Making the best of this

No hockey and no hockey talk makes Leafs Nation go crazy.
Hitting pause on the season has been interesting. I’ve learned just how much I use sports to navigate my day. The empty moments between meetings, the twitter tab open while I take breaks from mundane excel spreadsheets, and those couple hours a night of truly feeling alive by complaining about the Leafs. This pause is a pause on a lot routine in life, but of course the seriousness of the situation warrants it.
Taking a step back from the seriousness, I think it’s time to maybe look at some of the favourable takeaways for what the pause could mean for the Leafs. Assuming we do see a conclusion to the 2019-20 season in some fashion there are some positives. And damned if we won’t briefly consider them here…
The Points Percentage Thing
If the regular season is toast, and when hockey returns it’s playoff time, by pretty much every potential measure the Leafs are in the playoffs. That’s a nice little piece of relief. The Leafs not only sit higher than the Panthers in points, but point percentage. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

According to Elliotte Friedman the Canes are shopping Jake Gardiner. Should the Leafs be interested?

I am 100% here for how angry that headline makes you all. It fuels me. I’m wrapping myself up in your anger and drinking warm cocoa thinking of the responses this will receive. Thank you for this.
Anyways, let’s loop back around to Elliotte Friedman stating on his 31 Thoughts podcast that the Canes are shopping Jake Gardiner. I will say this here and now, and underline in bold, so there’s no confusion about it… Friedman didn’t say the Leafs are looking at Gardiner, that speculation is my own. The fact that Gardiner is available and had some success in Toronto is what has me connecting the dots back to Toronto with him.
Now, I’m also going to take the time acknowledge some truths about Jake Gardiner…
Many of you don’t like him because he does somethings in his own zone that offend your eyes. This is a valid concern. Jake Gardiner can be better defensively and his greatest strength comes from when the Leafs have the puck, which he helps them do more often. I understand that there are few things more bothersome than watching Jake …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Attempting to fix the Leafs back-to-back problem

Apparently the Leafs did something horrible to whoever makes the NHL schedule, because they got off to a rough start in terms of the schedule this season. Four back-to-backs in October, another three in November, and another three in December.
Now, back-to-backs and the Leafs are actually quite the iconic duo. This has been their number of back-to-backs over the last ten seasons:
2019-20: 14
2018-19: 13
2017-18: 14
2016-17: 18
2015-16: 16
2014-15: 18
2013-14: 16
2012-13: 9 (were scheduled to play 14 in full-season schedule before lockout)
2011-12: 17
2010-11: 14
So, the fewest they’ve ever had in a full season was last year, when they only had to play 13 back-to-back games, and even then, that’s roughly middle of the pack.
Now, there are several things that go into this. The NHL loves to put the Leafs on Saturdays, but they also need to get their Friday and Sunday games in as well. Their close proximity to most of the Eastern Conference allows for them to easily have a home game and travel to a road game the next night (and vice versa).
So, let’s try and fix this. I’m going to attempt to get rid of some of the Leafs back-to-backs this season with …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Point Man #29: Lowry plays along as the crew heads out

With the pieces in place, Conley makes it plain who is in charge. But is Lowry really listening? And who else may be in on what’s going to happen? The details are set, and the crew rolls out. But even on the eve of the Silverstern job, it’s unclear what exactly Lowry is thinking, and where he’ll go next. Meanwhile, not everyone else on the crew — with Baynes, Adams, Beal, and Taurasi — is shooting straight either.
Catch up on Pages 28 of POINT MAN here.
Words: Daniel Reynolds
Art: Michael Kennedy (on Instagram)
Page 29

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ

Point Man #23: Lowry pushes back and makes things clear

As their confrontation continues, Lowry makes it clear what he’s trying to do, and how far he’ll go if Conley tries to get in his way. A pair of former friends continue to hash things out as only they can. Conley wants Lowry to get out of the game completely. And Lowry knows where he stands — ready to risk it all for a chance at the ultimate prize.
Catch up on Page 22 of POINT MAN here.
Words: Daniel Reynolds
Art: Michael Kennedy (on Instagram and Twitter)

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ