TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #22 — Auston Matthews’ Pursuit of Maple Leafs Immortality

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a number of legends roll through their system over last 100 years. Some of the best, in fact, to ever lace up the skates have done so in the white and blue.
An article written by Cam Lewis on March 1 took a look at someone who may be one of the next greatest to play for the Leafs — Auston Matthews.
That article came in as the 22nd most read article on TheLeafsNation this year.
Auston Matthews’ Pursuit of Maple Leafs Immortality
In the piece, Lewis noted how Matthews was tracking to score 50 goals which would’ve made him the first Leaf to do so since Dave Andreychuk’s 53-goal campaign in 1993-94. Lewis also said it’s not a matter of when Matthews will hit the 50-goal mark, it’s that if he will pass Rick Vaive for the all-time franchise record of 54 goals in a campaign.
Here’s more of what Lewis wrote:
If Matthews does catch Vaive, his season will undoubtedly be talked about as one of the best in franchise history. As it should be. Breaking the …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #23 — We’re done with Steve Simmons

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!

There’s one Toronto sports columnist who has certainly caused up a fair share of controversy in thanks to constant jabs at those in the market.
And on Sept. 17, an article from JakeBeLeafs noting Steve Simmons’ long-track record and at the time his abjectly racist comment, came in as TheLeafsNation’s 23rd most-read article.
We’re done with Steve Simmons
Simmons had found himself at the forefront of the wrath of social media after he, on Sept. 17, asked Toronto Raptors’ president Masai Ujiri why he has spoken out about racism, but not crime in Toronto.
The coded racism say TSN’s Kayla Grey, amongst many others, speak out against Simmons’ question.
Here’s what JakeBeLeafs wrote in his piece:
You might consider forgiving this columnist for posing an abjectly racist question masquerading as an innocent whattaboutism to the black leader of the local championship professional sports organization in his season ending press conference. To be fair to the truth-seeker, the most pressing question following the team’s championship season and subsequent miracle season, after having lost their superstar for nothing, all performed before the backdrop …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #24 — Friedman hints the Toronto Maple Leafs

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!

One of the bigger rumours that circled the NHL this past offseason surrounded the biggest free agent defenceman — Alex Pietrangelo. Before he signed a mammoth deal with Vegas, his name had been linked to the Maple Leafs.
An article penned by TLN editor Jon Steitzer on October 3rd detailed how while the Leafs may not land him, they had some plan b’s and that was the 24th most read article this year.
Friedman hints that Pietrangelo and the Leafs might not happen, but they have some Plan Bs
While the deal didn’t happen, there’s no denying the interest that was there. He’s that surefire number one right-shot defenceman that every team in the league covets. But right from the get-go, there was the knowledge that it would be tough to make sure it happened.
There were a number of players linked to the Leafs: Dylan DeMelo, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Radko Gudas, Sami Vatanen, Chris Tanev, and T.J. Brodie.
The Leafs finally landed on Brodie signing him to a four-year, $5-million AAV deal days after free agency opened.
Here’s what …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #25 — Apparently Wayne Simmonds wants to be a Leaf

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!

A month and a day before it actually happened, power forward Wayne Simmonds said that he was open to signing a contract to play for his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
On Sept. 8, TLN writer Scott Maxwell detailing what was only a potential deal at the time was the 25th most read article on TheLeafsNation in 2020.
Apparently Wayne Simmonds wants to be a Leaf
Simmonds, in a sense, was a bit of a natural fit on the Leafs. He’s a bigger body and he has brought toughness to his game in the past — both are things Toronto was missing from their lineup. While they tried to address it with bringing Kyle Clifford to the club in a pre-deadline trade, but he left in free agency.
Maxwell noted in his piece that Simmonds appeared to be ready to sign a below-market value deal, and that’s what ended up happening as he inked a one-year, $1.5-million deal.
Here’s what Maxwell wrote about the potential for the deal to happen at the time:
The Wayne Simmonds that Leafs fans have been dreaming of having …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

On Us.

If you haven’t already, I urge you to read Matthew Henriques’ Open Letter to the NHL before reading this article. If you have, I urge you to read it again.
For over half of my life, I have been a metalhead. It all started for me around the age of twelve when I was gifted a copy of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. I was already listening to harder rock (primarily AC/DC and Led Zeppelin) but this was different. This triggered something in me. I needed more. Two years later, on a whim, I picked up a copy of Megadeth’s Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying? on a two for $25 special at a record store in Vancouver and had my mind blown all over again. This was exactly what I had been looking for, and it was just the beginning. Megadeth opened me up to other American thrash acts such as Metallica, Exodus, and eventually Slayer. From Slayer, I was able to more easily expand my tastes to heavier, more sinister German bands like Kreator and Destruction. And know, here I am, a 29-year-old who listens to …

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Author: briancrd / The Leafs Nation

The NHL and its players need to care

If you haven’t already read the open letter to the NHL by Matthew Henriques, I strongly encourage you start there before reading my post. 
One of things that repeatedly gets said around the hockey world is that we’ve got the best sport, but we’ve got the worst league. Sometimes it would be nice if the NHL would stop proving that statement right, but yesterday was not the day.
On a day when the a move by the Milwaukee Bucks led to the postponement of the entire NBA schedule, and led to similar actions in the WNBA, MLS, and MLB, the NHL responded to these players boycotting their games by having a 33 second moment of reflection before one game with the words “End Racism” on the jumbotron.

Before puck drop. pic.twitter.com/mktWdvrqKd
— Christine Simpson (@SNChrisSimpson) August 27, 2020

Obviously this is an incredibly embarrassing moment for the league. At a time when people are demanding real action be taken on the continuous police shootings of African Americans and players in other sports are using their platform to demand real change be taken beyond simple lip service to a substantial human rights …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Q and A with Lance Hornby: the Mike Babcock Era, his new book, and the best and worst of covering hockey

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to read Lance Hornby’s new book, ‘If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Toronto Maple Leafs Ice, Locker Room, and Press Box’ and do a Q and A with the author about the book, his career, and all the things he’s seen throughout. The book is loaded with interesting anecdotes from a writer who has had a front-row seat in Hockey’s Mecca for over 30 years.

Here’s a quick profile of the book and a link to where it can be purchased…
The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most storied teams in the NHL, with stars like Dave Keon, Doug Gilmour and Auston Matthews, who have all left their mark on hockey history. Author Lance Hornby, as a longtime beat writer for the Toronto Sun, has witnessed more than his fair share of that history up close and personal. Through singular anecdotes only Hornby can tell as well as conversations with current and past players, this book provides fans with a one-of-a-kind, insider’s look into the great moments, the lowlights, and everything in between. Leafs fans will …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Martin Marincin is Back Again, Proving Time is a Social Construct

Please don’t read too much into this. Then again, it honestly doesn’t matter if you do.
Earlier this morning, the Maple Leafs opted to recall Schrodinger’s defenceman, Martin Marincin, from the Toronto Marlies in an effort to fuel the theory that the hulking Czech is somehow both in the NHL and AHL at all times. Seriously, it depends on the day.
Marincin has been sent down and subsequently called back up by the Leafs a combined six times over the past two seasons. They’ve waived him on three separate occasions during that span, too, with Marincin passing through unclaimed each time.
Frankly, I wouldn’t be shocked to learn Marincin chose an apartment that rests at the EXACT halfway point between Scotiabank Arena and Coca-Cola Coliseum. For convenience sake, of course. No one likes a needless commute.
You know what, though? I don’t think you’re getting the picture here.
Marincin yo-yos between levels so frequently that he should just wear one of those weird hybrid jerseys that moms with kids on two separate Peewee teams create to appear “neutral”. But we all know who your favourite is, Karen. Klaxxon never gets featured on your ( …

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Author: Mike Stephens / The Leafs Nation

Cutdown Day: The Maple Leafs’ Cast-Offs Have Made the Marlies Much Older. Is This the Right Move?

That Matt Read chose to stay in Toronto, even if it meant riding buses for the Toronto Marlies, shows exactly how he views the Maple Leafs organization.
We don’t know if Read turned down any NHL deals for the AHL pact he signed this morning. We likely never will, really. Nevertheless, Read earned this new commitment on his own merits, doing just about everything you could ask from a PTO invitee and effectively (read: surprisingly) forcing himself into the Leafs’ roster conversation, if only for a moment.
Now, Read has a home. And that home is on a Marlies roster currently undergoing massive turnover.
Prior to training camp, the Marlies were projected by most, myself included, to enter the 2019-20 season as one of the most youth-centric groups in recent franchise memory. Teenaged duo Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren were likely to return, while early expectations foresaw Mac Hollowell, Joseph Duszak, Jesper Lindgren, Brady Ferguson (who is 24, to be fair) and Egor Korshkov expanding their cameos from last season into featured roles this year. Add a batch of youthful newcomers in Justin Brazeau, Joseph Woll, Colt Conrad and, possibly, Ian Scott to the mix, and the Marlies’ group of …

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Author: Mike Stephens / The Leafs Nation

Rasmus Sandin is exactly what the Leafs need now, even if he doesn’t stick all season

With the obvious caveat that we shouldn’t read too much into preseason game results, this training camp for the Leafs has been interesting in a few ways. Toronto had significant roster turnover in the summer, and with these new faces like Spezza, Barrie, Kerfoot, and Ceci, there was a lot to take in about how the lineup would fit together.
It’s always fun to look at a team on paper and make predictions, but usually in the early-going of camp and preseason I find myself second-guessing everything when it looks like all the teams are the same. Now that things have settled out and the Leafs’ real lineup has taken shape, they look proper good from top to bottom, and a big part of that has been the quick emergence of Rasmus Sandin and a step-up in play from Marty Marincin. The two have been pretty clear winners for the 5-6 spots on Toronto’s blue-line, and their style of play is showing to be exactly what the Leafs need in those roles right now.
There’s almost surely a tall ceiling for Sandin to hit, probably sooner than later, but for now it’s tough to argue …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation