Leaflets: Hooray for Kadri, what’s going on in Winnipeg and the market for Muzzin

We’re officially in the NHL offseason and it feels good to say that. It’s been a long season. It’s July 1st on Friday, we need some time off from games and we need to get our rosterbation on. First, I feel like we need to start with celebrating one of my favourite former Leafs, Nazem Kadri.

“For everyone that thought I was a liability in the playoffs you can kiss my ass.”
Nazem Kadri says it all after hoisting the #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/8FAIFhT9Bq
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) June 27, 2022

Kadri was the scapegoat for first round playoff losses back when the Leafs scapegoated instead of just saying they believe in everyone. He has always been a favourite target of the Department of Player Safety, and for whatever reason, the Leafs decided they didn’t need a star player on a $4.25M contract, away he went. (Reminder: you can still like Kyle Dubas and acknowledge this was a bad trade.)
Fast forward to last night and a player who was a fan favourite for many of us got his moment, got his celebration, and also got his chance to throw all the playoff liability talk back in the faces of so many people who doubted him. He deserved that moment and I’m glad he got it. Hopefully, now that he came back to finish out the Cup Finals with a broken thumb Kadri won’t have to suffer through people questioning his work ethic or whether he cares about his team.
Now that Kadri has his win and he’s off to free agency, is it too much to hope the Leafs bring him back? Well, the quote above probably makes that a hard thing to do, but I want to remain optimistic. I won’t look at the salary cap situation that will 100% remind me of how difficult that would be to happen, but so much of what has been missing from the Leafs in the past few seasons is exactly what Kadri brings and there’s a reason why h …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Big bats and a strong start from Ross Stripling help the Blue Jays avoid a sweep to the White Sox

Here we are again, feeling good after avoiding a sweep.

The Blue Jays pulled off a massive comeback on Sunday to save themselves from a sweep by the New York Yankees and they carried that momentum into back-to-back infuriating losses on Monday and Tuesday night in Chicago.
Tuesday night’s 13-inning game forced Charlie Montoyo to go deep into the team’s bullpen, but Ross Stripling stepped up on Wednesday afternoon and delivered a much-needed six innings with only one run earned. The bats also did their part as a homer from Alejandro Kirk, a grand slam from Bo Bichette, and a two-run bomb from Teoscar Hernandez resulted in nine runs scored.
That was important because Adam Cimber made things a little stressful in the bottom of the eighth inning. The final score was 9-5.
Guillermo Martinez needs to get tossed before every game!

Here’s hitting Coach Guillermo Martínez delivering the lineup card and immediately getting thrown out of the game, like a boss pic.twitter.com/yz5CEUgdyc
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) June 22, 2022

While losing two out of three isn’t ideal and the pitching made this a frustrating series, it’s certainly encouraging to see the bats do what they did against a team that can pitch well. They scored 22 runs across the three games against Chicago, and 32 over four games if you include the comeback against New York.
Next up, the Blue Jays will be off on Thursday and then they’ll play three in Milwaukee before they return home for a crucial stretch of games against American League East opponents.
The Boston Red Sox are on fire lately and are now only a half game back of the Blue Jays in the standings while the Tampa Bay Rays sit one game behind Toronto. It’ll be Boston coming to town for three and then Tampa playing a rare five-game series that features a Saturday doubleheader to help make up fo …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

What does a successful summer for the Leafs look like?

The Leafs are starting from a pretty good place. Much like last year, but this year there is a lot more buy-in to where they are starting from because it’s a lot easier to lose to the Lightning in the first round than the Canadiens or Blue Jackets. Here’s to progress.
Anyways, there isn’t a whole lot that really needs to be done (in theory) as we should be somewhat comfortable with a team that finished with the fourth best regular season record. Except, the salary cap doesn’t make it as easy as saying “everyone gets to come back”, it’s a little much to expect everyone to have career years again, and if there’s one thing to learn from the Lightning it’s that no matter how much you like your roster you need to always be looking for opportunities to improve it.
So let’s begin, here’s what needs to be dealt with:
1. Goaltending
This isn’t a surprise to anyone, given that Mrazek was a trainwreck, neither Kallgren or Woll really looked capable of being 2nd or even solid 3rd string options at this point, and Jack Campbell is likely too expensive for what he is, and the Leafs find themselves either searching for bargains or need to splurge on an option that is superi …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors’ Scottie Barnes going to NBA Finals as social media expert

Raptors’ Scottie Barnes going to NBA Finals as social media expert

The rest of the NBA missed out if they didn’t take a good look at what Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes was doing during his rookie season. On top of the fact that Barnes was the best rookie in his class, he brought with him incandescent energy both on and off the court. Despite the […]
Raptors’ Scottie Barnes going to NBA Finals as social media expert – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The roof of The Dome has been opened

Here’s some good news for a fanbase that needs some!

According to the CTV Toronto helicopter, the roof at the Rogers Centre is OPEN.

Per Source: The dome is OPEN. The source? The CTV Toronto chopper. pic.twitter.com/Z32Y8A355T
— Paul Ross (@RealPaulRoss) May 12, 2022

The Blue Jays are in Tampa Bay this weekend and then they’ll return on Monday to kick off a six-game homestand that’ll see them host the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds.
The weather forecast shows rain for Monday, but if things clear up, we could see the team roll with an open roof for the first time this season.
POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIO

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Bad Times in The Bronx: A walk-off Aaron Judge dinger, terrible umpiring, and more!

Remember when the Blue Jays had an unsustainably good record in one-run games. Well, it seems that’s all coming crashing down at once.

Toronto blew two different leads at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. The first came moments after Yusei Kikuchi’s no-hitter was broken up in the sixth inning and the second came in the bottom of the ninth inning by way of an Aaron Judge moonshot.
A winnable game results in a loss and the Blue Jays have now lost three games in a row and sit at 17-14 for the season.
Things worth mentioning…
Before getting into The Bad Stuff, we should talk about some positives, with the big one being Yusei Kikuchi putting together his second very good start in a row, both against the Yankees nonetheless. After holding New York to one earned run over six innings last week, Kikuchi again got the better of the Yanks, as he allowed two earned runs on two hits and three walks while striking out seven over five-and-one-third innings. He only made it through 14 2/3 innings in his first four outings so seeing Kikuchi plow his way through an opposing lineup multiple times is certainly encouraging.

The best Kikuchi is on display tonight. Command, rhythm, mix – confidence. Exactly what the #BlueJays have been waiting to see.
— Ben Wagner (@benwag247) May 11, 2022

Yusei Kikuchi, Nasty 88mph Slider…Bend t …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Teoscar Hernandez goes on 10-day IL with oblique strain, but injury is “not as bad as first thought”

Here’s some good news on Teoscar Hernandez.

As expected, he’s going on the 10-day Injured List with an oblique strain, but, fortunately, the injury isn’t as bad as first thought. Teoscar said that he figures he’ll miss maybe two weeks of play.

Teoscar Hernandez on going on IL w/oblique strain:
“When it first happened, I thought it (oblique) was worse than last time (Sept 2020 missed 10 games).. but, it’s not too bad..I’ll be fine.. out maybe 2 weeks.” #BlueJays
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) April 14, 2022

Back in 2020, Hernandez suffered an oblique strain and wound up spending the minimum amount of time on the Injured List, which was 10 days. Hopefully it’s the same this time around, though I would expect the Blue Jays to be a bit more conservative now than they were in 2020, as they were in a full-on sprint for a playoff spot at that time.
Coming up in Hernandez’s absence will be utility guy Gosuke Katoh, who was recently sent down to Triple-A in order to fit Bradley Zimmer on the 28-man roster.

He’s baaaaaack… @GosukeKatoh #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/hKd4PAWbd7
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) April 14, 2022

Toronto’s lineup certainly looks a lot thinner without Teoscar. On Thursday night in New York, Matt Chapman is getting a day off, so the team’s lineup features Raimel Tapia batting fifth, which isn’t ideal. George Springer is the designated hitter, while Zimmer will make his first start as a Blue Jay in centre field. …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Breaking down five of the best goals from Matthews’ historic season with the Maple Leafs

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve left them.” -Andy Bernard, The Office
When Auston Matthews entered the 2021-22 season, many could feel that something special was about to happen. A full 82-game season ahead of him meant anything is possible, really.
I think there was always optimism that the 24-year-old would break the Maple Leafs’ goal record in a single-season, but you really can’t feel that energy until he’s close. As he approached the record, the hype around it became larger and larger. When Matthews finally did it, he blew by the record, scoring three goals in the next two periods (one in overtime vs. Dallas and two in the first period vs. Montreal).
He scores goals like it’s nobodies business.
That’s why I referenced the quote at the beginning of this article. We are witnessing history in the making and when that happens, some get caught up in it all (including myself) and don’t take in what’s really going on.
Make sure at some point throughout this historic season for both Matthews and the Maple Leafs to take a step back, look around, and just appreciate the greatness that we’re watching because this era will end as fast as it began.
Being mindful is what …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

All aboard the Santiago Espinal hype train! Why he should be the everyday second baseman

Santiago Espinal is a damn good player.

I wrote an article last season about why he should be considered an everyday player. I called Espinal “the perfect utility player”, but I’m going to walk that back.
I ended my last article about Santiago Espinal with this statement:
“Where do I see Espinal in the future? If I’m being honest, I have absolutely no idea”.
That article was written on August 1st. Fast forward eight months and we have our answer. Espinal is the perfect everyday second baseman and he should be kept forever.
Why is Espinal so damn good?
Of course, we’ll split this into two sections, as he’s good with the bat and great with the glove.
Espinal’s glove:
SantiGOAT registered a Defensive Runs Saved of eight in 551.2 innings played at third last season. His Outs Above Average sat at 5 at third and his UZR sat at 6.1. Want to know something crazy? Prior to 2021, Espinal had only played 175 innings at third base. The fact that he put up numbers that could win a gold glove despite playing less than 20 games at the position prior to 2021 is absolutely insane to me. 
However, Espinal won’t be playing a lot of third base this season, as he looks to be in a platoon role with Biggio (we’ll focus on that later in the article) at second base. He may fill in around the infield, except for first, but it’s likely …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Goalies are voodoo: A potential solution for Leafs’ goaltending

As is often the case in Leafs Nation, even on a good day, this team is utterly doomed. Or are they? Maybe. Who knows?
Goaltending is the one area of hockey that most people have the hardest time evaluating. I certainly don’t profess to be an expert in the field, but with both Petr Mrazek and Jack Campbell struggling lately, it’s a topic that should be addressed in some way prior to the Mar. 21 trade deadline.
This is not to say that Kyle Dubas should use his “one bullet” and take a big swing to improve at the goaltending position, because of how truly random the position is. Rather, a better move would be to fortify it marginally through addition without subtraction. Throw a rock at the problem instead of firing the only bullet.
One trade that has been suggested a lot is a Marc-Andre Fleury for Mrazek plus a draft pick and/or a prospect, but think about this: If one of the current tandem (or any potential post-deadline tandem) were to get injured, Joseph Woll or Michael Hutchinson is the next man up, how much confidence does that instil in the position?
Goaltenders are voodoo. This is a saying that’s been popularized among hockey fans for years, one that’s backed up pretty well by any numbe …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation