Leo Rautins replaced by Alvin Williams on Raptors broadcasts

Leo Rautins replaced by Alvin Williams on Raptors broadcasts

The Toronto Raptors on Thursday announced their 2021-22 broadcast schedule, which includes Sportsnet and TSN each carrying 41 games. However, the biggest news around the 82-game broadcast schedule was not about the when or where, but the who, as familiar face Leo Rautins won’t be back on TV. While Rautins could be a bit of […]
Leo Rautins replaced by Alvin Williams on Raptors broadcasts – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Brian Swane / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays are reportedly among the teams interested in Nelson Cruz. Where does he fit?

Jon Heyman reported on Thursday that the Blue Jays and Athletics are among the teams who are interested in Minnesota’s All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz.

Cruz is interesting because he’s aged like a fine wine. He just turned 41 years old and is still absolutely mashing at the plate. Through 75 games this season, he’s slashed a .299/.372/.553 line with 18 homers. He won the American League Silver Slugger for designated hitters in 2019 and 2020 and would be in the mix again this year if not for Shohei Ohtani’s impossibly good season.
This rumour is also certainly interesting given the fact Cruz doesn’t really seem to fit Toronto’s needs as we approach the trade deadline. The Blue Jays rank second in baseball with 5.21 runs per game, behind only the Houston Astros, and they’re right around the middle of the pack with 4.27 runs against per game.
Toronto’s 438-to-359 run differential suggests that they’re much, much better than their 44-40 record indicates, but, as we know, the team’s bullpen coughing up multiple games per week has held the team back from really hitting its stride.
The team’s biggest need, obviously, is improving the bullpen. They’ve added …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Day After Thoughts: No comeback kids last night

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost 4-3 in Overtime on Thursday night to the Montreal Canadiens. The playoff series now sits at 3-2 in favour of the Leafs. Zach Hyman and Jake Muzzin (x2!) scored for the Leafs, while Joel Armia (x2), Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored for the Habs in regulation. Nick Suzuki scored the OT winner.
In typical Leafs fashion, the team went down in this game early, and then played with everyone’s emotions by tying it at three and then losing in Overtime in the most leafiest way possible. Alex Galchenyuk turned the puck over in OT to Cole Caufield and sent him and Suzuki down the ice on a 2-on-0 breakaway.
I thought the Leafs looked okay last night. For the first half of the game the team looked rather flat or perhaps nervous. After all, in the Auston Matthews era, the Leafs have yet to win a playoff series. They have only led in a playoff series twice since 2017. They were up 2-1 against the Capitals in 2017 and held 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 series leads against the Bruins in 2019.
As the game progressed however, the Leafs slowly started to get things going. By the third period the …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

Leafs in 5? The Buds look to close out the series at home tonight

Happy totally regular Thursday, Leafs fans. Nothing special or irregular about today at all. Just a normal Thursday. Go about your business. No worries.
…Did that work? Did you forget for a moment that the Leafs have the opportunity to close out the first round series against the Habs tonight on home ice? 
Well maybe this will help:

John Tavares is back on the ice at Scotiabank Arena. pic.twitter.com/yB2Lauyn82
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 27, 2021

That’s right. Only one week after a terrifying injury that took him out of game 1 at only 9 minutes in, and left fans quite concerned for his long term recovery, Leafs captain John Tavares was out skating this morning. Now, of course, this does not mean he’s anywhere close to playing, at all. But it is absolutely a positive sign that he is feeling better and making strides towards what will hopefully be a full eventual recovery. Even just having him in the building is most certainly a morale boost for the team, who were visibly shaken and unfocused during game 1 after the injury occurred.
Some speculation around how he’s back on the ice so soon, and perhaps Sheldon Keefe will …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

The Maple Leafs need to keep this third line together for the rest of the series against the Canadiens

The Maple Leafs need to keep this third line together for the rest of the series against the Canadiens

After game one on Thursday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs were faced to make a lineup change due to the injury of their captain, John Tavares. With the injury to Tavares, Alex Galchenyuk was called upon to slide into the lineup and slot back in the top-six alongside Nick Foligno and William Nylander. As well, with the addition of Galchenyuk in the lineup, Sheldon Keefe also went with the decision to slot Pierre Engvall in the lineup and take newly acquired Riley Nash out of the lineup for one simple reason. Offence.
Well, with the new-look second and third line entering game two against Montreal, Leaf fans were excited to see how they would perform after a game one loss, but more importantly, how the team as a whole would perform after losing one of their best players and their captain, John Tavares. I think it’s safe to say all four lines were absolutely amazing last night as they all provided a little bit of something whenever they were out there on the ice together.
The Maple Leafs flat out dominated the Canadiens last night and I guess some could say six power-plays helped Toronto outplay Montreal, but even …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Practice Shenanigans: Hyman and Nash resume skating, Foligno absent, Holl wearing a face shield

When the Leafs face the Canadiens on Thursday night, they will ice a new-look lineup that includes a player that is set to make his debut with the Blue and White:

#Leafs lines at practice:
Rielly-Brodie Muzzin-HollSandin-Dermott
Absent: FolignoExtra: Brooks, Liljegren, Hutton
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) May 5, 2021

Stefan Noesen was acquired in the Nick Foligno trade near the trade deadline and has primarily been skating with the team since clearing quarantine protocols. He figures to be a serviceable bottom-six forward who will slot in should there be injuries the rest of the way. This opportunity came about due to Foligno’s injury that will keep him out of the lineup for the time being (more on that later). Noesen has played five games with the Sharks this season and has yet to record a point.
Zach Hyman and Riley Nash making progress

Zach Hyman and Riley Nash returned to @MapleLeafs practice in no-contact red jerseys.
Both have been sidelined with lower-body injuries. pic.twitter.com/a0I2Z62poK
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 5, 2021

It was good to see Hyman back on the ice after suffering a scary injury in a game against the Canucks a few weeks ago. He …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Should the Leafs trade a top prospect?

Now that the Leafs are off again until Thursday it’s pretty easy to switch back into trade mode. Kyle Dubas has put it out to the world that he’s trying to make something happen, and he even put the scarier notion out to the world that he’s willing to part with a top prospect in order to get the deal done. It was in that spirit I asked our distinguished panel if the Leafs should be parting with one of their top prospects, and if they are, who would they be willing to let go.
Michael Mazzei:
I am usually hesitant to move a top prospect, but this season is the perfect opportunity to deal at least one of them away to get back a player that will be an immediate boost to the lineup. The Leafs have a legitimate chance to go deep into spring and they should be looking at every opportunity to do just that. The only one of their top prospects worth dealing away would be Timothy Liljegren due to him being close to NHL-ready and would be an enticing enough piece for teams to consider acquiring. The same obviously goes for the …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Alek Manoah and Simeon Woods Richardson among the Blue Jays re-assigned to “Minor League Working Group”

The Blue Jays announced on Thursday that 25 players have been optioned/re-assigned to the team’s Minor League Working Group.

Here are the 40-man roster players who were optioned: Otto Lopez, Elvis Luciano, Gabriel Moreno, and Ty Tice.
Here are the non-roster invitees who were re-assigned: Nick Allgeyer, Bryan Baker, Chris Bec, Phil Clarke, Jordan Groshans, Hobie Harris, Miguel Hiraldo, Leo Jimenez, Adam Kloffenstein, Cullen Large, Alek Manoah, Austin Martin, Orelvis Martinez, Joey Murray, Jackson Rees, CJ Van Eyk, Jacob Waguespack, Logan Warmoth, Simeon Woods Richardson, Chavez Young, and  Yosver Zulueta.
With Opening Day in two weeks and the minor-league contract opt-out date coming shortly, the Blue Jays likely want to focus on the battles they have for positions on their 26-man roster. These players who were re-assigned can all still appear in spring training games, but none of them were really in the mix to crack the team.
The non-roster invitees still left with the team are: A.J. Cole, Anthony Castro, Francisco Liriano, Tim Mayza, Tommy Milone, Kirby Snead, Joe Panik, Kevin Smith, Richard Urena, Tyler White, and Forrest Wall. Any of those players would need to be added to the 40-man roster if they crack the roster …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 2016, Toronto Maple Leafs trade Dion Phaneuf

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday!

This week in 2016 (Feb. 9), the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Dion Phaneuf and others to the Ottawa Senators in a massive nine-player trade.
The deal saw Phaneuf, Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey sent to the Sens in exchange for Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Tobias Lindberg and a second-round pick in 2017.
It ended a seven-year stint for Phaneuf in Toronto and while there wasn’t really much talent coming back in the deal, moving his deal out was the true win.
Here’s some of what Jon Steitzer said about the deal on that day:
First off, the Leafs have managed to dump an incredibly long, and expensive cap hit in exchange for three bad contracts in Greening, Cowen, and Michalek that expire after next season. The Leafs have also managed to gain an extra SPC out of the deal by unloading long shot prospects Bailey, Rupert, and Donaghey, along with Matt Frattin. No salary was retained by the Leafs.
The true gains out this are Tobias Lindberg, and the 2017 2nd Round Pick.
At this point, Phaneuf is far and away the real only NHL talent in this …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Matthews scores two again as Leafs dominate the Can-sucks

The Leafs had a dominant game against Vancouver on Thursday, and they made sure not to disappoint again tonight, as they played another strong game on route to a 5-1 victory.
The Leafs started with another strong period against the Canucks, as they once again had the advantage in possession (62.69%) and scoring chances (59.94%), and it showed up in the goal department. First, they got another powerplay goal (their 15th of the season already) off of a Simmonds goal with a shot that looked a lot like a James van Riemsdyk net front goal.

I could watch this forever.
Wayne and Auston pic.twitter.com/dEp1OvEBvp
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 7, 2021

After another power play that got no results, Matthews put the Leafs up 2-0 with a goal so filthy I looked behind me to make sure no one would see me watching it.

Matthews just ended Chatfield’s career pic.twitter.com/dALMhQXLaG
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 7, 2021

The Canucks got their first big chance of the game early in the second as Pettersson got a chance with a wide open net, but a bad bounce saw him fan on the shot.

Pettersson had an open-net. What a shame. pic.twitter.com/m1CE8 …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation