George Springer crashes into wall, leaves game

In quite possibly the worst Friday evening news dump ever, George Springer has left the Toronto Blue Jays’ Friday night game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Springer crashed into the wall at center field trying to catch a flyball.  He stayed down on the ground briefly with the Jays’ training staff to check up on him, but he initially stayed in the game.

The play that caused George Springer to leave today’s Blue Jays game vs the Rays https://t.co/priW1JjCkK pic.twitter.com/gVh6gwlA0L
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 14, 2022

After grounding out in the top of the third, Ramiel Tapia took over his spot. It goes without saying but this is far from great news for the Jays. Staying positive is about all we can do, but it’s hard to not think back to his debut season in Toronto last year where he battled with a quad injury for what seemed like forever.
Springer’s been off to a strong start to his season slashing .283/.344/.531 while ripping seven dingers and 18 RBI. On top of that, he’s also been a vocal leader for this club helping to steer the ship.
According to Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae, Springer held a closed door, players only meeting Wednesday after the loss to the Yankees, where he had a general theme of staying positive.
“My main message was to slow down. It’s all good. It’s just baseball.”
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.


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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

Charlie Montoyo sounds off on teams complaining about Canada’s COVID-19 laws

Charlie Montoyo has had quite a feisty start to his 2022, hasn’t he?

The often calm Charlie Montoyo has shown a new fire, something that quite a few Blue Jays fans had an issue with. 
A few days ago, the 56-year-old manager was ejected for only the fifth time in his 392 games that he has managed. On Tuesday, Charlie Montoyo had a spicy quote when dealing with those who believe the Blue Jays have an advantage in regards to cross country travel.

#Bluejays manager Charlie Montoyo on Covid 19 restrictions for ballplayers travelling to Canada: “Rules are rules and that’s why we couldn’t play in Toronto for two years. And from experience nobody gives a shit. Nobody cared about us when we were in Dunedin.”
— Rob Longley (@longleysunsport) April 19, 2022

 
Charlie is 100% correct here. It is evident that fans of American teams didn’t give a shit when the Blue Jays played their entire 2020 in Buffalo. It’s especially evident when those same detractors give the Jays absolutely no credit for finishing 2021 with 91 wins, despite playing 44 “home games” in the United States.
No, to non Blue Jays fans, the fact that some players such as Tanner Houck of the Red Sox and Aaron Judge of the Yankees will miss like 10 games in Toronto is apparently enough to give the Jays a huge advantage.
This is ignoring the fact that every single Jays player has to be vaccinated, or they’d be unable to play half of the scheduled games. Why? Well, the same rules apply for leaving Canada, something that is intentionally neglected.
If the same rules apply in the next off-season, the Blue Jays would have a major disadvantage in signing the aforementioned Judge. In fact, they’re the only team that has to worry about this. Hell, it’s alleged that Michael Conforto is unvaccinated, meaning the Blue Jays possibly had to look elsewh …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Leafs 3 stars of the week: Auston Matthews sets Maple Leafs single-season goal record and his chase to 60, Mitch Marner’s MVP second-half continues

It was quite the special week if you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs fan because fans of the team, and even just hockey fans in general got to witness history as Auston Matthews tied and then set the new single-season goal record for the Toronto Maple Leafs. On top of history being made, the Maple Leafs had four games on their schedule last week and two of them involved two of the best teams in the league, both being in the Atlantic division.
The Maple Leafs finished a great week of hockey the week prior when they went 4-0-0 against Florida, Boston, Winnipeg, and Philadelphia, but to begin their week last week they had a tough back-to-back against Tampa Bay and Florida, both on the road. However, Toronto played two great games (minus the second half of the Florida game) against both teams and proved to a lot of people that despite them playing down to their competition a lot, they can hang with the elite of the elite among the league. Toronto opened their week on Monday night with a massive convincing 6-2 win in Tampa Bay that silenced the crowd as they dominated from puck drop to final horn.
Following a very impressive 6-2 wi …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Pre-2022 Blue Jays Top Prospect Countdown – No 3: Otto Lopez

Prospect #3 Otto Lopez reminds me quite a lot of the current Blue Jay, Santiago Espinal.

While Espinal is much more sound defensively (8 DRS, 5 OAA at third last season), Lopez has a much better offensive profile. I’ve written about Lopez before, which you can read here.
Background:
Otto Loepz, who had already lived in Canada prior to signing with the Blue Jays, was signed during the 2016 International Free Agency period. The versatile player was signed for only $60,000 out of the Dominican Republic.
2017:
In his first professional season in 2017, the then 18-year-old slashed .275/.361/.721 in 203 plate appearances with their Gulf Coast Rookie League team. He also added an additional home run and an eye at the plate, only striking out 11.3% of the time while walking 9.4% of the time. He also stole 7 bases in 10 attempts.
2018:
Lopez had a brief spell with the Appalachian Rookie League team in 2018, looking good in his 34 plate appearances before being called up to the Vancouver Canadians in Short A. In his 206 plate appearances, he slashed .297/.390/.825 with three homers.
Despite being -2.1 years younger than the average uh, player, Lopez showed a great eye at the plate, walking 12.6% of the time while only striking out 10.2% of the time. He also stole 13 bases on 19 attempts.
2019:
In 2019, he was promoted to A ball in Lansing. The then 20-year-old slashed .324/.371/.796 with five home runs in his 492 plate appearances. He however has the lowest BB% up to this point (6.9%) and his K% sat at 12.8%, the highest of his career. 
Unless you include his 34 plate appearances with the Ro …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Franchise Hockey Manager 8 predicts the rest of Rasmus Sandin’s career

It has been quite some time since I last did a career simulation focusing on a Leaf, with the most recent one being Jack Campbell. After putting the series on hold for three months, the desire to do another one came back recently and I was eager to give this another go.
Back in February, I tweeted a poll asking people which Leaf they wanted to see next as the focus for my next career sim using Franchise Hockey Manager 8. As you can tell by the title of this post, Rasmus Sandin was the undisputed winner and he will be the subject of my latest simulation.
Sandin has impressed and made significant progress since being taken 29th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry draft. Barely halfway through his second pro-season, he got called up to the Leafs and has more or less remained a fixture with the team despite a lack of playing time in 2021. His first full season has shown lots of promise and growing pains that are typical of a 22-year-old, and now will likely be missing significant time due to a knee injury. It’s clear that he will remain an integral piece in the organization for years to come, but what lies in store for him? That’s where FHM 8 comes in.
If this is your first time reading one of these, this is my tenth post where I use a video game to get an idea as to how careers will pan out. I should preface by saying that you should not take the results of this simulation as biblical proof of what lies ahead for Sandin, but the hope is you have fun going on this long journey with me. The previous nine entries are linked below if you want to catch up or to read after this one:
Mitch Marner career sim
William Nylander career sim
Auston Matthews career sim
Frederik Andersen career sim
What if Alexis …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Raptors turn up heat on Frank Vogel with crazy quarter vs. Lakers

Raptors turn up heat on Frank Vogel with crazy quarter vs. Lakers

Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors had quite the tall task ahead of them tonight, at least on paper. Facing LeBron James at home is never easy, even if Frank Vogel and his Los Angeles Lakers were playing without most of their big names in what has become a nightmare season for them. Toronto knew […]
Raptors turn up heat on Frank Vogel with crazy quarter vs. Lakers – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Leafs 3 stars of the week: Auston Matthews continues to dominate the league, Michael Bunting rising in Calder conversation

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been quite the rollercoaster of emotions as of late and it’s been going on like this for quite a while, and just two weeks ago was proof of that as they went 1-2-0 in three games while displaying some questionable hockey. With some struggles on the team like their second line not producing the same as they used to, them having suspect defensive coverages, and even their goalies being two of the worst in the entire league since December, Toronto has had themselves some wild, wild games and last week against Columbus, Seattle and Arizona were a part of them too.
They opened up their week Monday night in Columbus for the second time this season and unlike the last time they played in Columbus, Toronto wanted to leave there with the two points this time. Well, they certainly came out of the gates flying and were determined to do so as they played a very good opening period against the Blue Jackets as they outshot them 13-5 but more importantly outscored them 3-0 and took a three-go …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Nick Abruzzese was named Ivy League Player of the Year

Nick Abruzzese has been having quite the year. The captain of the Harvard Crimson took a brief sabbatical to go and play for Team USA in Beijing, he’s made the long list of Hobey Baker candidates, and now he is being recognized by the Ivy League as their Player of the Year.

Nick Abruzzese was named the Ivy League Player of the Year. He registered the most assists in Ivy play with eight.
» https://t.co/PXFaexj7RB pic.twitter.com/6LFNtxjrlz
— The Ivy League (@IvyLeague) March 9, 2022

The Ivy League is a small part of the NCAA, and generally, the quality of teams is a step down (outside of Harvard fielding some very competitive teams to keep up with the rest of Boston.) but that doesn’t take away from this being another great accolade for a player that is rocketing up the prospect list in Toronto.
Abruzzese is on the older side of Leafs’ prospects, as he’ll turn 23 before next season. He’s also attending Harvard so there’s a very real chance that he’ll want to return for his senior year and close out that coveted degree.
Harvard is presently ranked outside the USCHO rankings, so it’s likely that Abruzzese will not be participating in the Frozen Four, and that could lead to a decision coming soon, and if it does there is a chance that we’ll see Abruzzese getting in some work with the Marlies this year.
Abruzzese has 25 points (6 goals) in 22 games this season.
More from The Leafs Nation:
Maple Leafs aim to clear traffic in front of the net as goalies look for confidence
Leafs Prospect Roundup: Nick Robertson on the board, Curtis Douglas’ big game, Pavel Gogolev demoted
Ranking the Maple Leafs’ alternate jerseys from worst to best


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs 3 stars of the week: Auston Matthews climbing the Hart Trophy rankings, Mitch Marner nets four-goal game

It was quite a busy week for the Toronto Maple Leafs last week as they had themselves a four-game week for the first time since the second week of December when they went 2-2-0 in those four games. They opened the week on Monday with a visit to Montreal to play the Canadiens for the first time since the home-opener and I don’t think I should go into much detail about that game because it was arguably their worst game of the season. Goaltending was a mess, the defense was a mess, the offense had their chances of course, but couldn’t capitalize on any of them as they fell 5-2.
They then had to shift their focus to Columbus within 48 hours as they were trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since mid-October when they ended up dropping four in a row before they went on an absolute heater and won like 15 of their next 17 games. Well, it was a much better effort this time around compared to the game against Montreal, but they ended up losing their 2-1 lead in the third and Columbus ended up coming back to take the 3-2 lead and shut the door on Toronto …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Friedman: Ho-Sang’s contract with Leafs was close, but still likely

Monday was quite the monumental day for Josh Ho-Sang as he was officially selected to represent Canada at the upcoming Winter Olympics. After years of being mired in a complex relationship with Team Canada, he will head to Beijing alongside the likes of Eric Staal, Daniel Winnik, and Justin Pogge in the hopes of securing a medal. All of this while without a proper NHL contract from the Leafs.
Fans have been clamouring for Ho-Sang to get his chance with the big club because of his strong start to the 2021-22 campaign with the Marlies. According to Elliotte Friedman in his latest 32 Thoughts post, it turns out the Leafs were seriously considering giving him that coveted promotion during the height of the Omicron wave.
23. It sounds like there were some conversations about Josh Ho-Sang officially signing with the Maple Leafs when the team was battling injuries and COVID. But, by that time, it was known Ho-Sang was on the Olympic radar, and going on an NHL contract would end the opportunity. If it was known he’d be up for good, maybe it would have happened. But, it wasn’t worth the risk without a guarantee, and the team decided to wait. We will see what happens after.
What this boils down to is the Leafs have been thinking of adding Ho-Sang to their lineup but ended up waiting on what would happen in regards to the Team Canada selection. Now that it has been confirmed he will be heading to China for the Winter Games, there is a possibility talks could resume either while he is playing or upon his return to Toronto. Meaning that if he were to be given a contract by the team, it won’t be un …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation