News: Maple Leafs release 2022-23 pre-season schedule

Although the Toronto Maple Leafs’ season has been over for quite some time and with the NHL playoffs coming to an end recently, it doesn’t mean that there can’t be some news that drops. The Maple Leafs – along with numerous other NHL teams – have released their 2022-23 pre-season schedule.
Despite the Maple Leafs being one of the teams releasing theirs a little late compared to other teams, especially compared to some teams in their own division, we already knew what their schedule would kind of look like given some of the other Atlantic Divison team’s schedules.
But without further ado, let’s look at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ official 2022-23 pre-season schedule.
 

Preseason schedule drop
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 5, 2022

So by just looking at the tweet that was released by the Maple Leafs’ Twitter account, it looks like Toronto will be going back to the pre-pandemic ways by playing pre-season games against opponents like the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, and the Detroit Red Wings.
Toronto will play seven total pre-season games between September 24, 2022, and October 8, 2022, including a double header on the 24th of September at Scotiabank Arena against Ottawa and a trip to Belleville to play the Senators on the 30th of September.
With those seven games on the pre-season schedule, Toronto will play Ottawa three times and will play Montreal and Detroit a total of two times each before their last game on October 8th.
According to the release by the Maple Leafs, their two games against Ottawa at Scotiabank Arena will be played at 2:00 pm ET and 7:00 pm ET with every other game scheduled for 7:00 pm ET as well. However, their game on October 7th in Detriot has been scheduled for 7:30 pm E …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays are planning to start Casey Lawrence if Kevin Gausman isn’t able to go on Thursday

The baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.

That’s why it’s pretty likely that Kevin Gausman won’t make his next scheduled start as he’s still dealing with the aftermath of getting drilled in the foot by a 100-mile-per-hour ground ball from Wander Franco on Saturday.
“It’s getting better, but still not at the point where I can put my full weight on it and push the way I need to,” Gausman told Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun on Monday in Oakland. “There’s still a lot of swelling and the long flight (to Oakland) doesn’t help.”
“Worst-case scenario would be to go out there and feel like you can do it and have to come back out after two innings like I did the other day. I want to be out there, but I also need to be smart and realize we’re only halfway through this thing.”
Yusei Kikuchi and Jose Berrios will pitch on Tuesday and Wednesday against the A’s and then Gausman is scheduled to pitch the series-opener on Thursday in Seattle. Charlie Montoyo said that Casey Lawrence will likely get the Thursday start against the Mariners if Gausman isn’t able to go.
Lawrence tossed five-and-two-thirds innings in relief of Gausman on Saturday, as he was pulled from the start immediately after getting hit in the foot.
If Gausman isn’t 100 percent, the right move is to skip the start. The Blue Jays are already without Hyun Jin Ryu and both Kikuchi and Berrios have been wildly …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Realistic first-round targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs

It’s draft week, everyone!
After a long season, we’re just days away from the first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft on Thursday. For the first time since 2020, the Toronto Maple Leafs are currently scheduled to select in the first round, holding the 25th overall pick.
While the top end of the draft has been discussed at length for its lack of a standout prospect, there are still lots of intriguing prospects that will be available come the Maple Leafs pick. After going over third round targets and long shot first-round options last week, it’s time to dive into the handful of players that are realistic targets for Toronto at the 25th overall pick.
Excerpts for each prospect have been taken from Nick Richard’s final 2022 draft rankings, which you can check out in full here.
Liam Öhgren, LW, Sweden
Consolidated #16
Despite ranking in the mid-teens on the consolidated list, it appears Liam Ohgren is more likely to go closer to the Maple Leafs selection. The Swedish winger was ranked 21st on Bob McKenzie’s rankings and was slotted after the Leafs pick on Corey Pronman’s mock draft.
If he is still on the board at 25th overall, Ohgren would tick a lot of boxes for Toronto.
Playing most of the season at the Swedish U20 level, Ohgren not only led his team …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Pre-Series Notes: The shorthanded Rays roll into Toronto for a five-game set with the Blue Jays

As a result of the lockout pushing the start of the season back and Major League Baseball not wanting to go deeper into October and November, teams will be playing some scheduled double-headers in order to squeeze all 162 games into the calendar.

For the Blue Jays, this results in two different five-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. This one will feature a double-header on Saturday and then there’ll be another five-game set in mid-September with a double-header also on Saturday. Thankfully, both of these are being played in Toronto, as it would be unethical to make somebody play five games in four days at The Trop.
Anyways, the Rays roll into town hobbling through injuries, as catcher Mike Zunino, infielder Brandon Lowe, and centre fielder Kevin Kiermaier are on the 10-day Injured List while pitchers Tyler Glasnow, Pete Paribanks, Drew Rasmussen, J.P. Feyereisen, Nick Anderson, Andrew Kitteridge, and JT Chargois are all on the shelf.
The Rays will also be leaving a pair of arms, Brooks Raley and Ryan Thompson, in Tampa because they aren’t vaccinated…

Relievers Brooks Raley and Ryan Thompson will not be joining #Rays in Toronto for 5-game series due to the vaccination requirement. Will be placed on restricted list (no pay, service time), can be replaced on active roster. Several options under consideration at AAA Durham
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) June 29, 2022

Raley is a big loss to Tampa’s …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Around the NHL: Makar makes history, Hall of Fame class set and Sweeney staying in Boston

We are now through the 2021-22 NHL season and the Colorado Avalanche are Stanley Cup champions. While their players celebrate a well-deserved victory, the rest of the league is preparing to challenge for the cup in 2023.
The 2022 Hockey Hall of Fame class has been chosen, the Boston Bruins have re-signed their general manager and the Chicago Blackhawks have a new head coach.
Makar and Bednar make history
Cale Makar is the youngest defenceman to win the Conn Smythe trophy since Bobby Orr in 1972. Just days after winning his first Norris trophy as the league’s best defender, the 23-year-old Makar picked up another piece of hardware. With 29 points in 21 playoff games, Makar was the clear-cut choice for the award. He has now won the Hobey Baker, Calder, Norris, and Conn Smythe trophies in just over three calendar years. He is clearly the best defenseman in the NHL and is now rivaling Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews for the best player overall.
Colorado’s head coach Jared Bednar is the first coach in history to win championships in the NHL, AHL and ECHL. The product of Yorkton, Saskatchewan played professionally for nine seasons splitting time between the ECHL, AHL and IHL. Immediately upon his retirement in 2002, he began coaching as an …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation

Around the Atlantic: Nazem Kadri is a Stanley Cup champion, the Sens have a new home and Paul Maurice is back in the division

The NHL season has concluded and for the first time since 2019 the Tampa Bay Lightning are not Stanley Cup champions. Nazem Kadri and the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Lightning 2-1 on Sunday night to win their third Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Along with Kadri, former Montreal Canadien Artturi Lehknonen and long-time Red Wing Darren Helm won the cup with Colorado. After disappointing seasons for the Leafs, Habs and Wings it was a nice consolation prize for fans to see former fan favourites raise the cup.
Maurice hired, Bruins and Wings still searching
Head coaching remains a major topic within the division. The President’s trophy winning Florida Panthers have hired former Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice to replace Andrew Brunette.
The Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings are still in search for their next bench boss. Newly hired Vegas Golden Knights coach, Bruce Cassidy and Jeff Blashill were both relieved of their positions after the season.
Atlantic rookies lead the way
The Atlantic division headlined the NHL’s all-rookie team in 2022. Runaway Calder trophy winner Moritz Seider and Detroit Red Wings teammate Lucas Raymond joined the Leafs Michael Bunting and Boston Bruins goali …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation

Four-hit, one home run game from soon-to-be all-star Alejandro Kirk leads the way in 9-4 win over Milwaukee Brewers

Alejandro Kirk is having a season for the books.

And it kept up on Friday night with a monster four-hit, one home run performance in the Toronto Blue Jays 9-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. That was until the soon-to-be all-star catcher got caught with the swing of a bat in the seventh.
Kirk was caught in the catching mitt on the swing of a bat from Brewers CF Jonathan Davis. Jays head trainer Jose Ministral came out to look at Kirk, who caught a few balls to test out his hand, but was ultimately removed from the game. Thankfully for the Jays, his X-rays came back negative.

UPDATE: C Alejandro Kirk was removed from tonight’s game as a precaution with a left hand contusion. He underwent precautionary X-rays and they came back negative.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 25, 2022

Kirk’s performance was tremendous, but so was a solid start from Alek Manoah. After a stressful series against the Chicago White Sox, the Jays’ ace got back on the mound Friday night going 6.2 innings allowing one homer, two runs, five hits and three walks, all the while fanning six batters.
While he didn’t seem to have that usual swagger and got himself in some jams, the Big Man managed to work his way out of things rather unscathed.
On the offensive side, the bats were hot early on. The Jays had a five-run offensive explosion in the top of the 2nd. Batting out of the fourth spot, Kurk singled on a sharp ground ball to left-center field, only for Teoscar Hernandez to put …

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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays’ payroll flexibity could be utilized as leverage at trade deadline

Nearing the midway point of the season, it’s almost time to start thinking about the upcoming trade deadline, which falls on Aug. 2 this year. For the Toronto Blue Jays, who’ll surely be looking to upgrade their roster, there are a few different options they could use as trade chips.
Of course, the most obvious route would be to utilize the organization’s talented farm system to help improve the big-league club. Not every prospect would be available, obviously, especially not Gabriel Moreno or Orelvis Martinez. Starter Ricky Tiedemann has now likely emerged into that category, as well.
Another resource the front office could turn to is the franchise’s payroll flexibility. Entering the 2022 season, Toronto featured a CBT payroll of approximately $190.2 million, ranking 11th-highest in the majors. But there still might be some additional room for spending if ownership agrees to increase the payroll slightly north of $200 million.
It’s unlikely the team’s finances would reach the first luxury tax threshold of $230 million. And they probably don’t need to spend that much, anyway. Still, management could potentially reduce its acquisition costs at the trade deadline if they acquire expiring high-priced contracts along with its primary targets.
One franchise that’s expected to sell off its assets this summer is the Colorado Rockies, who currently sit last in the NL West with a 30-37 record. While the Rockies ha …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Blue Jays starter Hyun-Jin Ryu needs surgery and will miss the rest of the year

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s season is over.

Ryu, 35, has been dealing with some issues in his left forearm all year and two weeks ago landed back on the IL with inflammation. Now, the club has announced he will require surgery and is out for the season.

Hyun Jin Ryu is having elbow surgery, per Ross Atkins.It’s either a full Tommy John or a partial revision, but they’re not sure yet.He’s done for the season. #BlueJays
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) June 14, 2022

It’s undoubtedly tough news for Ryu who has pitched just 27 innings this season. He’s had a tough go of it when drawn into the lineup, too. He’s thrown a 5.67 ERA and 4.81 FIP to go along with a 1.34 WHIP — all of which being the worst of his career.
His H/9 has risen to 10.7 from his career average of 8.6, while his SO/9 rate has plummetted from a career average of 8.0 to 5.3.
Recovery from Tommy John surgery is a long process with it taking anywhere from 12 months to 18 months. He’s in the third season of a four-year deal paying him $20-million a year.
He broke onto the season making the most of his first season in Toronto finishing third in the AL Cy Young voting, but his game hasn’t quite replicated itself as it did that year.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.
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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

Ross Stripling has done everything and more this season

For almost all 30 MLB franchises, every season usually consists of pleasant surprises and for the Toronto Blue Jays, pitcher Ross Stripling has been exactly that in 2022.
Stripling, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers during the shortened 2020 campaign, has played a crucial role on the Blue Jays’ roster thus far. The 32-year-old entered the season as a multi-inning reliever, however, his flexibility has allowed him to do far more than just that.
Out of the gate, the veteran righty made his first two appearances from out of the bullpen, although he quickly shifted to the starting rotation as the team wanted to provide its regulars an extra day of rest following a shortened spring. But his stay lasted far longer than originally expected. Once Hyun Jin Ryu landed on the injured list with forearm inflammation, Stripling was needed to remain as a starter.
With Ryu ultimately sidelined for a month, Stripling temporarily took over his spot in the rotation, making five starts during that span. In total, he compiled 21.0 innings and performed to a respectable 4.29 ERA, 2.95 FIP, .267 OPP AVG, 20.5 per cent strikeout rate and a 2.3 per cent walk rate.
Then, when Toronto activated Ryu off the IL on May 14, Stripling was …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation