The case for Ondrej Kaše in the Maple Leafs top six

Ondrej Kase has been a real feel-good story for the 2021/2022 Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s finally healthy and playing games consistently after being sidelined with several injuries over the last few years. To boot, he’s even played most of those games on the same line as childhood friend David Kampf. But if you can imagine topping that, his play has been dynamic in any role he’s been asked to fill. Penalty killer? Sure. Offensive play driver on a shut-down line? You bet. Efficient PP scorer? Absolutely. Covering for injuries in the top 6 and not looking out of place? Certainly. Driving the net like a crazy man while rocking a bushy moustache? Why not? Is there anything not to like?

I would add to this another fun tidbit that is probably not gonna go viral like that one but..
19yo Alex Kerfoot trained with 13-14 Chomutov team in summer of 2013 and both 17yo draft eligibles Ondřej Kaše and David Kämpf were on that team as well. Played who season there. https://t.co/Bh9cqRAqUH pic.twitter.com/5hqXBgK9Kj
— Sam Tirpák (@SammyT_51) November 18, 2021

It’s a small world. But today, I wanted to focus on Kase’s time spent playing in the top 6 and see if he should remain there even after everyone has returned from either injury or COVID protocol. To start, I want to go back to November 13th against the Buffalo Sabres. Coming into this game, Kase had scored in back-to-back games against the Flyers and Flames. That night against the Sabres he played …

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Author: Stephen Brown / The Leafs Nation

Comparing starting rotations in the American League East

Let’s be real here, the lockout sucks. What else is there to do other than pray that the two sides can get together and figure it out?

Well for me, I can start a nice little debate about the best players in the American League East. We’ll start with which AL East team has the best rotation.

Baltimore Orioles:
The Baltimore Orioles are not good. The Bad Birds of the AL East finished the 2021 season with a record of 52-110, which landed them the first overall pick in the 2022 MLB draft. The team’s one bright spot for starting pitching came by means of a starting pitcher named John Means (pun intended). 
The former 11th round pick pitched 146.2 innings and registered an ERA of 3.62 and an ERA+ of 126. Means also registered a FIP of 4.62, so his independent numbers are slightly worse. However, Means had a K/9 of 8.2 with a BB/9 of 1.6, which are solid numbers. The 28-year-old is under Oriole control until the end of the 2024 season.
The Orange Birds also signed 31-year-old Jordan Lyles to a one-year, 7 million dollar contract before the lockout. For the past two seasons, he played for the Texas Rangers and had an ERA of 7.02 in 2020 and 5.15 in 2021. The Orioles are hoping that he regains his 2018/2019 form where he posted a 4.11 ERA and a 4.15 ERA.
The Orioles have the second smallest payroll, with only $29,416,666 dedicated to the 2022 roster. They have the money to spend, but due to their rebuild, it’s unlikely that they will add anyone of note.
Boston Red Sox:
From the second-lowest payroll to the sixth-highest payroll, the Boston Red Sox unsurprisingly have a better batch of starting pitchers than the O’s.
The most notable of which is 32-year-old Chris Sale. The hard throwing lefty missed all of the 2020 season as well as the majority of the 2021 due to Tommy John Surgery. Despite that, he put up sol …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: The case for and against blowing the roster up

Toronto Raptors: The case for and against blowing the roster up

Once considered to be real contenders in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors has a miserable 2020-21 season that forced outsiders to wonder if Masai Ujiri can reach contender status once again with their roster as currently constructed. One of the biggest question marks surrounding the organization is Pascal Siakam. Ever since Siakam’s nightmare performance against […]
Toronto Raptors: The case for and against blowing the roster up – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Matthew Chiu / Raptors HQ

The NHL Award season mercifully ends

I’ve often said the real winner of the NHL Awards is anyone who just wants as long as possible without hearing about the NHL Awards, so in that sense, today I feel like a winner. Hooray for me.
If you are a person who needs to see players from your favourite team validated with an individual award despite an underwhelming year for the team, then you’re probably an Oilers fan, and just rage clicking on any link on Oilersnation because you’re so furious that Leon Draisaitl wasn’t unanimous in the second place Hart votes. Or maybe you do care about this shit. Who am I to judge, I like lots of dumb shit too. Let’s look at how the Leafs did tonight.
What they won…

the nhl has named their first and second team all stars pic.twitter.com/DoZABR7pTW
— zach laing (@zjlaing) June 30, 2021

If you weren’t sure whether or not they voted on awards before or after the start of the playoffs, look no further than First All-Star Team Winger, Mitch Marner. Marner had one more point than Mikko Rantanen and Patrick Kane, that so that’s really all you need to …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Channel Six Podcast Episode 2: Breaking down the Leafs trade, prospects, return of The Six, and more with Nick and Roxanne

We’re back for second real episode and third episode if you include our shakedown voyage. This time Mer and I were fortunately joined by Roxanne Khasow and Nick Richard of TLN fame to discuss all things Toronto hockey.
What were those all things Toronto hockey, well we dipped our toes into the Leafs losing streak, the Mikko Lehtonen trade, the goaltending situation beyond our shiny new fourth string goaltender, the next contract for Zach Hyman, plenty of Leafs prospects talk, and of course, a little discussion of the looming Isobel Cup and Dream Gap tour.
We definitely ran a little longer than we did previously to get all that in, as well as our summer camp style ice breakers with Nick and Roxanne.

Channel 6 Toronto · Episode 2: The Gang Learns How to Say Veini Vehvilainen.
If listening to us in your browser doesn’t cut it for you, you can find us on Apple and Spotify as well. And we’ll be back in a couple of weeks with even more Channel Six for your ears.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Toronto needs a ball handler, not a center

Raptors: Toronto needs a ball handler, not a center

Could another ball handler be the real need for the Toronto Raptors? The Toronto Raptors are significantly improved from the team that started the season by losing six of their first seven games, but it’s hard to ignore the sense that they still need one more piece to get them where they need to be. […]
Raptors: Toronto needs a ball handler, not a center – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Fisher / Raptors HQ

AHL Board of Governors approve new start date to 2021 season

We are finally getting information on a real start date to the AHL season, according to the AHL.

.@TheAHL Board of Governors has approved the structural framework for an AHL season that will begin on February 5, 2021. pic.twitter.com/l5Yk0z2rht
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) December 30, 2020

Back in October, American Hockey League President and CEO, Scott Howson announced that the AHL anticipated a February 5th start date, and it seems like they’re keeping their word.
As the NHL starts their season on January 13th, it seemed like the AHL had to follow suit. If there was no AHL season, teams would be hit hard, and with most team’s revenue coming from fans in the stands, it’s still a good sign for the league that there’s hockey being played.
The AHL’s new season begins three weeks after the NHL’s start date. By then, teams will be able to re-call players, send down players and there will be more understanding to everything, really.
“Details are still being worked out, but this step allows our teams and their National Hockey League partners to better determine their plans for the coming season. We look forward to dropping …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Daily Duce: The 2024 World Series Champions!

Daily?!?!?!

We’re getting into the real ugly, dark, depressing days of winter here, scrouging for baseball-related content, so MLB.com went ahead and fired up a crystal ball and predicted the World Series Champions for the 2020s. 
First, they have the Yankees, fresh off of signing Gerrit Cole to a record-setting contract, beating Alex Anthopolous’ Atlanta Braves, marking the Evil Empire’s first World Series since 2009. They then have New York beating the San Diego Padres in a 1998 rematch, giving them back-to-back World Series wins since the turn of the century. In 2022, MLB.com is predicting a So Cal World Series, with the Dodgers beating the Angels in a world in which Major League Baseball intervenes and forces Anaheim into the playoffs so Mike Trout can finally experience what that’s like.
Then it gets good! The Blue Jays are apparently going to win the World Series in 2024 by beating the Dodgers…
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be 25 years old in October 2024, right in his prime, and all his fellow “Juniors” — Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio — will be ready to take over the AL East. (Until the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Rachel Doerrie’s 5 Thoughts on Last Night’s Vancouver Victory

It was the battle of the country’s most expensive real estate markets on Tuesday night as the Toronto Maple Leafs met with the Vancouver Canucks, in what I’m now calling the Real Estate Bowl.
For the first time in a while, the game started at 7 pm on the West Coast, much to the delight of Canucks fans who usually grumble about an earlier start. Well, I’m not exactly thrilled that I had to stay up til 12:25, so how’s that for an argument?
It didn’t much matter, though. The Leafs won 4-1 and here are 5 thoughts:
1) Is Frederik Andersen Santa?
It’s not even close to a stretch to say that this was Frederik Andersen’s best game of the year.
Giving up zero goals on four breakaways is quite the accomplishment (and we will get to that in a second), so his team didn’t exactly help. There were also a few really tough deflections in the slot — nothing like having to consistently shut down Boeser and Pettersson scoring chances, too. At 5v5, the Leafs were expected to give up 2.42 goals. Freddy decided to only surrender one.
It wasn’t that Andersen gave up only …

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Author: Rachel Doerrie / The Leafs Nation

Five thoughts on last night’s Game 4: Raptors 107, Magic 85

Playoff Kawhi is real, and he’s a Toronto Raptor. The Raptors completed the rare (for them) back-to-back road playoff win streak, plus the rare (for them) three-game playoff win streak, and are coming home with the never-before accomplished (for them) 3-1 series lead.
That’s a big night!
The team is firing on all cylinders, Kawhi Leonard is a beast, Pascal Siakam is a revelation, Kyle Lowry is running the show and Marc Gasol is anchoring the defense. Even the bench was decent last night.
It’s all happening just like Masai Ujiri drew it up.
Let’s get to the thoughts:
Overcome a Rough Start? Check
The Raptors had opened each game of the series quite well up to last night, taking early leads in each (and big leads in Games 2 and 3. Last night it was a different story, as they committed to two turnovers and a foul in the first 90 seconds, and found themselves down 5-0 before they’d even gotten a shot off. They then proceeded miss three straight, as the Magic started 6-for-6, and were down 9-1.
In the past I might have been worried. Heck, in the past the Raptors themselves might have been …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ