What NHL 22 could be, and what it actually is

The NHL video games have always been a huge staple in my life. Playing hockey as a kid, the game always brought out the fun in the sport. Being a teenager, I can vividly remember staying up late to play NHL 14 with some friends and absolutely loving it.
Every skill move that players had back then was in the game. You wanted to do the Forsberg on a breakaway? It was there. Toe drags? You had those too. Literally everything was in the game, and that was back in 2014.
I think we can agree that the graphics are now better, the arenas look more realistic, as do the players — but that’s it. There’s also the new game modes like World of Chel, NHL Three’s and HUT Rush, however it doesn’t fix the games biggest problems.
If I could look back in the last ten years, EA Sports has put out three solid NHL games and those were NHL 13, NHL 14, and NHL 15. Nothing else comes close to how great those games were.
Fast forward to NHL 22, and the game looks eerily similar.

My problems with NHL 22 — from the trailer
The biggest change in NHL 22 is EA switching …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 40: Rock Bottom

Woooof, that’s about as bad as it gets.

We had these games against bad teams like the Detroit Tigers circled on the calendar for months as an opportunity for the Blue Jays to finally smack somebody around and hit their stride. That didn’t happen this weekend.
Despite getting three strong starts — an ace performance from Robbie Ray, a vintage Hyun Jin Ryu outing, and a strong showing from Steven Matz — the Blue Jays couldn’t hit anything the Tigers threw at them. Worst of all, they couldn’t hit Drew Hutchison, who none of us knew was still in the league just a few weeks ago.
We talked about that miserable series, the team’s lack of clutch and killer instinct, and tried to come up with some positives. It wasn’t easy!
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe and Japan face tough road in Olympics

Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe and Japan face tough road in Olympics

The Toronto Raptors are sending a few players to the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year, and while Nick Nurse and Team Canada might have to watch the Olympics on TV like the rest of us, rising forward Yuta Watanabe will try to make his country proud when he suits up for host nation Japan. […]
Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe and Japan face tough road in Olympics – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays get Darlin Guzman as the PTBNL from the Hector Perez trade back in January

We all hate postponed games due to rain. We all hate Kirk missing out on the ThunderBisons’ lineup due to rest, but what we all love trades.

On January 22nd, 2021, the Jays traded longtime prospect, Hector Perez, to the Reds for a Player To Be Named Later. Five months later we got the answer as to the player in question.
Darlin Guzman.
You may be asking who and quite frankly, I did the same myself. He’s a 20-year-old outfielder who is playing in rookie ball. While this season he’s only had five at bats, in 2019 he set the league ablaze hitting .357/.394/1.010. This showed improvements from the previous season after only hitting .251/.326/.777.
What intrigues me however is the power. Out of his 66 hits in 2019, 30 of them were for extra bases. This included six triples and six home runs. According to Doug Gray, a writer for numerous platforms, the power potential is there, but he’s a long way from the big leagues. (Read the article here:)
One thing that is worrisome is the fact that in his two seasons he’s had a K% of 26.9% in 2018 and 22.2% in 2019. Furthermore, his BB% of 10.4% in 2018 dropped to 5.1% in 2019. This will need …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Riley Nash: An obscure Leaf trivia answer or solid center depth that should be brought back

Two playoff games. That was our taste of Riley Nash. Now to evaluate his time as a Leaf:
It certainly happened. He played a second game and that somehow made the Leafs pay a 6th round pick instead of a 7th. It wasn’t great.
That’s the story on Nash as a Leaf. A memorable 20 minutes of post season hockey consisting of 3 hits, a blocked shot, and one shot on goal. Cool.
Now we have to talk about him a bit more seriously. Nash as a defense first, low event forward, who is capable of being a sour pain in the ass for offensive players sounds like something the Leafs could potentially use, though definitely not around his $2.7M contract that just ended. If there’s an acknowledgement that he’s gotten his payday, and now it’s about using his reliability to stay in the league around the $1M mark, that is something worth exploring.
Depending on what the Leafs are doing from an expansion draft stand point, there is also something to be said for re-signing Nash. If the Leafs are looking to go with a 7F/3D protection approach, they might need to have additional forwards …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio Ep. 20: Another disappointing series against a quality opponent

Yet again the Blue Jays have dropped two games in a three-game series.

The team had a nice winning streak going against the Yankees, Cleveland, and Miami, but they got shut down by a pair of contending teams in Houston and Chicago.
On this post-White Sox series edition of BJN Radio, we welcomed writer and friend of the website Paul Berthelot on to talk about the Blue Jays’ bullpen issues, whether we should have any concern about Hyun Jin Ryu, and if it’s time for Nate Pearson to come up and pitch out of the bullpen.
We also talked about MLB’s “foreign substances” issue and what it means for the Blue Jays and the league in general.
Finally, we looked ahead to the upcoming four-game series with the Red Sox in Boston. The Sox haven’t fallen off a cliff yet and, at this point, it seems like they probably won’t. This is yet another good team the Blue Jays are facing and they need to start beating some of them.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio Ep. 17 – Charlie Montoyo discourse, watching baseball on tour, and more with Arkells’ Nick Dika

Do you like seven-inning games? Well, you’d have loved this weekend!

The Blue Jays rolled into Cleveland to battle with Cleveland’s baseball team and their local weather forecast. They took Friday’s game in a rain-shortened seven-inning outing, they got cold weathered out on Saturday, and then split the final two games on Sunday.
The finale on Sunday featured a walk-off win by Cleveland in which Tyler Chatwood couldn’t throw a strike and Charlie Montoyo didn’t have anybody warming in the bullpen as his defacto closer imploded. We talked about why Charlie wasn’t quick to pull Chatwood and whether his managing cost the team the sweep.
We also welcomed Nick Dika, the bass operator from Arkells and a writer at FanGraphs fantasy, to the show to talk about a whole bunch of stuff, ranging from what the team should do come trade deadline time to what it’s like to hear one of your band’s songs played at nearly every sporting event.
Nick is great and this is certainly an episode worth tuning into! You can listen to it here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio Ep. 16 – The arrival of The Big Man

Alek Maonah has arrived!

After dropping six games in a row to Boston and Tampa, the Blue Jays rolled into Yankee Stadium on their coldest stretch of the season badly in need of a win.
Steven Matz pitched a gem on Tuesday and then Alek Manoah, the team’s No. 5 prospect, was supposed to follow it up on Wednesday, but the weather in New York didn’t allow for it. Instead, we had to wait until Thursday afternoon for Manoah to make his big-league debut but it was worth it.
We talked about Manoah’s excellent start and the Blue Jays now maybe having something close to an actual starting rotation. After that, we looked ahead to the upcoming series in Cleveland and took a loop around the Majors, touching on disasters in Chicago and Pittsburgh.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Minor League Notes: Nate Pearson and Thomas Hatch return, Logan Warmoth is now on the radar, and more!

What a heartbreaking pair of games we’ve just witnessed.

The Blue Jays squandered a ninth-inning lead to the Red Sox on Thursday with a bunch of Boston fans booing them at their own home park and then they lost on a grand slam in extra innings to the Rays on Friday night. Ugly, ugly stuff!
Rather than re-live those nightmares, let’s take a look at the farm for some positive news…

There’s no doubt that the Blue Jays badly need pitching reinforcements. They really only have three starting pitchers right now and the bullpen, who did a miraculous job navigating injuries for the past month, is clearly starting to burn out. Thankfully, there seems to be help on the way. Thomas Hatch made his 2021 debut for the Thunder-Bisons on Thursday, allowing one earned run in three innings on three hits, zero walks, and four strikeouts. Hatch, of course, is currently on the 60-day Injured List and will be eligible to join the Blue Jays at the end of May. I’m not sure he’s a solution for the starting rotation but having him in that same multi-inning bullpen role again would be helpful.
Nate Pearson is …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Marlies and Me: The week of the standouts

The Toronto Marlies have played five games in the last seven days — not a small feat for any team. But they’ve made the most of it — winning three of those five games. As a team, the Marlies are playing some of their best hockey against the top team in their division.
When I look back on Toronto’s season, there’s a lot of growth within the team. Each week, the Marlies bring something new to the table. First it was the success of Joseph Woll, who’s having a great year in the AHL. In the last four games, the 22-year-old has a .923 save percentage and has made some really big saves in key moments for Toronto — like this one:

Joseph Woll with some big saves in the third period for the #Marlies. pic.twitter.com/DUGoRvWWqC
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) May 15, 2021

Oh, and like this one (which is even better):

Joseph Woll, my god. pic.twitter.com/WrUo9hJbnE
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) May 9, 2021

“I think I’ve made some big changes both mentally and technically on the ice,” said Woll on Wednesday after a 3-2 win against the Laval Rocket, “that comes from looking at last year and …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation