Major League Baseball is thinking about delaying the start of the 2021 season to May

If you’re already looking forward to February and have pitchers and catchers report written down on your calendar, I’ve got bad news for you.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Major League Baseball is considering pushing the start of the 2021 season back to May because it would give the league more time to get players and personnel vaccinated.
Apparently, those on MLB’s side would rather push things back and have a shorter (like 140-game) season if it means everyone is vaccinated and fans are more likely to be able to attend games in person rather than going forward with a normal 162-game schedule as planned. On the other side, the Players’ Association believes that a full season can be executed as normal even without a vaccine so long as protocols are in place.
“I don’t see any way spring training starts in February,” one anonymous executive told USA Today. “Zero chance of that. I don’t care if we play 140 games, 120 games or 80 games, we have to make sure everyone is safe to do this right.’’
I generally tend to lean pro-player when it comes to issues between MLB and the PA, but, in this …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Should the Raptors offer OG Anunoby a contract extension?

Toronto Raptors: Should the Raptors offer OG Anunoby a contract extension?

Toronto Raptors small forward OG Anunoby is eligible to sign a contract extension for up to four years. There is a big decision for the Toronto Raptors that they have to make which could affect their 2021 free agency plans. That decision has to do with OG Anunoby. OG Anunoby has a contract extension deadline […]
Toronto Raptors: Should the Raptors offer OG Anunoby a contract extension? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Pirasanth Gunasekaram / Raptors HQ

Rodion Amirov has been picked, what’s next for the Leafs?

Tonight was a little straight forward. The Leafs showed up. Picked when they were supposed to. They continued to prioritize skill above all else and selected a talented young player who already has 5 points in 10 games in the KHL this season, and then literally nothing else happened Leafs related for the rest of the draft. Of course, we might start getting more out of the insiders tonight and we’ll wake up to a whole new set of rumours tomorrow.
The post draft media availability
Kyle Dubas met with members of the Toronto media following the draft. Here are a few of the highlights of that conversation.

Dubas says Leafs aren’t planning to qualify Evan Rodrigues “at this point in time”
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) October 7, 2020

Since this is the biggest piece of news out of the press conference we’ll start with that. Unfortunately a cheap deal couldn’t be found for Rodrigues and he’ll hit free agency. Not really a loss for the Leafs, and potentially they can come back around and get something done, but Rodrigues’ will join the elite company of Nathan Horton as players who will be unrestricted free agents for the Leafs this offseason …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Andreas Johnsson is close to being a 100% healthy boy

Good news out of Leafs land…

Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson joined the special teams portion of practice today at Ford Performance Centre. #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 30, 2020

This is pretty great progress, especially considering there are still a few more days for him to get in full work before the playoffs start. Now that’s wishful thinking, but admittedly it now seems like a possibility we see Johnsson against the Blue Jackets and who doesn’t want to see more Johnsson?
What to expect from Andreas Johnsson this summer

As for the rest of the practice, well, the lines looked the same as they did yesterday and pretty much how they were used against Montreal:

July 30 @MapleLeafs practice lines and defensive pairings:
Nylander-Matthews-HymanMikheyev-Tavares-MarnerRobertson-Kerfoot-KapanenClifford-Gauthier-SpezzaEngvall
Muzzin-HollRielly-CeciDermott-BarrieSandin-Marincin
AndersenCampbell#LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 30, 2020

That begs the question of where will Johnsson slot in once he’s available.
I can’t see Clifford coming out. I don’t want to see Robertson come out unless things don’t work out in the first couple of games. Seeing Gauthier come out seems unlikely as well as I’m not sure Keefe wants to shift Spezza …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

NHL and NHLPA agree to July 10th training camp opening date

So today we’ve seen another step forward in the return of hockey and it is targeted for about a month from now…

NHL, NHLPA agree on opening date for formal training camps. https://t.co/35lF9nEob0 pic.twitter.com/l6W4VLXVYv
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 11, 2020
Given that this is the entirety of what has been released at this point there are a number of questions that remain.

How long will the training camps be?
Do the training camps have to take place in the country in which the teams will end up playing, assuming there is still a 14 day quarantine period for people crossing the border into Canada? Does this likely mean there won’t be a Canadian hub city due to this potential roadblock?
When will we get our Hub city and Phase 4 announcements?
This is an awfully short announcment given the number of details that would have required NHL and PA agreement, how is that relationship going?
And the big question, is this a good idea?

While the promise of hockey has a huge appeal, the fact that there always seem to be more questions left than answers creates …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

NHL and PA agree on reseeding format for the playoffs

As always, any of this is dependent on the NHL actually moving forward for games. The NBA announcement today probably makes the reality of the NHL working something out seem more plausible, and in addition, there is an actual agreement on how the playoffs will work…

NHL/NHLPA have put finishing touches on format agreement announced last week. Among the open issues resolved:
_ both sides have agreed that it will be best-of-7 in all four playoff rounds (best of 5 in play-in round)
– Teams will be re-seeded after each round (not bracketed)
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 4, 2020

Keep in mind, this is just the format agreement. Still to come are Phase 3 (training camp) and Phase 4 (games/hubs/protocol) which still have to be negotiated. Only preliminary talks so far on those fronts.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 4, 2020
How does this affect the Leafs?
Well, assuming the Leafs beat the Blue Jackets in a best of five series, they wouldn’t be locked in to playing the top seed team (presently the Bruins), and instead would face an opponent based on the initial ranking (Leafs are ranked 8th in the Eastern Conference).
If there aren’t any upsets …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

February gives rest and home cooking for Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors will be looking forward to the All-Star break, and the home friendly schedule in February. It’s safe to say that nobody expected the Toronto Raptors to be in this position coming into the NBA season. With a 33-14 record, sitting at the two seed in the Eastern Conference, they are exceeding expectations […]
February gives rest and home cooking for Toronto Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: William Ricks / Raptors HQ

Three Toronto Raptors who could take home awards next summer

Last season, Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. Will any Raptors win awards in 2020? The Toronto Raptors were not supposed to be this good. After losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in the offseason, the defending champs lost both Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka to injury early on. […]
Three Toronto Raptors who could take home awards next summer – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jordan Skuse / Raptors HQ

Lucky Pierre Engvall has been called up to the Leafs

The @MapleLeafs have recalled forward Pierre Engvall from the @TorontoMarlies (AHL).
Forward Trevor Moore has been placed on Injured Reserve. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/6GYUUncYIq
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) November 18, 2019
Well, if you thought the Leafs could use a bit more size in the line up, good news, Pierre Engvall has been recalled.
If you thought the Leafs need to play feistier, bad news, Trevor Moore has been placed on the injured reserve.
What are they adding with Engvall?
Well, Engvall has 16 points in 15 games in the AHL. Seven of those points are goals, and goals are best.
Engvall is also 6’5, and baby, that’s just something they can’t teach.
The long and the (not so) short of the Engvall recall is that Engvall is a sometimes winger, more often than not now center who has taken big strides over his time with the Marlies, and in fact the entire time he’s been with the Leafs organization. There has been a consistent improvement in Engvall’s game that has led him to this moment, and as much as the Leafs trainer room is filling up with bodies, this is at least a little bit exciting to get a …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Full Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scouting report

The Toronto Raptors have signed 24-year-old forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to a one-year minimum contract. What does he bring to the table? Masai Ujiri sure does have a type. In a season where the team will clearly take a step back in terms of contention, the Toronto Raptors have decided to focus their efforts towards development. […]
Toronto Raptors: Full Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scouting report – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Bossetti / Raptors HQ