The TLN Three Stars: Depleted Leafs cruise by Columbus in game that was not as close as the score suggests

After a weekend of disappointment, (and a truly embarrassing display of just how fake tough the Jets are, yeah I said it,) the Leafs get back to the win column tonight in a 5-4 victory that can be best described as bittersweet in light of how it ended and the news of the Spezza suspension coming down mid-game.
So, let’s focus in on the game here, and… I’ll be honest, there was never really a point in this game where I thought the Leafs were out of it. Now, let’s take that into context: with four regulars from the roster out of the lineup (Spezza, Marner, Sandin and Dermott), this game ended up featuring the NHL debuts of two Marlies call-ups in Alex Steeves and Kristians Rubins, and even with that factoring into the game, the Leafs dominated the majority of this game in my eyes.
A quick note on Rubins: it’s almost poetic that I ended up covering tonight’s game, given that I cover the Newfoundland Growlers on a day-to-day basis and Rubins has now become the first full-time member of a Growlers team to make his NHL debut, and hopefully, the first of …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

PHF Weekend Review: A winless weekend hurts the Six’s standing, but not their Pride

After a 3-0 start to the season, this weekend provided a small shock to the Toronto Six. The most recent Isobel Cup winners from Boston, the Pride made the most of this two game series against the Six.
The Six used the same lineup for both games this weekend, first shared in the tweet below before their Saturday evening game:

Ridgewell gets the start tonight! pic.twitter.com/Lxx8HuiPTY
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) December 4, 2021

Saturday December 4th at Boston Pride
That first game of the weekend was an even competition, with both teams showing their worth. After a scoreless first period, Emma Woods got Toronto on the board first with this contender for goal of the season:

EMMA WOODS! WHAT A GOAL pic.twitter.com/I9bgZKQJ2g
— PHF (@PHF) December 5, 2021

That lead held until the 3rd period, until the former champions were able to tie it up on PHF-star Jillian Dempsey’s tight-angled wrister:

Dempsey from a crazy angle ties this thing up! pic.twitter.com/TIk1Ie1wKs
— PHF (@PHF) December 5, 2021

The game went to 3-on-3 overtime afterwards, which solved nothing, sending the game to the shootout. Christina Putigna and the Pride got one-up on this goal that …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

PHF Weekend Review: Toronto Six stay unbeaten with two wins over Connecticut

This weekend marked a new milestone for Canada’s only PHF franchise, as Saturdays’ game was their first ever game on Canadian soil, having played all of last season in the bubble at Lake Placid, New York.
They played two games this weekend, their second and third games of this young season, both against the Connecticut Whale.
Saturday Nov 20th vs. Connecticut
Connecticut opened the scoring about halfway through the first on a tip by Kennedy Marchment on a Shannon Turner point shot, threatening to make the Canadian debutant ball a disappointing affair.
As the period went on, it looked like the Six were going to get goalie’d by Abby Ives, who was playing great. But when the Six came back for the second period, there was a fire in their bellies. They took over the shot clock and eventually added three goals in the matter of 4 minutes, taking total control of the game.
First, a tight-angled shot by Michela Cava beats Abby Ives to tie the game up. Then, Brooke Boquist picks up a soft feed in the slot from Cava on the rush for this beautiful, bottle popping shot:

Brooke Boquist Bardown pic.twitter.com/Kvw0u0 …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Around the NHL: Random questions with the Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

This past weekend, fellow writer Nick Barden and myself had the opportunity to cover the Hockey Hall of Fame induction weekend, which included a media Q&A, the Legends game, and the actual induction ceremony.
Of course, this being my first time covering an event of this caliber, I had no idea how the Q&A process would be, figuring it would be more that all the writers stayed in their seats and asked questions, not so much an actual media scrum.
So, my prep for this event was thinking of questions that wouldn’t be asked by other writers, and less story focused, so I don’t exactly have enough content for a specific story (I know, I’m great at this whole journalism thing). But, I did have some interesting questions to ask some of the inductees, and I was genuinely surprised how many of them gave honest answers, as opposed to the usual hockey answers that beat around the bush to not offend anyone.
I couldn’t let those answers go unheard, so here is just the conversations all thrown together.
Marian Hossa
So initially I actually wanted to talk to Hossa about the Kyle …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Campbell earns third shutout of the season in his 100th career game as Maple Leafs blank Predators

After coming off a back-to-back on the weekend against the Calgary Flames and the Buffalo Sabres where they picked up four out of the possible four points, the Toronto Maple Leafs were back in action tonight hosting the Nashville Predators for the first time in quite a while. These two teams were set to play one another on March 12, 2020, just one day after the NHL season, along with basically every other spot in the world shut down due to COVID.
There were some lineup changes ahead of tonight’s game, including Wayne Simmonds and Travis Dermott inserted back in the lineup for Kirill Semyonov and Timothy Liljegren. The first period was a great period for the Maple Leafs. They had a lot of quality scoring chances, got a couple of power-plays – they even scored on one – and just all-around outplayed the Predators in the first 20 minutes.
The second period pretty much started how the majority of the first period went for the Maple Leafs. They continued to apply a lot of pressure on the Predators and hemmed them in their own zone for a couple of shifts in a row but couldn’t seem to score any of their chances …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 49: There’s no room left for error

This weekend didn’t go as planned.

The Blue Jays managed a split against the Minnesota Twins while the Yankees rolled into Boston and pulled off a sweep. Toronto is now a game behind Boston for the second wild-card spot while the Yankees are a game up on the Red Sox for the top seed.
We talked about the series, going through the downs, such as Lourdes Gurriel’s injury and the team’s lack of clutch hitting, and then the ups, like Alek Manoah’s huge start on Sunday and George Springer busting out of his slump upon his return to the outfield.
We also looked ahead to the final week of the season, which will feature a must-win series between the Blue Jays and Yankees in Toronto. This is the first time the Yankees will be in Toronto in two years and the Blue Jays are opening capacity to 30,000 fans. There’s a perfect opportunity for a storybook ending here.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Gerrit Cole got really mad when he saw the Blue Jays were beating Minnesota on Sunday

This weekend was a bit swing for the Blue Jays in the wild-card race, thanks in part to Cleveland.

The Blue Jays took care of business against the Twins on Saturday and Sunday. They won 6-2 on Saturday behind a good start from Steven Matz and then they won 5-3 on Sunday after a five-run explosion in the first inning.
Elsewhere, the Yankees couldn’t get the job done in their series against Cleveland. They got drilled 11-3 on Saturday night after Cleveland put up a seven-run fifth inning. On Sunday, ace Gerrit Cole took the mound in a huge game and wound up getting smacked around for seven earned runs over five-and-two-thirds innings in an 11-1 loss.
With the Yanks down 4-0 in the third inning, Cole looked to the out-of-town scoreboard hoping for some help. He did not find it…

Here’s Gerrit Cole reacting to the Blue Jays’ 5-0 lead. (Young children should watch this on mute.) pic.twitter.com/NnvjGu8uLY
— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) September 19, 2021

Cole audibly yells FUCK as the scoreboard is updated to show the Blue Jays leading Minnesota by a score of 5-0 early in the game.
Another thing about Cole to note …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Well, that was amazing

What a weekend. Holy shit.

The Blue Jays took care of business against the A’s, sweeping the three-game series and ultimately made up all three games Oakland had on them in the standings.
With Boston and New York losing on Sunday, the Blue Jays are now four games back of a playoff spot. It’s still a big climb, but it certainly looks a lot more doable after what went down this weekend.
Look, whatever happens this year, whether they make it or not, you really have to just sit back and enjoy competitive baseball in September, because, sometimes, it results in insane, unforgettable weekends like this one. And since this weekend was such a fuckin’ blast, let’s go through and talk about all of the good stuff we witnessed…
Friday’s comeback…
Things looked pretty bleak in the opener of the series. Alek Manoah allowed a two-run double in the first inning and he would wing up getting tagged for six runs all told over five. In the seventh inning, Nate Pearson made his much-anticipated return and promptly got smacked around for a pair of runs. 8-2 Oakland. Not ideal!
And then the bottom of the eighth …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Injury Updates! Jordan Romano is expected back soon, Teoscar Hernandez is COVID symptom free, and more!

The weekend in Kansas City was ugly but we got some positive injury updates in regards to some key players. Let’s go through them all…

Teoscar Hernandez tested positive for COVID-19 and has been away from the team since the series last weekend against the Los Angeles Angels. Thankfully, Hernandez has recovered and is now “symptom-free,” which is a great sign. Of course, per MLB’s COVID protocol, Hernandez has to be quarantined from the team for a 10-day period and he has to test negative before he can join the Blue Jays. That would mean that, if he can test negative, he’ll be eligible to join the team on April 23, which is the beginning of this weekend’s series in Tampa against the Rays.
Speaking of that series against Tampa, we might also see George Springer finally make his debut this weekend. According to Ross Atkins, Springer isn’t quite at 100% but “all signs are exceptionally positive,” and Charlie Montoyo noted that Springer has resumed all baseball activities.
This, of course, would be a game-changer for the Blue Jays lineup. The team pretty much only has two players, Bo and Vlad, who are hitting right now, and …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are off to Texas to (hopefully) kick the crap out of the hapless Rangers

Opening Weekend went about as well as anybody reasonably could have expected for the Blue Jays.

They rolled into Yankee Stadium without George Springer, their top two projected starting pitchers, and their closer, and they managed to take two of three games thanks largely to some impressive pitching performances.
Now they have a really good opportunity to get off to a hot start to the season as they travel to Texas to face the Rangers, who, on paper, are arguably the worst team in baseball. According to ZiPS projections, the Rangers are expected to win just 66 games this season, which is better than only the Baltimore Orioles (65 wins) in the American League.
The Rangers will also become the first big-league team to welcome fans back at full capacity for their home opener on Monday. What could go wrong!
How they’re doing…
You generally don’t want to draw too many conclusions from Opening Weekend but Texas’ three-game set in Kansas City with the thoroughly mediocre Royals validates the notion of how bad the Rangers supposedly are. Texas lost the first two games of that series by a combined score of 25-14 and salvaged things on Sunday with a 7-3 …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation