Page 6ix Wednesday, February 24th: The Hab Nots? The Juggernots? The Canadiaint’s?

What a week in hockey! We learned that the sun is Gary Bettman’s nemesis, Henrik Lundqvist defies odds, and the Habs are not, in fact, a juggernaut. We’re also dealing with a Leafs roster full of injuries, and Mike Babcock continues his attempted redemption tour…among other things.
Let’s dive in, eh?
Leafs Lads
The big story with the Leafs right now is how many of them are not playing. The injury list keeps growing, with Jake Muzzin, Joe Thornton, and Frederik Andersen as recent additions. Zach Hyman missed Monday’s game  – a super fun 3-0 loss against Calgary – but looks to be back tonight, thankfully.

Sheldon Keefe on #Leafs injured parties:
Zach Hyman WILL play tonight. Nic Petan out.
Everyone else is still out.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 24, 2021

We’re crossing our fingers and toes that most of these are not long-term, and thankfully it looks as though Freddie, at least, is not:

Sheldon Keefe asked whether Frederik Andersen’s injury is overly concerning, said it “doesn’t look that way” and “from what I’m told, he’s progressing well.”
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 24, 2021

Also hoping Jack Campbell can get back in the lineup soon, as we’ …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

What can be learned from the Leafs comically bad losses?

All and all this was another really good week for the Leafs. They just picked up 7 points out of a possible 8, and remain at the top of the both the North Division and the league at large. Things are going really well. Still, there’s something to be said for giving up 5 straight goals against the worst team in the league to lose in overtime, and last night marked the one year anniversary from the Leafs losing to an emergency backup goaltender, who happened to be their own payroll. Those are tough losses, and no matter how good the Leafs are doing, these are hard things to shake. It’s in that context that I asked the TLN crew if there was anything we could learn from the Sens comeback win against the Leafs this week.
Nick Barden
For me, honestly, I didn’t learn anything. The Leafs are first in the NHL and I believe we’re watching a team that we’ve never seen before. Although this loss was problematic I feel that we shouldn’t take this team for granted and I’m afraid we already are. Sure, I understand getting upset about an Ottawa Senators four-goal …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, February 17th: Desert Storm

Obviously, the big story in hockey this week is the disaster in the desert – that is, the absolute cluster inside the Arizona Coyotes organization. But this hasn’t been a quiet week for hockey in general, with more COVID concerns, some baby news, and even some fun! Let’s take a look, eh?
Leafs Lads
The boys in blue lost two in a row this week for the first time this season, which objectively in the grand scheme of things is probably not a big deal, but in the moment definitely sucks.
However, the good news is that cat-loving cheerleader slash goalie Jack Campbell is skating, which is a positive sign for a somewhat imminent return!

Jack Campbell was out on the ice with goalie coach Steve Briere this morning before #Leafs optional skate. He’s been out with a leg injury since Jan. 24.
Here he is cleaning up all his pucks. pic.twitter.com/OXWxGwynHo
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 15, 2021

Joe Thornton is back in the lineup, too, scoring a goal in his first game back.
But the biggest news to hit Leafland this week was the trade –

We’ve acquired Alex Galchenyuk from Carolina in exchange for Egor Korshkov …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Raptor of the Week: Nick Nurse, master tinkerer and innovator

Raptor of the Week: Nick Nurse, master tinkerer and innovator

In what has been a very challenging week for the Toronto Raptors, head coach Nick Nurse needs to be given his roses for what was an exemplary job of coaching. Maybe because he’s been making stellar adjustments or maybe because he got ejected, willing the team into action vs. the Grizzlies, but the Raptors have put […]
Raptor of the Week: Nick Nurse, master tinkerer and innovator – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Leafs add some offensive depth by trading for Alex Galchenyuk

So, after Galchenyuk’s recent interesting week of being on traded to Carolina, instantly being put on waivers, going unclaimed, and assigned to Chicago of the AHL, he’s now found a new home.

We’ve acquired Alex Galchenyuk from Carolina in exchange for Egor Korshkov and David Warsofsky. #LeafsForever
Details: https://t.co/SZX639nsNG pic.twitter.com/P8uMQ5wDQ1
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 15, 2021

Yep, that’s right, the Leafs added Galchenyuk, a guy they could have claimed off waivers for free in exchange for Egor “Not DeBrincat” Korshkov, and David Wars of Sky, who was the throw-in AHLer in the Kapanen trade.
In case you’re wondering why they traded for Galchenyuk instead of claiming him off waivers, it comes down to the fact that Galchenyuk is more valuable to the Leafs when they can start him out in the Marlies, or have him take up residency on the taxi squad for the next month without requiring waivers than having to force him into the roster and hoping he pans out every night.
Additionally, it frees the Leafs from a couple of standard players contracts in the process, which isn’t a bad thing.
We can probably …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, February 10th: COVID conundrums and more

Well, it’s been a week of games marked PPD and news around the league of more players and personnel added to COVID protocol lists, which is Not Great. So far, the Canadian division has been the least impacted by COVID, and hopefully for everyone’s health and safety that continues. There’s some speculation about how standings will be calculated should it get to the point where teams are unable to reschedule or make up missed games, with points percentage becoming more important than usual. In the meantime, a number of schedule changes were announced in the other divisions:

The NHL announced a number of schedule updates Saturday amid the recent postponement of games due to its COVID-19 protocols.
Details https://t.co/WZ9IZ3hX0q
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 6, 2021

Unfortunately, much of the news around the league this week has been related to COVID, but there are a couple other noteworthy items to touch on! Let’s dive in.
Leafs Lads
The Maple Leafs announced an historic endeavor yesterday, timed well considering it’s Black History Month.

New fans and the road forward.
Our inaugural episode of Barrier Breakers dives into the sisterhood – and impact – of @BlackGirlHockey, and …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Scott’s Thoughts: When should we be worried about the Leafs?

I touched on this last week as well, but the Leafs are starting to concern me a little bit. It’s weird to say considering the team is 7-2-1, first in their division, and tied for first in the NHL. They’ve seen a bit of an improvement in their defense, and their big forwards have shown up and scored.
But, there’s more than meets the eye to this team’s performance so far. While they’ve been driving possession, with 52.61% of the shot attempts at even strength (which ranks 6th in the league), the same can not be said for creating scoring chances, as their 48.78% 5v5 xGF% ranks 19th in the league. While their luck at even strength has been relatively normal, as their 7.69% shooting percentage is 17th and their 92.1% save percentage is 14th, where they’ve seen a lot of bounces go their way is their power play.
On the power play, the team is scoring on 43.3% of their opportunities, which is definitely not going to keep up (the highest power play percentage of all-time was the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens, who scored at a 31.9% rate). Now, part of that comes from the fact that they generate …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, January 27th: A hail storm of hockey drama

Another week, another influx of drama happening in and around the hockey world. It might just be me, but this shortened COVID season seems to be bringing more drama than usual. And now that the NWHL bubble season in Lake Placid is underway, the drama is not limited to the NHL. That’s right, women’s hockey drama has entered the chat.
Let’s take a look, and as always, we’ll start with our Toronto teams.
Leafs Lads
The Leafs season is actually off to a solid start, with a current record of 6-2 and a winning streak of 3 games. However, the season is not without drama. The Leafs are already being plagued by the injury bug, with Nick Robertson and Joe Thornton out, Auston Matthews missing a game due to “upper body soreness”, and now *sob* Jack Campbell is week to week with a leg injury.
In fact, let’s talk a bit about Jack Campbell. Though not the cause of the leg concern, there was quite a bit of drama that he was at the centre of in the 2 game series against the Calgary Flames.
So, there’s a scuffle around the net, see. And Matthew Tkachuk …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Raptor of the Week: OG Anunoby

Raptor of the Week:  OG Anunoby

OG Anunoby’s play this week shows that the Toronto Raptors may have one last ace up their sleeve. Until Friday night’s game, plenty of players were vying for the highly-contested title of Raptor of the Week. Will Kyle Lowry’s steady production and team leadership put him over the top?  Or will OG Anunoby’s newfound assertiveness and defensive […]
Raptor of the Week: OG Anunoby – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

The dust has settled and George Springer is a Blue Jay. What’s next?

What a ride this week has been.

It kicked off on Monday when the team inked Tyler Chatwood to a one-year deal to pitch out of the bullpen. That move, unsurprisingly, was met without a hell of a lot of fanfare, but Tuesday’s addition of Major League Baseball’s saves leader in 2019, Kirby Yates, moved the needle a bit more.
And then there was this…

Source: #BlueJays and George Springer in agreement, pending physical
— Brendon K (@_bkuh_) January 20, 2021

Brendon Kuhn came out of left field and told us that the Blue Jays and George Springer, the top position player on this year’s free-agent market, had agreed to a deal. The signing, which ended up being worth $150 million, was the biggest in franchise history, eclipsing Vernon Wells’ massive extension back in 2006 and dwarfing the deal Russell Martin signed ahead of the 2015 season.
Things didn’t slow down on Wednesday. First, Michael Brantley was a Blue Jay, and then he wasn’t. Hazel Mae and Ken Rosenthal both reported a deal was done, but that report got debunked and Brantley ended up re-signing in Houston.
As nice as it would have been to have Brantley in the lineup, this week …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation