It’s time to stop being upset at Mitch Marner

This summer has honestly been incredible. It’s been a time where everyone could step away from the game of hockey for a while. For myself, this past year and a half has been the hardest part of my life, and it got to the point where watching the sport I love felt like a chore.
Obviously, seeing the Maple Leafs go out in the first round for the fifth-straight year didn’t help that feeling. However, I’ve been able to step back throughout this break and really notice my feelings toward the team, and its players.
I’d like to discuss one player in particular — Mitch Marner.
Are you still mad at him? You probably are.
Whenever I see someone upset about Marner, it’s usually because of his contract value. The 24-year-old has the seventh-highest cap hit in the NHL at $10,903,00, and usually, every Maple Leafs fan has something to say about it. Some could be good, but usually, most of it is criticism.
But it’s time to stop talking about it.
After another exit in the first round, fans were upset. I genuinely think people were more angry with Marner than the Leafs team as …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

There’s no one way to be a hockey fan, and that’s okay

I took the summer off from hockey.
There. I said it, acknowledged it, it’s out there and real. I tried for a while to play it off like my life got busy, I was overwhelmed with moving and work, etc etc. And all of that is true. But what is also true is I made a conscious choice to step back from something I love, that is a huge part of my life. I made a choice, and I took the summer off from really thinking about or closely following the NHL, the Leafs, and hockey at large, to be honest.
I am a diehard hockey fan – I love the game, I love my hometown team, I love women’s hockey. But by the end of the Leafs season, the game of hockey was bringing me more stress than joy. And so I needed to take a step back, I needed to take time away from this thing I love so much. And that’s okay. It doesn’t make me less of a fan.
I’m going to repeat that – it does not make me less of a fan.
Why did I need a break? What brought it …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: 2 positive and 2 negative takeaways from Summer League

Raptors: 2 positive and 2 negative takeaways from Summer League

The Toronto Raptors’ Summer League journey has officially concluded. A time usually reserved for a team to give their rookie and sophomore players more minutes, the Raptors had an especially impactful Vegas roster this year, as they were testing out three new rookies. One of those rookies was No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes, who […]
Raptors: 2 positive and 2 negative takeaways from Summer League – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: How Ishmail Wainright fits in with this roster

Toronto Raptors: How Ishmail Wainright fits in with this roster

After a crazy finish down the stretch of a Summer League game, the Toronto Raptors trailed 77-70 and won 80-79 against the Charlotte Hornets, The game was a continued showcase for newly acquired draftee Scottie Barnes and 2020 first-rounder Precious Achiuwa, but the likes of Ishmail Wainright were also strutting their stuff. While Barnes and Achiuwa […]
Toronto Raptors: How Ishmail Wainright fits in with this roster – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Handing out Summer League superlatives

Toronto Raptors: Handing out Summer League superlatives

The Toronto Raptors performed so well in Summer League play that they made it to the postseason, as their 3-1 record is indicative of a team that had the perfect blend of youth, aggression, and intensity on the defensive end. Having both blown teams out and come from behind, Toronto has looked very sharp. The […]
Toronto Raptors: Handing out Summer League superlatives – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Grading Scottie Barnes in his first NBA action

Toronto Raptors: Grading Scottie Barnes in his first NBA action

The beginning of NBA Summer League play means that Toronto Raptors fans were able to get their first glimpse of Scottie Barnes in red and black. The first opponent Barnes locked horns with was the rival New York Knicks, who brought in a solid haul of talent in the 2021 NBA Draft. The Raptors took […]
Toronto Raptors: Grading Scottie Barnes in his first NBA action – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Ondřej was the Kaše that they gave us: Leafs sign him to 1 year deal

It seems that this summer Kyle Dubas has decided that if he’s gonna be damned, he’s gonna be damned for doing things the way he wants to do things. He’s gone with Greyhounds. He’s gone with underappreciated or miscast players, and now he’s moved onto statistical darlings…

Ondrej Kase signs a one-year contract with #leafs worth $1.25M.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 31, 2021

Ondrej Kase, long adored for excelling at driving the play forward, Kaše has had his injury troubles throughout his career, and was limited to just three games last season, and hasn’t really played anywhere near a full season in his career. The right wing from the Czech Republic is 6’0 tall, and 190 lbs, and could line up with countryman David Kampf on the Leafs 3rd line this season, when healthy. When Kaše isn’t healthy, he creates an opportunity for players like Brooks, Robertson, and Anderson to dip their toes into the lineup as well, so he’s a reasonable risk to take, especially since he’s only 25.

As you can see from the chart above, Kase is pretty darn good in all situations, and if William Nylander is going to be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

It’s time to admit the Islanders are a better TEAM than the Leafs

The decision by John Tavares in Summer 2018 to leave the New York Islanders and join his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs ignited a war between fan bases that had not been seen since when Darcy Tucker blew out Mike Peca’s knee in the 2002 playoffs. The move ensured the two teams would be compared against each other for years, as the fortunes of both franchises were set to be significantly impacted by JT’s switch.
Hurt and incapable of processing it healthily, Islanders fans couldn’t, or wouldn’t, comprehend why their captain would leave a team that had made the playoffs just thrice in his nine years with the club, despite him being one of the leading scorers in the league during his tenure as an Isle. Fans burned his jerseys, called him childish names, filmed truly cringeworthy spite videos, and shouted hateful chants at him in his return to Long Island. In every way they looked like the losers.
But the New York Islanders just made the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second year in a row.
Now, I don’t think losing John Tavares was the key that unlocked the Islanders’ success, although Isles …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Did the Tyson Barrie experiment fail?

Last summer was one of the most active off-seasons in a while for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Kyle Dubas.
The first major move on July 1st was sending Connor Brown, Nikita Zaitsev and Michael Carcone to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, Aaron Luchuk and a 2020 third-round pick. Some may have thought that would be the only big move that Dubas would make.
But just under 12 hours later, he would trade Nazem Kadri, Calle Rosen and a 2020 third-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche for Tyson Barrie, Alexander Kerfoot and a 2020 sixth-round pick.
It was a move that fans thought would shift the organization forward, but to some, it has now set the Maple Leafs a few steps back.
In Toronto, Barrie didn’t have the best season — but it wasn’t as poor as some suggest. Obviously, everyone is now comparing it to Kadri’s blowout playoff tenure, where he has 11 points in eight games with the Avalanche. Yet with the Maple Leafs, Barrie did his best before they were eliminated by the Columbus Blue Jackets two weeks ago.
The hardest part for 29-year-old was in the beginning of the season, …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Brandon Drury is back, Billy McKinney sent down to minor-league camp

After never making it to the Blue Jays’ Summer Camp in Toronto due to an unspecified injury, Brandon Drury has finally been added to the team’s active roster. Heading down to the team’s minor-league camp to make room for him will be Billy McKinney.

#BlueJays reinstate infielder Brandon Drury from the IL, option Billy McKinney (back to the Alternate Training Site)
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) July 26, 2020

It’s sink or swim time for Drury, you’d think. Since being acquired as part of the return for J.A. Happ back in 2018, Drury hasn’t been overly impressive in a Blue Jays uniform. While he adds a solid glove and positional versatility, hit bat simply hasn’t come around to the level you’d hope to see from him.
Drury will jump right into the lineup today in Tampa Bay, playing third base. I imagine that we’ll see Drury get quite a few reps against left-handed pitching (Blake Snell, a lefty, is going today) as the Jays juggle platoon-oriented lineups.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation