PHF Weekend Review: Toronto dominating Buffalo at hockey in the PHF too

As the Toronto Six get back into action this weekend, it was a weekend full of goals and celebrations for Toronto.
After some roster shakeups earlier in the week, and the weekend prior’s games being postponed, the Six had every excuse to be a little bit flat this weekend. They chose instead to dominate their opponents, the Buffalo Beauts.
Saturday’s game
Here was Toronto’s lineup for the game:

Lineups for this afternoons matchup!
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) January 15, 2022

And Buffalo’s:

Here is todays #Beauts lineup against the Six! #FortBeaut #PHF : @jsantalucia96
— Buffalo Beauts (@BuffaloBeauts) January 15, 2022

In the first game of the weekend, the first action for the Six players since 2021, Toronto came out strong early with a 3-0 lead. Rookie Leah Marino started it off with her second goal of the season on a great primary assist by fellow rookie Stephanie Sucharda:

Leah Marino gives the Toronto Six the early lead!
— PHF (@PHF) January 15, 2022

Less than 4 minutes later, the team’s superstar Mikyla Grant-Mentis picked up a loose puck from a shot block by, I think, Saroya Tinker, and blows by Buffalo’s defence to beat Carly Jackson for what was called an unassisted goal:

Grant-Mentis because of course she did! 2-0 Toronto Six!
— PHF (@PHF) January 15, 2022

Then, about 5 minutes before the end of the first, Toronto’s first ever draft selection Amy Curlew roofs her first goal of the season on a slick backhand, cleaning up a bit of a mess in front of the net. This goal comes with very well-earned assists by Natalie Marcuzzi, who rejoined the team recently, and captain Shiann Darkangelo:

Amy Curlew with a wicked backhander top shelf!
— PHF (@PHF) January 15, 2022

Into the second period, Beauts goalie Carly Jackson tries to put pressure on Meagan Beres as she tries to cap off the 3-on-2 rush, the puck slides past Jackson and it looks like Stephanie Sucharda taps it into the net, but the goal was credited to Beres (Sucharda still gained an assist on the play). The team gave her a “1st goal” puck so perhaps that will get changed. Take a look and see who you think scored it:

The Toronto Six are putting on a show for the viewers on TSN 4!
— PHF (@PHF) January 15, 2022

That was all the action for this 2nd period. Into the 3rd period, Toronto’s Taylor Day got one, then Buffalo followed up with one to make it 5-1, but Toronto squashed any hope of a comeback pretty quickly with Leah Marino‘s second goal of the night, and six goals on the night for the Six:

Leah Marino scores again and the Six have six!
— PHF (@PHF) January 15, 2022

That’s how the game would end, with the Six taking down the Beauts 6-1. Here were the 3 stars for the game:

Sunday’s game
Toronto’s lineup was unchanged except for Tera Hofmann getting her first start with Toronto:

Congratulations to @TeraHofmannnn who gets her first start as a member of the #T6
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) January 16, 2022

And Buffalo made a few alterations after Saturday’s crushing defeat:

Here’s todays lineup against Toronto Six!! #LetsGo #FortBeaut #PHF: @jsantalucia96
— Buffalo Beauts (@BuffaloBeauts) January 16, 2022

You would think that it would be difficult to follow up such a dominant performance with another one, but the Six did exactly that.
After the Beauts opened the scoring, assistant captain Emma Woods with this bar down snipe on the powerplay:

Emma Woods goes bardown on the power play!
— PHF (@PHF) January 16, 2022

Toronto scored another one on the powerplay, and then the Beauts scored a couple on Toronto to make it 3-2 at the end of the 1st.
Those would be the last goals Buffalo would score this weekend, as the Six ran the show for the remaining two periods. First, Emma Woods got her second of the night, then it was Brooke Boquist finishin …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: Late goal from Mikheyev gives Leafs win in chaotic 6-5 game

This game had it all. An Auston Matthews “controller died” defensive performance on a goal. A sick faceoff play goal. A blown 3-1 lead. Timothy Liljegren’s first goal. A brutal goal allowed from Jack Campbell. Matthews reaching 10 straight road games with a goal. Ilya Mikheyev scoring from the corners. Jordan Binnington allowing six goals. Terrible officiating. Even Morgan Rielly wasn’t satisfied with the entertainment value and took a penalty with six second left to make it close. It wasn’t one of their prettier games, but the Leafs were the better team, and you can’t deny that it was a fun one. And the fact that the Leafs escaped it with with the win makes it even better, and ended the Blues 13 game home point streak as well.
TLN Three Stars
3rd Star: Timothy Liljegren
He was one of the best defenseman in the game for the Leafs possession wise, with a 68.8% CF% and 62.8% xGF%, all while playing just his second game in over a month and doing so against top competition alongside Jake Muzzin. Oh, and he finally got his first NHL goal with an absolute bullet of a one-timer for what was the go-ahead goal at the time.
2nd Star: Mitch Marner
Marner played his first game since returning …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

The case for and against the Leafs reacquiring Phil Kessel

Earlier this week, Frank Seravalli released an updated trade targets list and he included a player that needs no introduction to Leafs fans: Phil Kessel.
Few players in team history have garnered quite a mixed reputation amongst the fanbase the way he did in the six seasons he donned the Blue and White.
His talent was undeniable, highlighted by him scoring 394 points in 446 games as a Leaf and leading the team scoring every season he played in Toronto. But he arrived with lofty expectations stemming from the trade that brought him to Toronto in exchange for two first-round picks that became Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton.
The Leafs only made the playoffs once throughout his stay, and a large portion of the blame for the constant losing fell on him because of his perceived lack of work ethic. Because of his high-profile role, he was forced into the spotlight where he looked completely out of his element and flabbergasted. So by 2015, he was shipped off to the Penguins where we would go on to win two Stanley Cups, thus closing the chapter on a wasted six years with one of the most gifted snipers in NHL history.
The reputation surrounding Kessel in Toronto has not gone away, even despite him proving to be a key component on a Cup-winning team. But a lot has changed in nearly seven years since the last time he played for the Leafs and this raises two questions. Does it make any sense to bring him back? And if so, should they?
The case for
As stated before, the value that Kessel prov …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays have signed Gosuke Katoh to a minor-league deal

This was first reported a few weeks ago, but there’s nothing going on as we trudge through the lockout, so we might as well talk about it again.

The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed utility guy Gosuke Katoh to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Katoh was originally selected by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 2013 draft. He spent seven years in New York’s system before getting let go. He signed a minor-league deal with the San Diego Padres and had a solid season for the organization’s Triple-A affiliate in El Paso.
Over 114 games in 2021, Katoh slashed a .306/.388/.474 line with eight home runs and 27 doubles. He walked 46 times while striking out 84 times.
Gatoh is a left-handed hitter, something the Blue Jays badly need, and he can play first, second, and third base as well and left and right field, so he profiles nicely as the kind of player who can fill a come off of the bench in a pinch.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Know Your Enemy: Maple Leafs face off against a depleted Senators team

So, this is a new series that I’ve decided as a way to both be able to do some of my favourite things in writing (which is well-researched statistical deep dives into all the teams in the league, and break them down), as well as give Leafs fans a way to know what they should expect against an opponent going into a game. It’s easy to latch on to narratives thrown around in the hockey world and assume that that’s the case without any evidence, but it’s also a lot of work to keep up with all 32 NHL teams. So, I’ve decided to do the work for you. This will either be done for every game, or just for the bigger matchups, depending on how much work this is for me, and how exhausted I get from it.
The Leafs may have a depleted lineup, but if there’s any team that’s a great matchup to get their skating legs warmed up against, it’s the Ottawa Senators. The Senators are a team that many expected to take the next step after a strong second half last season, and they’ve done anything but …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs Milestone Watch: January 2022 Edition

In this monthly Maple Leafs Milestone Watch column, we’ll be recapping the milestones of the previous month and setting up which milestones are likely (or even farfetched) to occur in the upcoming month.
Last Month
December was one of the strangest months the Leafs have seen in a while. The Leafs played just 7 of their scheduled 13 games in December due to COVID cancellations, which put the pause on progress towards many milestones.
Notable milestones hit last month:
Morgan Rielly – 600 NHL/Leafs GP
And that’s it! Rielly hit the milestone on December 9th against the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he celebrated by picking up a secondary assist on this Ondrej Kase goal:

Kase makes good of Tavares’ whiff
Another assist for Morgan Rielly
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 10, 2021

This Month
Games Played
The Leafs officially have 11 games on the books this month, although who knows how many of those will be played, or if previously postponed games are slid in between existing games:
MILESTONE OF THE MONTH: John Tavares – 900 NHL GP (1 game away) – Earliest he could reach: Jan 1 vs. OTT
Ilya Mikheyev – 100 NHL/Leafs GP (6 games away) – Earliest he could reach: Jan 15 vs. STL
None …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

NHL postpones Wednesday’s Leafs vs. Penguins game

This afternoon, Leafs GM, Kyle Dubas, said that Toronto might be two players short for Wednesday’s game vs. Pittsburgh.
A couple of hours later, the NHL has now postponed that game.

Wednesday’s game vs. Pittsburgh has been postponed.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 27, 2021

Earlier this afternoon, Dubas also said that Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza and Alexander Kerfoot could return to practice on Monday if their cardiac screenings go well.
As of right now, @Jack Campbell, @Petr Mrazek, @Jake Muzzin, @Morgan Rielly, @Rasmus Sandin, TJ Brodie, @Travis Dermott, @William Nylander, @Ilya Mikheyev, and @David Kampf are still in COVID protocols. Spezza, Simmonds, and Kerfoot remain there as well until they’re available for practice.
Toronto’s next game is now on New Years Day against Ottawa at 7 PM ET.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Our favourite Leafs presents

Our favourite Leafs presents

On this the day when a good number of us will be receiving something Leafy from underneath our tree, we thought it would be fun to look back and reflect on some of our favourite Leafs presents we’ve received. Be sure to tell us about your Leafs present haul in the comment section or @ us on twitter.
Nick Barden
A Martin Marincin jersey, even though I bought it. I thank Leafs Twitter for making me buy it. (Editor’s note: Way to stay on brand.)
Joseph Zita
I can’t think of anything too special off the top of my head but I’ve received tickets for the Maple Leafs years ago for Christmas and that was pretty nice. I ended up on TV that game too and have that picture in a tiny frame in my house.
Michael Mazzei
Got a signed puck from James Reimer on my birthday while at a game a few years ago.
Roxanne Khasow
No one’s ever bought me a Leafs present, gladly taking offers.
Dylan Murphy
Definitely the Matthews jersey I received for Christmas during his rookie season. It was the first authentic Leafs jersey I’ve ever owned and marked …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

1 reason the Raptors are better than these 3 play-in contenders

1 reason the Raptors are better than these 3 play-in contenders

The Toronto Raptors are hovering around .500 on the season. This positioning if it continues could spell trouble for their Eastern Conference foes at the backend of the playoff bracket. A 119-100 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night left the Raptors with a record of 14-15. Toronto has been hit hard by […]
1 reason the Raptors are better than these 3 play-in contenders – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Mark Shapiro is Already the Greatest Leader in Blue Jays History

News broke this week that Rogers and the Blue Jays have decided that the most feasible path forward for the Rogers Centre is to renovate the stadium for a quarter of a billion dollars rather than attempt to build a replacement.

This latest development means that in just six years since first coming to Toronto in the Fall of 2015, Mark Shapiro, the President of the Blue Jays, has done (or is in the process of doing) everything that could have possibly been expected of him when he signed his original contract. Both on and off the field, Shapiro has taken a team that was aging in its roster, baseball & business operations, and facilities, and has revitalized them all to ensure that the team as a whole has a bright future. I think it’s important to look at each individual aspect and examine how well everything has turned out, because for all the flak he got when he took over the job, Shapiro has firmly cemented himself as the best all-around executive the Blue Jays have ever had.
Much has been written about the current Blue Jays team, and if you’re reading this, you know that the …

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Author: Gideon Turk / Blue Jays Nation