I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed in the Leafs

Before even getting started into any of this, I want to take a moment as the Managing Editor of The Leafs Nation to thank all of you that chose to read our site over the past year. Coming out of the Montreal series last year it seemed easy to quit on the Leafs, and instead, we saw our readership grow to record numbers over the past year and that has taught me that “The Passion” is an authentic thing with the Leafs fanbase.
I’d also like to take a moment to thank the wonderful contributors to TLN. We’ve produced a ton of content this year and in my opinion been the most interesting source for Leafs news on the world wide web. This group has a bright future, and the fact that this season for the first time in site history we had credentialed coverage of the Leafs, Marlies, and the Growlers is a first for the site that I am very proud of, but can’t take any of the credit for. Couple that with great coverage of Leafs prospect, CBA knowledge that is second to none, Toronto Six coverage, and the ability to break down all things Leafs, this group got it done, an …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

21 Takes to close out the Leafs season and to usher in the playoffs

Here we are, the final 21 takes of the season for me. We started doing this back at the quarter mark and checked in again at the midpoint, and the trade deadline. Now the grand finale to give me 82 takes on the year. Personally closing out this series is as exciting as closing out the season for me, and it’s nice having a forward look to the playoffs. Now, let’s get to those takes.
1. No matter what, this team doesn’t need to be blown up
This season has been a good reminder of one thing that seems like a very cold take to start things off. It’s that the Leafs are incredibly good. They are a well-built team and the success they have had is earned and not lucked into. If the Leafs find themselves out after the first round there isn’t a need to “trade everyone” or “blow it up” or any of the other drastic things I will call for in my moments of peak hyperbole.
That’s not a plea to keep the band together, it’s just a reminder I’ll potentially want to look at later this spring to remind me that any changes made should be thoughtful ones that keep Toronto competitive.
2. There are plenty of reasons to have high expectations for the Leafs this spring
The Leafs have clinched the fourth best record in the NHL this year. That’s outstanding, especially when one of the teams in their division is the President’s Trophy winning team. Getting a record that good isn’t easy, and pretty much anyone other than Florida or Colorado, or C …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

3 lessons Masai Ujiri, Raptors must learn from playoffs in offseason

3 lessons Masai Ujiri, Raptors must learn from playoffs in offseason

The Toronto Raptors have not started their series against the longtime rival Philadelphia 76ers in the most dynamic fashion. In fact, Masai Ujiri has had to watch his team lose the first two games of this series by a combined 35 points. Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam are scoring, but the wins haven’t come just […]
3 lessons Masai Ujiri, Raptors must learn from playoffs in offseason – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

1 stud and 1 dud as Scottie Barnes, Raptors get smacked by 76ers

1 stud and 1 dud as Scottie Barnes, Raptors get smacked by 76ers

Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors finally started off their postseason push after so much buildup and hype around their matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers. If Toronto is going to pull off the upset, names like OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. will have to play excellent basketball. Throughout the first half, the Raptors were […]
1 stud and 1 dud as Scottie Barnes, Raptors get smacked by 76ers – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

PWHPA and PHF asked to talk by the NHL over potential merger

PWHPA and PHF asked to talk by the NHL over potential merger

A year and a half ago, when I started covering women’s hockey, the rift between the then NWHL and the recently formed PWHPA was fresh, and wide. I was intimidated by it, frankly. The politics seemed so deep and divided that I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to confidently talk about it. I’m still not totally sure I can now, but I’m going to try my best.
As you may have seen, it was announced by Jeff Marek that the NHL is trying to close the divide in women’s hockey between these two major organizations:

Breaking women’s hockey news – The NHL has asked the PWHPA and PHF to meet in an attempt to come to an arrangement that would bring the two leagues together. Details of the proposed meeting are now being worked on.
— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) March 17, 2022

On the one side you have the Premier Hockey Federation, which was formerly the NWHL, National Women’s Hockey League. They changed their name heading into this season in order to be more inclusive of transgender players who may play in the league. You may have seen coverage on this blog of the Toronto Six, which is the newest franchise in the PHF and may end up leading the league at the end of this season.
On the other side, you have the Professional Women’s Hockey Player’s Association. Chances are if you can name 10 women’s hockey players, they’re all members of the PWHPA. This organization formed out of the collapse of the CWHL, th …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Nets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Feb. 28

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Nets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Feb. 28

The Toronto Raptors have started the second half in just about the worst fashion possible, as both the Hornets and the Hawks blew the doors off them. Luckily, the latest Raptors odds have them positioned to break their losing streak against a division rival. Nick Nurse and the rest of the team will take on […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Nets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Feb. 28 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

3 very bold second half predictions for the Toronto Raptors

3 very bold second half predictions for the Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors have started the second half in just about the worst way possible after two blowouts on the road, but that is no reason to get overly pessimistic about their long-term prospects. The squad is still positioned to make the play-in tournament. The club will need to overcome a hobbled Fred VanVleet and […]
3 very bold second half predictions for the Toronto Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

NBA Rookie Ladder: Is Raptors’ Scottie Barnes still near the top?

NBA Rookie Ladder: Is Raptors’ Scottie Barnes still near the top?

Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes started the season off so insanely hot that he was without question on top of the NBA Rookie Ladder. However, thanks to what has become a historically deep 2021 class, the rest of the standout rookies appear to have made up most of the ground. In addition to names like […]
NBA Rookie Ladder: Is Raptors’ Scottie Barnes still near the top? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Grading the Leafs forwards at the halfway point of the season

Yesterday we started our assessment of how the Leafs players have been doing. I think generally we can say things have been going pretty darn good too. Today we’ll continue the grading, but if you want to take a look back at what’s been done so far, here you go:
Grading the Maple Leafs at the halfway point of the season

As I mentioned yesterday, there was a bit of grading of a curve:
A bit about our grading. These grades are not just mine. The entire TLN crew had a chance to weigh in and the most response reflects the feelings of the group, while any comments are my own unless otherwise attributed.
We absolutely graded on a curve here, as we are grading each player against our expectations for that player. So if you think Muzzin has still been a better player than Liljegren, remember the expectations for Muzzin were likely that he is the strongest part of the Leafs shutdown pairing, while the expectations for Liljegren were that he proved he belongs in the NHL.
Now that we’ve covered that off, here are the TLN grades of the Leafs forwards:
The A’s
Auston Matthews is the first of three players that received A’s across the board from our rankers. It’s probably not surprising that Auston is up there, as he is one of the best players in the game today and is very much in the Rocket Richard race once again. Combining the fact that Auston has added a lot more a physical element to his game, has upped his defensive responsibility once again, and has more frequently put the team on his back and carried them to success is how Auston is exceeding expectations that are incredibly high.
Michael Bunting is another player who received straight As for from our group. It would have been nice if Bunting came in as a bottom line muckraker who could chip in the occasional point, it would have been nice to see him on third l …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Bucks Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 5

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Bucks Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 5

The Toronto Raptors have started off 2022 hot, winning their first two games at home against the Knicks and Spurs to climb back to .500 on the season. Unfortunately, the latest Raptors odds are hinting that they won’t be able to maintain that start against one of the league’s best. Toronto is set to take […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Bucks Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 5 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ