Leafs day after thoughts: The last chance to battle adversity is upon us

So we’re here. Six games into the Leafs season, coming off a disastrous 7-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. You could say that Toronto lost to a part AHL team.
No Sidney Crosby, no Evgeni Malkin, and no Kris Letang. The Leafs still lost.
A majority of fans have officially hit the panic button, too. That’s understandable. When you have two of the NHL’s biggest stars on your team not contributing with goals, it’s tough. Everyone has their right to be upset at this team.
But some also have the right to still reserve judgement.
The Leafs are an interesting team. You, me, and everyone else knows what they’re capable of. Sometimes they play like they’re a cup contending team, other nights they play like the worst team in the NHL. Usually, there’s no in between.
Expectations were set the day Auston Matthews was drafted. The bar was set even higher when they made it to the playoffs that same year. Yet, the bar hasn’t been cleared five years later.
Many fans have finally had enough. The team hasn’t been able to sell out Scotiabank Arena yet this season. And you …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs day after thoughts: What’s wrong with Mitch Marner?

Nothing.
Mitch Marner has one assist through three games with the Toronto Maple Leafs. And for some reason, a lot of people are complaining about it. I don’t understand it.
The 24-year-old hasn’t produced in two of his first three games. So what?
A lot of fans are expecting Marner to be the best player on the ice. Sometimes he is, sometimes he isn’t. But you have to remember who he’s playing with right now. Nick Ritchie is without a point through the first three games, and John Tavares has two assists.
We’ve seen Marner get the chances.

Only a matter of time until marner pops what a chance pic.twitter.com/boCR665bq9
— Ah yes, the Leafs. (@LeafsAllDayy) October 17, 2021

In the clip above, he gets robbed by Anton Forsberg, who’s starting this season with a .935 save percentage. His career save percentage in the NHL is .904. So it’s safe to say he’s off to a fiery start.

Marner is having a game, Tavares couldn’t finish. pic.twitter.com/uO023sC6Yv
— Ah yes, the Leafs. (@LeafsAllDayy) October 17, 2021

In the clip above, Marner gets it over to Tavares, who also can’t beat …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The TLN Three Stars: Maple Leafs finally start on time in 3-1 over Ottawa

After two shaky games where the Toronto Maple Leafs continued their habit of getting completely outplayed by their opponents during the first ten minutes, the script was reversed with two early L
eafs goals being all that was needed in a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. It was without a doubt the best team performance from the boys in blue and white thus far into the young season, and despite Ottawa nearly tying the game late in the second period before an offside review overturned what would have been the game tying goal, Toronto controlled play and dominated their provincial rivals through most of the contest.
3rd Star: Jack Campbell
With an emergency backup goalie riding the bench after an injury to Petr Mrázek earlier in the week, Jack Campbell continued to show that last year was no fluke. Appearing in all three Leafs games so far this season, Campbell has posted a 0.968 save percentage and looked downright dominant while doing so. While Frederik Andersen had his moments of brilliance while with the team, Jack Campbell is showing the kind of consistency the Maple Leafs haven’t had since the days of Ed Belfour. Campbell has shown that he’ …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Take a deep breath. Relax. The Leafs marathon is about to begin

82 games is a long time. 82 games is especially long when you know the Leafs are a good enough team to fall on the playoff side of the equation even if they half ass it throughout the year and don’t particularly have anything to prove in the regular season. Instead this year is all about playoff success. That’s going to make for an interesting regular and one that could feel pretty pointless at times. That’s probably not the best way to hype a season that others are calling the last dance for this Leafs core, but let’s start with how that narrative is downright goofy anyway.
For one, the comparison to the Bulls last dance ignores the fact that Bulls were going for their sixth championship of a dynasty. The Leafs are trying to end 5 year streak of being out in the first round, and 17 year drought of not seeing the second round of the playoffs. That seems like where the ridiculousness of this comparison needs to stop. Of course the Bulls last dance also had no chance of the band staying together. Pippen was heading for free agency, Phil Jackson had essentially received his walking papers, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

What NHL 22 could be, and what it actually is

The NHL video games have always been a huge staple in my life. Playing hockey as a kid, the game always brought out the fun in the sport. Being a teenager, I can vividly remember staying up late to play NHL 14 with some friends and absolutely loving it.
Every skill move that players had back then was in the game. You wanted to do the Forsberg on a breakaway? It was there. Toe drags? You had those too. Literally everything was in the game, and that was back in 2014.
I think we can agree that the graphics are now better, the arenas look more realistic, as do the players — but that’s it. There’s also the new game modes like World of Chel, NHL Three’s and HUT Rush, however it doesn’t fix the games biggest problems.
If I could look back in the last ten years, EA Sports has put out three solid NHL games and those were NHL 13, NHL 14, and NHL 15. Nothing else comes close to how great those games were.
Fast forward to NHL 22, and the game looks eerily similar.

My problems with NHL 22 — from the trailer
The biggest change in NHL 22 is EA switching …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 40: Rock Bottom

Woooof, that’s about as bad as it gets.

We had these games against bad teams like the Detroit Tigers circled on the calendar for months as an opportunity for the Blue Jays to finally smack somebody around and hit their stride. That didn’t happen this weekend.
Despite getting three strong starts — an ace performance from Robbie Ray, a vintage Hyun Jin Ryu outing, and a strong showing from Steven Matz — the Blue Jays couldn’t hit anything the Tigers threw at them. Worst of all, they couldn’t hit Drew Hutchison, who none of us knew was still in the league just a few weeks ago.
We talked about that miserable series, the team’s lack of clutch and killer instinct, and tried to come up with some positives. It wasn’t easy!
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe and Japan face tough road in Olympics

Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe and Japan face tough road in Olympics

The Toronto Raptors are sending a few players to the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year, and while Nick Nurse and Team Canada might have to watch the Olympics on TV like the rest of us, rising forward Yuta Watanabe will try to make his country proud when he suits up for host nation Japan. […]
Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe and Japan face tough road in Olympics – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays get Darlin Guzman as the PTBNL from the Hector Perez trade back in January

We all hate postponed games due to rain. We all hate Kirk missing out on the ThunderBisons’ lineup due to rest, but what we all love trades.

On January 22nd, 2021, the Jays traded longtime prospect, Hector Perez, to the Reds for a Player To Be Named Later. Five months later we got the answer as to the player in question.
Darlin Guzman.
You may be asking who and quite frankly, I did the same myself. He’s a 20-year-old outfielder who is playing in rookie ball. While this season he’s only had five at bats, in 2019 he set the league ablaze hitting .357/.394/1.010. This showed improvements from the previous season after only hitting .251/.326/.777.
What intrigues me however is the power. Out of his 66 hits in 2019, 30 of them were for extra bases. This included six triples and six home runs. According to Doug Gray, a writer for numerous platforms, the power potential is there, but he’s a long way from the big leagues. (Read the article here:)
One thing that is worrisome is the fact that in his two seasons he’s had a K% of 26.9% in 2018 and 22.2% in 2019. Furthermore, his BB% of 10.4% in 2018 dropped to 5.1% in 2019. This will need …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Riley Nash: An obscure Leaf trivia answer or solid center depth that should be brought back

Two playoff games. That was our taste of Riley Nash. Now to evaluate his time as a Leaf:
It certainly happened. He played a second game and that somehow made the Leafs pay a 6th round pick instead of a 7th. It wasn’t great.
That’s the story on Nash as a Leaf. A memorable 20 minutes of post season hockey consisting of 3 hits, a blocked shot, and one shot on goal. Cool.
Now we have to talk about him a bit more seriously. Nash as a defense first, low event forward, who is capable of being a sour pain in the ass for offensive players sounds like something the Leafs could potentially use, though definitely not around his $2.7M contract that just ended. If there’s an acknowledgement that he’s gotten his payday, and now it’s about using his reliability to stay in the league around the $1M mark, that is something worth exploring.
Depending on what the Leafs are doing from an expansion draft stand point, there is also something to be said for re-signing Nash. If the Leafs are looking to go with a 7F/3D protection approach, they might need to have additional forwards …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio Ep. 20: Another disappointing series against a quality opponent

Yet again the Blue Jays have dropped two games in a three-game series.

The team had a nice winning streak going against the Yankees, Cleveland, and Miami, but they got shut down by a pair of contending teams in Houston and Chicago.
On this post-White Sox series edition of BJN Radio, we welcomed writer and friend of the website Paul Berthelot on to talk about the Blue Jays’ bullpen issues, whether we should have any concern about Hyun Jin Ryu, and if it’s time for Nate Pearson to come up and pitch out of the bullpen.
We also talked about MLB’s “foreign substances” issue and what it means for the Blue Jays and the league in general.
Finally, we looked ahead to the upcoming four-game series with the Red Sox in Boston. The Sox haven’t fallen off a cliff yet and, at this point, it seems like they probably won’t. This is yet another good team the Blue Jays are facing and they need to start beating some of them.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation