Kyle Clifford excited to be back home, and ready for new opportunity with Leafs

Kyle Clifford excited to be back home, and ready for new opportunity with Leafs

“I didn’t want to leave, and I know they didn’t want me to leave either.”
Kyle Clifford left the Leafs in 2020 during Free Agency to sign with the St. Louis Blues. Toronto was his home, and after a tough bout against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he left home.
During his tenure in St. Louis, Clifford had his ups and downs. The 30-year-old played 50 of 56 games last season, scoring four goals and adding three assists. He was even in the Blues’ lineup during the playoffs last year.
The start of this season, though, was a bit bumpier.
Clifford played two games, and then on November 2nd, was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols list. Little did he know that those two games would be his last in St. Louis.
“I’m just getting back into it. It’s been a while since I skated, so I’m just looking forward to getting out there.” Clifford said to the media on Friday. “The last three weeks, I probably skated, like, twice, three times.“
Being from Ayr, Ontario, Clifford calls Toronto home. But for him, what is it like to be back?
“It’s an unbelieveable city.” Clifford said. “It’ …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Bad times at The Trop, the Kiermaier thing, an out-of-town scoreboard update, and more!

Chaos, bad times, and excitement to leave — that pretty much sums up your normal week at The Trop.

After taking two of three from the Rays last week in Toronto, the Blue Jays travelled down to Tampa Bay for a rematch with the American League East leaders. Things didn’t go well at all and the Blue Jays now sit out of a playoff spot.
Robbie Ray’s tough start
Robbie Ray started the first game on Monday with a legitimate opportunity to lock up the American League Cy Young award.
On Sunday, Gerrit Cole got knocked around by Cleveland, pushing his ERA for the season from 2.75 to 3.03. With a good start against Tampa, anything similar to his dominant one in last week’s series finale against the Rays, and the Cy Young would have been all his.
Unfortunately, Ray wasn’t able to capitalize on the opportunity. He laboured through four-and-two-thirds innings and scattered three earned runs on seven hits and two walks. It was far from a disastrous outing, but it didn’t move the needle in the Cy Young race.
The truly frustrating part of this game came in the ninth inning.
The Blue Jays entered the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

It’s time to admit the Islanders are a better TEAM than the Leafs

The decision by John Tavares in Summer 2018 to leave the New York Islanders and join his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs ignited a war between fan bases that had not been seen since when Darcy Tucker blew out Mike Peca’s knee in the 2002 playoffs. The move ensured the two teams would be compared against each other for years, as the fortunes of both franchises were set to be significantly impacted by JT’s switch.
Hurt and incapable of processing it healthily, Islanders fans couldn’t, or wouldn’t, comprehend why their captain would leave a team that had made the playoffs just thrice in his nine years with the club, despite him being one of the leading scorers in the league during his tenure as an Isle. Fans burned his jerseys, called him childish names, filmed truly cringeworthy spite videos, and shouted hateful chants at him in his return to Long Island. In every way they looked like the losers.
But the New York Islanders just made the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second year in a row.
Now, I don’t think losing John Tavares was the key that unlocked the Islanders’ success, although Isles …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Staturday Weekly Column #13: Just how good is Jack Campbell?

If a meme could say it all, I would leave at just a meme. But it’s true: Jack Campbell is SO hot right now. He has won all 8 of his starts so far this season and is making a pretty air-tight case that he’s the best choice for starting goaltender that the Maple Leafs have this season.

(Just realizing now that that’s Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale in the background lol)
But, since this is Staturday, we’re going to delve into Jack Campbell a bit, both to see just how good he’s been, and to familiarize ourselves with some fancy goalie stats that you may not have come across before.
Campbell began his NHL career with the Dallas Stars, but made himself known as a member of the LA Kings. When Jonathan Quick was suffering from injury issues and general poor play in the 2018-19 season, it was a duo of Jack Campbell and Cal Peterson who stepped up to fill the void. They each posted higher than 92% save percentages that year, and 8 years after he was drafted, Campbell finally looked like he was ready to play regular minutes in the NHL.
Before that, he …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Six announces team captains ahead of 2021 Isobel Cup

As the Toronto Six get ready to leave for the bubble, there was more the team had to do beforehand and that’s name some captains:

The inaugural team captains for @TheTorontoSix are:
Shiann DarkangeloEmma WoodsEmma Greco pic.twitter.com/xOZiHNv99K
— Erica L. Ayala/Sports Talk ELA (@elindsay08) January 14, 2021

Shiann Darkangelo is named the captain in the Six’s inaugural season with Emma Woods and Emma Greco serving as alternate captains.
“I’m thrilled to have Shiann, Emma, and Emma lead our team this season,” said head coach, Digit Murphy, in a media release from the club. “They are true leaders and will represent us on and off the ice for our inaugural season.”
Darkangelo has played five years of professional hockey, 28 of those games being with the Toronto Furies of the CWHL. She has also represented the United States in the World Cup where she scored four points in five games. The 27-year-old also served as an alternate captain with the Buffalo Beauts in the 2016-17 season.
“It’s an honour to be selected as a captain for the Toronto Six alongside Greco and Woods,” Darkangelo said in a media release from the Six. “We have a team …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

From Zero to Hero: Four Toronto Raptor success stories

The Toronto Raptors have had players leave and find greener pastures elsewhere, but which ones found a home in Toronto and blossomed? For many players in the NBA, the team that you start your career with isn’t necessarily the team that you’ll have the most success with. In the early part of their history, the […]
From Zero to Hero: Four Toronto Raptor success stories – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Andrew Gula / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays lose to Rangers in frantic three-game series

Looking to leave their Californian troubles behind, the Blue Jays headed to Texas this weekend to face off against the underwhelming Rangers (16-16), who sent the trio of Lance Lynn, Drew Smyly, and Mike Minor to the mound in what quickly became one of the most exciting (and then un-exciting) series of the season.
Though they left town with a series loss, the games provided ample bits of amusing baseball, including the team’s first position player on the mound this season. Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the weird from this weekend’s tilts at Globe Life Park:
The Good
Eric Sogard (4-for-10, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB) remains one of baseball’s hottest hitters, while Randal Grichuk (4-for-11, 2B, 2 BB) and Rowdy Tellez (4-for-13, RBI, 4 TB) were also steady contributors at the plate. Billy McKinney (3-for-5, BB, R) had himself a quietly good set.
On the mound, Trent Thornton (7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 SO) was surprisingly dominant, as was Tim Mayza (1.1 IP, SO, 1 H, 0 R). Ken Giles (1.0 IP, 3 SO, SV) continued his solid run, while Daniel Hudson (1.0 IP, H, BB, SO, 0 R) also turned in a solid inning, lowering his ERA to 3.68 on the season.
Sam Gaviglio (2.0 …

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Author: Hayden Godfrey / Blue Jays Nation