Matthews invisible against Montreal once again as Leafs win season opener

On May 31st, the Leafs showed up to the Scotiabank Arena to play an all-important Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens, only to not show up at all, and lose the game.
Four and a half months later, they started off tonight’s game with the exact same effort, but at least learned from their mistakes and managed to win their first game of the season for the fifth season in a row.
Like I said, the Leafs came out flat, but that seems to be a common recurrence in this current era of the Leafs, so I don’t think too many people were concerned just yet. And of course, the Montreal Canadiens opened the scoring as well, as Jonathan Drouin scored a feel-good goal that I don’t think any fan was too mad at after returning from his leave of absence to improve his mental health. But, that’s also pretty common for the Leafs, so once again, fans weren’t too concerned.
Once the halfway point of the first period was reached, the Leafs seemed to find their feet and put in a much stronger effort for the remainder of the period, even getting a couple opportunities …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

John Tavares looks good to go

Not sure if you missed the 635 replays that Sportsnet showed of John Tavares getting almost decapitated in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens, but it was a shocking thing to watch. The incident, which resulted in Tavares being knocked unconscious and stretchered off the ice, left many fans questioning in the immediate aftermath if the injury could be career-altering.
Tavares miraculously escaped serious injury to his head, neck and spine, coming away with a concussion and a knee injury. He astoundingly returned to the ice before the series against Montreal ended, and could have possibly returned to the playoffs had the Leafs progressed.
The great news, as shared by Kyle Dubas on TSN’s Overdrive radio show, is that Tavares seems to be fully out of the woods and should be 100% in time for the start of next season, which is a huge relief to hear:

Kyle Dubas said on @OverDrive1050 that John Tavares has been cleared for all on-ice activities and all signs point to him being good to go next season. But given nature of the injury, #Leafs will be cautious as he gets back up to his former speed.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Forget about losses like these because this Leafs team is different

The Leafs lost, yes. But they showed resiliency, they showed heart, they showed that they care. This isn’t like other losses. Sure, they made us believe it was possible, but what were they supposed to do?
Would you have rather them just say, “na, we’re not good enough to come back”? Because I wouldn’t.
All I want to say is that this team is different. You know it, I know it. Tell me you didn’t think going into this series that the Leafs were going to win because I know you thought that. Continue to think it. It’s happening. Leafs will wave goodbye to the Habs while their 2500 fans sit and watch.
I hope you enjoy this video. I tried to talk some sense into this loss.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Rodion Amirov has been picked, what’s next for the Leafs?

Tonight was a little straight forward. The Leafs showed up. Picked when they were supposed to. They continued to prioritize skill above all else and selected a talented young player who already has 5 points in 10 games in the KHL this season, and then literally nothing else happened Leafs related for the rest of the draft. Of course, we might start getting more out of the insiders tonight and we’ll wake up to a whole new set of rumours tomorrow.
The post draft media availability
Kyle Dubas met with members of the Toronto media following the draft. Here are a few of the highlights of that conversation.

Dubas says Leafs aren’t planning to qualify Evan Rodrigues “at this point in time”
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) October 7, 2020

Since this is the biggest piece of news out of the press conference we’ll start with that. Unfortunately a cheap deal couldn’t be found for Rodrigues and he’ll hit free agency. Not really a loss for the Leafs, and potentially they can come back around and get something done, but Rodrigues’ will join the elite company of Nathan Horton as players who will be unrestricted free agents for the Leafs this offseason …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Hyun Jin Ryu helps save the Blue Jays from themselves

Yet again, Hyun Jin Ryu showed why the Blue Jays invested $80 million in him last winter. With his team struggling behind him (at the plate, on the bases, in the field), Ryu stepped up and pitched like the ace they needed.

Things worth mentioning… 

This game really looked like it had Loss written all over it early on. In the first inning, the newly-acquired Jonathan Villar inexplicably tried to stretch a single into a double and got thrown out by about 100 miles. In the fourth inning, Villar singled yet again and then Teoscar Hernandez hit a single of his own to put runners on first and third. With Rowdy Tellez at the plate, it looked like a prime chance for the Jays to bust the game open. But, instead, the inning came to an end when Villar got caught napping on the bases…

How does @Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro nab Jonathan Villar here
:FOX Sports Florida: #MLB
— FOX Sports Florida & Sun (@FOXSportsFL) September 2, 2020

This was a zoned-out, mistake-prone energy we’ve seen from the Blue Jays before, and it extended to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation