Critiquing the Leafs lines before they hit the ice

Bless Sheldon Keefe’s soul. He’s given us the unique opportunity to start reacting to the Leafs lines before they hit the ice tomorrow. Of course he didn’t give us his defense pairings, so he’s left us a little bit wanting, but we’ve got the big stuff to dissect early.

Maple Leafs lines to start:
Thornton – Matthews – MarnerVesey – Tavares – NylanderMikheyev – Kerfoot – HymanSimmonds – Spezza – Barabanov
Outside looking in to start: Robertson, Boyd, Engvall, Anderson
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 3, 2021

So we’ll go line by line through these, but first line left wing Joe Thornton deserves some special recognition. After weeks of trying to figure out if Thornton was going to be the fourth line center or if he was going to grab the 3C position from Alexander Kerfoot, we’ve now learned that Sheldon Keefe has been galaxy braining his lineup card the entire time, and we’ve really got some interesting combinations to look at.
The four players that James Mirtle lists as being on the outside looking in looks like the lock for the taxi squad forwards, and potentially the roster scratched player as well. Boyd would potentially the roster guy of that group, as …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Did the Astros sign steal signs against the Jays? You be the judge

The Houston Astros sold their soul for a World Series. They won it all in 2017, but haven’t won a championship since, despite playoff berths in four of the last five seasons. The Astros proved they’ll stop at nothing short of cheating to help them win a World Championship.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic unearthed this latest revelation in a fascinating expose about the Houston Astros stealing signs electronically during the 2017 season. Rosenthal spoke with former Astros players who attest to the team cheating to gain an advantage at the plate.
This method was confirmed by former Astro Mike Fiers and involved an in-stadium camera watching opposing catcher’s signs, relaying that feed to a monitor near the dugout and giving the batter an audio cue — like banging a garbage can — to let the batter know whether to anticipate a breaking ball or off-speed pitch.
Sounds too crazy to be true, right? Almost as ridiculous as the Blue Jays being accused of having a “man in white” in the stands relaying catcher signs to hitters. While the latter was never proven to be true, the Astros are in a heap of hot water for their part in electronic sign …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation