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

Mark Shapiro talks about MLB players getting vaccinated, the Blue Jays are reportedly working on an extension for Ross Atkins, and more!

The Blue Jays’ Grapefruit debut on Sportsnet was a bit of a dud as Tanner Roark got spanked around by the Yankees, but there was plenty of interesting news from this weekend to talk about, so we’ll focus on that instead.

Over at The Athletic, Kaitlyn McGrath had an excellent one-on-one with Mark Shapiro, which is certainly worth a read from top to bottom. The key note from that talk that I’ll dive into, though, was that Shapiro has “fairly good information” that major-league players are on their way to being vaccinated within the next few weeks, meaning the Blue Jays could be back in Toronto playing at the Rogers Centre sooner than anticipated…
“We’ve got fairly good information that the vaccine will be accessible to our players and other major-league teams in the next two to three weeks or month. So that if by the end of April or early May all of our players or the bulk of our players and staff are vaccinated and other teams are as well and Toronto is a safe place, it starts to feel like the reasons for us not to be there, the risks start to be mitigated. …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

How Much Will Morgan Rielly’s Next Contract Cost the Maple Leafs?

Between Sportsnet and TSN us Leafs fans are put through constant worry about our cap situation. Well, allow this article to maybe act as a calm amidst the storm we’re currently in (Leafs and life related). 
Today, I’d like to take some time to talk about Morgan Rielly. What specifically about him? Well, the new contract he’ll be needing in two years. I know there are lots of variables and uncertainty at the moment with the NHL salary cap, but there are a few tools and comparisons that we can use to help us determine what a fair cost for Rielly would be. Things to consider are the salary cap, his age, team situation, and his comps. 
But before we do that I think it’s important to review just how good Rielly has been for the Leafs over the last three seasons (17/18 – 19/20).

xGF% Rel




It’s no secret that Rielly struggled this season. He never really looked right out there and admitted to playing injured earlier in the year. Also, Connor McDavid …

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Author: Stephen Brown / The Leafs Nation

Report: Blue Jays sign catcher Caleb Joseph to MiLB deal

According to Jamie Campbell of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays have signed former Baltimore Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph to a minor-league deal. Mike Wilner of Sportsnet The Fan 590 suggests that Joseph will likely take Luke Maile’s spot on the roster after he was non-tendered and signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in December.

#BlueJays sign catcher Caleb Joseph, per source. Minor league deal, non-roster invitee.
— Jamie Campbell (@SNETCampbell) January 20, 2020

Joseph, 33, was drafted by Baltimore in 2008 and spent parts of five seasons with the Orioles before signing as a free agent with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2019, with Arizona, he slashed .211/.250/.263 in 20 games. In 2018, he appeared in 82 games in Baltimore, posting an OPS of .575.
A defence-first catcher, Joseph, a native of Nashville, Tennesse gained minor notoriety in Toronto after an altercation with Marcus Stroman in 2014.
More updates to come.

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Author: Hayden Godfrey / Blue Jays Nation

Daily Duce: Shapiro talks pitching market, Anthopolous gets himself in trouble, and more!


Mark Shapiro appeared on Sportsnet 590’s Lead Off with Ashley, Ziggy and Scotty Mac on Thursday morning to talk about a handful of off-season related topics. I’m going to focus on a couple of things that are interesting in regards to getting an idea of how the front office plans to tackle free agency this winter.
SN: Looking at the 2020 iterations of our Toronto Blue Jays, there’s under $40 million committed to payroll as of now. So I need to know… What’s your best offer for Gerrit Cole going to be?
Shapiro: He’s certainly a very rare talent to be available in free agency. Almost every team out there is looking for starting pitching, which is not surprising, and certainly, every team could use a No. 1 starter. We’re going to have to be aggressive on every level of the free-agent starting pitcher landscape. We recognize that as players go into the situation, they have all the things that are important to them, they look at geography, how that aligns with their personal situation, their family, they look at spring training, and where that location is, they look at the competitiveness of team, they look at …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs expected to sign center Nick Shore

According to Elliotte Friedman, in his piece today for Sportsnet, Toronto is going to be signing depth center Nick Shore as an unrestricted free agent:

From 31 Thoughts:
Brown is going to Ottawa with Zaitsev, Leafs signing Nick Shore as well as Agostino.
— thomas williams (@nosalaryretaind) July 1, 2019

Shore spent last season in the Russian KHL playing for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, scoring 16 points in 37 games. The NHLe calculator tool from Dobber Prospects’ Frozen Tools has this as being equivalent to 26 points on an 82 game season. Nothing amazing, but he will be a good depth option for the Leafs. He may even rotate time in that slot with new Leaf Jason Spezza, or share the line with one of them on the wing and one of them in the middle.
He has played quite a bit in the NHL in a depth role previously, including time with the Kings, Flames, and Senators.
Shore is 26 years old and will come in working to secure a more permanent position in the NHL. This an adept move to ‘shore’ up the Leafs’ bottom 6, and continues a string of major restructuring that the Leafs are undergoing to make room for Matthews and …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Canada watches in record numbers as Kawhi Leonard sinks Sixers in Game 7

Sportsnet says almost six million Canadians saw most or all of yesterday’s Game 7 between the Raptors and the 76ers Sunday night’s Game 7 between the Raptors and the 76ers was tense, back-and-forth, and featured an already-legendary finish — and a record number of Canadians tuned in to see it.
According to Sportsnet, Game 7 was the most-watched basketball game in ever in Canada, with 5.8 million Canadians tuning in to watch some or all of the game.
5.8 million! That’s a lot! Like, 16% of our entire population! But hey, if you like mind-boggling numbers, I have even more for you.
The average number of viewers for the game was 2.2 million people watching; if you want something to compare that to, consider this: February’s Raptors-Spurs tilt, featuring DeMar DeRozan’s return to Toronto, was the most-watched regular season basketball game ever in Canada… and the average number of viewers for that game was 710,000. Quite a jump!
Wait, wait, I have one more inconceivable number for you. At 9:33 p.m. last night, when that crazy dragon lady was doing her thing on Game of Thrones, 3.8 million Canadians were watching that crazy Fun Guy Kawhi Leonard drop his miracle four-bouncer through the hoop to …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ