This Raptors-Spurs sign-and-trade for Lonnie Walker could work

This Raptors-Spurs sign-and-trade for Lonnie Walker could work

The Toronto Raptors need to figure out what the plan with Chris Boucher is before they can create a more robust plan of attack in the offseason. A sign-and-trade can’t be ruled out as a possibility if Boucher gets a handy multi-year offer, as Toronto could get a quality bench standout in return. The San […]
This Raptors-Spurs sign-and-trade for Lonnie Walker could work – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

New York Yankees fan who got Aaron Judge homerun ball in Toronto got to meet him

Sports rule.

No matter what side of the fanbase you sit on between the AL East foes in the Yankees and Blue Jays, you can’t help but feel good for nine-year-old Derek Rodriguez.
You see, Torontonians Derek and his father, Cesar, are both massive Yankees fans who had tickets to all three games of the series between the two teams. Derek, a massive Aaron Judge fan, was donning a shirt the players’ number 99 on the back.

Enjoy the kindness.
Aaron Judge and this very generous Blue Jays fan made this kid’s night! pic.twitter.com/qgFe9j8BTX
— MLB (@MLB) May 4, 2022

When Judge juiced a sixth-inning no-doubter to left field, it bounced into the second deck right where Blue Jays fan Mike Lanzillotta was sitting.
“When it came to me, and I picked it up, and I was just like, ‘Wow, like, I got to give it to this kid,’” Lanzillotta told The Athletic. “It’s his player, his T-shirt.”
Cameras picked it up right away caught a heart-melting hug between the two and
And ahead of the rubber match between the two teams Wednesday, both Rodriguez and Lanzillotta got welcomed into the Yanks’ dugout to meet Judge.

Last night, 9-year-old Derek Rodriguez was given @TheJudge44’s home run ball by Mike Lanzillotta
Today, they both got to meet Aaron before the game.
We are crying too. pic.twitter.com/fmGwEv9Xgv
— MLB (@MLB) May 4, 2022

You can’t pick up what was said in any of the clips posted, but you can just see the joy beaming from the young Rodriguez’s face.
Lanzillotta, meanwhile, didn’t walk out of it all empty-handed as George Springer went out of his way to give him two signed jerseys.
How can you not love baseball?
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.


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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning: Who has the advantage on special teams?

What is it they say about unstoppable forces and immovable objects? The round one matchup between the Maple Leafs and Lightning is one between two dominant even-strength teams who tend to control their games at 5v5. Both teams ended the season with results above 50% in advanced metrics like Shot Attempt Share (CF%), Unblocked Shot Attempt Share (FF%), Shot Share (SF%), Goal Share (GF%), and Expected Goal Share (xGF%).
Even strength is going to be a battle where the two teams may play to a split. Where this series may be won, is on special teams.
Powerplay
Toronto
The Leafs finished the 2021-22 season with the league’s top powerplay, clicking at a 27.3% rate that was good for the fourth-best powerplay success rate in the league over the last five seasons. Leading the way was their first unit of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander, and Morgan Rielly, whose fluid, shapeless, and unpredictable powerplay formation twisted opponents in knots. You may be surprised to know that Nylander lead the first unit Leafs in points-per-60 on the powerplay with 7.6 points for every hour on the man advantage, with Matthews coming in at 7.5, Tavares at 6.6, Marner at 6.5, and Rielly at 5.34.
What’s most ironic about the Leafs’ powerplay success this season, …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Adventures of the time-travelling Leafs fan

What I’m about to tell you is incredibly difficult to believe, I know that. But I promise you that, even if you don’t believe me, you’ll enjoy the story I’m about to tell.
On Wednesday, I was shopping at the grocery store that now occupies the former Maple Leafs Garden and, when reaching into the back of a freezer for some cheese-y pierogies, my hand knocked the base of the freezer off and… that’s when I saw it: a time travelling portal.
How I knew it was a time travelling portal is unimportant; all that you need to know is that I stepped through its doors and all of a sudden, I was still in a grocery store, but “Payphone” by Maroon 5 was playing on the radio, and that’s how I knew: I had travelled back in time, to the early 2010’s.
I felt a sense of panic come over me. I went to ask the woman next to me, who was wearing an oversized white shirt and blue cutoff jeans, with wedge sneakers, if she knew what year it was, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t ask her anything I wanted to ask. I couldn’t ask who the Prime Minister was, I couldn’t even ask her about the weather. I stood there like a deer in headlights until the question I needed to ask clicked in my head like a switch: “so, how about those Leafs, eh?”
A short conversation flowed, about how the line of Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak were dominating once again. She clearly was a big fan, like me. The fact that she was talking about a whole different Leafs roster was hard at f …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs 3 stars of the week: Michael Bunting hits the 60-point mark, Mark Giordano helps lead Toronto to Saturday night win

After what was a pretty memorable week for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Auston Matthews, it was right back to business last week with three games on their schedule with the playoffs just creeping around the corner. With three games on their schedule – two against non-playoff teams and one against a wild card team – the Maple Leafs were definitely looking to continue their momentum into these three games and continue how they have played for the past month and a half.
They opened their week on Tuesday night against a team they have had trouble with this season, the Buffalo Sabres. It’s honestly strange Toronto has had trouble against the Sabres given where both teams are in the standings, but some teams just play other teams harder and have their number. Every team can beat any team on any given night in the NHL, however, it is quite annoying they keep losing to this Sabres team. Tuesday night wasn’t any different, and they played one of their worst games in recent memory and just looked lazy and they lost 5-2 on home ice after a pretty good win the Saturday prior against Montreal.
So following up a pretty bad 5-2 loss to a Sabres team …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Bluelines: Beating up on Buffalo

It will be interesting to see what Leafs team shows up tonight. The Leafs are locked into a playoff spot, and have had a history of phoning it in against some of the weaker teams in the league. That being said, they’ve also had a bizarre run of success on Tuesday nights this season.
Maple Leafs to win -470
Okay, so unless you are looking to include a Leafs win as part of your parlay, this isn’t a huge moneymaker. The Sabres on the other hand are paying +345, so if you think the post clinch hangover is real, go against Toronto. Kallgren will be in net, Liljegren is back with Rielly, and we’re getting our first look at the Giordano-Lyubushkin pairing too. Anything could happen.
Matthews hitting 60 +260
If you are down for Auston taking advantage of a not-so-great Buffalo team, and getting to the 60 mark as soon as possible, you can bet on a two goal night at +260. A single goal only pays at -162, but if you expect him to come out guns blazing, Matthews getting the first goal pays at +650.
Bunting busts his goalless streak +170
His streak can’t go on forever, right? Tonight against underwhelming goaltending and a bad Buffalo team is …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

WATCH: Auston Matthews ties the Leafs franchise record for goals in a season

What more can we really say about Matthews goal scoring abilities? If you are regularly debating if he he’s the greatest Leaf you haven’t been paying close attention. He certainly seems to be the most talented player to ever wear the blue and white, and with players like Sundin, Sittler, Bower, and others in the team’s history, that’s not a light statement.
Anyways, here’s a quick look at his historic hat trick.

FIFTY. TWO. pic.twitter.com/OreaRaW6q7
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 5, 2022

FIFTY. THREE. pic.twitter.com/2Pr3l3kKlD
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 5, 2022

FIFTY. FOUR. pic.twitter.com/ersYqZFc5M
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 5, 2022

There’s plenty of time left in the season to keep on counting, and suddenly it looks very realistic that the Leafs will have their first 60 goal scorer by the end of the year.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Jaylen Brown declines to confirm status for Raptors playoff series

Jaylen Brown declines to confirm status for Raptors playoff series

As the Toronto Raptors prepare for what should be a very intense first-round playoff series, they have the unexpected advantage of a vaccine mandate that would make it impossible for unvaccinated players to suit up in Scotiabank Arena. This could come into play if they take on Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics. The existing […]
Jaylen Brown declines to confirm status for Raptors playoff series – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Chapman is Looking to Fill the Void Left by Semien, and he’s had a Great Start

Do you recall what you were doing at 5 in the morning on Friday, March 18th? 

Personally, I was about three hours into my sleep about to be unwillingly woken up by my kittens. Do you want to know what Matt Chapman was doing? The new Blue Jays third baseman was already at the training facility, ready to work.

Bo Bichette and Santiago Espinal arrived at the #BlueJays complex at 6:15am. Asked if they knew what time new teammate Matt Chapman was scheduled to show up today.
Espinal: “oh, he’s here already. He got here at 5am.”
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) March 18, 2022

 
While Santiago was incorrect in regards to the time, it does leave a good first impression with the fans, the front office and his fellow players. Not just that, but from interviews you can tell that the third baseman is excited to be a part of this team.

Matt Chapman on what time he arrived: “think I told them 5:55a..was here at 6am..I knew I was gonna have a busy day… wanted to make sure I could meet all my teammates…I’m now part of the breakfast club… I couldn’t sleep either, felt like my first day of school.” #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/MpXkSGt2Md
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) March 18, 2022

The similarities to former Blue Jays infielder, Marcus Semien are present. Like Semien, Chapman spent the previous season with the Oakland Athletic’s, but struggled offensively. For Semien, the move paid off well, as he signed a seven year, $175 million contract. Chapman spoke with the former Jay, who said that the 28-year-old third baseman would love it in Toronto.

Matt Chapman spoke to Former #BlueJays Marcus Semien on joining the organization:
“He gave me about as much of an update as he could, and just told me how much I’m going to love it (here), and love the guys.”
*Chapman with George Springer pic.twitter.com/Gy …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

3 Toronto Raptors who have earned spots on 2022-23 squad

3 Toronto Raptors who have earned spots on 2022-23 squad

No matter what happens in the remainder of the regular season, the Toronto Raptors have already exceeded some of the wildest expectations that a largely pessimistic media gave them before the 2021-22 season. Last year’s stint in Tampa appears to be more of an exception than a norm. Despite leaning on young players at the […]
3 Toronto Raptors who have earned spots on 2022-23 squad – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ