Toronto Marlies games postponed due to COVID-19 protocols

The AHL announced today that three Toronto Marlies games (April 15, April 18 against Laval) and (April 21 against Belleville) have been postponed due to COVID-19 league protocols.
No make-up dates have been announced as of yet by the league.
The Toronto Marlies are 10-11-0-1 on the season and had 11 games left before the end of the year. More information on the Toronto Marlies will come whenever anything is released.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays have acquired Juan Graterol (which means Reese McGuire is probably getting cut)

The Blue Jays announced today that they had acquired a familiar face (well, a familiar face if you were really, really invested in the dark days of the rebuilding era).

Juan Graterol is back! The team acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for cash considerations.
Graterol, as you surely don’t remember, was a member of the Blue Jays organization for, like, three months back in 2017. The Jays grabbed him off of waivers that off-season and he played a handful of games for the Buffalo Bisons and then they traded him to the Angels for cash.
He’s pretty much been an insurance, third- or fourth-string catcher option for his entire career. He’s 32 years old and has played in only 67 big-league games while being a part of six different organizations. In those 67 games, he’s slashed a .218/.227/.266 line with zero homers. But, hey, he can squat behind the plate and catch the damn ball!
So, what does this mean?
I would assume it means that the team is going to cut Reese McGuire and they want a veteran third-string option so that they don’t have to call up a prospect like Riley Adams …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Alek Manoah and Simeon Woods Richardson among the Blue Jays re-assigned to “Minor League Working Group”

The Blue Jays announced on Thursday that 25 players have been optioned/re-assigned to the team’s Minor League Working Group.

Here are the 40-man roster players who were optioned: Otto Lopez, Elvis Luciano, Gabriel Moreno, and Ty Tice.
Here are the non-roster invitees who were re-assigned: Nick Allgeyer, Bryan Baker, Chris Bec, Phil Clarke, Jordan Groshans, Hobie Harris, Miguel Hiraldo, Leo Jimenez, Adam Kloffenstein, Cullen Large, Alek Manoah, Austin Martin, Orelvis Martinez, Joey Murray, Jackson Rees, CJ Van Eyk, Jacob Waguespack, Logan Warmoth, Simeon Woods Richardson, Chavez Young, and  Yosver Zulueta.
With Opening Day in two weeks and the minor-league contract opt-out date coming shortly, the Blue Jays likely want to focus on the battles they have for positions on their 26-man roster. These players who were re-assigned can all still appear in spring training games, but none of them were really in the mix to crack the team.
The non-roster invitees still left with the team are: A.J. Cole, Anthony Castro, Francisco Liriano, Tim Mayza, Tommy Milone, Kirby Snead, Joe Panik, Kevin Smith, Richard Urena, Tyler White, and Forrest Wall. Any of those players would need to be added to the 40-man roster if they crack the roster …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs deal Mikko Lehtonen to Columbus for goaltender Veini Vehvilainen

The Mikko Lehtonen era is over. The Leafs announced on Friday that the Finnish defenceman has been dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for 24-year old goaltender Veini Vehvilainen.

TRADE: We’ve acquired goaltender Veini Vehviläinen from Columbus in exchange for Mikko Lehtonen. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 12, 2021

Lehtonen arrived in Toronto with plenty of hype after a season in which he was named the KHL’s defenceman of the year but he was unable to beat out Travis Dermott or Zach Bogosian for a regular spot on a greatly improved Leafs’ defensive core. He managed to get into nine games with the Leafs, picking up three assists while showing potential as a powerplay quarterback, but was unable to earn Sheldon Keefe’s trust at even strength.
It is a bit of an unceremonious end for a player that had such high expectations upon signing with the Leafs as an undrafted free agent last offseason but it is clear that the experiment didn’t pan out and the fit never materialized. Dubas did right by Lehtonen in moving him to a team that might be …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

NWHL Isobel Cup rescheduled!

The NWHL announced the official rescheduling of the Isobel Cup playoffs, which will now take place on March 26-27 in the Boston area.

The completion of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) Isobel Cup Playoffs, presented by @Discover, will take place March 26-27 at @WarriorIceArena in Brighton, Massachusetts on @NBCSports! #InternationalWomensDay
— NWHL (@NWHL) March 8, 2021

Our very own Toronto Six take the top seed for the completion of the tournament. According to the official press release, “All three games will be televised on NBCSN and streamed on and the NBC Sports app exclusively in the U.S., and streamed via Twitch in Canada and other international markets.”
International Women’s Day is starting off with a bang thanks to this exciting announcement!

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Why Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Should be Given an Opportunity to Play Third

Charlie Montoyo spoke to the media on Wednesday and announced that Cavan Biggio, not Vladimir Guerrero Jr., will be the team’s third baseman this season.

This news isn’t shocking but seems a bit surprising they would announce this at the beginning of Spring Training, given all the work/training Vlad did to get into shape in order to play third base. Based off the Team Guerrero YouTube channel, it looks like Vlad has put a ton of work this off-season into his defence at third, including earlier this month working with Luis Rivera.
It feels like a wasted opportunity for Vlad to spend all this time training to play third, only to be told immediately in Spring Training that he is going to play first. First is not an easy position to pick-up, and Vlad had his struggles there last season. If you want him to become a gold glove first baseman, spending a whole off-season working on the position would have been a great start. Vlad even played Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic to get game reps at third; looking back he probably should have used that time to get better accustomed to first.
Maybe third …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Were Fred VanVleet and the Raptors snubbed from the All-Star game?

Raptors: Were Fred VanVleet and the Raptors snubbed from the All-Star game?

The NBA just announced the reserves for the 2020-21 NBA All-Star game, and even though the Toronto Raptors are fifth in the Eastern Conference, there aren’t any Raptors representing the East. One name from the Raptors that should be on the team is Fred VanVleet. There is no doubt that right now VanVleet is the […]
Raptors: Were Fred VanVleet and the Raptors snubbed from the All-Star game? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Pirasanth Gunasekaram / Raptors HQ

NHL announces enhanced COVID-19 protocols

The National Hockey League and its player association has announced a new set of COVID-19 measures aimed at enhances what’s already in place.

The league said they will be in place until at least Feb. 28 as they continue to monitor their implementation and effectiveness.
The measures, which were announced and took effect yesterday, will see more testing, stricter quarantines, better masking and the utilization of player tracking, amongst other things.
A pilot project utilizing data from the player tracking system has been launched to work to measure the manager and degree of interaction between players as an enhancement to the contact tracing process.
“The goal of this project is to more precisely determine which people should be considered for enhanced monitoring and/or quarantine based on close contact with potentially infected Players,” they said.
Additional POC testing for U.S.-based clubs 
Furthering current testing protocols, the league will be adding point of care rapid testing to be administered on game days to all players, club personnel and on-ice officials that work in or around the benches during games. If a positive test is returned, the individual will be immediately isolated per league protocols. The league said they are …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

The PWHPA partners with the Leafs on a Dream Gap Tour game

Today the PWHPA announced their second NHL team partner on their Dream Gap Tour, and we are pleased to see that it is the Toronto Maple Leafs.

We are proud to announce a formal partnership with the Toronto Maple Leafs!
The @MapleLeafs will host a future @SecretDeodorant Dream Gap Tour game, while also providing enhanced marketing coordination and support, and sponsorship consulting on commercial efforts.
— PWHPA (@PWHPA) February 6, 2021

From the official release:
The partnership involves enhanced marketing coordination and support, sponsorship consulting on commercial efforts, as well as a future Secret Dream Gap Tour game to showcase their players, which will be confirmed once Canadian Government regulations allow, and it is deemed safe to do so.
Comprised of approximately 125 of the world’s best women hockey players, the PWHPA was formed to advocate for, and advance, equity, fairness and opportunity in women’s professional hockey. Specifically, the group is working to provide increased opportunity in women’s hockey with the goal of creating a sustainable league that pays a living wage to players, provides appropriate elite-level resources (i.e. ice time, facilities, trainers, etc.) and invests in marketing that showcases the players and game.
“The …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

NWHL suspends season due to COVID concerns

Unfortunately, the NWHL announced this afternoon that the remainder of the 2021 season will be suspended due to safety concerns after new positive COVID cases were confirmed:

The NWHL and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) have agreed, due to new positive COVID-19 tests and the resulting safety concerns for the players, their respective staff & the community that the remainder of the 2021 NWHL Season in Lake Placid have been suspended.
— NWHL (@NWHL) February 3, 2021

Though sad to see the season pause this way, we also want to recognize the amazing achievements of the brand new Toronto Six team, who at the time of suspension of play are sitting as the first seed. This season also showcased the overall commitment of the hockey community to growing the game, with incredible sponsorships (like this one, announced today:)

Exciting news! @DICKS Sporting Goods will be the official presenting sponsor of the Isobel Cup Championship!
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— NWHL (@NWHL) February 3, 2021

And this one:

@Discover and National Women’s Hockey League Announce Landmark Partnership. Read more about the partnership here:
— NWHL (@NWHL) January 29, 2021

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation