Win For Jason Spezza

That could have been Jason Spezza’s final game in the NHL.
After playing 1123 regular-season games in the league over a career that spanned 17 seasons, it’s difficult to say what the future holds for the 37-year-old. Other veterans like Henrik Lundqvist and Patrick Marleau had their last-chance Stanley Cup runs ended quickly, and it looked like Spezza was going to join them.
But he didn’t go down without a fight. Neither did his team.
Spezza’s best chance to win the Stanley Cup came back in 2007 with the Ottawa Senators. He was 23 years old at the time and had broken out as one of the league’s top young talents. Spezza posted 87 points in 67 regular-season games and a team-leading 22 points in 20 playoff games. The Sens would end up getting stopped in the Final by the Anaheim Ducks, bowing out in five games.
Back then, Spezza was that team’s version of Auston Matthews — the young, supremely talented centre tasked with carrying his team to success. Now, well over a decade later, Spezza is the veteran, mentoring the players that he used to be.
Spezza doesn’t have the ability to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

What to expect from Jason Spezza this summer

Do you remember that Jason Spezza is a Toronto Maple Leaf? It’s been so long since hockey has happened that sometimes I forget he’s here. But, the hometown boy finally gets to play for his favourite team from Ontario, and we couldn’t be happier (especially at the low, low price that he does it for).
Spezza had an interesting start to the season, which tends to happen when you’re a skilled fourth line center playing for Mike Babcock, especially a Babs full of spite. Not only was Spezza a consistent scratch (behind Nick Shore), he didn’t even get the opening day start. In Toronto. Against Ottawa. It was a dumb thing that Leafs Nation got worked up over, but it was also a dumb thing for Babcock to do.
That said, he had his best season in a few years, and picked it up a bit more once Sheldon Keefe took over, as he had nine goals and 25 points in only 58 games. Not bad production for a fourth line center, huh?
By the Numbers

If we look at Spezza’s fancy stats, he ends up being an pretty effective …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Japanese star slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo will be made available this winter

According to Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times, Yokohama DeNA BayStars’ star slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo will be made available through the NPB-MLB posting system this winter. Tsutsugo will be posted during the window of No. 1 to Dec. 5 and he’ll have 30 days to negotiate a contract with any of the 30 Major League teams.

BayStars slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo to be posted after team backs bid to move to MLB | The Japan Times #baystars #MLB
— Jason Coskrey (@JCoskrey) October 8, 2019

Tsutsugo would be an interesting fit for the Blue Jays. He’s a power-hitting, left-handed bat who can first, third, and left field. Something we’ve seen a lot with this front office is a desire to have versatile players. This strategy played a key role in the hiring of Charlie Montoyo, who spent time with the Tampa Bay Rays, an organization famous for moving players all around the diamond.
As of right now, Rowdy Tellez is the Blue Jays’ starting first baseman in 2020. Justin Smoak is set to become a free agent and he could come back on a cheap, short-term deal, but, given his age, you could see why the Jays would prioritize playing somebody …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

It’s official – Jason Spezza is a Toronto Maple Leaf

Reports came out earlier today that Jason Spezza was on his way to Toronto on a one year, $700k contract, and Leafs PR has made it official.

Spezza has signed a one-year contract worth $700,000. #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 1, 2019

Spezza should need no introduction, as the former Senator and Star has managed to put up 332 goals and 915 points over the course of his 1065 game career. He’s coming off a year that saw him score 8 goals and 27 points in 76 games this season.
What this likely means for the Leafs is that Spezza will come in to shore their center depth next year. You no longer have to deal a second for Brian Boyle or Tomas Plekanec for a quality fourth line center, and if one of the big three gets hurt (or suspended) in the playoffs, it allows him to move up to be an okay third line center without having to put Nylander down there. This also probably means we don’t have to worry about Frederik Gauthier being on the roster all season.
It could also leave the potential for the Leafs to deal Kadri for another defenseman to shore up their top …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Forgotten Raptors Playoffs: Jason Kapono earns his contract in 2008

It was the most forgettable Raptors playoff series of all, but Jason Kapono had a postseason to remember (for himself, at least). Welcome to Forgotten Raptors Playoffs! All throughout the 2019 NBA Playoffs, we’ll be looking back at past Raptors series — going all the way back to 2000 — and digging into the hidden, underrated, forgotten or straight-up wacky subplots and memories!
Today we look at the least memorable series in Raptors history: The Eastern Conference quarter-finals in 2008.
The Situation
Toronto Raptors (41-41, 6th seed) vs. Orlando Magic (52-30, 3rd seed)
The Outcome
Orlando defeats Toronto 4-1 in the best-of-seven series.
What Everyone Remembers
Uh… does anyone remember this series? I think the only thing anyone remembers is that Sam Mitchell decided to start 7-foot sophomore Andrea Bargnani at small forward in the first two games of the series. You can guess how that worked out.
What You Should Probably Remember Instead
You should probably just forget this series ever happened, but if there is one slightly hilarious thing about it, is that it’s the best that Jason Kapono ever looked in a Raptors uniform.
Kapono signed with the Raptors as a free agent following the team’s unexpectedly successful 2006-07 …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ