Down the Stretch They Come

As play began on August 13, Jays World was feeling pretty good about the prospect of watching our heroes make the playoffs in October. Toronto was 16-10 since the break, 29-17 over the previous (almost) eight weeks – the best record in the AL over that period – and George Springer had come back just as that turnaround was beginning and was as hot as any hitter in the game.

Looking ahead, it was easy to be excited about a schedule that promised as much as 10 wins in 15 even before you get to beat up on Baltimore. They were a mere 2 games out of the second Wild Card slot, and a half-game away from passing the Hated Yankees. It was a great time to make hay and a horrible time to go cold, and yet…here we are.
The Yankees went on a ridiculous 13 game win streak while the Jays stumbled to only six wins in that 15 with a barely-there offense most nights even though the starting pitching mostly delivered. Toronto lost EIGHT GAMES in the standings vs the Yankees in little more than two weeks. This little ill-time slumped has moved the Jays from the heart of the wild card race to …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

SPOILER ALERT: The Kraken appear to be taking Alex Kerfoot from the Leafs

God I love the internet (sometimes).
While living in a world where everything is recorded can be a nuisance sometimes, it also yields moments like this…

Seattle Kraken have selected forward Alex Kerfoot from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the expansion draft. @spittinchiclets @TheHockeyNews @PierreVLeBrun @SeattleKraken
— Jack Carroll (@Jcarroll11_) July 20, 2021

(In case that tweet gets deleted, here’s the video again)

For those wondering what is going on there, that is film of Kevin Weekes helping to announce the Kraken’s selection from the Toronto Maple Leafs, and him listing Alexander Kerfoot as the selection. We do not know if they have done multiple takes, but it seems unlikely and we can probably lower our stress levels about worrying about the newly acquired Jared McCann.
While this is far from a guarantee, this is certainly strong evidence in how the expansion draft will play out for Toronto. And of course we have no knowledge of if there was a side deal involved. We assume that information was on another fish.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Report from the Rock: Drama in St. John’s

While the entire hockey world locks its eyes on the looming Seattle Kraken expansion draft, a situation is brewing in St. John’s, Newfoundland that could have serious repercussions on the Toronto Maple Leafs minor league development system if it boils over.
But first, since is the first Report from the Rock in several weeks, we have some news and notes to cover before we get into a deep dive on the ongoing dispute between the Newfoundland Growlers ownership group and St. John’s City Council.
First up, a quick mention here that the Leafs recently hired Ryan Hardy as Senior Director of Minor League Operations.

We’ve hired Ryan Hardy as Senior Director of Minor League Operations. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) June 25, 2021

In essence, Hardy will be the GM of the Growlers, more on him and what this means for the Leafs organization as a whole here.
Another minor piece of news, but a cool one to see nonetheless, after three years of existence, the Growlers Twitter account was verified.

Round of applause for our new checkmark
— Newfoundland Growlers (@NLGrowlers) July 13, 2021

Now that they’re certified as a real and legitimate …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Nation Network World Under-18 Medal Round Recap

Well, that was fun. The World Under-18 Championships came to an end last night in a great gold medal game that saw Canada and Russia renew their rivalry for world supremacy, at under-18 hockey. Canada faced off against Sweden in their semi-final and handled them quite easily, although not as easily as their 12-1 win in the round-robin. With super-prospect Connor Bedard leading the way with a hat trick, goaltender Ben Gaudreau making 16 of 17 saves, and captain Shane Wright, the Canadian kids blew out the Swedes 8-1. It’s not often you can blow out a team twice in the same tournament but it’s not often that the Canadian roster is as loaded as this one is.
In whats become the norm in Group B, the other semi-final was much more dramatic. The Russian squad, powered by their own super-prospect Matvei Michkov, looked to be one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the tournament. Having played the Finns in the round-robin – Russia’s sole loss at the U18s – they knew what to expect. With a pair of goals from captain Nikita Chibrikov and Ivan Miroshnichenko, as well as Michkov pitching in, the Russian team went up 6-3 …

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Author: Tony Ferrari / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays Nation Radio Ep. 7: Good Times at The House of Horrors

Good times at The Trop? What world is this?!?!

The Blue Jays rolled into Tampa Bay and saw the Rays for the first time since getting swept away in the Wild-Card round of last year’s post-season and things went quite well. Steven Matz was excellent on Friday, Jordan Romano imploded in Game 2, and the bullpen put together a masterful performance in Game 3 for the Blue Jays to take two of three.
We talked about all of the things that were good, like the bullpen being insane, Robbie Ray not walking anyone, and Santiago Espinal’s presence on the field and in the lineup, and we also touched on the things that weren’t so good, like Bo and Vlad going 1-for-25, Hyun Jin Ryu suffering an injury, and Romano’s worrying outing.
We also welcomed Mat Germain from Rays The Roof on the show to talk about what to expect from the Rays for the rest of the season. He went into some detail for us about some exciting arms the Rays have on the way and when we can expect to see Wander Franco, baseball’s No. 1 prospect, make his debut. Germain also reiterated his pre-season prediction about …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: How does Joel Embiid’s injury impact Toronto?

Raptors: How does Joel Embiid’s injury impact Toronto?

The entire NBA world, Toronto Raptors fans included, had to hold their breath during the Philadelphia 76ers’ win against the Washington Wizards, as MVP-caliber center Joel Embiid, who has been riddled with injuries in his pro career, went down with what appeared to be a non-contact knee injury. Embiid is averaging just under 30 points […]
Raptors: How does Joel Embiid’s injury impact Toronto? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Top KHL Free Agents in 2020-21

The 2nd best hockey league in the world just wrapped up their regular season, 60 Kontinental Hockey League games for teams in Russia, Finland, Belarus, Latvia, Kazakhstan, and China.
The usual suspects sit atop the league with CSKA Moskva and SKA St. Petersburg leading the West, Ak Bars Kazan and Avangard Omsk tops in the East. That’s not what concerns North American teams though, their focus is on poaching the talent that elevates teams to the top of the KHL. Artemi Panarin is the most impactful example, finishing in the top 20 in NHL scoring each season since signing with Chicago in 2015.
In the 5 years or so since Panarin came to North America there has been plenty of other skaters to sign out of the KHL. Not all of them met expectations, or even played a game in the NHL. Still, the opportunity to land an NHL contributor for under $1 million is a massive incentive to scout the KHL. If it takes three tries to land a player like Ilya Mikheyev, NHL clubs should be willing to take three swings.
Before the NHL season started I spent a lot of time watching KHL games and highlights, and narrowed down a list …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Clutch shooting gives Toronto win over T-Wolves in old-school slugfest

Raptors: Clutch shooting gives Toronto win over T-Wolves in old-school slugfest

The Toronto Raptors were the talk of the NBA world yesterday, as they absolutely slammed Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Needing to take home a win against a poor Minnesota Timberwolves team, a gassed Raptors team gave them their best shot on the second night of a back-to-back. Fresh off the second night of […]
Raptors: Clutch shooting gives Toronto win over T-Wolves in old-school slugfest – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nickeem Khan / Raptors HQ

Ilya Mikheyev scores first goal of the season in Leafs win – Rate That Leafs Game

It really feels like we’re on top of the world, doesn’t it?
The Toronto Maple Leafs win yet again. This time defeating the second-best team in the North Division — the Montreal Canadiens. I’d say this was one of the tougher games the Maple Leafs have had this season and that was expected.
Josh Anderson scored first for the Canadiens before Toronto would score three-straight from Travis Dermott, Justin Holl and Ilya Mikheyev. Frederik Andersen had a shaky start, but finished the game smoothly. Auston Matthews continued his dominance, but not in scoring goals as the 23-year-old has points in 11th-straight games. Even Jake Muzzin wanted in on the action tallying three assists.
The Maple Leafs play Montreal again on Saturday, so you better be ready. I definitely am.
Here’s my latest video — discussing this game and what the Maple Leafs should do going forward. I hope you enjoy (and subscribe too).

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday February 3rd: Tony DeWaived – and other stuff, I guess

Did ANYTHING else happen in the hockey world this week besides Tone DeAngelo getting waived and the subsequent rumours and reports about the behind the scenes drama with the Rangers?
I mean I guess so but who can remember it when the Tony of it all is going on?
I’ll do my best to remind you of what else is happening, but don’t we all just want to know who really punched Tony D?
Leafs Lads
As always, we begin by focusing on our boys in blue, who have had a really great start to the season. They went on a 4 game winning streak and 5 game point streak, and Frederik Andersen is looking much more solid in net. Of course, we’re still dealing with some injuries, but Joe Thornton and Nicholas Robertson are back on the ice skating, which is a good sign!

#Leafs Ice Chips from @markhmasters: With the team not playing for a few days, Joe Thornton and Nick Robertson are skating and making progress in their recovery –
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) February 1, 2021

Of course, it is NOT great that Alexander Kerfoot did not …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation