From the front line to first line

Sergeant Thomas Clark is a 13-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. He spent a few years conducting in-flight safety on VIP mission flights with the Prime Minister, Governor-General, and the royal family. He described the experience as one that he’s thankful for, “That would take me all around the world. Experiencing new cultures, different countries, cities, and monuments is probably one of my highlights. Not too many people get that opportunity, so I thank the military for that.” 
But this is a story about hockey jerseys. Or at least a story about how an armed forces member turned his passion for hockey and collecting jerseys into a thriving business called First Line Jerseys. 
“I wouldn’t say I’ve done a full transition yet because I still have a full-time gig with the Canadian Armed Forces. I had a go-to customizer that I would send all my jerseys, but he decided to go in another direction… So I just kind of remember that we had this old sewing machine in the basement. It was my wife’s grandmother’s that she bought in 1952. It was covered in dust and in one of those built-in wooden tables. And I was like, let’s crack this thing open and see what it’s got.”
I first met Clark through a mutual friend. I have a hockey jersey collection of my own and was looking to have some rarer stuff from the 1990s customized with the names of my favourite players from that era. I was relatively new to the hobby and did not know a lot about the specifics. But that did not matter to Clark, who was more than happy to take the time to answer my questions. Our relationship and eventual friendship started with an exchange. I traded him a jersey that I was selling for some customization work. If you would like to see my collection of Maple Leafs jerseys, you can see them here …

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Author: Stephen Brown / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Matt Thomas proving his worth with the Raptors

Toronto Raptors: Matt Thomas proving his worth with the Raptors

Matt Thomas was signed in 2019 by the Toronto Raptors to a three-year deal. Now in his sophomore season, the Raptors shooting guard is making it difficult to keep him out of the lineup. Saturday night’s preseason game was an affirmation of why the Toronto Raptors signed Matt Thomas to a three-year contract. He is […]
Toronto Raptors: Matt Thomas proving his worth with the Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: How Matt Thomas can be the next J.J Redick

Shooters shoot, and that is what Matt Thomas has been doing for the Toronto Raptors just like another particular player in the league. When watching the Toronto Raptors play this year, there is always a player who leaves us with a blank look asking ourselves: “Who is that guy?” Well this year, that particular player is […]
Toronto Raptors: How Matt Thomas can be the next J.J Redick – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

On the Bubble: Forrest Wall & Josh Palacios

 

#BlueJays expected to add RHP Thomas Hatch (return for David Phelps) by Wednesday.
Other candidates: Santiago Espinal (return for Steve Pearce), Josh Palacios (OF who posted .787 OPS at AA this year) & Forrest Wall (part of return for Seung-hwan Oh)
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) November 18, 2019

One of the most intriguing Rule 5 eligible players on the Blue Jays is outfielder Forrest Wall. Wall originally drafted as a second basemen, was a first round pick, 35th overall by the Rockies in 2014. He came over to the Blue Jays in the Seunghwan Oh trade in 2018.
As a prospect Wall was always described as a player who had good bat to ball skills, and good speed, giving him a real high floor. The hope with players like this is that as they progress and get older and stronger they will add power. For Wall that power has never developed and his contact capabilities at the plate have declined as his strikeout rate has consistently risen as he as climbed up the minor leagues.
Year
K%
2014
17.0%
2015
17.1%
2016
18.6%
2017
16.3%
2018
21.2%
2019
23.6%
This steady progression is normal for a prospect, as you face steeper and steeper competition your stats are going to get worse. There is nothing wrong with a 23.6% strikeout rate, it …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Screw it, let’s make Ben Harpur a winger

Earlier this summer my co-worker Thomas Williams provided you all with the straight poop on how lousy Ben Harpur is as an NHL defensemen.
The results left little room for optimism and left me frightened that the Leafs would use up one of their slots in a questionable defensive group on the reanimated corpse of Hal Gill. There were however two things that I couldn’t shake, and at least one of them applies to Cody Ceci as well, and that’s “well, they played on an incredibly shitty Senators team”. While it’s true the Senators do magnificently suck, I’m cautious about how many sins I will forgive of players for that.
The second thing I couldn’t shake from that post was the title “If Ben Harpur plays a single game for the Leafs next season, they might as well stop trying.” This is pretty much true, but my contrarian nature makes me want to find the loophole to that, and I think I’ve found it.
Make Ben Harpur play forward.
But why?
I’m glad you theoretically asked. There are a number of reasons for this, and we’ll go at them one by one.
1. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Toronto Raptors third shooting guard will be decided by philosophy

The battle for minutes between Matt Thomas and Patrick McCaw will come down to philosophy. This decision will show what type of team Nick Nurse wants the Toronto Raptors to be. The Toronto Raptors will take a step back at shooting guard next season. While everyone, understandably, discusses the departure of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green‘s […]
The Toronto Raptors third shooting guard will be decided by philosophy – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Bossetti / Raptors HQ

The Socrates Brito era is over, Jonathan Davis has been recalled

Thomas Pannone was sent to Triple-A Buffalo yesterday and it seems we have our corresponding roster move. Jonathan Davis and Javy Guerra are both with the team.

OF Jonathan Davis is here with the #BlueJays.
RHP Javy Guerra has a locker, too.
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) May 10, 2019

Guerra was designated for assignment a couple of weeks ago and cleared through waivers. He seems to be the arm replacing Pannone on the roster.
Davis is a more interesting situation because it means that there’s another move on the way. My guess is that the team is ready to put an end to the Socrates Brito experiment, unless either Teoscar Hernandez or Billy McKinney are being optioned down to Buffalo.
Davis has been killing it in Buffalo, so it’s great to see him get the call. Through 18 games, Davis is slashing a .268/.461/.554 line with four homers. He’s also walked more times (18) than he’s struck out (17), which is always a great sign.

Socrates Brito has been DFA’d – more info shortly on that and Buchholz injury.
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) May 10, 2019

Aaaaaand there it is. Just as I was slamming the publish button, Hazel Mae reported that Brito has been designated …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation