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.
— 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

Page 6ix Wednesday, February 17th: Desert Storm

Obviously, the big story in hockey this week is the disaster in the desert – that is, the absolute cluster inside the Arizona Coyotes organization. But this hasn’t been a quiet week for hockey in general, with more COVID concerns, some baby news, and even some fun! Let’s take a look, eh?
Leafs Lads
The boys in blue lost two in a row this week for the first time this season, which objectively in the grand scheme of things is probably not a big deal, but in the moment definitely sucks.
However, the good news is that cat-loving cheerleader slash goalie Jack Campbell is skating, which is a positive sign for a somewhat imminent return!

Jack Campbell was out on the ice with goalie coach Steve Briere this morning before #Leafs optional skate. He’s been out with a leg injury since Jan. 24.
Here he is cleaning up all his pucks.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 15, 2021

Joe Thornton is back in the lineup, too, scoring a goal in his first game back.
But the biggest news to hit Leafland this week was the trade –

We’ve acquired Alex Galchenyuk from Carolina in exchange for Egor Korshkov …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

When Will Hockey Really Be For Everyone? The Mitchell Miller Situation.

This week, a story hit the online hockey space that was unknown to many, though not all, previously. Arizona Coyotes 4th round draft pick (and their first pick of the draft), Mitchell Miller, along with another teenage boy, “was charged with assault and violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act in February 2016” for their absolutely disgusting, egregious, dangerous attack on Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a Black, developmentally disabled classmate of theirs. Police reports and accounts from Isaiah’s mother document a history of bullying, harassment, and violence that culminated in the incident for which Miller was charged.
The details of the incident, and the history of violence Miller perpetrated against Isaiah, have been thoroughly documented in a number of articles and posts, including the original story linked above. The attempts to contact him have been documented as well. This post isn’t about the details of the horrific incident or the history of racism and bullying, but rather the response in and around the league, highlighting yet again that hockey isn’t really for everyone, and it definitely isn’t for you if your skin isn’t white, you aren’t able-bodied, and you don’t have the financial means to access expensive …

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Author: MerOutLoud / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Madness Championship!!!

I guess the story here is that Wendel Clark and Auston Matthews were narrowly defeated in what were the closest match-ups of the bracket. Matthews likely failing to advance based on lack of experience and Clark rode beloved fan favourite for as long as he possibly could in this.
As for the Sundin vs. Bower match-up, it’s hard to imagine that Sundin isn’t going to run away with this. That’s not to say that Bower isn’t incredibly, but pretty much everyone reading this has seen and enjoyed Sundin, where Bower is your father’s/grandfather’s Leaf and for many of us, Bower was the smiling, accessible legend who always had time for Leafs fans and the notion that he could be one of the top goaltenders of all time is lost on us due to among other things, recency bias.

For the title of All-Time Favourite Leaf
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) March 31, 2020
So tomorrow we’ll have our champion and The Leafs Nation will be forced to move on to a new means of providing you with daily Leafs content. So while Bower or Sundin have equal …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Pregame: I’m sure they’ll do just fine against Tampa

Pick the story line you are most comfortable with. There’s the story that has the Leafs getting crushed three separate times last week, include once to a team icing one of their own employee’s as an emergency backup goaltender. In that story the Leafs also saw the trade deadline come and go without upgrade, or without a commitment to changing what looks to be broken. This team has 8 wins in their last 20 games.
The other story is the Leafs are a team that has 23 wins in their last 40 games, and has one of the best records over that stretch. They’ve got a young core that should be the envy of the league, and while they’ve struggled of late, their GM gave them a vote of confidence that this team can be a roster that accomplishes a lot, but it’s up to them to figure out how they get there. They are currently sitting in a playoff spot, and the team chasing them made some moves that could take them further out of the race, and the Leafs are expecting two defensemen back in the coming weeks which could help them …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Mason Marchment to Make NHL Debut Tonight vs. Winnipeg

Mason Marchment is not another story of an NHL player’s son claiming a long-awaited opening in the NHL. With former Leaf Bryan Marchment his father and Los Angeles draft pick Jake Marchment his cousin, Mason wasn’t drafted to the NHL at all, or even the OHL for that matter. Rather, Marchment was playing Midget hockey in his draft year, graduating each year following from OJHL to OHL to AHL.
It was 2016 when Marchment joined the Marlies for 3 games before signing an AHL deal that landed him with the Orlando Solar Bears for the 2016-17 season. The ECHL found to be a proving ground for his trademark under-your-skin style. The following season, Marchment introduced his abrasiveness to many AHL opponents, setting up Marlie powerplays en route to a Calder Cup Championship.
Marchment has been remarkably consistent throughout his time in the AHL, good for just over 0.5 p/g when healthy in both the regular season and playoffs. He lives in the middle of the ice, or generally where defending teams want him the least.
Marchment is like a magnet. When the whistle blows, everyone seems to gravitate towards him and his antics when play is stopped.
For …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Tulloch: Why the Maple Leafs Needed to Fire Mike Babcock

In the 2016-17 season, I heard the following story from a source connected with the Toronto Maple Leafs. I wasn’t able to fully corroborate the story at the time, so I didn’t feel comfortable putting my name on it. This was during my first year writing about hockey publicly, and you never want to be wrong about something of this magnitude. If it turns out the rumour isn’t true, well, there goes your credibility.
I’ve now been able to confirm this story with multiple sources, which is what motivated me to put out the following tweet.

I heard about this Babcock story when it happened, but I didn’t want to bring it up until I could confirm it was true.
The rookie he did this to was Mitch Marner.
— Ian Tulloch (@IanGraph) November 25, 2019

By now, news of this story has clearly blown up all over social media, so I think it’s important for me to help set the record straight.
Here’s what I’ve been able to gather from speaking with multiple sources close with the team.
As the story goes, Mike Babcock was frustrated with Mitch Marner …

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Author: Ian Tulloch / The Leafs Nation

Five rules to help you root for Toronto Raptors underdog Terence Davis

Terence Davis is the newest underdog story in waiting on the Toronto Raptors. And while everyone’s on the bandwagon, you can be the one leading the charge. Here are five rules to help you cheer for the underdog hero. Everyone loves to root for an underdog. And Toronto Raptors fans are no different. There’s nothing […]
Five rules to help you root for Toronto Raptors underdog Terence Davis – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Zak McDonald / Raptors HQ

Nobody wants to pitch to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

No pitcher wants to become a footnote in the story of Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s career. Nobody wants to have their name as the answer to this eventual Jeopardy question: “Which Major League pitcher gave up Vladdy’s first big league home run?”
After one week in the big leagues, five games, Vladdy’s received only a handful of pitches to hit. Through 18 at-bats, he’s been fed nothing but a steady diet of breaking balls. It shouldn’t come as much surprise that opponents are cautiously pitching to Guerrero, but the sheer lack of hittable pitches is noteworthy.
While he’s given a ride to a few pitches thus far, Guerrero has yet to really get ahold of a ball. During his very first game in Toronto, he mis-hit a ball to the warning track. The hardest hit ball of his career remains that 106.8 MPH ground out to first base in his MLB debut.
Everyone’s patiently waiting for Vladdy to display his light-tower power from double-A and triple-A, but the kid needs a pitch to hit, first. Pitchers around the league don’t want their namesake associated with allowing the first home run of Guerrero’s career.
He’ …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation