Alek Manoah is the best Blue Jays pitching prospect since Roy Halladay

I got on the Alek Manoah hype train at the first stop, when he was the second pitcher taken at 11th overall in the 2019 Amateur Draft.

It wasn’t any of his immense on-field attributes that pulled me in, however, but his larger-than-life personality and big heart. When Alex Anthopoulos signed Jose Bautista to a team-friendly, five-year, sixty-five-million dollar contract in 2011, he said he wasn’t making a bet on the player, but on the person. For some reason that’s always stuck with me.
It was a tweet to the newly acquired Anthony Kay in July of 2019 that made me a fan of Alek the person, as much or more than I was of Alek the player. He welcomed Kay to the family, of which he himself had only belonged for a few weeks.

Welcome to the fam brother! The future is now https://t.co/4ifBYJkmnp
— MANOAH (@Alek_Manoah47) July 31, 2019

A close eye on Manoah’s social media timeline showed in the weeks and months that followed that this wasn’t out of the ordinary — this wasn’t just a kid trying to make a good impression with so many new eyes on him. He has a history …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

News and Notes: Robertson cleared, Kokkonen joins the Marlies, and Andersen skates

The news doesn’t stop with the trade deadline, and it’s been a busy morning for the Leafs. Here’s a quick rundown of the events of Thursday leading into tonight’s game with the Jets.
Robertson cleared to rejoin the Leafs

Forward Nick Robertson has been cleared from the NHL’s COVID Protocol list and is available to re-join the Leafs this morning.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) April 15, 2021

Following yesterday’s unfortunate suspension of play for the Marlies, Nick Robertson was put into the NHL protocol because of his close contact with the team. It appears that the necessary testing has been done and Robertson is now able to rejoin the Leafs, which is quite fortunate because he’s an exciting addition to a lineup that is already missing William Nylander, and in a holding pattern waiting for Nick Foligno.
It’s likely that Robertson will be back with the Marlies once the Nylander and Foligno are with the Leafs, so this is his best opportunity to get in some quality NHL time, and it’s nice to see it wasn’t cut short.
Kokkonen to join the Marlies

Mikko Kokkonen will soon join the Toronto Marlies. The 2019 third-round …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Stories of the Year: COVID-19 and the NHL

As we finally say goodbye to 2020, we’ll stop one last time to reflect on how COVID-19 has impacted the NHL. Of course, the NHL portion of the impact of the disease is so much more trivial than the devastation of that we’ve seen on a global level. The deaths, the separation of families, the exhaustion of health care systems, the rise of conspiracy loons and anti-maskers, and the financial impact that has also taken a toll on so many households. In short, the hockey part seems incredibly small, but in the hockey world, COVID was still a dominant storyline that needs to be discussed.
The Initial Shutdown
Like so many things with the NHL, the league was hesitant to shutdown first. Jurisdictions like San Jose were already forbidding games in front of audiences, and it wasn’t until the NBA committed to shutting down that the NHL realized it was time to follow suit. Given that by the end of that weekend, the entire world and all non-essential businesses followed suit, it wasn’t a particularly brave decision, and from the beginning, the NHL began to sell a bill of goods about the NHL’s return.
Amazingly enough, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Pregame: Going back to Cali

The Leafs land in California, and their first stop is against the San Jose Sharks, home to future Leaf Joe Thornton.
All three of these games in California should be very winnable for the Leafs, and the Sharks being without both of their Karlssons and Tomas Hertl certainly helps their chance at victory tonight, though the Sharks are somehow on a two game winning streak, so maybe something is clicking for them at the moment. Nothing is ever free in this league, so, hopefully the Leafs of last week are still going to play that level.

LW
C
RW

ZACH HYMAN

AUSTON MATTHEWS

MITCH MARNER

WILLIAM NYLANDER

JOHN TAVARES

ALEXANDER KERFOOT

KYLE CLIFFORD

JASON SPEZZA

KASPERI KAPANEN

PIERRE ENGVALL

FREDERIK GAUTHIER

DENIS MALGIN

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

MARTIN MARINCIN

TYSON BARRIE

TRAVIS DERMOTT

JUSTIN HOLL

RASMUS SANDIN

CALLE ROSEN
Jack Campbell makes his much anticipated return to the net tonight. After exiting on a high note during Andersen’s injury, we haven’t seen him back in net since, and it looks like he could possibly be grabbing two of the games in California, as the Kings and Ducks will be back to back games later this week. Campbell knows …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

It’s time to stop complaining about the Toronto Raptors box-and-1 defense

The Toronto Raptors used a box-and-1 to stop Steph Curry during the NBA Finals. It’s time to stop complaining about it. “Just Win Baby,” the motto which Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders made popular, represents the true essence of sports. It doesn’t matter how; the goal is to win the game. During the NBA […]
It’s time to stop complaining about the Toronto Raptors box-and-1 defense – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Bossetti / Raptors HQ