For the nostalgic Blue Jays fan, Vol. 3: Eric Sogard

With a 67-95 record, not many good memories came from the 2019 Toronto Blue Jays. Outside of the debuts of Vladdy, Bo, and Cavan Biggio, Jays fans were forced to watch Buddy Boshers pitch meaningful innings and Trent Thornton lead the team in starts.

However, the Blue Jays turned an offseason minor league signing into a solid leadoff hitter for the first half of the season. That man was Eric Sogard.
Sogard spent six seasons in Oakland from 2010 through 2015, as well as two years in Milwaukee prior to his time north of the border. The veteran utility man was part of the Oakland A’s during their three consecutive years of making the playoffs from 2012-2014, making him teammates with future Blue Jay Josh Donaldson.
Sogard’s glove was valued more than his bat, as he was able to play a variety of positions, but his batting average hovered around the mid to early .200s.
Nicknamed “Nerd Power” because of the goggles that he wore every game, Sogard was inked to a minor league deal with the Blue Jays in December of 2018. He was relegated to Buffalo to start …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

A nihilist’s season preview for the Leafs

A nihilist’s season preview for the Leafs

Here we are at the Leafs first game of the season. In many ways, this feels like it should be a meaningful day, but frankly, it hits just about the same as the start of the preseason. I’ll tune in. I write about the Leafs, so I should probably watch them play, but I don’t know if there is much excitement that comes from committing to a season that is about 20 games too long and will ultimately get us to the same place, the Leafs will finish somewhere in the top three in their division, and somehow 4th or 5th in the league, and then something will finally be put on the line as we see if the Leafs are now 19 years removed from a second round appearance or if the mocking of the Leafs needs to revert to the standard 1967 reminder that admittedly I’m far more comfortable with.
That’s not to say that there aren’t storylines to care about with the regular season. Whether Kyle Dubas was active enough for you or not in the offseason, the fact that he’s given Toronto two new goaltenders to hastily develop misinformed opinions on is a bit of a blessing. Last year the g …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Dalano Banton has proven he is Raptors’ best backup PG option

Dalano Banton has proven he is Raptors’ best backup PG option

One of the many position battles currently being conducted on this Toronto Raptors team is at the critical position of backup point guard. Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam will likely man that role in the regular season, but Dalano Banton and Malachi Flynn will both be given a chance. With Flynn out for Toronto’s preseason […]
Dalano Banton has proven he is Raptors’ best backup PG option – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

3 reasons Raptors are still better than Cavs after Mitchell trade

3 reasons Raptors are still better than Cavs after Mitchell trade

The Toronto Raptors, like many around the league, were knocked to the floor in disbelief after the Utah Jazz traded Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a package headlined by Collin Sexton and multiple unprotected first-round draft selections. The East just got even more challenging. Already boasting one of the best frontcourts in the […]
3 reasons Raptors are still better than Cavs after Mitchell trade – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

TLN Prospect #8: Nick Abruzzese set to prove the doubters wrong yet again

As was the case for many players, Nick Abruzzese entered the 2021-22 season with major question marks having missed an entire year of hockey. Unlike most who had been able to at least use the time away from the rink to work on other aspects of their game, Abruzzese spent his rehabbing.
Even if Harvard had played their 2020-21 season, he wasn’t going to have been a part of it for very long. Abruzzese underwent hip surgery in the summer of 2020 to repair a nagging injury, an operation that would’ve sidelined him for a vast majority of the 2020-21 season.
Coming back from over a year away from game action and a significant surgery, it was fair to have reservations over what Nick Abruzzese would be able to produce. But just as he has done time and time again in his career, he proved the doubters wrong.
Nick Abruzzese
LW | Harvard (ECAC) | Age: 23 | 5-foot-10 | 174 lbs | Shoots: LAcquired: 2019 Draft, 124th Overall | 2021 Ranking: #8
At every level Nick Abruzzese has played, he’s faced the same doubts over and over. Concerns over his lack of size and average at best skating are perfectly valid. They remain true and are going to be the biggest hurdles for him to overcome if he is to …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

3 teams who will regret not hiring Raptors coach Adrian Griffin

3 teams who will regret not hiring Raptors coach Adrian Griffin

The Toronto Raptors have seen many of their top assistants move on to greener pastures in the last few years. While Jama Mahlalela and Patrick Mutombo moved from the G League to Golden State and Phoenix, Chris Finch turned the Minnesota Timberwolves into a playoff team. Despite that, Adrian Griffin remains on the bench. Griffin […]
3 teams who will regret not hiring Raptors coach Adrian Griffin – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Day two of free agency and beyond: The Leafs to-do list

One day down, and who knows how many more to go until we find ourselves very much in the dog days of summer where nothing seems to happen. The Leafs were pretty active for the first day of free agency. They added three completely new players (Samsonov, Aube-Kubel, Gaudette), brought back one of their own from Europe (Malgin), and made an AHL signing (Logan Shaw). That’s a fair bit of work for one day, but they were also far from the busiest and are likely far from down.
The Leafs are going into day two with several bubble players on forward, but still a couple of potential needs. They should very much be considered a cheap top-six forward option if they can find one and while Gaudette, Malgin, and Aube-Kubel are all capable of lining up as the 4C, finding a proven center for that role would be a plus.
On the blueline, Dubas spelled it out yesterday by saying they could still use a depth piece, possibly a physical right side option. Right now that seems very much like the role being occupied by Justin Holl, so take that as a sign that he is long for the Leafs wor …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation