A Saturday night in Buffalo is Leafs goaltender Joseph Woll living out his dream

By nature I’m a pretty cynical person, but my cynicism has it’s limit. Tonight is a truly special event, as the chance to witness someone having the most exciting moment of their life. While most of us will look at this as the second half of a back to back with a tired Leafs roster facing a lottery bound Sabres team, for Joseph Woll this is the culmination of chasing a childhood dream, the result of hard work and sacrifice, and his time to do something few others get a chance to do, and that’s start a game as a NHL goaltender.
Yesterday I dove into what could be reasonably expected from Woll in this situation, and that’s important to consider, but this isn’t going to be the game that decides the fate of Woll as a NHL prospect, this isn’t going to fast track him to the NHL or relegate him to a career overseas, it’s just a great moment that I’m hoping to enjoy for what it is. Hopefully for one night we can enjoy this for what it is, someone living their best life.

LW
C
RW
MICHAEL BUNTING


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Stock up, Stock down after 2 preseason games

Toronto Raptors: Stock up, Stock down after 2 preseason games

The Toronto Raptors might’ve felt pretty solid about their chances to compete after bulldozing the Philadelphia 76ers in their preseason opener. Unfortunately, it took all of one game for Joel Embiid and Toronto’s Atlantic rivals to assert themselves back home in Philadelphia. The Raptors fell 125-113 in a game that didn’t feel as close as […]
Toronto Raptors: Stock up, Stock down after 2 preseason games – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors: Khem Birch could be even better than he was in 2020-21

Raptors: Khem Birch could be even better than he was in 2020-21

Things got pretty miserable for the Toronto Raptors in the latter stages of the 2020-21 NBA season. The playoffs disappeared from view, the losses piled up, and the squad finished 12th in the Eastern Conference standings, missing the postseason for the first time since 2013. One positive was the play of newcomer Khem Birch. The […]
Raptors: Khem Birch could be even better than he was in 2020-21 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Brian Swane / Raptors HQ

Bad times at The Trop, the Kiermaier thing, an out-of-town scoreboard update, and more!

Chaos, bad times, and excitement to leave — that pretty much sums up your normal week at The Trop.

After taking two of three from the Rays last week in Toronto, the Blue Jays travelled down to Tampa Bay for a rematch with the American League East leaders. Things didn’t go well at all and the Blue Jays now sit out of a playoff spot.
Robbie Ray’s tough start
Robbie Ray started the first game on Monday with a legitimate opportunity to lock up the American League Cy Young award.
On Sunday, Gerrit Cole got knocked around by Cleveland, pushing his ERA for the season from 2.75 to 3.03. With a good start against Tampa, anything similar to his dominant one in last week’s series finale against the Rays, and the Cy Young would have been all his.
Unfortunately, Ray wasn’t able to capitalize on the opportunity. He laboured through four-and-two-thirds innings and scattered three earned runs on seven hits and two walks. It was far from a disastrous outing, but it didn’t move the needle in the Cy Young race.
The truly frustrating part of this game came in the ninth inning.
The Blue Jays entered the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

A very early prediction of what the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup could look like on opening night

The 2021 NHL off-season was a pretty big one for the Toronto Maple Leafs, given that they parted ways with a couple of Leafs that were a part of the organization for half a decade. They departed with a handful of players and they brought in a handful of new players as well, and with that being said, next season is going to be a very interesting one to watch, to say the least.
From bringing in new forwards to new depth defensemen to even a brand new goalie to partner up with Jack Campbell, next season’s opening night lineup is still very much in the air right now, but this is how I could see them line up come opening night on October 13th against the Montreal Canadiens.
Now, before I jump into my lineup prediction come game one of the regular season, I strongly believe Nick Robertson will become a full-time player with the team next season, I just don’t know if it’ll be right out of the gate because I honestly don’t know who he would take out of the lineup. You obviously have guys like Ilya Mikheyev that could come out of the …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 41: Ups and downs with Chicago, the bag of cash on Robbie Ray’s horizon, and more!

A 2-2 split against a good team is pretty good, but not exactly great when you’re climbing the mountain the Blue Jays are.

That was quite a week of ups and downs. Alek Manoah helped the team to a gritty win on Monday, Jose Berrios got shelled immediately after on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Robbie Ray threw one of the better starts we’ve seen from a Blue Jay in a while, on Thursday, Hyun Jin Ryu got knocked around.
All told, two steps forward, two back.
Anyways! BK joined the show and we distracted ourselves from the chase by taking a needlessly early look at the off-season, based on Ross Atkins’ comments when talking with Bob McCown earlier this week. We went into some depth about Ray’s season, what kind of contract he’s going to earn, and whether the Blue Jays will open up their wallets to make it happen.
Finally, we took a quick look at the easy schedule on the horizon.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are planning to designate Rafael Dolis for assignment

Here’s the move that was pretty much expected after last night’s meltdown.

The Blue Jays are reportedly planning to designate Rafael Dolis for assignment in order to make room for Kevin Smith on the 40-man and active roster. Also, Alek Manoah appears to be heading to the Bereavement List while Tim Mayza returns from the 10-day Injured List.

#BlueJays’ likely roster moves today (not yet official)…
•Rafael Dolis will be DFA•Kevin Smith to be selected to the active roster•Alek Manoah to be placed on the Bereavement List•Tim Mayza to be activated from the 10-day IL
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) August 18, 2021

My immediate thought when word came out that Smith was coming up on Tuesday night was oh fuck, George Springer is going to the 60-day Injured List. As we learned earlier today, Springer is only dealing with a Grade 1 sprain, so that isn’t the case. Instead, it’s the end of the line for Dolis.
It’s an unfortunate end for a pitcher who was quite effective for the Blue Jays in 2020 and appeared to be a legitimate arm moving forward. Dolis tossed 24 innings for the team last season and put up a 1.50 ERA, though, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Pooper Scooping what’s left of Free Agency

Pooper Scooping what’s left of Free Agency

The Leafs are pretty light on cap space, and free agency is light on options, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Leafs are done.
Looking at PuckPedia, the Leafs could send Pierre Engvall, Adam Brooks, and Kurtis Gabriel to the Marlies and the Leafs could have $1.2M to spend on an additional forward. Send those three same players down as well as Rasmus Sandin (just to start the year, relax) and Toronto has nearly $2.1M to spend on free agents. All of this is before even entertaining the idea of discussing the usual trade bait of Engvall, Kerfoot, Mikheyev, and Dermott.
There’s also the fact that the Leafs can exceed the salary cap by 10% until the regular season starts, so there is still some flexibility in considering free agent options. It’s just a matter of quality when it comes to who is still available, and arguably yesterday with the signing of Tomas Tatar, the last best free agent is off the board, and it’s time to just scoop up whatever crap is left. Crap being somewhat relative, as a couple of these players aren’t bad, but could come in at significantly reduced rates.
Here …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Looking for a long man

The Jays starting pitching is pretty damn good.

Robbie Ray is an ace, as I’ve been saying since mid-June. Ryu has had his issues such as his change-up, but overall he’s been solid this season. Manoah? He’s been so good that I wonder why he wasn’t with the Jays from the start of the season. Now with the addition of Jose Berrios, the Jays have four starting pitchers with an ERA under 3.31.

Starting pitcher ERA for the #BlueJays @Alek_Manoah6: 2.47 ERA@RobbieRay : 3.04 ERA@HyunJinRyu99: 3.26 ERA@JOLaMaKina: 3.31 ERA
Fantastic.#WeAreBlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) August 2, 2021

That begs the question, who’ll be the fifth starter and who’ll be the long man?
Steven Matz:
This has been a weird season for Steven Matz. He started the season off incredibly hot allowing only 6 earned runs in 23.1 IP. This was good for a 2.31 ERA. At this point, he was also striking out a lot of batters as he had a K/9 of 9.64 during this span. Furthermore, his opponent’s BABIP was incredibly low at 2.14.
His next five wasn’t the same result. In those five games, he pitched 24.2 innings, allowing 19 runs. That is a 6.93 ERA. While his K/9 …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 33: A Split at Fenway, trade deadline talk, catching up with the new-look Yankees, and more!

All things considered, that was a pretty good week.

The Blue Jays rolled into Fenway and took two of four from the first-place team in the American League. They suffered a heartbreaker on Monday, the game was rained out on Tuesday, Robbie Ray guided the team to a win with an ace start on Wednesday, Steven Matz had a tough go in the night cap, and then the bats exploded for 13 runs in the finale on Friday.
All said, two out of four ain’t bad. It doesn’t move the needle in terms of catching Boston, but it keeps them in the mix for the wild-card and it ensures that Friday’s homecoming won’t be a bummer.
Anyways! With Tyler still lost in the woods and BK on a flight from B.C. to Toronto, I tackled talking about the Boston series ALL BY MYSELF. I also talked about the acquisition of Brad Hand from Washington and where he fits in the team’s bullpen along with the rumour that the Blue Jays are in the mix for Jose Berrios.
Finally, I welcomed Neil Keefe to the show to talk about the New York Yankees, who just had …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation