BJN Radio – Ep. 29: Taking a trip around the American League with MLB dot com’s Jordan Horrobin

It might be the All-Star break but The Content never sleeps!

We did a special edition of BJN Radio this week, talking about the Toronto Blue Jays beating the National League in the All-Star game thanks to a monster homer from Vladdy, a double from Teoscar Hernandez, and an RBI from Marcus Semien.
After that, we welcomed MLB.com jack-of-all-trades beat reporter Jordan Horrobin to the show to take a trip around the American League. We touched on whether or not the Red Sox are frauds, why the Yankees have been so stunningly mediocre, what the Blue Jays should do at the trade deadline, and whether or not there are any other teams in the wild-card clump that we should be worried about.
Finally, we looked ahead to the upcoming series against the Texas Rangers and talked about how the Blue Jays should acquire Joey Gallo, Ian Kennedy, and Kyle Gibson before the first pitch is thrown on Friday night.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Can we close this thing out please?

They just never make it easy, do they.
In the salary cap era, the Leafs have played six playoff series’, and have played in six games where they can eliminate their opponent and move on to the next round. They have lost all six games. Four of those six are in game sevens, so the other team has just as much to lose, but this is the second time they’ve had an opportunity to close out a series before game seven, the other one being game six (in Toronto!) against Boston in 2019.
There’s no doubt that this series is different than the other ones. For starters, this is the best team the Leafs have iced out of the six playoff series’, and not just that, but they’re playing arguable their weakest opponent of the six. Columbus is debatable, but the skill gap wasn’t as big as it is in this series. On paper, this team should win this series, and not even need a game seven.
But, it’s the Leafs. They always have a habit of messing things up, and no matter how unlikely it seems, it’s always inevitable.
If this team wants to …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Canucks claim Travis Boyd, because why shouldn’t Toronto build their 4th line for them?

Sequels are never as much fun as the original, and I have to admit being decidedly less happy about Travis Boyd being claimed by the Canucks than I was about Jimmy Vesey being claimed.

Vancouver claims Travis Boyd off waivers from Toronto.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 22, 2021

So, here’s the stuff that pulls us all in from the ledge. Travis Boyd is a depth player, and his departure means the Leafs now don’t need to worry about his prorated $700k taking up space on the roster. That’s a small amount but every little bit helps give the team more flexibility at the trade deadline. Of course they would have had that same flexibility if he cleared and was assigned to their taxi squad, but this is about justifying the waiving.
The reality is this move does kinda hurt. Boyd was an option at center. Thinning out that position is generally not a good thing, and with Boyd gone, there is now some pressure on Adam Brooks to wow us when we are in our time of need.
Boyd put up three goals and eight points in 20 games for the Leafs this season, which is pretty remarkable for someone …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Ranking the best possible draft lottery outcomes

Last night never happened. Last week never happened. The Leafs have always been a draft lottery team, that’s how I’ll choose to look at it. So here we are, banking on the Leafs 12.5% chance at the first overall pick paying off better than it will for the Rangers, Penguins, Panthers, Jets, Oilers, Predators, or the Wild.
We’ll cut with the suspense and acknowledge that when it comes to ranking the best possible outcomes for winning the draft lottery is the Leafs winning it. So there’s your number one, you can move on, but aside from that what are the best possible outcomes for the Leafs when it comes to the draft lottery? Here are the rankings of 2 through 8.
8. Florida Panthers
With Dale Tallon out, and a potentially competent GM on the way in, the idea of a talented draft pick entering the Leafs division wouldn’t be ideal. Now, when it comes to Florida winning it, there is the comfort from the league perspective of at least the Penguins, Oilers or Leafs winning it, but that’s less ideal for the Leafs.
7. Pittsburgh Penguins
A team with Sidney Crosby and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Brandon Drury is back, Billy McKinney sent down to minor-league camp

After never making it to the Blue Jays’ Summer Camp in Toronto due to an unspecified injury, Brandon Drury has finally been added to the team’s active roster. Heading down to the team’s minor-league camp to make room for him will be Billy McKinney.

#BlueJays reinstate infielder Brandon Drury from the IL, option Billy McKinney (back to the Alternate Training Site)
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) July 26, 2020

It’s sink or swim time for Drury, you’d think. Since being acquired as part of the return for J.A. Happ back in 2018, Drury hasn’t been overly impressive in a Blue Jays uniform. While he adds a solid glove and positional versatility, hit bat simply hasn’t come around to the level you’d hope to see from him.
Drury will jump right into the lineup today in Tampa Bay, playing third base. I imagine that we’ll see Drury get quite a few reps against left-handed pitching (Blake Snell, a lefty, is going today) as the Jays juggle platoon-oriented lineups.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

A Walk-Around Tour of the NHL bubble in Toronto

“I’ve never seen any fencing up in Toronto with the words ‘Stanley Cup Playoffs’.” I said to my naive self before remembering that the Maple Leafs have been in the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. Yes, it’s been that long.
As the return of NHL hockey inches closer and closer, there’s more and more being blocked off around the two hub cities, Toronto and Edmonton.

A look at the NHL’s “secure zone” in Toronto. pic.twitter.com/MB1yP1opPb
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 24, 2020

It’s both an exciting and eerie time for hockey. 24 teams are expected to fly into their perspective hub cities today and must be there by Sunday, according to the NHL.
With players not knowing what to expect, it makes this Return-to-Play plan more interesting once the players arrive in their bubbles.
And as much as I want to say that construction has gotten underway, that’s not really the right word to use for this situation.
The fences are up — so far.
Each day, there’s more that’s done to shield the players from …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

J.J. Redick shows love for Toronto Raptors on Bill Simmons Podcast

The Toronto Raptors have never gotten the respect a good organization should get, until this season. The Toronto Raptors seem to be getting a lot more love than previous years. They are getting respect from many analysts and players including Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins. And today, it is J.J. Redick showing love for the […]
J.J. Redick shows love for Toronto Raptors on Bill Simmons Podcast – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Forget the PHWA, Our writers correctly select the winners for the NHL Awards

I’ve never really been one for the NHL Awards, but here we are in the middle of a pause waiting to see if we’ll get hockey games in August of all months. If that isn’t enough reason to start caring I don’t know what is. We’ve also saved you the trouble of arguing about the award decisions online because our decision is 100% right and there is no need for debate.
For contents sake we’ve also picked the Leaf player most deserving of some of the awards as well. I didn’t ask the other writers about who in the Leafs organization would win the Vezina because I assume everyone would naturally agree that it’s David Ayres.
Hart

Hart
League Pick
Leafs Pick

Mark Norman
MacKinnon
Matthews

Nick DeSouza
Panarin
Matthews

Nick Richard
MacKinnon
Matthews

Scott Maxwell
Panarin
Matthews

Totally Offside
Panarin
Matthews

Jon Steitzer
MacKinnon
Matthews

Brendan Mori
MacKinnon
Matthews

Cam Lewis
Draisaitl
Matthews

League Winner: Nathan MacKinnon
Leafs Winner: Auston Matthews
Well, I guess the fact that we all agreed on Matthews isn’t really a big surprise but MacKinnon vs. Panarin is …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Toronto Raptors don’t have a superstar, but they do have Nick Nurse

All too often you never hear the Toronto Raptors in the playoff conversation because they have no superstar. What if I told you, they do have a superstar. With the NBA supposedly engaging in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the NBA season, the season might be closer than you think. The Toronto […]
The Toronto Raptors don’t have a superstar, but they do have Nick Nurse – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Top Leafs Players Outside the NHL #10 Mac Hollowell

Taking overagers in the draft has never been my thing. It’s a bad philosophy to have as a blanket rule, but generally there is a lot of appeal in getting players with more development time available, and many of those overagers will still be available as free agents the following spring.  Now, my personal drafting preference really isn’t the point of this post, except to acknowledge that in the particular instance it might have put me on the wrong side of history as Mac Hollowell seems to be developing nicely.
Hollowell is another player that is undersized by pro hockey standards, as he’s only 5’10 and 170 lbs. He’s not going to be an intimidating, bruising defensemen, and while I can appreciate the need for smart physical play on the blueline, Mac Hollowell’s skillset is important as well, and having a smart capable puck moving who can quarterback powerplays, and drive offense from the blueline.
Hollowell came to the Leafs via the Soo Greyhounds, a team that both Dubas and Keefe have plenty of familiarity with and there’s something to be said about going with a player you …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation