Keith Petruzzelli and his strong play could lead to a contract with the Maple Leafs

Keith Petruzzelli — have you heard the name before?
The 23-year-old was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft but was never signed to an entry-level contract. Fast forward five years and Petruzzelli has made his way into the Maple Leafs organization.
There’s a lot that stands out about the six-foot-five netminder. Yes, he’s really that tall, but it’s not just the size he’s valued for. His athleticism, calmness, and positioning are all strong attributes that make him such a solid netminder.
And when you put them all together, plus his height, Petruzzelli makes for a scary goaltender.
“It is difficult (to score on) when you play as square and as positioned as he is with that size,” said Marlies head coach Greg Moore of Petruzzelli. “There are some goalies out there that have the size, but try to rely on athleticism rather than just positioning for themselves, and they catch themselves out of the net or they lose their net at times, where Petruzzelli plays a really strong system. He’s not trying to over play shots, he just keeps it calm, keeps it square, and allows the puck to hit him.”
Petruzzelli signed a two-year AHL contract with the Marlies back in August an …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs need to be all in on Josh Manson should he become available

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Leafs should try and acquire Josh Manson if he is available.
This is a player that has been connected to the team for years now and one that fans have been clamouring because of what Manson brings to a hockey team. He seems to check all the boxes of what the Leafs could use on their blueline: he has good size, has a right shot, plays a physical brand of hockey, and would slot in perfectly on their second pair.
We have heard this story told time and time again but the move never seemed like it could come close to being a reality. On Saturday night, Elliotte Friedman went on HNIC to reveal the news that the Leafs are indeed interested in acquiring his services.
“First of all, [Josh] Manson was injured in our opener today, Ottawa/Anaheim. That’ll be an interesting one to watch just in terms of how long he’s going to be out. He’s an unrestricted free agent to be. There is interest and Toronto was one of the teams believed to be looking at Manson, if he’s interested in coming there.”
When you hear it coming out of the mouth of one of the most trusted NHL insiders, you know this has legs to stand on. The Leafs having a real interest in acquiring the 30-year-old defenceman is an exciting revelation that I’m sure will get the fanbase ecstatic at the possibilities. His contract may be expiring and this could wind up being a rental, but Manson would make the Leafs better so they should kick the tires on him if the Ducks …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Foreign Substance Crackdown is coming. Do the Blue Jays have anything to worry about?

By now I am sure you have heard of baseball’s dirty little secret. Sports Illustrated has called foreign substances the new steroids. Eno Sarris and Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic have written (among other stories on this issue) about Spider Tack and how it can increase spin rate up to 500 revolutions per minute (rpms).

The league starting to take action. Baseballs from a Trevor Bauer start in early April were sent to MLB for investigation. We saw Joe West ask Cardinals pitcher Giovanny Gallegos to change his hat as West saw a substance on it. The League is taking measures to stop this and it seems players are making changes so they don’t get caught. It’s becoming a regular occurrence to see a tweet like this.

The much more damning evidence here… pic.twitter.com/1M7Yqh10Gx
— Lee Trocinski (@LeeTrocinski) June 3, 2021

This isn’t a new problem; the tipping point probably should have come four years ago when a ball got stuck on Yadier Molina’s chest protector.

#OTD in 2017, Matt Szczur reached on a dropped third strike when…the ball got stuck to Yadier Molina’s chest protector…
2 batters later, Kyle Schwarber mashed a 3-run homer …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors Player of the Week: Fred VanVleet

Toronto Raptors Player of the Week: Fred VanVleet

Toronto Raptors fans have heard a lot about Fred VanVleet this week, so why not sum up the obvious stuff first. He broke the franchise record for points in a game on Tuesday when he exploded for 54 big ones vs. the Magic. He averaged 30 points a game this week, shooting 50% from three and making 21 […]
Toronto Raptors Player of the Week: Fred VanVleet – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Matt Devlin: The Voice of the Toronto Raptors

Matt Devlin:  The Voice of the Toronto Raptors

You’ve heard the voice, Raptors fans, now meet the man.  For over a decade, Toronto Raptors history has been recorded in Matt Devlin’s voice. Since 2008, there have been two constants in the Toronto Raptors organization.  Not Kyle Lowry, not DeMar DeRozan, not Dwyane Casey or Nick Nurse or winning, or positive culture. Even the […]
Matt Devlin: The Voice of the Toronto Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Mike Babcock ‘breaks his silence’, but do we want to listen?

By now, you have probably heard that former Leafs coach Mike Babcock “broke his silence” in an interview for The Athletic with Pierre LeBrun.

Mike Babcock breaks his silence. My interview with the former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach:https://t.co/iAP801tMyB
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 19, 2021

Conveniently, this silence breaking took place mere days ahead of Babcock’s debut as an analyst on NBC Sports. It’s been a while since I’ve witnessed such an obviously blatant attempt at an apology and redemption tour, and it’s heartening that many seem to feel the same way. That is to say – people aren’t really buying what Babcock is selling:

Dave Feschuk: Former Leafs coach Mike Babcock seems to be trying to position himself as a sympathetic figure. It’s not working https://t.co/fqJmecTbqj
— Toronto Star Sports (@StarSports) January 20, 2021

Now, obviously Mike Babcock has every right to share “his side” of the stories that have circulated about him: the Mitch Marner list incident, the allegations of verbal abuse and bullying from Johan Franzen. But the timing, in addition to the way Babcock chose to address these claims, leaves much to be desired, particularly if one is …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 5 things we’ll remember the most from Marc Gasol

If you haven’t already heard, Marc Gasol is going to finish his career at FC Barcelona, meaning it puts an end to his wonderful time for the Toronto Raptors. 2772 minutes. That’s how many total minutes Marc Gasol has played in a Toronto Raptors jersey and we’re going to be reviewing 2579 minutes and 15 seconds […]
Toronto Raptors: 5 things we’ll remember the most from Marc Gasol – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

How the Toronto Raptors should handle their offseason if they want Giannis

We have all heard the Giannis to Toronto Raptors, but we also all know the importance of the Raptors offseason with many players set to be free agents. So how do they approach this offseason while keeping Giannis in mind for the 2021 season? The Toronto Raptors will be left with a lot of tough […]
How the Toronto Raptors should handle their offseason if they want Giannis – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Tulloch: Why the Maple Leafs Needed to Fire Mike Babcock

In the 2016-17 season, I heard the following story from a source connected with the Toronto Maple Leafs. I wasn’t able to fully corroborate the story at the time, so I didn’t feel comfortable putting my name on it. This was during my first year writing about hockey publicly, and you never want to be wrong about something of this magnitude. If it turns out the rumour isn’t true, well, there goes your credibility.
I’ve now been able to confirm this story with multiple sources, which is what motivated me to put out the following tweet.

I heard about this Babcock story when it happened, but I didn’t want to bring it up until I could confirm it was true.
The rookie he did this to was Mitch Marner. https://t.co/d6TcayagcS
— Ian Tulloch (@IanGraph) November 25, 2019

By now, news of this story has clearly blown up all over social media, so I think it’s important for me to help set the record straight.
Here’s what I’ve been able to gather from speaking with multiple sources close with the team.
As the story goes, Mike Babcock was frustrated with Mitch Marner …

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Author: Ian Tulloch / The Leafs Nation

We don’t need to write off Liljegren to write in Sandin

In case you haven’t heard, Rasmus Sandin is a Toronto Maple Leaf. In what became easily the biggest story of camp these last two weeks, the 2018 first-rounder shot up the organization like a rocket to nab a NHL roster spot and will make his debut a couple days from now. And the discussion around him isn’t “Can he stick all season?”, it’s “How far into his potential can he dig right now?”, and I’m not even sure I’d bet against him playing top four minutes within 20 games. It’s been that kind of camp.
But with Sandin’s ascent came the typical comparisons that Leafs supporters like to make, with Timothy Liljegren being the obvious target for some negative talk. This happens all the time in hockey and in sports in general, especially in Toronto; Marner can’t be good without it meaning Nylander is now somehow bad, even Rielly and Gardiner had similar discussions surrounding them. It’s par for the course, especially when the players get to the NHL level. But Liljegren isn’t at that level yet, and while people are quick to point that out as a failure on his part, …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation