge of a lineup without John Tavares

First and foremost, there’s no replacing John Tavares. The Leafs don’t have a point per game center sitting around, nor a spare leader and captain. The loss of Tavares makes the Leafs roster worse, but that isn’t a call for him to return at anything less than 100%. We’ll put our faith in the Leafs organization and their doctors that they will first do right by Tavares, and the roster is a second thought.
In fact when we, as a TLN team, started discussing what the new lines could look like, the one thing that came through loud and clear from our group is the need to emphasize how important it is to do right by Tavares, and after that terrifying incident we just want the captain to be okay.
John Tavares has since provided the following update:

pic.twitter.com/XiHjGvSewg
— John Tavares (@91Tavares) May 21, 2021

We’ll definitely take that as a positive sign for his recovery, and again we wish him all the best.
The Leafs have begun reorganizing themselves to begin to manage their roster without the captain, the lines at practice were as follows:

#Leafs lines at practice:
Hyman-Matthews-Marner Galchenyuk-Foligno-NylanderEngvall-Kerfoot-MikheyevThornton-Spezza-Simmonds
Rielly-BrodieMuzzin-HollSandin-Bogosian
AndersenRittich
Absent: …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

John Tavares leaves the game after a terrifying collision

The first period provided us with one of the scariest moments of the season as John Tavares took a hit and while falling awkwardly was then hit by Corey Perry’s knee on his way to the ice. The play looked bad in real time and the replays only confirmed that it was bad.
In an attempt to sit John Tavares up, his head immediately fell backward and I think that is the moment that most viewers knew that this was an especially horrific injury.
After being worked on by team doctors, EMS, and trainers, John Tavares was escorted off the ice on a stretcher. The sign of hope came with John Tavares giving a thumbs up on the way out, but needless to say it was hard to watch and why we are not including any footage of the injury in this post.
While we await an update on Tavares, we just want to wish him the fullest of recoveries, and now is not the right time to guess at what the injury is or what the timelines for his recovery are. When that information is shared you’ll find it hear.
It was hard to watch and you …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Alek Manoah is the best Blue Jays pitching prospect since Roy Halladay

I got on the Alek Manoah hype train at the first stop, when he was the second pitcher taken at 11th overall in the 2019 Amateur Draft.

It wasn’t any of his immense on-field attributes that pulled me in, however, but his larger-than-life personality and big heart. When Alex Anthopoulos signed Jose Bautista to a team-friendly, five-year, sixty-five-million dollar contract in 2011, he said he wasn’t making a bet on the player, but on the person. For some reason that’s always stuck with me.
It was a tweet to the newly acquired Anthony Kay in July of 2019 that made me a fan of Alek the person, as much or more than I was of Alek the player. He welcomed Kay to the family, of which he himself had only belonged for a few weeks.

Welcome to the fam brother! The future is now https://t.co/4ifBYJkmnp
— MANOAH (@Alek_Manoah47) July 31, 2019

A close eye on Manoah’s social media timeline showed in the weeks and months that followed that this wasn’t out of the ordinary — this wasn’t just a kid trying to make a good impression with so many new eyes on him. He has a history …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation