Playoff Eve Predictions for the Leafs vs. Habs

Without exaggerating, it has been a thousand years since the Leafs last played a game of hockey. I almost forget what they look like. The good news is that they will all be well rested and healed up as much as they can be. We’ll get the return of Zach Hyman, the debut of Riley Nash, and potentially Zach Bogosian will also be ready by Game 1 or shortly there after. Of course there is also the small issue of the Habs also healing up and that means Brendan Gallagher returns. The good news is that Carey Price will also be returning so that cancels out the good. All things considered, even if you look past our obvious homer nature on this site, all predictions point to the Leafs winning the series. While we’ve been hurt enough to know not to completely take that for granted, it’s hard not to be optimistic. I’ve asked the TLN crew to predict the first round winner, but also offer up another prediction for the series. Here are their responses:
Scott Maxwell (Leafs in six)
My prediction for this series is that it starts with the Habs winning game 1 to shake …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays’ newest reclamation project: Carl Edwards Jr.

The Blue Jays can’t seem to go a week without someone going down with an injury.

Last week we saw Rowdy Tellez slip on home plate and be forced to leave the game and Ryan Borucki was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left flexor strain. Borucki brings the number of pitchers on the IL for the Blue Jays up to eight (nine if you include Kirby Yates). Jordan Romano also seemed to be dealing with an issue during Sunday’s game but he hasn’t been placed on the IL, knock on wood.
With all these pitchers missing time, the Blue Jays have had to scramble to find arms to cover all these innings. We have seen waiver claims like Anthony Castro and Joel Payamps pitching well in high-leverage situations. A.J. Cole re-signed to a minor league deal this off-season picked up a save. Jeremy Beasley and Travis Bergen both acquired in separate trades from the Arizona Diamondbacks for cash have pitched in some key spots.
The Blue Jays have typically had a very strong bullpen under Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins and this season is no exception. They do a really good job at …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: 3 players who hurt their contract value in 2020-21

Toronto Raptors: 3 players who hurt their contract value in 2020-21

The Toronto Raptors will likely end up without playoff basketball for the first season in nearly a decade. For every success story, like Malachi Flynn emerging as a stud and the acquisition of Gary Trent Jr. at the deadline, Toronto had to watch the likes of Stanley Johnson and Aron Baynes eat up big minutes […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 players who hurt their contract value in 2020-21 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Thoughts on the Leafs forwards heading into the playoffs

It seems like stretches without hockey are a rarity. In a lot of ways, with the weather improving, it’s quite welcome. In other ways I just want the season to hurry up and end so we can get on with the playoffs already. This seems to be heightened by the fact that the Leafs can clinch their playoff spot as soon as tomorrow night, as Toronto requires just one more win and one more Vancouver loss to make it happen. If the Leafs top Montreal and Ottawa does a favour for Toronto, we get the “x” next to the Leafs name. If not, Thursday night offers a pretty good opportunity given that the Leafs play against the Canucks. You’d also hope that Leafs come out playing like they have something to prove against Vancouver after their unfortunate showing against the Canucks as they returned from their COVID outbreak.
Here are a few other thoughts that are still rattling around in my head.
Simmonds and Thornton are showing their value
Much has been made of the tougher Leafs over the past two games. Maybe they just really like beating up on the Jets or maybe they are preparing themselves …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. trade looks even better after Blazers slide

Toronto Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. trade looks even better after Blazers slide

Even without trading Kyle Lowry at the 2021 NBA Trade Deadline, the Toronto Raptors made one of the more impactful deals of the evening, swapping out potential 2021 free agent Norman Powell for the younger, cheaper Gary Trent Jr. and a throw-in reclamation project in Rodney Hood. The Portland Trail Blazers made this deal with […]
Toronto Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. trade looks even better after Blazers slide – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

More Injuries! Julian Merryweather to the 10-day IL, Ross Stripling scratched with forearm tightness

The Blue Jays are already without, among others, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Nate Pearson, and the team was dealt another couple of blows on Wednesday morning.

Julian Merryweather is going on the 10-day Injured List with a left oblique strain. He left last night’s game after throwing just a few pitches with what the team called a hip issue. This is obviously really, really unfortunate as Merryweather has been excellent and Toronto’s bullpen is already without Tyler Chatwood. This leaves either Rafael Dolis or Jordan Romano as the closer.
Coming up in Merryweather’s place will be Anthony Castro, who the team claimed off waivers from the Detroit Tigers back in December. Castro has just one inning at the big-league level but pitched fairly well for the team in spring training and was in the mix to crack the team right up until the end. Castro tossed nine-and-one-third Grapefruit innings and struck out 15 batters.
David Phelps is listed as day-to-day after getting drilled by a liner last night. He won’t go on the Injured List but also won’t be available tonight.
And then there’s Ross Stripling, who was supposed to start today, but won’t …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Matthews’ status still up in the air as Leafs play afternoon game against Flames

After a surprising win against the Edmonton Oilers without Auston Matthews in the lineup, the Leafs go on their first big road trip of the season, kicking it off with back-to-back games against Calgary. Today is the first of the two, and the Leafs look to keep the winning ways going in a division that’s already starting to show it’s true contenders and pretenders.
The Flames enter the game having not played in six days, but with only three games played, they are currently undefeated in regulation, thanks to back-to-back wins against the Vancouver Canucks. The usual suspects have been leading the way for them, as Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, and Sean Monahan lead the team in scoring with 4 points, while players like Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund have been the usual possession monsters that they always are.
We still have no word as to whether or not Auston Matthews will play this afternoon, but I’m sure Friday’s win makes Keefe feel a little bit more confident about giving him more rest if it’s needed. That said, Calgary is a much tougher and deeper team than Edmonton, so he will still be very much needed.


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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Can the Toronto Raptors Succeed Without Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol?

Can the Toronto Raptors Succeed Without Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol?

The Toronto Raptors are preparing for a reality without their title-winning centers. Can they succeed this season without Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol? Serge Ibaka broke the hearts of Toronto Raptors fans when it was announced that he was headed to the Los Angeles Clippers to join his pal, Kawhi Leonard. There was great hope […]
Can the Toronto Raptors Succeed Without Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jeff Borsuk / Raptors HQ

News and Notes: Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci will not re-sign, Joel Ward considered for a coaching spot, and more

Two defencemen without a new contract won’t be getting one from the Leafs this October.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic went on First Up 1050 and revealed that both Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci will be testing the free-agent market in a few week’s time.

Pierre LeBrun on First Up 1050: “This won’t shock anyone, I’m not dropping any news here … I was told by a source yesterday that Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci know that they’re headed to market and not re-signing with the Maple Leafs.” #LeafsForever
— NHL News (@PuckReportNHL) September 30, 2020

This is not a shocking revelation since it appeared to be heading in this direction for the last few months, but I’m sure a bunch of Leafs fans are relieved to hear it nonetheless. Both players were brought in last July 1st with good intentions but neither of them were able to make it work in Toronto.
Ceci was acquired in the Nikita Zaitsev trade and had a tumultuous relationship with the fanbase, most notably frustration over him continuously being paired with Morgan Rielly (although Kyle Dubas did come to Ceci’s defence a lot throughout the season). He produced one goal, seven assists, …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Eurotrip: Jesper Lindgren to MODO

It probably goes without saying that the Leafs are now looking at any and all options for finding European clubs for their players, and yesterday they found a landing spot for Jesper Lindgren with MODO.
From the MODO team site:
MODO Hockey can today announce that defender Jesper Lindgren has been contracted as a loan from the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. “We are very happy that” Jeppe “has clearly shown that he wants to return to MODO and this solution with Toronto is very good for us. As a player, he has clear top qualities as an offensive back, but has also taken big steps in his entire game in recent seasons “, comments MODO Hockey’s sports manager Fredrik Glader.
That puts Lindgren, Korshkov, and Lehtonen overseas so far, and it’s doubtful those will be the last, as hockey won’t resume in North America until December.
Lindgren wasn’t a standout in his year with the Marlies, and perhaps some extra hockey can get him on track to compete for a bigger role with the AHL club in December.
 

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation