‘He lets younger guys be themselves’: How Rich Clune’s leadership is felt throughout the Leafs organization

Seven years after joining the Maple Leafs organization, and Rich Clune is still playing the game he loves.
The bus was getting packed up on Thursday as the Toronto Marlies get set for a six-game US road trip. Clune walked out of the dressing room wearing a Gold’s Gym crewneck and track pants. He had some nice shoes on too.
He greets you with a big smile on his face and a kind “Hello.”
Clune had just gotten off the ice after a 40+ minute practice. The team also had time on the ice after to work on whatever they wanted. The 34-year-old spent it skating from blue line to blue line, back and forth, at some points also receiving pucks from teammate, Joseph Duszak.
He would stop, take a breath, watch what other players were doing, and then go again. There’s always something about players who work on their craft alone after practice. Bobby McMann, who was the captain while playing at Colgate University does the same thing at Marlies practices.
Players like that are doing what they love, while still finding a way to lead by example.
“I grew up in an area of Toronto where we flooded the streets,” Clune said of where his leadership may have come from. “Whether it was …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Did the Raptors find something in former first-round pick DJ Wilson?

Did the Raptors find something in former first-round pick DJ Wilson?

The Toronto Raptors are officially in panic mode, as seven players (including Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and Scottie Barnes) have entered the league’s health and safety protocols. One of the few beneficiaries of this misfortune has been the G League, as dozens of players like Tremont Waters and DJ Wilson are signing NBA contracts. The […]
Did the Raptors find something in former first-round pick DJ Wilson? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

José Berríos was well worth the cost of acquisition

José Berríos just re-signed for seven years for a total of 131 million. The speculated breakdown of the contract is 11 million for this season (where he’d have made 11 million in arbitration) and 20 million until the end of the 2028 season.

In 2021, Berríos pitched 192 innings and registered a 3.52 ERA and 3.47 FIP. He had a fWAR of 4.1 and a BB/9 of 2.11 while his K/9 was 9.56. In his career, he owns a 4.04 ERA and a 3.95 FIP in 851.2 IP. He is an incredibly durable pitcher and he’s only 27-years-old. This is a fantastic re-signing, but let’s see what they gave up for him.
I’ll take you back to July 30th. The Jays were a decent team that had the opportunity to make a run at the playoffs. To bolster their starting rotation, they traded prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson for José Berríos of the Minnesota Twins. 
My initial reaction to that trade was anger, disgust, and disappointment. In fact, Cam wouldn’t let me write the article announcing the trade for Blue Jays Nation because he knew I was angry.
However, after thinking about the trade more rationally, I calmed down and saw the reasoning as to why the trade …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Tavares and Muzzin injury updates

Here we are heading into Game Seven of the first round, and the Leafs will appear to be doing so without their captain, and one of their top defensemen. Welcome to Leafs Nation. Here are the updates on where they are at…
Tavares skating…

John Tavares participated in the @MapleLeafs optional morning skate ahead of Game 7 tonight. #NHLonSN pic.twitter.com/JLJqoHZhpj
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 31, 2021

Yep, that’s John Tavares skating (although not looking completely comfortable) in advance of tonight’s Game Seven. The Leafs were quick to rule out Tavares for tonight, and that shouldn’t really be a surprise as this is the first full skate he’s participated in. Having the captain back to work with the players today was hopefully a positive for the team, and maybe, just maybe the Leafs want to play well enough to give Tavares a chance to come back during the playoffs.

“It’s progress that he’s on the ice with other players … He’s had no setbacks” … Sheldon Keefe on John Tavares #Leafs “His recovery has been quite remarkable.”
— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) May 31, 2021

Playing guess the return for Tavares is irresponsible, so we won’t, but we will say that it …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs’ regular season report cards

It was a regular season like no other as the seven Canadian clubs battled it out amongst themselves for North Division supremacy, with the Leafs coming out on top at the end of the 56 game schedule. The team as a whole had an incredible season – arguably the best in franchise history – and it came on the backs of some fantastic individual performances.
As the Leafs prepare for what they hope will be a long playoff run, it seems like a good time to reflect on how each player contributed to the team’s strong showing in the regular season. Expectations and role have been considered for each individual, so while a 30 point season is enough to earn Jason Spezza high marks, similar production wouldn’t be as impressive for someone like William Nylander or John Tavares.
Let’s get to the grades.
Reply in the comment section and share your regular season player grades.
Auston Matthews | A+
52 GP, 41 G, 25 A, 66 P
Matthews was a dominant force all season long, earning the first Rocket Richard Trophy of his career and scoring at a pace that would have easily shattered the single season franchise goal scoring record over the course of …

Read More

Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: More like the Calgary Lames

The Leafs improve to 6-0-1 in their last seven games, and now have a six point lead in the North DIvision following their 4-2 win over Calgary tonight. We were told Matthew Tkachuk was in the lineup but I’m not sure I remember hearing him mentioned even once, and generally the Leafs were treated to the underwhelming performance that the Flames have been known for under new old coach Darryl Sutter. A rough go late in the first, followed by disinterest throughout most of the second gave Leafs fans a slight scare, but as underwhelming as the Leafs were at times, the Flames seemed equally underwhelming.
3rd Star: Second and Third Period Michael Hutchinson
Poor guy. I feel for him, I really do, but no one makes me more nervous in net than Michael Hutchinson. If he was actually in the 4th goaltender on the depth chart role that he was signed on to be in, I’d have no problem with the guy, but here he is, a staple of the Leafs back to backs, and as much he was awful in the first period, Hutchinson was a big part of the Leafs staying a float in …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Five moves the Raptors should make this off-season

  The 2020 NBA Playoffs came to an end for the Toronto Raptors in a seven games series loss to the Boston Celtics. Now, the Toronto Raptors have several roster adjustments to consider, and here is a look at five moves the team should make this off-season. 2020 did not end as well as 2019 […]
Toronto Raptors: Five moves the Raptors should make this off-season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Maple Leafs: All-Time Drafted Roster

This week The Nation Network is focusing on the seven Canadian franchises’ all-time roster of drafted players. While unrestricted free agency gets more focus each summer, the draft is much more important to an organization’s long-term success.
The NHL Entry Draft is the scouts’ championship. It is very difficult projecting how good teenage hockey players will be in the future, but that’s the job description of NHL amateur scouts. This series is all about the scouts and who they picked. Because often, once a player is selected, the scouts have very little say in his future development.

The rules.
1. The player had to be drafted by the organization. Mats Sundin wasn’t drafted by Toronto, so he won’t be on the Maple Leafs team.
2. Players need to be slotted in the position they played the most. Mark Messier, for instance, did play left wing early in his career, but he is a centre.
3. We are picking the best possible lineup, similar to the Olympic rosters. Players who had the best career, even if the majority wasn’t with the organization who drafted them.
4. For organizations like the Flames, who were …

Read More

Author: Jason Gregor / The Leafs Nation

Red-hot Raptors host Hawks at Scotiabank Arena

The Toronto Raptors have won seven in a row and will be looking to make it eight on Tuesday when the Atlanta Hawks visit Scotiabank Arena. Toronto defeated Atlanta 122-117 on Jan. 20. No doubt both teams are still reeling from the tragic news of Kobe Bryant‘s tragic passing in a helicopter crash — along […]
Red-hot Raptors host Hawks at Scotiabank Arena – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Jordan Skuse / Raptors HQ

Hot Takes From the Farm: Week 20

Eight regular season games left. Seven if you’re in Dunedin. Less than that for Bluefield and the Complex teams. Whether or not there are more is a question that remains unsettled in a couple of instances. The Bisons sit three games out behind first Place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and 2.5 behind Syracuse. The possible drama arises from the circumstance that they play the last four games this year at the home of that first place team. The trick, of course, is to get to that series and still be within three games and to hope for bad outcomes for the Syracuse Mets. New Hampshire is eliminated, Dunedin is already in based on their first half championship. Lansing is 3.5 games out. The host Great Lakes, the first half division winner and a very good road team (Lansing is not so good at home) for two, then last place Western Michigan (who stink away from home) for three, before closing out on the road to Fort Wayne who are also currently tied for last place. So they have a credible shot but a lot of work to do. None of the short season teams are going anywhere.
All the buzz in Buffalo …

Read More

Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation