Abruzzese heating up, Rifai impressing and more: Marlies Weekly

Abruzzese heating up, Rifai impressing and more: Marlies Weekly

Meet the AHL’s hottest team at the moment: the Toronto Marlies.
Strength is definitely not a problem for a youthful team like this one as they’re currently undefeated since the calendar shifted to 2023, with eight-straight wins, tying a Marlies record.
More importantly, Toronto broke their record for most consecutive road wins in a season, now sitting at 10 after defeating Laval on Saturday.

Road Warriors 🔥👊 pic.twitter.com/KeSELj6QPR
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) January 21, 2023

Let’s discuss this week’s games, beginning with Wednesday’s game against Belleville, which the Marlies won 6-5 in a shootout. Toronto led for a majority of the game but the Senators didn’t give up, scoring two goals in the third period to send it to overtime, and then the shootout.
Marlies captain Logan Shaw was the only scorer in the shootout, giving the Marlies yet another win.
Friday night saw another close game between Toronto and Belleville, though the Marlies just edged the Senators out 4-3. The same occurred on Saturday afternoon in Laval as both teams played incredibly well forcing the shootout. The second for both teams this week.
Again, though, the Marlies found a way to grind it out. Adam Gaudette scored on his attempt and then Shaw, similar to Wednesday, was the player who scored the shootout-winning goal.
It’s been a fascinating season for this Marlies team and it seems like Marlies head coach Greg Moore and Marlies GM Ryan Hardy have really created something special.
“With the amount of young guys that we have, they’re doing a fantastic job of making sure that they’re mentally ready,” Shaw told Marli …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Chris Boucher calls out media as reason for improved Raptors bench play

Chris Boucher calls out media as reason for improved Raptors bench play

The Toronto Raptors were the only team in the NBA to have all five of their starters average above 15 points per game in 2022. Fans pointed to Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam playing well in the starting group as cause for celebration, but some were frustrated with Chris Boucher and Malachi Flynn, among others, […]
Chris Boucher calls out media as reason for improved Raptors bench play – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors trading Gary Trent Jr. could set franchise back years

Raptors trading Gary Trent Jr. could set franchise back years

The Toronto Raptors are a team that is often mentioned as the key player at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline. With names like Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. being mentioned as candidates to go elsewhere potentially, the Raptors have some big decisions to make. The latest buzz from league insider Marc Stein suggests that […]
Raptors trading Gary Trent Jr. could set franchise back years – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

World Juniors: Bedard, Wright score but Canada lose to Czechia in Boxing Day stunner

World Juniors: Bedard, Wright score but Canada lose to Czechia in Boxing Day stunner

Team Canada entered Monday’s action as heavy favourites to win the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, but, ultimately, it was Team Czechia that came away with the Boxing Day TKO.

The Czechs defeated Canada by a 5–2 score on Day 1 of the 2023 World Juniors. Despite the best efforts of Connor Bedard and Shane Wright, the latter of whom was recognized as Canada’s top player, the hosts fell behind 2–1 in the first period and never recovered.
Bedard and Adam Fantilli both tried to score on “The Michigan” move in the first period of the game but couldn’t get the puck past Czech goaltender Tomas Suchanek, who made 36 saves in the victory.
At the other end, Canadian starter Benjamin Gaudreau allowed five goals on 17 shots before being replaced by Thomas Milic, who stopped all 10 he faced the rest of the way.
Wright opened the scoring for Team Canada at the 10:33 mark of the first period, deflecting a long-range shot by Anaheim Ducks defence prospect Olen Zellweger between Suchanek’s legs for a goal on Canada’s first power-play opportunity.

The Captain strikes first for Canada, Shane Wright makes it a 1-0 game! 🇨🇦#WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/JPJZfd7Nqz
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 26, 2022

But a pair of Czech defenders named David — Spacek and Moravec — responded in kind before the end of the first period to give the visitors a 2–1 lead, and Stanislav Svozil made it 3–1 for Czechia less than a minute into the second period.
The C …

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Author: Mike Gould / The Leafs Nation

Raptors rumors: Toronto still showing interest in Myles Turner

Raptors rumors: Toronto still showing interest in Myles Turner

For the last few seasons, every team in need of rim protection, the Toronto Raptors included, have tried to get the Indiana Pacers to give up on Myles Turnehasith the Pacers projected to be in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes at the beginning of the season, Turner appeared to be as good as gone. Things changed […]
Raptors rumors: Toronto still showing interest in Myles Turner – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Examining the Shapiro Era Trades, Part two: The Losses

As a team, you will have your losses here and there. 

On Saturday, we looked at the 19 trades since the Mark Shapiro era started that was considered a win by voters on Twitter. Today, we’ll look at the “losses”
Just a few notes before we begin:
Yes, Shapiro doesn’t make the trades, but they likely run through him. Not just that, but when Mark Shapiro was brought in, so too was Ross Atkins. Hence why I call it the “Shapiro era”.
Secondly, I don’t think most of these were actual losses. So I’ll give my reasoning and context as to why I thought otherwise. Let’s start with the first ever trade of the Shapkins era.
The Liam Hendriks trade:
Fun fact, this is the only trade in any of these articles for which Ross Atkins wasn’t the General Manager.
The Jays traded reliever Liam Hendriks for Jesse Chavez. In 2015, Hendrik had a 2.92 ERA and 2.14 FIP in 64.2 innings pitched. With the Jays in 2016, Chavez had a 4.57 ERA and 4.82 FIP in 41.1 innings pitched. He was later traded to the Dodgers in exchange for Mike Boslinger. On paper, it definitely looks like the Jays lost this trade, but let’s look at the context.
Context:
When we think of Liam Hendriks, we think of one of the best closers in the MLB to this day (and a standup guy). This wasn’t always the case, however. While his ERA and FIP sparkled in 2015, it was by far his best up to that point. Between 2011-2018, Hendriks had a 4.72 ERA and 3.91 FIP in 406.1 innings pitched.
In his first three seasons in Oakland, he had a 4.01 ERA and 3.24 FIP. Fun fa …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

3 awesome Raptors Media Day quotes you may have missed

3 awesome Raptors Media Day quotes you may have missed

For a team that has built an ethos around hard work when no one else is watching and not giving opposing teams anything to hold onto with flamboyant quotes, Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors uncorked quite a few noisemaking quotes during their annual Media Day exercises. While many of the big names gave fairly […]
3 awesome Raptors Media Day quotes you may have missed – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors 2022-23 season preview: SF Otto Porter Jr.

Toronto Raptors 2022-23 season preview: SF Otto Porter Jr.

Historically, the Toronto Raptors are not a team that is going to spend a ton of money in free agency. In spite of their past desire to lay low in the offseason, the Raptors went and splashed the cash and nabbed Otto Porter Jr. away from the reigning champion Golden State Warriors. Porter was a […]
Toronto Raptors 2022-23 season preview: SF Otto Porter Jr. – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Matthew Rodrigopulle

The Leafs Nation team is heartbroken to share the shocking and tragic news of the passing of Matthew Rodrigopulle.
Matthew joined our team in 2020 while finishing up his degree at then Ryerson University, now Toronto Metropolitan University, and we were privileged to have here for over a year before he went on to pursue one of his career goals of being on air journalist, which he did for Global Regina.
It was great to see Matthew to continue to rep the Leafs out west

Got to do something super cool today, got to rapel 260 feet down to support @EasterSeals!
Had so much fun and honestly would do it again in a heartbeat. Check Easter Seals out and donate if you can!
My story for @GlobalRegina pic.twitter.com/8hHATuxEgH
— Matthew Rodrigopulle (@Matt_Rodrigo_) August 28, 2022

had to bring some of the passion into work the jersey stays until the end of the series pic.twitter.com/pleXJvymtd
— Matthew Rodrigopulle (@Matt_Rodrigo_) May 11, 2022

A number of Matthew’s TLN colleagues and peers from around the hockey world have shared their condolences:

Absolutely gutted to learn of the passing of Matthew Rodrigopulle. A kind, bright young man who I was fortunate to interact with for a short time @TLNdc.
I don’t know what to say, my thoughts are with his family. They have lost a tremendous person far too soon. https://t.co/UiRlKacewy
— Earl Schwartz (@EarlSchwartz27) September 10, 2022

This is terrible news. I had the privilege of being a teammate of Matthew in my brief time with @TLNdc and I’m just in shock. https://t.co/geSGB0FWN1
— David Alter (@dalter) September 10, 2022

RIP Matthew. https://t.co/77TpxTkMxb
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 10, 2022

this one really hurts.
we lost a really great dude and even better person. i’m sending all my love and condolences to his family. https://t.co/bo8xDL3VU6
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) September 10, 2022

Matt and I crossed paths only a handful of times, but it was easy to see his talent and kindness. Thoughts are with his family and friends, he will be dearly missed https://t.co/kxeIS6NjBY
— Kyle Cushman (@Kyle_Cush) September 10, 2022

Heartbreaking to hear. We only crossed paths briefly here on Twitter and at TLN, but my heart goes out to his family. A fixture on Leafs Twitter and no doubt a rising star in the industry. Gone far too soon. RIP. https://t.co/Z0GfXbUpWh
— Jori Negin-Shecter (@JNeginShecter) September 10, 2022

life is unbelievably unfair. always in our hearts, matthew. https://t.co/ogG5oP9a1g
— roxanne (@onntherox) September 10, 2022

I had the pleasure of editing Matthew’s work during our time at FanSided. He was such a passionate and talented writer, and an even better person. This is indescribably heartbreaking. Tell your loved ones you love them. https://t.co/YBENUiIDsk
— Mike Stephens (@mikeystephens81) September 10, 2022

The amount of shock and heartbreak I am feeling from this can’t be measured. Matthew was a joy to work with at TLN and it was exciting to see him head out west and achieve his career goals. He will be deeply mis …

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Author: TLN Staff / The Leafs Nation

Bo Bichette’s three-RBI performance leads Blue Jays to 4-1 victory over Pirates

The Toronto Blue Jays are a much deeper team when Bo Bichette is at his best. Everyone was reminded of that Saturday night at PNC Park.
After shutting out the Pirates 4-0 a night ago, the Blue Jays desperately needed to replicate that success during the second game of this three-game set. The only problem, though, is that they were held in check by right-hander Roansy Contreras, who was making just his 14th career major-league start.
Contreras completed six innings of one-run ball, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out five batters. His only blemish came in the fourth inning when Lourdes Gurriel Jr. delivered an RBI double, driving home Bichette, tying the contest at one run apiece.
Things almost immediately unravelled once the 22-year-old departed, however, as Duane Underwood Jr. surrendered one hit and two walks to load the bases with two outs for Bichette. But, if not for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Matt Chapman’s patient approaches, Toronto’s shortstop wouldn’t have come to the plate in the seventh inning.
And thankfully, Bichette made sure to capitalize on that opportunity, sending a 108.7-m.p.h. laser down into the left field corner, clearing the bases for three much-needed runs.

CLEAR ‘EM, BO pic.twitter.com/bInAJLaD40
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 4, 2022

As you might expect, Bichette was pretty fir …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation