The TLN Three Stars: Shesterkin spoils Matthews’ return, Leafs fall to Rangers in OT

For the first time since what feels like the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Leafs faced a non-Canadian team tonight, welcoming the New York Rangers to Scotiabank Arena. It was a refreshing break from the monotony of the last 66 games: while last season’s North Division had some initial charm and ignited some hostilities between Canadian franchises, it quickly became overkill playing the same six teams over and over again for months. Let’s honestly never do it again. Variety is the spice of life.
Speaking of the overdue arrival of Americans, the Leafs also welcomed Auston Matthews back to their lineup for the first time this season after wrist surgery, and boy he came to play.
Recap
Before we get into a recap, a quick disclaimer: I watched the first period on any extremely pixelated treadmill television while chugging through a 5k run, so my recollections of the first 20 minutes are hazy.
Toronto got an early opportunity to break the ice when William Nylander was high-sticked by Barclay Goodrow during the second shift of the game. Our first glimpse of the new-look powerplay featuring Matthews was encouraging as the unit zipped the puck around, opening Matthews up for …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Rejoice! The Leafs preseason is coming to an end tonight

I feel like it’s become a tired schtick to keep bagging on preseason games, especially when I know there’s a good chance I’ll end up watching anyway, but the last preseason game is usually the toughest to watch. With the regular season right around the corner gone is the excitement of just being happy there’s hockey on TV. Gone are the prospects and the pro tryout players who give you someone different to watch in a Leafs uniform, and left are the guys we’ll be seeing a ton of in the next 7-8 months.
The enticing part is this is the first time we’ll get to see something a bit closer to what the Leafs want their lineup to look like. There might still be some changes coming or a couple of looming decisions, but this is the group. They’ll be playing where they want them to be. If Kerfoot’s a center tonight, the plan is probably to have him as a center on Wednesday. If Rielly is with Brodie, guess what, the Rielly-Brodie pairing is still a thing.
As for getting one last look at the Senators before the regular season, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Predicts the where the Leafs finish and who will be hardest to beat this season

It’s prediction season. Either you like predictions or you don’t. We’re erring on the side of predictions being fun, and that’s why I’ve tapped the TLN Crew on the shoulders and/or stalked them online for the past two weeks attempting to gather our predictions you can take to the bank as well as some of our hottest takes for the upcoming season. We’ve decided to split our predictions into two posts, first looking at the Leafs as a whole and their place in the league, and the tomorrow with a look at our predictions around individual players on the Leafs.
Predictions are meant to be fun, but also to give you a chance to yell at us. I hope you’ll take advantage of both.

So let’s start with the fact that overall 10 out of 14 contributors are optimistic about the Leafs this year. That’s encouraging. While there was optimism, that optimism had its limits and no one predicts a Leafs Stanley Cup win this year. As for the some other option that could only happen to the Leafs response, one of them seems to be leaning heavily into an unfortunate in …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Auston “Captain America” Matthews is heading to the Olympics

Big news out of the United States of America. Just like what was required of Hockey Canada, USA Hockey is required to name their first three roster players for the Olympics, and you’ll never guess who made the cut…

Hearing the first three players selected to Team USA Men’s Olympic hockey roster for #Beijing2022 are Seth Jones, Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews.@DFOHockey
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 7, 2021

That’s right, baby. Auston Matthews, what a shock? I can’t believe the player who is likely the greatest American born center to ever play the game made the cut. Who would have thought it?
Anyways, there’s not a lot to say about it, so as a Canadian I’ll just take the moment to laugh at the idea that USA Hockey views Seth Jones as one of their top three players. If that’s the case, it seems unlikely they’ll medal even with Auston’s greatness there.
It also seems at this point USA Hockey might only be aware of the Chicago Blackhawks and Auston Matthews, because Patrick Kane was also selected. While there is no doubt of his skill on the ice, I don’t …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Preseason: Seeing Game 1 Live at Scotiabank Arena

Raptors Preseason: Seeing Game 1 Live at Scotiabank Arena

After what felt like decades, the Toronto Raptors made their triumphant return to Canada, as a win over the Philadelphia 76ers helped the franchise set the tone for what looks like a very promising season. After almost two years away, Raptors fans getting back in the arena was a sight to behold. The first thing […]
Raptors Preseason: Seeing Game 1 Live at Scotiabank Arena – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Leafs announce the return of the Blue and White game for this Friday

If you are like me and were wondering why there was a gap in the preseason between tonight’s game and the Leafs next preseason game on Monday, well, I guess we now know why…

Friday night plans
Blue vs White Game presented by @CanadianTire Friday, 6pm ET Sportsnet & TSN#⃣ #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 29, 2021

It’s the return of the Blue and White game. A relic of lockdowns returns, but this time with essential workers invited to attend, and once again it will be televised for all to enjoy.
The reports out there are that the rosters will be revealed tomorrow, and given that the Leafs will be icing two full lineups, I’m willing to bet we won’t see much in the way of cuts before this game. I’d also bet that we’ll see all the key players involved in it, with something more closely resembling NHL calibre lines than what we are seeing Wednesday against Ottawa.
Mainly, this will be a fun event, but for a few participants another chance to showcase that they belong in the NHL.
As listed above the game is on both Sportsnet and TSN, and starts a …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Hyun Jin Ryu got lit up again. What now?

Hyun Jin Ryu hasn’t really looked like Hyun Jin Ryu lately.

Last season, Ryu was the Blue Jays’ MVP. He posted a 2.69 ERA over 12 starts, finished second in American League Cy Young voting, and was the only one in Toronto’s rotation who could go out and consistently have a good outing until the team acquired Taijuan Walker ahead of the trade deadline.
This season? It’s been a rollercoaster ride.
Ryu has a 4.34 ERA over 29 starts. While he can still have very strong, vintage Ryu outings, such as his masterful start in New York a couple of weeks ago, there simply isn’t the same feeling when he takes the mound as there was ast season. At this stage, Ryu stands as Toronto’s No. 5 starter, as even Steven Matz seems like the better bet to put up an effective start when he goes out.
Since that aforementioned start in New York in which Ryu held the Yankees to just three hits over six innings of work, he’s been drilled by two basement teams, the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins. In those two outings, Ryu has gone four-and-one-third innings, allowing 12 earned runs on 13 hits and two walks …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors rumors: Is Alex Antetokounmpo coming to Toronto?

Raptors rumors: Is Alex Antetokounmpo coming to Toronto?

Just when it looked like the Toronto Raptors rumors were about to die down, Masai Ujiri may have pulled an interesting name out of his hat. Apparently still not over the fact that Giannis Antetokounmpo chose to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks long-term, Ujiri has shown interest in his younger brother, Alex Antetokounmpo. While Giannis […]
Raptors rumors: Is Alex Antetokounmpo coming to Toronto? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam confirms Nick Nurse beef is over

Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam confirms Nick Nurse beef is over

The Toronto Raptors looked like a very disjointed team last season, as playing an entire stretch of home games away from Scotiabank Arena might make it more difficult to get any sort of momentum going. Even Pascal Siakam and Nick Nurse, an All-NBA player and Coach of the Year who both have championship rings, got […]
Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam confirms Nick Nurse beef is over – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

3 standouts from Maple Leafs development camp

Just like that, development camp is all wrapped up. The abbreviated four-day event saw three practices and two scrimmages take place. Though none were live-streamed to the public, we did get to see some highlights on the Maple Leafs Twitter feed, helping to give us some insights into who performed well.
The Leafs development staff will cut the 39 man development camp roster down to 15 forwards, 10 defencemen, and 3 goaltenders for this week’s Traverse City rookie tournament. This will give us a much better view into which prospects are performing well heading into the main training camp and which invites could be worthy of an entry-level contract, but there are still some standout performances from the past few days that are worth noting.
It was no surprise that Nicholas Robertson stole the show at development camp. Most thought he wouldn’t attend the event given the expectation for him to compete for an NHL job, but Robertson clarified in his media availability the importance of development camp for himself.
“I’m trying to use [development camp] as much as possible. It’s kind of a conditioning camp for myself, getting back into game shape, getting back into the rhythm. Given what …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation