Know Your Enemy: Another day, another heavily injured opponent in the Blues that the Maple Leafs match up well against

Much like a lot of the teams the Leafs have played lately, they find themselves in a similar narrative playing against a team dealing with a lot of injuries and illnesses. Weird, it’s almost like there’s a pandemic going on right now or something. You’d think that the Blues would be hurt more by losing David Perron, Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn, and Pavel Buchnevich up front than losing Colton Parayko on the blueline, but the latter actually takes a bigger toll on them. The Blues have a really deep forward group and somehow manage to have a strong top six still despite losing four pieces of it, while defensively losing Parayko exposes a few holes in the lineup. Combine that with the fact that this team is relying on luck to get them as far as they have, and there’s reason for concern as a Blues fan.
Note: This is based on projected lines and starters at the time of publishing. Coaches really love to surprise us right before game time, so there’s a solid chance that some of the matchups aren’t accurate for the actual game because of that.
Tale of the Tape (via Mark Norman)

Lineups
Toronto Maple Leafs

LW
C
RW
MICHAEL BUNTING
AUSTON MATTHEWS
MITCH MARNER
ALEXANDER KERFOOT
JOHN TAVARES
WILLIAM NYLANDER
ILYA MIKHEYEV
DAVID KAMPF
PIERRE ENGVALL
KYLE CLIFFORD
JA …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Lockout update! Digging into MLB’s first proposal, why the Players’ Association declined, and what’s next

It isn’t much, but, at the very least, we have something to talk about.

On Thursday, Major League Baseball presented its first labour-related proposal to the Players’ Association since the beginning of the lockout, ending what had been a 43-day stalemate.
Unfortunately (and, well, unsurprisingly) it was a very one-sided offer, one that Jeff Passan of ESPN said “did little to encourage the players and heightened the likelihood of spring training being postponed.” The meeting, which reportedly took place over the span of one hour, consisted of MLB presenting its proposal and the players agreeing to present an official counter-proposal at an unspecified time in the future.
Here’s a quick run-down of what the league presented in its offer…
A lottery for the top pick in the draft. The worst three teams are in the lottery and the winner gets the top draft pick. Also, to address tanking, teams wouldn’t be allowed in the lottery for three consecutive years. The PA has also been in favour of a lottery, but they want it expanded to eight teams to further dissuade tanking.
A draft for international players. This would scrap the current system that features an international free-agent signing window and a bonus pool system in which teams can only offer international players a certain amount of money.
An expanded post-season bracket. MLB wants to expand the playoffs to involve 14 teams, a significant jump from the current 10-team format. The players have said they’re will …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

New Toronto Raptors big man DJ Wilson should be here to stay

New Toronto Raptors big man DJ Wilson should be here to stay

There’s not much to be happy about right now in the world of Toronto Raptors fandom.  The Omicron variant has crippled the team, forcing them to call up minor-league players just to get by. As much as we love Yuta Watanabe, having him as the number one option is a little sad. One of the […]
New Toronto Raptors big man DJ Wilson should be here to stay – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

No need to worry about Pete Walker as the Mets hire Buck Showalter to be their manager

Not much going on lately, but here’s something of interest!

The New York Mets filled their manager role this weekend by hiring veteran skipper Buck Showalter.

Buck Showalter brings an extensive MLB resume with him to the Mets. pic.twitter.com/Ef3RBiIaXi
— SNY (@SNYtv) December 18, 2021

Showalter has 20 years of experience as a big-league manager with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rangers, and, most recently, the Orioles. He’s known around these parts, of course, as the guy who left Zack Britton in the bullpen while Edwin Encarnacion launched a ball into space off of Ubaldo Jimenez to walk off the O’s in the 2016 American League Wild-Card game.
Anyways, this is worth noting because there was a ‘rumour’ going around earlier this month that Pete Walker was a name to watch in New York’s managerial search.
This was actually just a Tweet from Jon Morosi saying Walker was a ‘name to watch’ because he’s respected in baseball, so it really wasn’t anything more than pure speculation. But if you were one of the ones to take it seriously and demand Walker get promoted into Charlie Montoyo’s gig before it was too late, you can now exhale. 


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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are reportedly among the teams who have been “most aggressive” in pursuit of Seiya Suzuki

There isn’t much going on these days as we wade into the nothingness of the lockout, but we learned this weekend that the Blue Jays were among the teams who were pursuing Seiya Suzuki, an outfielder from Japan.

According to an MLB Notebook post in the Boston Sports Journal by Sean McAdam, the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Red Sox are apparently the teams who have been the “most aggressive” in pursuit of Suzuki.
The Renfroe-for-Bradley swap has more than a few people in the game believing that the Sox are intent on landing Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki, whose posting process was frozen when the lockout went in effect. The thinking: Suzuki could play right field for the Sox, replacing Renfroe both defensively and as a productive right-handed bat. The Sox could then keep Kike Hernandezin center and Alex Verdugoin left. That may well be true, but though one major league source reports the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox have been the most aggressive in pursuit of Suzuki, teams can hardly be certain of the player’s attention. The Sox could, after all, be the highest bidders for Suzuki, only to learn that he would rather play on the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. showing tangible growth as a scorer

Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. showing tangible growth as a scorer

While much of the attention surrounding Toronto Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. has related to his stunning defensive improvements, he is still going to be trusted to consistently give this team an injection of youth, shooting, and tenacity. Based on how this season has gone, Masai Ujiri has to be thrilled with his production. Trent, […]
Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. showing tangible growth as a scorer – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Woll earns first career shutout as Leafs rebound in win over Islanders

Joseph Woll wasn’t tested much but he was solid when called upon and earned his first career shutout in just his second start as the Leafs bounced back with a tidy 3-0 win against a struggling Islanders team. The Leafs got back in the win column after having their five-game winning streak snapped by the Penguins on Saturday night and handed a depleted Islanders lineup their sixth consecutive loss. It was the second game in as many nights for the Islanders to open their long-awaited new arena but the Leafs made sure to spoil the party in what was a mostly dominant victory for the Blue and White.
The Islanders have struggled to generate offense during their recent slide and the Leafs did well to limit their opportunities on Sunday night, helping to ease the burden on their rookie goaltender. The Leafs held the Islanders to just six shots on goal in the opening frame and seven in each of the next two periods to outshoot New York 40-20 on the evening, getting back to the strong defensive play that has been on display as they have piled up wins in the last few weeks.
After being shutout on …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays have signed Jose Berrios to a seven-year contract worth $131 million

So much for a slow off-season!

The Toronto Blue Jays have inked Jose Berrios to a seven-year contract worth $131 million, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith.
Word about Berrios signing a long-term deal broke early on Tuesday morning, when Hector Jose Torres Donato, a Twitter account that Berrios follows, said that the right-handed pitcher’s seven-year contract with the Blue Jays would be announced as early as Wednesday.

STAYING IN TORONTO
Right-hander pitcher @jolamakina will be announced as soon as Wednesday as one of the Toronto Blue Jays’ big signings this offseason. The agreement is expected to be around 7 years and 140 millions for the Puerto Rican. #TeamRubio #PensarNoCuesta pic.twitter.com/ZhY6NPFLSq
— Héctor José Torres Donato (@deplaymaker) November 16, 2021

The Blue Jays acquired Berrios, a two-time All-Star, from the Minnesota Twins back in late July in exchange for top prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson. Berrios came exactly as advertised. Known as a work-horse who consistently puts up solid outings, Berrios posted a quality start in nine of 12 outings with the Blue Jays after the trade, including seven in a row to finish the season.
All told, Berrios tossed 70 1/3 innings for the Blue Jays over 12 starts, posting a 3.58 ERA with 78 strikeouts …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

4 former Toronto Raptors having great starts to the 2021-22 season

4 former Toronto Raptors having great starts to the 2021-22 season

The Toronto Raptors have had a much better start to their 2021-22 season than they did. After a loss to the Nets, the Raptors are 6-5. Even without the likes of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry on the roster, this team looks like it’s capable of going toe to toe with some of the best […]
4 former Toronto Raptors having great starts to the 2021-22 season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Jake Muzzin’s rough start exemplifies Leafs’ early struggles

To say that not much has gone well for the Leafs through the early part of the season would be a massive understatement. They have dealt with injuries, their offensive stars have almost completely been held off the scoresheet and the team has struggled mightily to create offense in transition – something that has been a strength for this group in the past. The defensive unit hasn’t been getting the job done either, namely the shutdown pairing of Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl who have excelled in that role in the last couple of seasons.

Keefe on Muzzin and Holl: “Just two guys that haven’t played at the level that we’ve come to expect from them. Those guys take on a lot of tough assignments and it is difficult for them. But we’ve come to expect them to thrive in that position and it hasn’t happened here yet.”
— David Alter (@dalter) October 25, 2021

Given the team’s overall struggles, it may seem unfair to point the finger in any one direction but Muzzin and Holl have stood out from the crowd so far, and for all the wrong reasons.
While Holl has found a way to complement Muzzin on that pairing …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation