I regret to inform you that I’m back on my Taylor Hall to the Leafs BS

Taylor Hall doesn’t play defense. This is a fact. A heartbreaking one because the Leafs need defense. The Leafs still would need to find a way to address that need, but the solution isn’t Taylor Hall. That doesn’t mean that Taylor Hall shouldn’t be a target for the Leafs in free agency, because last time I checked, Taylor is a damned good hockey player, one who can make Toronto better, and one that allows Toronto to explore different options via trade later on.

Sources say the Arizona Coyotes are shopping the rights to Taylor Hall.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 5, 2020

So that’s the catalyst for my Taylor Hall bullshit this morning. It’s become clear that he’s not sticking around Arizona (no real surprise) and he’s going to hit free agency on Friday. I wouldn’t say that shopping for his rights is a particularly good idea unless Toronto wants to dump some salary in the process of acquiring him or simply feel that having 11 picks in the draft this year is too stressful.

Chris Johnston on Headlines says Taylor Hall will entertain 1 or 2 yr deals.
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) October 4, 2020

While I’m …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Blueprint for Beating the Tampa Bay Rays

Its official the Blue Jays will play Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round. Tampa Bay was the class of the American League in this shortened season. They went 40-20 to lead the AL finishing just three games behind the Dodgers for the MLB lead. The Blue Jays went 32-28 taking the second wild card.
The Blue Jays enter this series as heavy underdogs, but there is a way they can win this series.
The official rotation for the Blue Jays hasn’t been announced yet but it seems likely that Taijuan Walker will start Game 1 instead of Hyun-Jin Ryu. It’s been speculated that he perhaps asked the Blue Jays to give him an extra day of rest.
This actually can work in the Blue Jays favour. They get their ace fully rested and in a situation he is comfortable with and having Walker pitch Game 1 isn’t the worst thing.
For one Walker’s primary pitch is a four-seam fastball. It averages 93.2 mph, with 2143 rpm of spin, per Baseball Savant. Batters hit just .156 off the pitch the 14th lowest in the league among pitchers who faced at least 50 batters. He gets whiffs on it 23.1% of the time. It’ …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors are going to need Norman Powell’s scoring in Game 5

The Toronto Raptors are set to play Game 5 against the Boston Celtics and they need everything they can get from someone who’s been way too quiet this series, Norman Powell. For the series, Norman Powell is shooting a very poor 33.33 (9/27) percent from the field. When teams are down 2-0 in the playoffs, only […]
Toronto Raptors are going to need Norman Powell’s scoring in Game 5 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

“Sports are the reward of a functioning society”

The Blue Jays and Red Sox won’t play their game as scheduled tonight.

This started on Wednesday night, when the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic agreed to a wildcat strike, in which both teams walked out on their playoff game. The decision was made in protest of the shooting of James Blake, a 29-year-old African American man who was shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Shortly after, all of the NBA and WNBA games scheduled for Wednesday night were postponed as the players opted to sit out in protest. The wave spread to Major League Baseball, as the Angels and Astros, the Reds and Brewers, the Mariners and Padres, and Dodgers and Giants all opted to sit out.
Tonight, the protest continues. All of the NBA, WNBA, and NHL games on the schedule along with multiple MLB games, including the one between the Blue Jays and Red Sox, have been postponed.
This is a historic move of action by these professional athletes. What began as a protest by San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick four years ago has now blown into a full-on movement.
I am not going to stand up …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: The case for giving Matt Thomas playoff minutes

As the Toronto Raptors wrap up regular season play,  Matt Thomas is continuing to prove that he’s deserving of a role in the postseason. With a few games left on the Toronto Raptors seeding schedule, the defending champions had already clinched second place in the conference, leaving them with next to nothing to prove in […]
Toronto Raptors: The case for giving Matt Thomas playoff minutes – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Kyle Oliveira / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Siakam has been the Bubble’s biggest Disappointment

The Toronto Raptors have had a successful return to play in Orlando, but the same can’t be said for Pascal Siakam who is struggling to find his form as of late. It feels as if we have seen three different versions of Pascal Siakam so far this season — and he is gradually getting less […]
Toronto Raptors: Siakam has been the Bubble’s biggest Disappointment – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Siakam has been the Bubble’s biggest dissapointment

The Toronto Raptors have had a successful return to play in Orlando, but the same can’t be said for Pascal Siakam who is struggling to find his form as of late. It feels as if we have seen three different versions of Pascal Siakam so far this season — and he is gradually getting less […]
Toronto Raptors: Siakam has been the Bubble’s biggest dissapointment – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays will likely make up their games with Philadelphia by playing multiple doubleheaders in September

The Blue Jays were supposed to play tonight, but, as we know, this weekend’s series in Philadelphia has been postponed due to the Phillies having multiple positive cases of COVID-19.

There had been some thought that the Blue Jays and Nationals could play some games this weekend, either just as exhibition tune-ups to stay on the field or perhaps as a way to jig the schedule around, but it seems that won’t be the case.
According to Charlie Montoyo, it appears that rather than moving games around, Major League Baseball will likely have teams play doubleheaders later on in the season. The Jays are set to host the Phillies from Sept. 18-20, so that would mean the two teams would shove all six games into that three-day stretch.
Nationals reporter Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic reported on Thursday that MLB is planning to implement seven-inning doubleheaders this season as a way to help ease the challenge such as the one the Blue Jays and Phillies will have in September.
Still, back-to-back-to-back 14-inning days… doesn’t seem ideal? The whole purpose of postponing games and making them up later is to maintain scheduling continuity and …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

News and Notes as the Blue Jays head to Washington

The Blue Jays are travelling to D.C. to play a four-game series against the Nationals, two of which will be road games, and two of which will be home games.

As of right now, it looks as though these games are going to happen, but, after the Miami Marlins reported that one-third of their roster tested positive for COVID-19, there’s some worry that the season might be in jeopardy. That said, MLB has reportedly not had any serious discussions about pausing or suspending the season.

Updating the Miami Marlins’ outbreak: The total number of infected players is 11 of the 33 who have been traveling with the team and two coaches, sources tell ESPN.
The Marlins-Orioles and Yankees-Phillies games tonight have been postponed. For now, the rest may be played.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 27, 2020

Anyways…
So it’ll be the Blue Jays’ first look at the defending World Series Champions. Well, sort of. It won’t be the Champs at full-strength this week. Anthony Rendon, of course, left the team in free agency to sign with the Angels, and Juan Soto is currently in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. Soto produced a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Zach Hyman returns to Maple Leafs practice

As the NHL’s return to play inches closer each day, the Toronto Maple Leafs are filling out their opening night lineup. One name that has been absent for the team’s last few practices is Zach Hyman, who went down after blocking a shot from Jason Spezza on Friday. Fortunately, Hyman rejoined the Leafs’ main practice on Tuesday, saying he felt great.

Zach Hyman on his return to the ice: “It feels great to back, felt like it was longer than a couple of days mentally. Took a shot there [on Friday] so it was just precautionary, but I’m feeling good.”
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) July 21, 2020

During his absence, Nick Robertson found himself filling Hyman’s spot alongside Auston Matthews and William Nylander. Although Robertson played very well during the team’s scrimmages, Hyman’s return is hugely beneficial to the Leafs.
Hyman already found himself back in his usual spot on the first line during practice, skating with Matthews and Mitch Marner. The fact that he felt it was longer than a couple of days just proves how eager he is to get these playoffs going. His return increases the Leafs …

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Author: Matthew Rodrigopulle / The Leafs Nation