Hyun Jin Ryu is a finalist for the League Cy Young and Charlie Montoyo is a finalist for Manager of the Year

It’s Awards Season!

On Monday night, Major League Baseball announced the finalists for all of the major awards for the 2020 season. Two Blue Jays, Hyun Jin Ryu and Charlie Montoyo, have been nominated.
Montoyo is a finalist for American League Manager of the Year along with Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays and Rick Renteria formerly of the Chicago White Sox.
I wrote a little while ago why I think Montoyo has a good shot at winning the award. It often goes to a manager of a team that breaks out or exceeds expectations and the Blue Jays were exactly that. Navigating through not having a home for the first chunk of the season will also be a big play for Montoyo here I would imagine.
And then there’s Ryu, who’s a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award along with Cleveland’s Shane Bieber and Minnesota’s Kenta Maeda. It’s great to see Ryu nominated but there’s no doubting that Bieber is going to win this thing. He posted an 8-1 record with a league-leading 1.63 ERA while striking out an obscene 14.2 batters per nine.
Ryu finished second in National League Cy Young …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

A non-contact OHL cannot be Plan B for Nick Robertson

A stir was created Friday night when the Canadian Press put an article out over the wire saying no bodychecking will be allowed in upcoming OHL season. The article confirmed these plans with current Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sports (and former Minister of Abandoning Autistic Children) Lisa MacLeod, who said that ‘removing purposeful physical contact from the game was a necessary step to preventing the spread of COVID-19.’ While many, including the Bobfather, were quick to point out that even contact-less hockey does not lend itself to avoiding close-quarters interaction, MacLeod was steadfast in her assertion that this was a necessary step in ensuring a safe return to play and that this was “not a negotiation”. (Update: Ontario Premier Doug Ford later tweeted that this was, indeed, an ongoing discussion and that the hope is the OHL could return with bodychecking, but who knows at this point considering the conflicting messages.)
Naturally, this made us think of “how does this impact the Leafs?”, which lead us to the question of what to do with Nicholas Robertson this year. A quick perusal of most Leafs fans’ mock rosters for the upcoming season has Nick Robertson making the team, but Chris …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Projecting the Leafs Opening Night Lineup for the 2020-21 Season

So the Leafs did the unthinkable on Friday night and were able to convince Joe Thornton to play for his hometown team on a league minimum contract. He is the eighth player acquired by the Leafs since free agent frenzy began last week, and that results in some interesting questions on what the lineup might look like when the 2020-21 season finally starts.
In the unprecedented times that we continue to live in, when that day comes remains a mystery. There’s been plenty of talk of how the season will play out and how the teams will have their schedules built (including a potential Canadian Division). One thing we do know is that hockey will be played at some point in the coming months and the Leafs will have a different looking roster once the puck finally drops.
Until that date comes, all we can do is speculate our best guesses for what the Leafs might do with their lineups for the coming season and who might fit best in other spots. We are quite removed from when the campaign could potentially start so it’s entirely possible that my projections could be well off the mark. Add to …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / 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

Excellent pitching leads to a much-needed win in Boston

After a horrendous slog on Friday night, Saturday’s game felt like a must-win for the struggling Blue Jays. It’s troubling that the bats haven’t been able to come around yet, but the pitching came through with a dominant performance to put the team at 5-7 at the quarter mark of the season.

Things worth mentioning…

Chase Anderson finally made his Blue Jays debut after missing the start of the season due to an injury suffered in Summer Camp. It was difficult to say coming off an injury in a short season whether Anderson would fit best in the team’s rotation or the bullpen, but, on Saturday, he looked like a perfectly solid back-of-the-rotation option. Anderson didn’t over match anyone, but he pitched effectively and limited hard contact over three innings of one-run ball. It’ll be interesting to see how he does as he gets stretched out and pitches longer outings.
The big story tonight wasn’t Anderson, though, it was Anthony Kay, who put up a dominant showing as the piggyback long-reliever. Kay went three-and-a-third without allowing a run, scattering just two hits while also working …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

3 Takeaways from the Toronto Raptors’ Dominant Win Against the Lakers

The NBA resumed for the Toronto Raptors last night, and they did not disappoint whatsoever. The Toronto Raptors went up against the juggernaut Los Angeles Lakers for their first game in the NBA Restart. Despite going up against two potential All-NBA First Team players, the Raptors managed to nail a dominant victory over the best […]
3 Takeaways from the Toronto Raptors’ Dominant Win Against the Lakers – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Louis Pavlakos / Raptors HQ

NHL and PA close to ratifying their Collective Agreement. Maybe now they can RADify the summer

Let’s start off with the announcements…

Long night of negotiations/hard work between NHL/NHLPA appears to have resulted in agreement on most issues on Phase 3/4 RTP, CBA extension, transition rules. Still a couple of items to finalize today. NOTHING, of course, is actually done until both sides ratify a tentative deal.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2020
 

Barring any last-minute complications, and we have seen some of those (Vancouver and Las Vegas), the two NHL Hub cities will be Edmonton and Toronto.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2020
 

Nothing carved in stone just yet, but if there are no hiccups in finalizing the tentative agreement, NHLPA membership could be voting on RTP/CBA/transition/critical dates by Friday or Saturday.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2020
Cool. Hockey is coming back. There won’t be a labour disruption in a couple of years, and the summer return to play is being handled in the two safest city options left. The only disappointment here is that we don’t get treated to an Edmonton meltdown over not being selected as a hub city.
I can’t think of a better Canada Day present than giving …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

NHL History: Today in 1966, Toronto Maple Leafs use three goalies in a game for the first time in NHL history

April 3rd, 1966 was a weird night for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The team was facing off against the Detroit Red Wings in their respective regular-season finales, a game that ended in a 3-3 tie.
And many years before there were such things as emergency backup goalies, on that fateful night the Maple Leafs played three goalies in a single game for the first time in league history.
Johnny Bower started the game in net, holding the Red Wings scoreless before Terry Sawchuk stepped in for the second frame giving up a goal to Detroit’s Norm Ullman.
Then, in the third frame, Bruce Gamble came into the game as both Bower and Sawchuk fell ill.
Even stranger, Bower took over running the bench from Punch Imlach in the third period. Imlach, for whatever reason, decided to take on the third period from the stands.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Grades following gutsy road win over Utah Jazz

The Toronto Raptors, on the final night of what’s been a gruelling, five-game road trip, gutted out a 101-92 win over the Utah Jazz but saw a key player go down with a serious injury. The good news: the Toronto Raptors won another game, their fourth in a row, to finish their five-game road trip […]
Toronto Raptors: Grades following gutsy road win over Utah Jazz – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jordan Skuse / Raptors HQ

Maple Leafs Pregame #61: 5 things to watch for in Pittsburgh

The Panthers closed the gap last night. The Leafs aren’t looking good and have a much tougher schedule over the next six weeks. It will be interesting.
As for Pittsburgh they are 7-2-1 in their last 10, and have generally been good beyond those 10 games as well. Joy.
Lineups

LW
C
RW
Forwards
ZACH HYMAN
Rating: 75.1#30 LW

AUSTON MATTHEWS
Rating: 83.2#3 C

MITCH MARNER
Rating: 78.2#8 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.82#3 FL1

WILLIAM NYLANDER
Rating: 76.9#11 LW

JOHN TAVARES
Rating: 79.4#12 C

ALEXANDER KERFOOT
Rating: 72.2#81 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 76.19#4 FL2

KYLE CLIFFORD
Rating: 69.7#125 LW

PIERRE ENGVALL
Rating: 71.9#89 C

KASPERI KAPANEN
Rating: 71.9#91 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 71.16#22 FL3

EGOR KORSHKOV
JASON SPEZZA
Rating: 70.5#125 C

MASON MARCHMENT
Rating: 73.5#47 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 72.00#6 FL4

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Defense
JAKE MUZZIN
Rating: 73.9#34 LD

JUSTIN HOLL
Rating: 71.6#77 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 72.73#23 DL1

TRAVIS DERMOTT
Rating: 71.7#83 LD

TYSON BARRIE
Rating: 75.9#16 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 73.79#13 DL2

RASMUS SANDIN
Rating: 73.2#55 LD

TIMOTHY LILJEGREN
Rating: 72.9#48 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 73.04#8 DL3

LW
C
RW
Forwards
JASON ZUCKER
Rating: 74.5#37 LW

SIDNEY CROSBY
Rating: 81.7#6 C

DOMINIK SIMON
Rating: 70.0#125 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 75.39#16 FL1

JARED MCCANN
Rating: 73.2#51 …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation