Former Toronto Raptors coach Phil Handy speaks on time with Nick Nurse

Former Toronto Raptors coach Phil Handy speaks on time with Nick Nurse

The success of the Toronto Raptors over the last few years has been due, in part, to some of the assistant coaches that Nick Nurse has populated his bench with. Even though he was only in town for one season, Phil Handy made quite the impact on the squad. The current Los Angeles Lakers assistant […]
Former Toronto Raptors coach Phil Handy speaks on time with Nick Nurse – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Page 6ix Wednesday, June 9th: The postseason/offseason drama continues

It’s Wednesday, and last week we brought you a special edition, so we’ve got two whole weeks of drama to catch up on! As we all know, hockey is very serious and has no drama (no soap operas!) so we’ve got nothing to talk about.
Heh. Yeah right.
Leafs Land
As usual we start with what’s happening for the Boys in Blue, even though the answer is Not Hockey. But there IS drama.
I try to stick my head in the sand and ignore any Zach Hyman leaving the Leafs talk, but it’s getting harder to avoid. First, though, let’s wish him a happy birthday!

Happy Birthday to @MapleLeafs own @ZachHyman! Have a great one! Hopefully there is a new contract extension waiting for you as a gift! #LeafsForever #zachhyman #leafsnation #Leafs pic.twitter.com/LyG0tLevwB
— Centre of Leafs Nation (@CntrLeafsNation) June 9, 2021

Meanwhile, yes, there is lots of chatter about whether and for what type of contract the Leafs re-sign Hyman. I’ll just go cry now.

Will Zach Hyman be a Maple Leaf next season? What deal would make sense to keep him in Toronto?@FriedgeHNIC joined #WritersBloc with @SNJeffBlair & @richarddeitsch …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Reinforcement Options for the Struggling Bullpen

It’s no secret that, over the last week or ten days, the once strong Blue Jays bullpen has taken a turn for the worst.

It’s not entirely unexpected of course, given the injuries they’ve suffered and the total offensive numbers put up by all teams playing at TD Ball Park in Dunedin. With very few pitchers in The Jays bullpen overflowing with equity, it wouldn’t be shocking to see a number of developing arms in the high minors get their chance to shine as the team packs up and moves back to Buffalo. So, let’s have a look at some of the names you may not be familiar with who are likely to get consideration as the season progresses.
Tayler Saucedo – LHP
Saucedo was a 21st round pick of The Blue Jays in 2015. He’s a tall, slender lefty who’s pitched both out of the bullpen and as a starter over the course of his 142 appearances minor league career. It’s been an up and down road for him along the way, but after last year’s lost season, he appears to have discovered the strike-out in a meaningful way. Never having averaged more …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Top 4 moments from unusually unlucky 2020-21 season

Toronto Raptors: Top 4 moments from unusually unlucky 2020-21 season

Last year, the Toronto Raptors didn’t repeat, but we watched the champs get their rings and uncover the championship banner in Toronto. This was THE moment. Although The Raptors 2020-21 season was underwhelming, marked by COVID-19 related issues, injury, and unpredictability, the team still put on some grand performances. The Raptors showed that when COVID-19 […]
Toronto Raptors: Top 4 moments from unusually unlucky 2020-21 season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Kahfeel Buchanan / Raptors HQ

Auston Matthews has won the Rocket Richard trophy, but you already knew that

What has felt like a formality for the last few weeks has now become official with the regular season finally ending: Auston Matthews is your 2021 winner of the Rocket Richard trophy.

Auston Matthews wins the Rocket Richard! pic.twitter.com/tnoqrJh01B
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) May 15, 2021

Matthews finished the campaign with 41 goals, with eight goals separating him from the runner-up (Connor McDavid with 33), making it the largest gap since the 2014-15 season. He is also the first American-born player to win the award and the first American since Keith Tkachuk in 1996-97 to lead the NHL in goals.
This is his first major individual award since capturing the Calder Trophy following his rookie campaign in 2016-17. Last season saw Matthews come close to winning the award but missed the cut by a single goal (47), losing out to David Pastrnak and Alex Ovechkin (both with 48).
We can only hope this isn’t the only trophy added to Matthews’ collection by season’s end, but I’m sure this isn’t the last time we talk about him winning the Rocket Richard.

All stats unless otherwise noted are from Hockey-Reference.com and Natural Stat Trick.

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

This game matters somehow

Load up the bus one last time, the Leafs are off to Winnipeg for potentially the last time in the 2021 NHL season as they look to end the season with their 7th win against the Jets.
With the division locked up and the round one opponent set in stone, tonight’s game may feel borderline meaningless (punctuated by yet another 8 p.m. start) but there still are playoff implications at play in the Leafs season finale. With their overtime loss to the Senators on Wednesday, the Leafs can no longer catch either of the top three teams (Carolina, Vegas, or President’s Trophy winning Colorado) in the standings, but fourth overall is still up for grabs, as a win tonight against the Jets would move the Leafs into a tie with the Florida for fourth where they would hold the tiebreaker. A fourth place finish would guarantee that the Leafs would avoid the winner of the West (presumably one of Colorado or Vegas) in round three, hold home ice against any team to come out of the East, leaving Carolina as the sole team to hold home ice over Toronto in any potential third round matchup.
A regulation loss meanwhile, …

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Author: Brian Reid / The Leafs Nation

Who’s in the lineup for game one vs. Montreal?

Who’s in the lineup for game one vs. Montreal?

The Leafs lost last night to the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in overtime. Frederik Andersen made his return to the lineup and was okay.
Toronto didn’t really look too engaged from time to time. It was like they were trying to avoid getting injured, or something (they were). These games don’t matter at this point, and it showed last night. But it was good for Andersen to get some NHL work in before the playoffs start.
Oh yeah, and Jack Campbell is starting in game one, obviously. I hope you enjoy my thoughts on last night’s game!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Playoff Preview: What to expect from the Leafs forward group

For the last five years of the Leafs making the postseason, the forwards have always been their strong suit. Between that first wave of young talent in 2016 with Matthews, Marner, Nylander, and Hyman, the big fish free agent signing of Tavares in 2018, and the veteran depth of Spezza, Thornton, Simmonds, and Foligno acquired over the last couple seasons, the Leafs have always boasted a strong, deep forward group, highlighted by that high end top six.
This forward group is going to be the key to them winning a playoff series, or even a Stanley Cup. Montreal has a deep lineup of four middle six lines, but it’s their lack of top end talent that the Leafs have that will be key. Edmonton has McDavid and Draisaitl to match that top end talent, but they lack the depth that Toronto has in the bottom six which allows teams to hyperfocus on shutting down that two headed monster on the Oilers.
Having four lines that can generate offense and shut it down defensively (or at least do one of the two very well) is a huge factor to going deep in the playoffs, and that’s been part of the Leafs …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

How far can the Leafs go in the playoffs?

The Leafs won another game last night and clinched the all-important North Division title. Their first division title since 2000.
As the regular season approaches its end, there are still questions on who gets into the lineup in game one of the first round. I will leave it up to Sheldon Keefe since he is the coach but in this video, I discuss who could fit, and why. Also, why Ben Hutton is someone who doesn’t stress me out on the Leafs blue line.
Happy Clinchmas. Oh, and happy Mother’s Day too. I hope you enjoy today’s video!

 

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 1 flaw Gary Trent Jr. must fix to get a bigger contract

Toronto Raptors: 1 flaw Gary Trent Jr. must fix to get a bigger contract

The Toronto Raptors will undoubtedly use the last few games of their 2020-21 season to get a good look at some of the players they will lean on in the coming season. Gary Trent Jr., a guard who was acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers in the Norman Powell swap, figures to be in Toronto […]
Toronto Raptors: 1 flaw Gary Trent Jr. must fix to get a bigger contract – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ