Leaflets: Some Leafs thoughts as we run out the final days of the regular season

I think the only hockey I dislike more than preseason hockey is the hockey played between the time that the Leafs clinch a playoff spot and the actual start of the playoffs. Other than Matthews hitting the 40 goal mark, there isn’t a storyline left, and we’re left collectively holding our breath whenever we see something like the Nick Foligno injury last night. At least with the preseason we’ve been deprived of hockey so long that we’ll take what we can get, but here we are 52 games down, and nothing left to do but clinch first in the North, which should happen soon. Anyways, here are some stray thoughts in the dog days of May.
Nick Foligno needs to sit
I don’t know the extent of his injury, whether he was held out precautionary, or whatever, but the time is now to get Foligno as close to 100% as possible before the playoffs. Shutting him down now would give him close to weeks to rest up for the playoffs, and even if he requires a game or two to start the playoffs off, I think you give it to him. There are plenty of players like Engvall …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

ALL ABOARD THE KIRK TRAIN (Alejandro Kirk as made the Blue Jays roster, along with Tim Mayza and Trent Thornton)

I don’t think this is that much of a surprise but it’s great to see the news — Alejandro Kirk, everyone’s favourite Large Adult Son, has cracked the Blue Jays opening day roster.

#BlueJays have told Alejandro Kirk, Trent Thornton, Tim Mayza and Rowdy Tellez that they’ve made the team.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) March 28, 2021

We learned earlier this week that Jonathan Davis and Joe Panik will be on the team’s 26-man roster so, with the announcement that Kirk, Trent Thornton, and Tim Mayza breaking camp, we’re starting to get a pretty clear picture of the group the Blue Jays will carry into the season. Also, I have no idea why Rowdy Tellez, who has been a given all spring, was added to that tweet, but, anyways…
It’s pretty clear that Kirk is big-league-ready. The only question surrounding whether or not he would make the team was the fact that Reese McGuire is out of options and would be subject to waivers if he was sent to Triple-A. We know that the Blue Jays’ front office is conservative when it comes to asset management and they don’t want to lose a decent back-up like McGuire …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Marcus Stroman tees off on the Blue Jays’ front office for missing out on Lindor

I think it’s safe to say Marcus Stroman still has beef with the Blue Jays’ front office.

Shortly after word broke that Francisco Lindor, a top off-season target of the Blue Jays, had been acquired by the New York Mets, Stroman took to Twitter to let everybody know that his former employer was getting outdone by his current team. The post has since been deleted, so props to the guys over at JaysJournal for catching it…
That front office will never build the team they should around their unbelievable core of young players…it’s a travesty!
This angst Stroman has towards the Blue Jays’ front office is nothing new. Back in 2019 after he was traded to the Mets, Rob Longley reported that there was a “loud commotion” inside the team’s room and that Stroman’s reaction to learning the news “wasn’t pretty.”
Shortly after, Stroman criticized Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins, suggesting that they got rid of everyone from the 2015 and 2016 teams to start their own regime while also complaining that he had never been offered a contract extension despite his accomplishments.
“Nobody’s left,” Stroman said. “It seems like [management] wanted to get rid of …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The World Junior Tournament doesn’t really need fixing, but here’s one idea how to fix it

I think this year the World Juniors have fallen victim to being the only game in town and having an audience that wants the most exciting hockey they’ve ever seen at time when we’re feeling deprived.
The issue with the tournament seems entirely focused around the blowout victories, and lopsided matchups that go along with having teams like Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and for that matter Slovakia in the mix with the bigger six of Canada, United States, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden, and Finland. Outcomes seem predetermined for half the games in the tournament, but it’s always been that way. The run up scores are the result of goal differential playing a role in playoff seeding, and seeding for future tournaments. It’s always made sense, it’s always been accepted, and it was something viewers previously either enjoyed or would simply change the channel on.
Of course this is 2020, and we’re going to react poorly to everything we can, and the simple joys of watching 20 year old Austrians get pounded into the earth invokes more criticism.
Fair enough.
That is ignoring that the Austrians want to be there. They want to play the best of the …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Stories of the Year: Auston Matthews chasing 50

When you think about the Leafs’ 2019-20 campaign, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it Mike Babcock making the baffling decision to scratch Jason Spezza on opening night? Or how about that loss to the Penguins, followed by that save from Fleury, followed by Babcock being fired and Sheldon Keefe taking over? Maybe it’s in reference to some young players making an immediate impact. Alternatively, you’re probably thinking of a 42-year-old Zamboni driver who works for the organization.
All of those are worthy contenders of moments that will define that season when we look back on it years down the line. But I feel like I’m leaving something out, can anyone help me out with what I’m forgetting?

Just a reminder that Auston Matthews did this to the Buffalo Sabres 10 months ago. pic.twitter.com/E1qfAwEHMM
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) October 28, 2020

Ah yes, Auston Matthews’ quest to reach the half-century mark for goals was by far one of the most talked-about storylines of the regular season. Seeing how he was one of the few who stayed healthy and played at a high level throughout, him becoming just the fourth player in franchise …

Read More

Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

It looks like Mark Shapiro and the Blue Jays have agreed on a new contract

I don’t think should really come as a surprise, but it looks like the Blue Jays have come to an agreement with Mark Shapiro to remain as the organization’s President and CEO.

Shapiro, of course, joined the organization after the 2015 season on a five-year contract, replacing Paul Beeston. That contract came to an end after this year’s World Series and it always appeared as though the two sides had a mutual interest in carrying on.
I think the fact there was virtually zero talk about a new contract gave an indication that something was going to get done. If there was turmoil or a poor relationship between the two sides and it looked like a deal wasn’t going to get done, we probably would have heard about it. If all things are going well, it’s business as usual.
Anyways, the report of Shapiro apparently having a new deal comes from Ken Rosenthal over at The Athletic. Rosenthal did a post about the New York Mets seeking a new leader for their front office as new owner Steve Cohen let go of the current group who had been working under the Wilpon family.
Rosenthal mentions Shapiro …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

WATCH: Braves organist trolls Reese McGuire by playing “Beat It”

Sorry, Reese, I don’t think you’re ever going to live this one down.

As we all surely know by now, Reese McGuire was arrested back during spring training for allegedly jerking off in a Florida parking lot. McGuire pleaded no contest and was fined $450 after initially being charged with exposure of sexual organs, a first-degree misdemeanour.
Anyways, here we are now, a few months later, and the jokes are still coming in. Last night in Atlanta, the Braves organist played Michael Jackson’s hit “Beat It” for McGuire as he came walked up to the plate.

Earlier this year, the Blue Jays’ Reese McGuire was arrested for public masturbation.
Listen to the song the Braves played for his walk-up music last night.
This is literally the greatest thing that has happened all year.
pic.twitter.com/keUBbrwZjV
— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) August 7, 2020

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Clarkson Contract was Actually Good in Hindsight

Okay, let me get this out of the way right now: no, I do not actually think the David Clarkson contract was good. It’s not only one of the worst contracts the Leafs have ever signed, it’s arguable one of the worst contracts ever signed, especially in the cap era, and it was pretty obvious that it was going to be, if you were smart enough.
Well, I was not one of those smart people. Let me put you in the mindset of 16 year-old Scott. I was sitting on the couch watching TSN’s Free Agent Frenzy program, excited to see what big names the Leafs would get in free agency fresh off their playoff appearance, and almost beating the Boston Bruins in the first round. They had just lost Grabovski and MacArthur, but also traded for Dave Bolland, who just scored the Stanley Cup winning goal.
The dream, of course, was David Clarkson. Clarkson seemed to be the ideal Toronto Maple Leaf: tough, gritty, and coming off of seasons of 30 goals and 15 in the lockout shortened season (which was a 25 goal pace). Oh, he was also from Toronto, and a born and raised Leafs …

Read More

Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Monday Morning GM: Nikita Nesterov is returning to the NHL. Should it be Toronto?

I can’t think of a less flashy topic to discuss than importing a bottom pairing defender from the KHL, but here we are. And here is what we’re dealing with…
From AllHockey.Ru (google translated):
CSKA President Igor Esmantovich spoke about the transfer plans of the Moscow club, and also said that defender Nikita Nesterov will leave the club.
“We talked with Kaprizov at the end of the season, he said that he would try forces in North America. We are not negotiating with him. They made an offer on Sorokin on June 1. He listened to the proposal with the agent and said that he would make a decision later. CSKA still plans to sign two defenders and a striker.
With Nesterov, the story is interesting. We agreed with him in December, shook hands that he will remain for five years in CSKA. We agreed on the conditions, gave him everything he wanted. But a week ago, he decided for family reasons to go to North America. We thanked him for three years at CSKA and wished him good luck, “Esmantovich said.
So, why does …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Report: The NHL and NHLPA nearing agreement on the Asterisk Bowl

Whether you agree with it or not, whether you think it’s good for the players or not, whether you think they’ll get a week into playing again before shutting down again or not, the NHL is hellbent on giving you hockey this summer and coincidentally recouping as much money as possible.
Pierre LeBrun is reporting that a lot of progress has been made, although it’s debatable whether we close to having anything announced.

Sources indicate the Return To Play Committee has talked throughout the weekend, NHL-NHLPA making progress on a 24-team format. Sources also stressing there’s still work to be done, but clearly the weekend has produced some traction. More talks expected over next day or two.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 17, 2020
The thing is, if the league is going to pull off this 24 team tournament, return all the players to cities to train in, relocate to hub cities, and all the while comply with three levels of government and health authorities in two countries, they probably will need to get that finalized soon.
Toronto seems to be in the running to be a hub city and that potentially makes things a …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation