The return of the Mac (Hollowell) to playing hockey (but in Finland)

The Leafs found a home for another Marlie in Europe. This morning they announced that Mac Hollowell is off to Finland…

The @MapleLeafs have loaned defenceman Mac Hollowell to TUTO (Mestis). #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 28, 2020

The Mestis is the second tier league in Finland below the Liiga, but given that top tier leagues are going to be difficult to place AHL players in, finding a team that has ice time for any prospect is a plus.


 Soo Greyhounds

 Soo Greyhounds

 Soo Greyhounds

 Soo Greyhounds “A”

 Toronto Marlies

 Newfoundland Growlers

Hollowell had a solid first year of pro hockey, and I’d have to imagine the Leafs want to make sure he’s given every opportunity to build on that.
This move follows the Leafs decision to send Semyon Der-Arguchintsev to Torpedo of the KHL earlier this week, and now Hollowell, Der-Arguchintsev, Kral, Lehtonen, Korshkov, and Hallander are all Leafs prospects playing overseas, in addition to that Joe Thornton guy who is kicking around Switzerland.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Goal Analysis – Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets Play-In Game #5

Welcome to the beginning of the end!
Post-game highlights can be found here.
Blue Jackets 1st Goal – Zach Werenski (Unassisted)

Zach Werenski is the 5th @BlueJacketsNHL defenseman to score a goal with the team facing elimination. The others:
Kris Russell: Game 4 of 2009 CQFFedor Tyutin: Game 6 of 2014 R1Markus Nutivaara: Game 4 of 2017 R1Jack Johnson: Game 4 of 2017 R1#NHLStats #StanleyCup
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 10, 2020

Blue Jackets dump the puck into the Leafs zone, Dermott retrieves the dump-in and reverses it to Hyman on the right wing boards. Hyman gets pressured by Jenner and the puck ends up on Werenski’s stick at the point. Werenski walks in and fires a wrist-shot on net that deflects off of Tyson Barrie’s glove and past Andersen.
The Blue Jackets trademark forecheck helps to create this goal. When Hyman receives the puck along the boards,he’s trying to skate with it back behind the Leafs net. Jenner hits Hyman, knocking the puck loose. Hyman actually regains control of the puck, but then whacks it up the boards to the point to Werenski.
As a minor hockey coach, one of my biggest pet …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

It’s time for the Maple Leafs to show us who they are

Leafs fans found themselves repeatedly asking the same question after many games this season: who are these guys?
On paper the Leafs have an immensely talented roster, which made the results we saw this season all the more alarming and bewildering. It is one thing to be able to chalk up your struggles to a lack of talent, but when that talent is clearly there, it makes it all the more frustrating.
We are a curious species: we gravitate towards trying to make sense of the insensible. But the 2019-20 Leafs are a hard bunch to peg.
Context matters. Let’s do a quick recap of everything that has happened since July 2019:

Fan favourite and valuable cap commodity Nazem Kadri was traded after back-to-back first round suspensions. The trade felt like great value at the time but fans soured on it over time.
Mitch Marner’s contract negotiations became ugly and public, causing damage to his reputation and resulting in a down year (by his standards)
Auston Matthews was charged with disorderly conduct while spending his offseason in Arizona
There was clear dysfunction and disagreement between then-coach Mike Babcock and the front office around player use and tactics

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Goal Analysis – Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets Play-In Game #3

The highlight package for this game can be found here.
Maple Leafs 1st Goal – Cody Ceci (Assist Kerfoot, Kapanen)

An absolute rocket #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) August 7, 2020

The Leafs find themselves on the penalty kill late in the first period. Cody Ceci and Justin Holl do a nice job of retrieving the puck from the Blue Jackets powerplay unit. Holl makes a nice outlet pass to Kerfoot, who is in the slot. Kerfoot and Kapanen play catch and head up the ice to kill the clock. Kerfoot breaks into the Blue Jackets zone and draws in three defenders on him. He drops the puck back to Ceci at the point, who unloads a one-timer on net that deflects off of Seth Jones and past Joonas Korpisalo.

The Blue Jackets are in good shape here as Kerfoot enters their zone. He’s one-on-three, with Kapanen about one or two steps behind Werenski. When you’re on the powerplay, coaches typically preach two men on the puck at all times. In this play, one of Boone Jenner (#38) and Werenski needs to help Jones collapse on Kerfoot, while the third guy takes Kapanen, who …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

NHL finds zero COVID-19 cases in bubbles

The NHL says they have found zero cases of COVID-19 within their two bubbles.

NHL statement on COVID-19 testing results:
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 3, 2020

A total of 7,013 tests have been conducted between when teams arrived on July 26 and August 1st.
NHL teams brought with them a 52-person travelling party to the bubble and daily COVID-19 testing is done on everyone involved.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Say hello to the Toronto Blue Jays of Pittsburgh

It looks like the Blue Jays have found their home for the 2020 season.

According to Hazel Mae, the Jays will play their “home” games at PNC Park in Pittsburgh as they’ll share the facility with the Pirates.

Can confirm the Blue Jays have been told they will be calling PNC Park “home” this season per MLB source. @longleysunsport was first to suggest Pittsburgh as option.
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) July 22, 2020

Originally, Toronto’s fall-back nets seemed to be Dunedin and Buffalo. The former was crossed off due to the volume of COVID cases in Florida and the latter was an issue because the facility wasn’t up to snuff. Ultimately, the Jays wanted to play in a Major League facility with all the bells and whistles that come along with it.
Pirates general manager Ben Cherington, who had spent the previous few years working in the Blue Jays organization, was a key point of contact as the two sides worked together to find the Jays a home.
“The reality is that we need the Blue Jays to play in order for all of us to play,” Cherington told Chris Adamski …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

NHL finds two COIVD-19 cases in traning camps

The NHL says they have found two positive cases of COIVD-19 in training camps.

The league kicked off training camps July 13th and between that day and the 17th, 2,618 tests were conducted on over 800 players.

NHL statement on COVID-19 testing results:
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 20, 2020

Both players who tested positive have self-isolated and are following CDC and Health Canada protocols.
The league, which is handling all injury reporting for teams, says they will not be providing information on identify of the players or clubs.
Edmonton Oilers defenceman Caleb Jones spoke out this week confirming he tested positive for COVID-19.
Through the NHL’s phase two the league found a total of 43 cases in players both in and outside of camps.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Top three Norman Powell games of 2019-20

It seems Norman Powell has finally found his footing for the Toronto Raptors. What are his three best games of the 2019-20 NBA season? After four up-and-down seasons in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors, the 2019-20 season finally looked to be the breakout year that Raptors fans had been hoping from Norman Powell. Prior […]
Toronto Raptors: Top three Norman Powell games of 2019-20 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ

Looking away from the chaos and at the big picture

The Toronto Maple Leafs have found a new rock bottom.

After putting forward an excellent effort against the Pittsburgh Penguins that resulted in a commanding 4-0 victory, it seemed the team had turned a corner from the ugly, listless loss they suffered a couple of days earlier against those same Penguins. That wasn’t the case.
The Leafs hosted the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. The stage was set. Two teams both fighting for the playoff lives. But only one team had the effort and desire that matched that of a team with any sort of desperation. You obviously know the story by now. It’s one that’s going to be talked about for a really long time.
The Hurricanes had both of their goaltenders get hurt and they had to turn to the Marlies’ Zamboni driver to play the second half of the game. The Hurricanes completely locked down, putting forward an incredible showing that made them look like a legitimate contender. The Leafs only managed two goals on the 42-year-old practice goalie.
Move over, 1967 and no Stanely Cups since expansion and no playoff series wins since the salary cap. Say hello …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Temperature: Game 5 Norman Powell and Kyle Lowry lead a hot week

The Raptors found their groove this week, accomplishing a clean 3-0 sweep and ousting the Magic from the 2019 NBA Playoffs. Now here come the 76ers. But first, it’s time to take the Temperature. So is this what it feels like not to be stressed? The Raptors cruised to another victory in Game 5 highlighted by Kyle Lowry scoring the first nine points of the game and some now-typical Norman Powell Game 5 electricity. It was the first time in franchise history that the Raptors won a best-of-seven series in five games.
Maybe we are right to be feeling a little different. A playoff series has never come this easy. And just like Kawhi Leonard said in his post-game interview, it is now a time to enjoy the victory (with a little look ahead to Philadelphia). Let’s take the Toronto Temperature.
Who’s Hot

Marc Gasol’s Defense

The Raptors 95.8 defensive rating (tied for first with the Celtics) this playoffs has a lot to do with Marc Gasol. He is blowing up plays he has no business blowing up, swiping steals from hapless guards in the pick-and-roll, and smothering Nikola Vucevic into despair.
The play of Gasol has sealed the deal …

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Author: Ben_Scott / Raptors HQ