The schedule for the Maple Leafs playoff redemption tour

It’s been a long time coming, but we are finally at the point where the Maple Leafs can begin righting the wrongs of last season. Sheldon Keefe let it slip in his media availability following the Leafs clinching second place in the Atlantic that Toronto would indeed be playing on Monday night to kick start the 2022 playoffs, but we now have the full first round calendar against the Lightning, including that all important Game seven at home.
Monday, May 2: Lightning at Maple Leafs, 7:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN2)
Wednesday, May 4: Lightning at Maple Leafs, 7:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN2)
Friday, May 6: Maple Leafs at Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET (TBS, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Sunday, May 8: Maple Leafs at Lightning, 7 p.m. ET (TBS, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Tuesday, May 10: Lightning at Maple Leafs, TBD
*Thursday, May 12: Maple Leafs at Lightning, TBD
*Saturday, May 14: Lightning at Maple Leafs, TBD
Here’s a look at what the Leafs are getting themselves into with the Lightning:
Lightning has struck twice. That’s more than enough

Interestingly enough the Leafs manage to go the entire round without either a back to back or a two day off section in the schedule. There wasn’t any attempt to force a Saturday night game for the Leafs in the first four games, and the NHL left the possibility of a Saturday night game until game seven.
You’ll probably notice the slightly later start time for some of those games, that appears to be an attempt to stagger start times in the first round between other series going on. Boston and Carolina are the 7pm start time games. The downside is the later start for the Leafs, the upside is there will probably be hockey you can watch instead of intermission panels in the first round.
So now we play the waiting game and enjoy one last weekend with our families before the all consuming NHL pl …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors bringing back “Jurassic Park” for 2022 postseason

Raptors bringing back “Jurassic Park” for 2022 postseason

The Toronto Raptors have long had one of the most rabid and supportive fanbases in the league, with their 2019 Finals matchup against the mighty Golden State Warriors putting that passion on display for the world to see. Unfortunately, extenuating circumstances have made it tough for “Jurassic Park” to rise up once again. On top […]
Raptors bringing back “Jurassic Park” for 2022 postseason – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors’ Scottie Barnes makes his case for Rookie of the Year

Raptors’ Scottie Barnes makes his case for Rookie of the Year

The Toronto Raptors didn’t take long to bounce back into the postseason after one season in the lottery, and the performance of standout rookie Scottie Barnes is a huge reason why. An immediate starter and difference-maker, Barnes should be the 2022 Rookie of the Year. His main competition for this award comes in the form […]
Raptors’ Scottie Barnes makes his case for Rookie of the Year – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Baseball is back! MLB and the Players’ Association have agreed to a new CBA

There it is!

After a long, frustrating process, Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association have tentatively agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement…

BREAKING: Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor deal, sources tell ESPN. While it still needs to be ratified by both parties, that is expected to be a formality, and when it is:
Baseball is back.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 10, 2022

I’ll update this with information as it comes in…
The off-season will resume tonight as the freeze on trades and signings will be lifted, assuming the new CBA is officially agreed upon.
Spring Training games will start between March 18 and March 20, with players heading down to report to Florida and Arizona immediately.
Opening Day will be on April 7, which, as Mike Wilner points out, is the 45-year anniversary of the Blue Jays’ first-ever game.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Maple Leafs should explore the RHD rental market sooner rather than later

It feel likes a long time since we’ve seen the Leafs play. We probably forget a lot of the small little things about how they play, but one that isn’t likely to slip from the minds of too many Leafs fans is the underwhelming play of Justin Holl.
Even in the strong outing against Edmonton on December 14th, Holl seemed to get caught out of place, made inexcusably sloppy no look passes in front of his net, and generally didn’t move his feet. In the prior season the hustle of Holl was one of his calling cards that earned him the elevated top four responsibility, now partnered with Muzzin, who is also showing some age, Holl could be too big a liability for the Leafs down the stretch and into the playoffs. And before you suggest Travis Dermott as an option, he hasn’t fared much better in arguably softer minutes.

Given the complexities of bringing in a new defenseman and the need for an adjustment period prior to the playoffs, Toronto might be better off acting sooner rather than in exploring the replacement for Holl and/or Dermott, even if that decision comes with a higher …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

3 Raptors who must step up with Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr. out

3 Raptors who must step up with Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr. out

The Toronto Raptors went a long time without feeling the sting of the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, but they have been blindsided with the loss of three rotation players. Star forward Pascal Siakam, rookie point guard, Dalano Banton, and standout shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. have all entered the league’s health and safety protocols. […]
3 Raptors who must step up with Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr. out – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

BJN Radio – Ep. 56: Talking about José Berríos’ contract extension

José Berríos is going to be a Blue Jay for a long time.

Word came out on Tuesday that the right-hander had inked a seven-year contract extension with the Blue Jays worth $131 million. It’s the biggest contract for a pitcher in Blue Jays history and is the second-largest contract ever handed out by the club, behind only George Springer’s deal from last winter.
We had an emergency podcast to discuss Berríos’ new contract, why it’s a win for the Blue Jays, and what we can expect next.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Winners and Losers from fast-paced win against Wizards

Raptors: Winners and Losers from fast-paced win against Wizards

Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors faced long odds when it came to maintaining their winning streak on the road. Not only were Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes out, but OG Anunoby, Svi Mykhailiuk, and the rest of the squad had a date with the Washington Wizards coming up. Not only are the Wizards much-improved […]
Raptors: Winners and Losers from fast-paced win against Wizards – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Rumours: My Leafs reclamation project addiction

Long before Josh Ho-Sang, years before Alex Galchenyuk, I developed a problem. It is the firm belief that any highly touted prospect or struggling veteran that couldn’t find their footing with their current organization should be acquired by the Leafs on the cheap, and it would be worth seeing if Toronto could turn them around.
As we saw with Nikita Gusev and plenty of others before him, it’s not always the case, but this remains a market that I will continue to bang the drum for, and will feel vindicated as long as I’m right 51% of the time, or when it works out, it really works out well.
That’s why I have a mild obsession with Dylan Strome. Many will remember Dylan Strome as one of the potential targets in the 2015 draft, and there was plenty of debate over whether Marner, Strome, Hanifin, or (LOL) Crouse was the best option for the Leafs. For the record I was on Team Barzal, but everyone in the Marner camp is looking pretty smart as well. Score one for Mark Hunter, I guess.
Anyway, the fact that Strome was taken by the Coyotes just before the Leafs saved them …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Take a deep breath. Relax. The Leafs marathon is about to begin

82 games is a long time. 82 games is especially long when you know the Leafs are a good enough team to fall on the playoff side of the equation even if they half ass it throughout the year and don’t particularly have anything to prove in the regular season. Instead this year is all about playoff success. That’s going to make for an interesting regular and one that could feel pretty pointless at times. That’s probably not the best way to hype a season that others are calling the last dance for this Leafs core, but let’s start with how that narrative is downright goofy anyway.
For one, the comparison to the Bulls last dance ignores the fact that Bulls were going for their sixth championship of a dynasty. The Leafs are trying to end 5 year streak of being out in the first round, and 17 year drought of not seeing the second round of the playoffs. That seems like where the ridiculousness of this comparison needs to stop. Of course the Bulls last dance also had no chance of the band staying together. Pippen was heading for free agency, Phil Jackson had essentially received his walking papers, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation