What Not To Wear: Hockey Edition

With the NHL moving soon to their Bubbles, there is lots of conversation in the hockey sphere around the relaxation of the Suits on Game Days mandate. From players, to reporters, to fans on Twitter, everyone seems to have an opinion on whether or not suits should be a requirement. For context, since 2005, the CBA has outlined that “Players are required to wear jackets, ties and dress pants to all Club games and while travelling to and from such games unless otherwise specified by the Head Coach or General Manager.” Players wearing suits on game day is a time honoured tradition that the team social media accounts often highlight to hype up fans for the game. 
However, the rules will be different inside the Hockey Hunger Game Bubbles, where suits will no longer be required. Players seem excited by this change:

Auston Matthews on a relaxed dress code in the bubble: “I’m really looking forward to it, honestly. It’ll be a pretty cool opportunity for guys to express themselves like other leagues are able to. At times, hockey can kind of fall behind as far as that stuff kind of goes.”
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) July 19, 2020

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Author: MerOutLoud / The Leafs Nation

NHL considering North Dakota as a neutral location for 2019-20 games

The prospect of watching professional sports any time soon seems like a massive stretch as the world has virtually come to a halt due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In the grand scheme on things, sports are a fairly trivial issue, but leagues are still working on ideas to get their operations rolling again, even if it means playing in front of empty stadiums in random locations. Take Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota, home of the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Hawks, for example.
According to Elliotte Friedman, the NHL and the NHLPA have been spitballing scenarios as to where the rest of the 2019-20 season can be played out, and North Dakota is a popular destination.
The Ralph Englestad Area is one of the best non-NHL hockey facilities in the United States. Actually, it’s even been regarded as superior to many NHL rinks. Known as the “Taj Mahal of Hockey,” it can fit 11,643 spectators, though that doesn’t really matter much in this situation.
The logistics are obviously challenging (finding accommodations for everyone, getting everybody on flights, and so on) but if hockey is going to return any time …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

KHL players will be able to sign with NHL teams as of May 1st

Games may not be played anytime soon, but we’re just over a month away from KHL signing season, and if recent history has taught us anything, that’s a significant time for the Leafs.
From TSN:
With the KHL season officially being cancelled Wednesday, players with expiring KHL contracts are free to sign with NHL teams as of May 1.
However, as TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports, the NHL has instructed teams that they can only sign players to deals that begin next season while this year’s campaign remains suspended. Whether or not that changes if the NHL resumes play is unclear.
So as far as Leafs reserve list players they’d possibly consider bringing over, there isn’t much over there, no Egor Korshkov in waiting. Vladislav Kara is an intriguing option, but he’s still got some development time, and I can’t see the Leafs rushing this Russian.
Now if the Leafs are wanting to consider their tradition of bringing over KHLers like Soshnikov, Zaitsev, Ozhiganov, or Mikheyev, the Leafs have had rumoured interest in a number of KHLers this season…
Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Kerfoot suspended for 2 games

Well, pretty much as soon as the hit happened it seemed like this was inevitable, but now it’s official:

Toronto’s Alexander Kerfoot has been suspended for two games for Boarding Colorado’s Erik Johnson. https://t.co/Q1i23tNvVr
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 25, 2019
It’s not too hard to see why that’s a suspension, and any arguments against it being a suspension are just through looking at the countless similar hits that regularly slip through the cracks. Sometimes players get away with things they should, that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t a justifiable suspension on Kerfoot, it absolutely is.

Bad hit from Alexander Kerfoot. Looked concerned for Erik Johnson afterwards #Leafs x #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/MjXPeoPm6P
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 24, 2019
See? Not ideal, and two games keeps Kerfoot out of Wednesday (@DET) & Friday’s (@BUF) games, returning on Saturday night when the Leafs return home to play against Buffalo.
As for how the Leafs backfill Kerfoot, well, they already have the bodies on the team to do so, and it likely means that Timashov or Shore play in on the 4th line with either Petan or Engvall moving up in the lineup, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

We built the most average team in hockey

The summer boredom is soon coming to an end and with that, the opportunity to drop in non-newsy posts about hockey is coming to an end as well. That probably serves you the readers well, but we’re not quite there yet. Instead I give you an idea stolen from 538…

Who is baseball’s most average player? https://t.co/dfhCjtbm6Y
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) August 27, 2019
Interesting, right?
Well, it’s a bit easier to do that with baseball than it is to do with hockey, but screw it, I’m going to try anyways using 6 equally weighted measures for forwards, 6 equally weighted measures for defensemen, and ditto for the goaltenders. The end result, you guessed it, a completely average team.
The Forward Criteria
This isn’t an attempt a truly profound analytical model. This is just some fun to have in late August, so that being said the categories are time on ice, points, expected goals for %, corsi for %, penalty minutes, and hits. I can sense a lot of you cringing and others shrugging in acceptance.
Here’s where the title of the post becomes quite misleading. I’m not looking at averages, I’m looking at percentiles for each …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays acquire Derek Fisher for Sanchez, Biagini

Around the MLB, as soon as 4:00 pm ET hit, there was a flurry of trades that were finalized with mere seconds left until the deadline — in one of the many, the Blue Jays acquired outfielder Derek Fisher from the Houston Astros fo Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini, and Cal Stevenson.

Cal Stevenson, Biagini, Sanchez all going to Houston per source #BlueJays
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) July 31, 2019

Just Fisher coming back to #blueJays per source
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) July 31, 2019

Sanchez, arguably the biggest piece going to Houston, has had his fair share of big moments in Toronto, but since the memorable playoff games he has been stuck in a gutter that he just can’t get out of. With his free agency eligibility looming in 2021, the Jays decided to move on from the pitcher and try to get some value out of him instead of potentially non-tendering the pitcher this winter.
The 27-year-old starter leads the entire MLB in walks, so getting anything back for him should be considered somewhat a blessing. If anyone can fix him and return him to the ERA-title winning 2016 Sanchez, it’s the Astros — perhaps he’s more valuable to Houston than he would ever become in Toronto.

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Author: Thomas Williams / Blue Jays Nation

Drake can’t come to any more Leafs games

As soon as Drake was shown on the jumbotron last night at Game 4, fans became worried. There’s a very real curse in which the rapper shows up and the teams he supports do poorly.

It isn’t just an isolated incident. Drake showed up to cheer on Serena Williams at the U.S. Open, but the top-seeded Williams was shockingly defeated by unranked Italian Roberta Vinci. At UFC 236, Drake was supporting Conor McGregor, rocking an Irish flag around his shoulder, and McGregor took the most lopsided loss of his career. Prior to the National Championship game earlier this year, Drake posted a photo of himself wearing an Alabama Crimson Tide sweater, and the Tide got murdered 44-16 by Clemson.
There are plenty of other examples…

These what #drake as done pic.twitter.com/tQzR1n9P5w
— OyinLola (@O_oyinlolo) April 18, 2019

AC Roma is taking the curse seriously…

All Roma players banned from taking photos with Drake until the end of the season
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) April 15, 2019

Drake is a Toronto guy and he loves to rep the city. He’s an ambassador for the Toronto Raptors and it seems right to have him in the mix at …

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Author: h0ckeyfan / The Leafs Nation