Was Raptors’ Nick Nurse disrespected in Coach of the Year voting?

Was Raptors’ Nick Nurse disrespected in Coach of the Year voting?

The Toronto Raptors were one of the most surprising teams in the NBA last season, going from the No. 4 overall pick to a No. 5 seed that won two playoff games. Nick Nurse was able to pull off some miraculous feats in getting a somewhat thin Raptors roster as far as they went. In […]
Was Raptors’ Nick Nurse disrespected in Coach of the Year voting? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays can’t solve New York’s bullpen as Yankees win series opener

It seems the Yankees can, in fact, beat teams other than Baltimore, Kansas City, and Detroit.

New York picked up a 3-2 win in Toronto on Monday night in the series opener and stretched their winning streak to 10 games in the process.
Things worth mentioning…
It was yet another game of limp bats for the Blue Jays as the team managed just two runs off of Jordan Montgomery and New York’s bullpen. All of Toronto’s offence came when the team mounted a rally in the fourth inning, as George Springer singled, Bo Bichette drove him in with a double, and Matt Chapman drove in another run with a single. The Blue Jays had plenty of opportunities, but they couldn’t manage to cash in. Bo Bichette and Vladdy Jr. led off the sixth inning with a single and a walk but Lourdes Gurriel killed the rally with a double play. In the eighth, it was Chapman grounding into a double play with Vladdy and Gurriel on first and second.
The bottom of the order almost scored a run late as Tyler Heineman laced a double into right field with Alejandro Kirk on first. As hard as the Locomotive can chug, Kirk obviously isn’t scoring from first unless there’s divine interventio …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The race for the Isobel Cup is on — PHF Playoff Preview

The race for the Isobel Cup is on — PHF Playoff Preview

The teams of the Premier Hockey Federation, the PHF, are already in, or are making their way to, Tampa Bay, FL for the Isobel Cup playoffs. All six teams make the playoffs, so everyone, including our Toronto Six, are going to be there.
It’s been an intense and exciting 20-game season, and the march for the Isobel Cup playoffs are the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication to this growing league.
Did you know? The Isobel Cup is actually shorthand for the Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Cup. Similar to how the Stanley Cup is actually shorthand for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Even better? Lady Isobel and Lord Stanley were father and daughter.
Schedule
The action begins today, with the quarterfinal matchups being played. Here’s how the weekend’s activities will go:
Friday, March 25th4:00PM ET, Boston Pride (3) vs. Buffalo Beauts (6)
7:30PM ET, Metropolitan Riveters (4) vs. Minnesota Whitecaps (5)
Sunday, March 27th
1:00pm ET, Connecticut Whale (1) vs. [Lowest ranked QF winner]
4:30pm ET, Toronto Six (2) vs. [Highest ranked QF winner]
Monday, March 28th
9:00pm ET, Isobel Cup Final game between Sunday’s winners
Preview
The Six had a very strong season, but were edged out of first place in the league when Connecticut took 4 points of a possible 6 in the double-header between the teams who were tied going into the weekend. They’re positioned to do very well regardless.
The science says that bye-weeks in the playoffs are beneficial, at least in other sports. So perhaps the Six and the Whale gain an extra ad …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

First Look at Potential Blue Jays Farm Rosters: High-A Vancouver Canadians

Minor League full-season teams have roster limits, as you might expect.

It’s set at 28 for AAA and AA, and 30 for the two A-ball squads. As things stand, there are at least five too many guys associated with the Bisons’ squad, though of course a certain number of guys will regularly be found on the IL.
I make 30-31 guys contending for the Fisher Cats roster. But the issue is that for both teams there are about 12 candidates for the bullpen which doesn’t fit. That situation only gets worse in Vancouver and, boy, wait until you see the crowd in Dunedin.
As per my pattern, let’s start with the rotation…
Last week I mentioned the two most highly regarded starters on this roster as long-shot promotion candidates. Rather than try to say the same stuff in different terms, let me just quote myself: There are at least two highly regarded prospects who spent time in High-A Vancouver last year that will get at least some consideration for a promotion when camp breaks.
Adam Kloffenstein, still just 21, had a disappointing overall line last year, in a season that had some peaks and some very low valleys. The big issue was the troubling tendency to lose the zone, sometimes in the middle of what had been an impressive start, leading to a 5.4 BB/9 rati …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Know Your Enemy: How the Maple Leafs match up against a slumping Devils team in a back-to-back

While being one of the best teams in the league usually means the matchups are going to be easier by default, the Toronto Maple Leafs find themselves in another matchup against a significantly inferior opponent in the New Jersey Devils. They had slightly higher expectations after a big offseason, bringing in Dougie Hamilton, Jonathan Bernier, and Tomas Tatar, as well as the growth of two first overall picks in Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier but have struggled mightily due to injuries and, well, being the Devils. They come into tonight’s game having lost seven of their last eight, a slump that has kept them behind even the Philadelphia Flyers when they were losing 13 in a row. They’ve only made it to the playoffs once since their Cup Finals run in 2011-12 ten years ago, and it doesn’t look like that’ll be the case this season, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to prove either.
It should be noted that because the Leafs play the Devils in back to back nights, this will probably cover both tonight and tomorrow’s games, unless there’s a big change in the lineup for either team, or something injury related (ie. someone significant gets hurt tonight or …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Sizing up the American League East: New York Yankees

Next up in the series of “meeting the AL East teams” are the disgusting New York Yankees. They have a lot of big names but don’t let that fool you, this team is the fourth-best team in the division. 

Infielders:
Gary Sanchez (Catcher)
Kyle Higashioka (Catcher)
Luke Voit (First Baseman)
Gleyber Torres (Second Baseman)
Gio Ursehla (Shortstop)
DJ LeMahieu (Third Base)
Miguel Andujar (Utility)
Gary Sanchez can hit bombs and has a great arm, but that’s about it. He strikes out 27.5% of the time and is barely above the Mendoza Line at .204. This would be fine, if he was good defensively. He is not. Sanchez had his worst defensive season yet as he finished with a -10 DRS.
Higashioka is even worse with the bat, but actually provides value defensively as he finished with a DRS of 5. He’s Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher and always kills the Jays for some reason.
Luke Voit only played in 68 games in 2021 and he looked okay. He had a slash line of .239/.338/.764 and hit 11 home runs. That’s an alright pace in terms of home runs per game, but in 2020, he hit 22 in 56 games, by far his best offensive season. His K% also increased drastically in 2021, going up from 23.1% to 30.7%. It really depends what version the Yankees get.
Do you remember when Gleyber Torres was a top rated prospect? It’s a cautionary tale about how prospects may not always pan out. While there is no question that Torres is an MLB player, the …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Hornets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 25

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Hornets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 25

The Toronto Raptors remain one of the most difficult teams in the league to figure out. Just a few days after Scottie Barnes dominated the Wizards and helped Toronto pick up a road win, they fell behind by as many as 34 points in a loss to the Trail Blazers. The latest Raptors odds are […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Hornets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 25 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Know Your Enemy: Another day, another heavily injured opponent in the Blues that the Maple Leafs match up well against

Much like a lot of the teams the Leafs have played lately, they find themselves in a similar narrative playing against a team dealing with a lot of injuries and illnesses. Weird, it’s almost like there’s a pandemic going on right now or something. You’d think that the Blues would be hurt more by losing David Perron, Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn, and Pavel Buchnevich up front than losing Colton Parayko on the blueline, but the latter actually takes a bigger toll on them. The Blues have a really deep forward group and somehow manage to have a strong top six still despite losing four pieces of it, while defensively losing Parayko exposes a few holes in the lineup. Combine that with the fact that this team is relying on luck to get them as far as they have, and there’s reason for concern as a Blues fan.
Note: This is based on projected lines and starters at the time of publishing. Coaches really love to surprise us right before game time, so there’s a solid chance that some of the matchups aren’t accurate for the actual game because of that.
Tale of the Tape (via Mark Norman)

Lineups
Toronto Maple Leafs

LW
C
RW
MICHAEL BUNTING
AUSTON MATTHEWS
MITCH MARNER
ALEXANDER KERFOOT
JOHN TAVARES
WILLIAM NYLANDER
ILYA MIKHEYEV
DAVID KAMPF
PIERRE ENGVALL
KYLE CLIFFORD
JA …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

NBA Rookie Ladder: Did Scottie Barnes end the year on top?

NBA Rookie Ladder: Did Scottie Barnes end the year on top?

The Toronto Raptors are one of the many teams who have benefitted from the excellent play of a sensational first-round rookie. Scottie Barnes is helping Toronto win just as much as Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham and bolstering Cleveland and Detroit this season. The Rookie of the Year race is starting to heat up. With […]
NBA Rookie Ladder: Did Scottie Barnes end the year on top? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

News from the Rink: Leafs playing for injured teammates in matchup vs. Lightning

It’s a battle between two of the best teams in the NHL tonight as the Leafs take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Both teams have been extremely hot as of late. The Lightning has won 14 of their last 19 games, and Toronto has only lost three times in regulation through their last 20 games.
The Leafs, though, have been the better team this season, sitting atop the NHL standings, but Tampa is breathing down their neck.
Games like these are always huge for both teams because it’s like a measuring stick game. As much as you see how good each team is doing, these games are nice comparables to how close each team is to each other.
Tampa is without two critical players in Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point. The Lightning is still a difficult team to play against with those two players out, though.
Steven Stamkos has been Tampa’s most dangerous player, and he’s been averaging a point-per-game in his last 10. You can’t forget about Victor Hedman, who’s averaging more than a point-per-game this season.
Those two are key players to watch out for, but you can never forget about Andrei Vasilevskiy. The 27-year-old has 13 …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation