The Blue Jays hit the road to Kauffman Stadium, a place of shadows, to deal with the Royals

It’s been quite some time but watching baseball in Kansas City fills me with a combination of anxiety and dread. I get flashbacks to bloops singles, random overachievers hitting dingers, and runners getting stranded on third. As always, fuck the Royals.

How they’re doing…
This is obviously a very different team than the one we, unfortunately, knew from 2015. That’s the case on both sides.
The only major Royal left from that World Series team is Sal Perez. Jarrod Dyson left for a few years and is now back, the same goes for Wade Davis. Danny Duffy is also still around, though he wasn’t a big part of the 2015 team. Nobody from the 2015 Blue Jays is still around, but one player on the roster faced Kansas City in the playoffs. I’ll let you guess who it is.
Anyways, enough about the 2015 Royals, let’s talk about the 2021 Royals, a team in purgatory.
Kansas City is 6-4 this season and there aren’t really any real expectations for them to compete with Minnesota and Chicago for the American League Central. They have OK pitching and a ho-hum offence. The Royals rank above league-average in terms of runs …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

George Springer is now dealing with a quad injury after running the bases on Tuesday

You may or may not be fully recovered from watching Tanner Roark toss batting practice last night, but we’ve got some bad news.

Apparently, George Springer is dealing with a new injury on top of the oblique issue that ultimately landed him on the Injured List. Springer was running the bases on Tuesday and felt tightness in his left quad. He’s already had an MRI but the results are pending.
Uh oh!

recycling this shitty joke but for George Springer https://t.co/uMvNenJUDH
— Ty Berry (@tberry3) April 7, 2021

The hope, of course, was that Springer would be ready to join the Blue Jays and made his debut on Thursday for the team’s home opener against the Anaheim Angels, but that might not happen now. This is obviously shitty news, but it’s best the team takes things slow with their $150 million man. There isn’t much to be gained by rushing him back.
Elsewhere… Robbie Ray will be the first of the Blue Jays’ injured pitchers to return and, according to Keegan Matheson, Nate Pearson doesn’t appear to be very close behind him. Charlie Montoyo said that Pearson is “progressing” which, uh, isn’t a super …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

DFO Rundown: Provinces watching NHL ‘like a hawks eye’ over COVID-19

Provincial health authorities are watching the NHL “with a hawks eye” over COVID-19, Frank Seravalli said on The Nation Network’s DFO Rundown podcast Monday.

Seravalli made the comment when asked by co-host Jason Gregor if the new league protocols will help prevent potential COVID cases:
Jason Gregor: We’re going to welcome back some teams to the National Hockey League this week. The Sabres are coming, New Jersey is coming, Minnesota — you haven’t seen them in a while. For a brief time maybe people through COVID was coming to the North Division. Jesse Puljujarvi had an inconclusive test on Thursday, he didn’t play against Montreal. Mikko Koskinen was held out as a close contact. Puljujarvi then had three consecutive days with negative tests, he’ll be playing tonight against Winnipeg. They took overprecaution, which I agree with doing, but do you think we’re going to see another run of teams here where we have four or five teams out of action, or do you think the new protocols are going to help?
Frank Seravalli: I hope not. I hope the protocols that are in place and as they begin to roll out some rapid testing for …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

NHL considering North Dakota as a neutral location for 2019-20 games

The prospect of watching professional sports any time soon seems like a massive stretch as the world has virtually come to a halt due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In the grand scheme on things, sports are a fairly trivial issue, but leagues are still working on ideas to get their operations rolling again, even if it means playing in front of empty stadiums in random locations. Take Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota, home of the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Hawks, for example.
According to Elliotte Friedman, the NHL and the NHLPA have been spitballing scenarios as to where the rest of the 2019-20 season can be played out, and North Dakota is a popular destination.
The Ralph Englestad Area is one of the best non-NHL hockey facilities in the United States. Actually, it’s even been regarded as superior to many NHL rinks. Known as the “Taj Mahal of Hockey,” it can fit 11,643 spectators, though that doesn’t really matter much in this situation.
The logistics are obviously challenging (finding accommodations for everyone, getting everybody on flights, and so on) but if hockey is going to return any time …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

MARNER WATCH: Blue Jackets like him and apparently never want to draft again

We’ve said it before, it’s exhausting watching this saga unfold and the only benefit to the Marner saga going on is the easy content for the site and the chance to debate something hockey related when we should probably be outdoors instead.
That’s why we’re taking advantage of this new information out of Columbus:

Many teams have spoken w Marner’s agent about a possible offer sheet, and, yes, CBJ are among them. But I see no indication Marner wants to leave TML. Also, #CBJ convinced Leafs would/could match any offer sheet, perhaps by trading Nylander.
See where the summer goes. https://t.co/gcn092r1dm
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) July 12, 2019
So let’s start unpacking this.
“Many teams have spoken with Marner’s agent” Well, the fact that we haven’t seen an offer sheet probably means that teams aren’t paying enough or Marner isn’t offering up the term they want to get one signed. It’s likely that Marner’s camp is trying to parlay this into a better offer from the Leafs, but an offer sheet always was going to carry a heavier price and I can’t imagine this …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Get the Kyle Lowry x Kawhi Leonard NBA Jam T-shirt

Enjoy watching the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard tear up the 2019 NBA Playoffs in style with this new NBA Jam-themed shirt from Homage. Much like we’ve done for some other Toronto Raptors t-shirts, we’ve got another one coming your way. And it’s just in time for the squad’s close out on the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs.
As the header picture implies, we’re officially selling that exact Kyle Lowry x Kawhi Leonard NBA Jam t-shirt from Homage. Take a look again, there’s not much more to it then that: it’s a crisp grey with the awesome retro design in the middle — and all sizes are still available. Follow the link below for more details.
Buy the shirt here from Raptors HQ.

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ

The Leafs are Canada’s team

Everybody is going to be watching Game 7 tonight in Boston. This is because it features Canada’s team.

The Leafs aren’t Canada’s team simply because they’re the only Canadian team left in the playoffs and Canada’s Stanley Cup hopes rest on their shoulders. The Leafs are Canada’s team because everyone cares about them. Everyone. 
This is a debate we have every year when there’s only one Canadian team left. When the Oilers went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, Oilers fans liked to refer to themselves as Canada’s team. They were a shocking an endearing underdog who perfectly represented Canada. But Flames fans didn’t feel that way. Oilers fans also didn’t feel that way when the Flames went to the Final in a similar underdog Cinderella run a couple of years earlier.
There was also Ottawa in 2007, Vancouver in 2011, and Winnipeg in 2018 who went on extended playoff runs. None of those teams perfectly embodied the advent of being Canada’s team quite like the Leafs do. There just wasn’t the same focus of conversation around those teams like there is with the Leafs right now.
No other team can get …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation