The Leafiest Leafs game to ever Leaf

Meet the new team, same as the old team.
Look, obviously it’s only the second game of the season. Obviously it’s the second half of a back-to-back with travel. Obviously they’re still without Matthews. Obviously they’re still figuring out things and shaking off that start of the season rust. Obviously Ottawa’s first goal should’ve been waived off and the other two were bad bounces. Obviously the refs didn’t help their case either.
There are plenty of excuses for the team’s performance, but at the same time, this is still supposed to be one of the best teams in the league playing against one of the worst teams in the league. They didn’t show up to start the game, and while it’s not entirely their fault for any of the goals they allowed, they still gave up a plethora of chances that probably would’ve ended up in goals anyways.
It’s only the second game of the season, so it’s hard to truly freak out at this team, but this is also similar to performances that we’ve seen from this team plenty of times in the past, and …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs waive Brooks, keep Amadio, and can use some LTIR space

It’s with a heavy heart that I tell you many around Leafs Nation will lose sleep over the possibility of Adam Brooks being claimed off of waivers. A big part of this is because Brooks has found the scoresheet in his limited time with the Leafs and is priced ideally for sliding into the bottom part of the Leafs lineup. Brooks has strong hockey sense, and a willingness to take on whatever role has been asked of him when he’s in the lineup. Those are important qualities and risking depth at center is never fun.
On the flip side of that, the reality is Adam Brooks is absolutely the kind of player that goes on waivers. He’s very much an AHL/NHL tweener at this stage, and Engvall, Semyonov, and Amadio are all around to offer some center depth this year as well. Sending Brooks down on a high traffic waivers day before roster finalization is likely an attempt to sneak him through and Amadio could be waived once the Leafs know Brooks is safe.
That said, Amadio had a solid camp for the Leafs and very well could have beat Brooks out for the final roster …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Rejoice! The Leafs preseason is coming to an end tonight

I feel like it’s become a tired schtick to keep bagging on preseason games, especially when I know there’s a good chance I’ll end up watching anyway, but the last preseason game is usually the toughest to watch. With the regular season right around the corner gone is the excitement of just being happy there’s hockey on TV. Gone are the prospects and the pro tryout players who give you someone different to watch in a Leafs uniform, and left are the guys we’ll be seeing a ton of in the next 7-8 months.
The enticing part is this is the first time we’ll get to see something a bit closer to what the Leafs want their lineup to look like. There might still be some changes coming or a couple of looming decisions, but this is the group. They’ll be playing where they want them to be. If Kerfoot’s a center tonight, the plan is probably to have him as a center on Wednesday. If Rielly is with Brodie, guess what, the Rielly-Brodie pairing is still a thing.
As for getting one last look at the Senators before the regular season, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Predicts the where the Leafs finish and who will be hardest to beat this season

It’s prediction season. Either you like predictions or you don’t. We’re erring on the side of predictions being fun, and that’s why I’ve tapped the TLN Crew on the shoulders and/or stalked them online for the past two weeks attempting to gather our predictions you can take to the bank as well as some of our hottest takes for the upcoming season. We’ve decided to split our predictions into two posts, first looking at the Leafs as a whole and their place in the league, and the tomorrow with a look at our predictions around individual players on the Leafs.
Predictions are meant to be fun, but also to give you a chance to yell at us. I hope you’ll take advantage of both.

So let’s start with the fact that overall 10 out of 14 contributors are optimistic about the Leafs this year. That’s encouraging. While there was optimism, that optimism had its limits and no one predicts a Leafs Stanley Cup win this year. As for the some other option that could only happen to the Leafs response, one of them seems to be leaning heavily into an unfortunate in …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Burning Question: How many goals will Auston Matthews score this season?

It’s a question that all Toronto Maple Leafs fans want to be answered.
Auston Matthews has been a generational goal-scorer ever since he stepped into the NHL. He can beat goaltenders from any area in the offensive zone. And just when you think you’ve seen everything from the 24-year-old, he surprises you.
Every year, Matthews brings something new to the table. Last season, it was the fact that he had an injured wrist, but was still able to score 41 goals in 52 games. The ability Matthews has to transform his game and put himself in different positions to score was phenomenal.
The 24-year-old knew that if it hurt to shoot the puck, he could instead tip it in.

AUSTON MATTHEWS
ONE AWAY FROM 40! pic.twitter.com/NVM8N5HsBA
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 4, 2021

Matthews, though, is most effective when healthy and can shoot the puck.
I wanted to ask the question: ‘How many goals will Auston Matthews score this season?’ because it’s intriguing. He’ll return to the NHL with a wrist that’s healthy this time around. And if he’s scoring goals at an alarming rate with an injury, I’m curious to see how much he …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Looking back on this beautiful, unforgettable, heartbreaking season, and looking forward to what’s next

It’s incredibly difficult to summarize the whirlwind that was last weekend — which is only fitting given the weird, confusing, magnificent rollercoaster ride this Toronto Blue Jays team took us all on.

On one hand, it’s absolutely gut-wrenching and heartbreaking that two inferior teams, the Yankees and Red Sox, will be facing off against each other in the American League Wild Card game tonight and the Blue Jays, with their absurd +183 run differential, came up just shy of making it. On the other hand, it’s incredible that this team managed to make its way into the conversation after trudging through four months of living out of suitcases to start the season.
And then, on a more macro scope, this is a very, very young team that navigated a whole wealth of hurdles to find themselves in the mix during the dying days of the season, and, more than likely, it seems the best days are yet to come. But it’s also difficult to ignore the fact that a lot of things also went right for this team and there’s a very real possibility that next season’s roster isn’t a better version of what it …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 51: Post-Heartbreak Therapy Session

It’s all over.

The Blue Jays did what they could this weekend, pulling off a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as both the Yankees and Red Sox won their games on Sunday and punched their respective tickets to the American League Wild Card game.
Here we are now, left to think about all that could have been.
We took a look back at the final series of the year and talked about all of the great things we saw from the bats and the starting pitchers against the Trash Birds and then we ranted about the Expos, new and old, being totally useless. We also looked ahead to the off-season and talked about the major storylines we’ll be talking about over the next few months.
We realized at the end of the show that this whole process of talking about how special the 2021 Blue Jays were was not very therapeutic at all and it ultimately just made us more frustrated and heartbroken that the season is over.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

All or Nothing acts as a Leafs fan group therapy session (Some Spoilers)

It’s not often that I get to put my University film studies courses to much use, but getting the chance to take an early look at All or Nothing feels like a brief opportunity to do so. And while the show is beautifully shot, edited, and scored, I’m sure that’s not the content most readers are looking for, and instead you’d like to dissect what the Leafs actually did. I’m going to follow the lead of the article from Nick Barden this morning, and at least try to limit what I share from the series, which I honestly believe is very much a worthwhile watch, no matter how you feel about the Leafs today.
I think it’s important to start with what All or Nothing isn’t. If you are looking for a gritty, unfiltered look behind the curtains of the Toronto Maple Leafs, you’re going to be let down. Nothing in the NHL’s history of partnering on series has ever been that, and All or Nothing isn’t going to be the start. The NHL Chief Content Officer is an Executive Producer on this, and the Leafs were very much involved …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs play their first fake hockey game of the year tonight

It’s preseason hockey, baby! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!! On one hand it’s damned exciting to be able to watch some form of the sport we love, featuring some players we like, the return of John Tavares to the ice, and we get our first look at players like Ho-Sang, Bunting, and *checks notes* Michael Amadio, but it is also that wonderful time when we start reading way too much into everything. This isn’t some kind of glorious rematch against the Montreal Canadiens, where scores will be settled. It’s a preseason game where both teams are desperately trying to avoid roster players getting injured while we hoot and holler as Kurtis Gabriel and Rich Clune make sure that no Habs player steps within six feet of John Tavares. There will probably be a fight or two.
In addition to fighting spectacle, there are a few other things that will interesting to soak in courtesy of tonight’s line combinations.

My best guess at the Leafs’ lines for tonight:
Bunting – Tavares – Ho-SangMikheyev – Kerfoot – NylanderRobertson – Amadio – SpezzaSeney – Der-Arguchintsev – GabrielClune
Muzzin – LiljegrenSandin – BrodieKrál – BiegaHellickson – Hollowell
HutchinsonScott
— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) September 25, 2021

While not exactly the official lines, Nick’s best guess represents what we’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Mitch Marner’s new mindset could change the Leafs outcome

“It’s time to get back to work, get my body ready, and try to be a better person or better player than I was this year, and make sure I come ready to do that.”
That was Mitch Marner almost four months ago when everything fell apart.
Three-straight losses to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs, and Marner was at the forefront. He was the player that everyone went after.
The biggest question was whether the ‘big four’ could conquer their quest for glory. Could Marner be one of the players who led them on that journey? Everyone was questioning whether this Leafs team could win something meaningful. Everything in the regular season suggested so, yet nothing following that.
Being on the Toronto Maple Leafs can be a daunting task at times. For Marner, it was about discovering his path through the pressure. Growing up, he wanted to play for this team, and the 24-year-old still does now.
How will Marner fight through the pressure? Well, he’ll attack it head-on.
“You want pressure.” Said Marner during the Leafs’ first media availability of the 2021-22 season. “You don’t want to be playing in a …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation