BJN Radio – Ep. 50: Welcome to Heartbreak

That wasn’t the storybook finish we were hoping for.

The Yankees rolled into Toronto for what was a playoff-like series at The Dome. Capacity was upped to 30,000 and the Blue Jays had a chance to catch the Yankees in the standings and ultimately put themselves in a position to earn a playoff spot. The table was set.
Unfortunately, it was the Yankees who showed up to play while the Blue Jays didn’t bring their best. The bats were silenced in the first game on Tuesday, Bo Bichette led the team to a win on Wednesday, and then, with a chance to pull within one game of New York on Thursday, Robbie Ray got lit up in the sixth inning and Toronto’s bats couldn’t solve the Yankees’ bullpen the rest of the way.
It was a heartbreaker, a gut-punch, and an energy-sucking loss.
We talked about a bunch of stuff on this episode of BJN Radio, including Bo’s amazing series, Nate Pearson having some good outings out of the ‘pen, and the decision by Charlie Montoyo to keep Ray in the game when it looked like the Yankees had him solved. We also looked ahead to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The return of Rich Clune is a strong sign the Marlies will continue doing the right things

Admittedly the NHL career of Rich Clune wasn’t one that I particularly paid much attention to. And when Clune landed with the Marlies, I fell into the mindset of “oh another veteran that is supposedly here to help the kids, but really just isn’t ready to walk away from hockey.”
I didn’t take too long for me to realize I was wrong and Rich Clune is the real deal when it comes to supporting his young teammates, and preparing them for a life in pro hockey. The decision to make Clune the captain last year was a sound one and one that speaks to the organization continuing to do things the right way by not only avoiding putting prospects in leadership positions when they should be focusing on developing towards the NHL, but putting the right type of person in as the captain, one who cares about his teammates, one who has a commitment to putting in the work and will push others to do the same, and one who knows the game and is smart enough to transition into a power development or coaching role the second he no longer feels he wishes to wear the …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Why the Wayne Simmonds signing makes sense

After Wayne Simmonds’ wrist injury, he wasn’t the same. We all know it. This time around, he’ll be healthy and at a cheaper price tag — for two years.
There’s a lot of reasons to like this deal, and there are some question marks in terms of where he’ll play in the lineup.
Everything and anything you need to know is in the video below. I hope you enjoy!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Day After Thoughts: Jack Campbell carries the Leafs to a 2-1 series lead

It wasn’t quite the resounding win of Saturday, but the Toronto Maple Leafs did win (in regulation) game 3 of the series against the Habs, pulling ahead to a 2-1 series lead. And, as my title suggests, they very much have Jack Campbell to thank for it.
Last night’s game was quite the rollercoaster ride, almost literally. It started off flat and kind of boring, with not much at all happening in the first period (other than that Carey Price save we’ll get to in a bit), and then a TON of high octane action in the second, leading into a bit of a skid to stop in the third. Nevertheless, with equal SOG, the Leafs managed to score 2 goals to the Canadiens’ 1, which according to my math means they won the game – and that’s what matters.
Let’s take a look at each period a bit more in depth, shall we?
First period
As mentioned, not much happened in the first. In fact, many fans were surprised and a bit disappointed at such low-energy hockey from these two teams in a tied series. The Leafs did kill off a four-minute penalty to start the game, but …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

George Springer is headed back to the Injured List

I guess it wasn’t about fatigue after all. Shocking!

According to the Blue Jays, the $150 million man will be headed back to the 10-day Injured List with the same right quad injury from before. It’s retroactive to May 3, so Springer will be able to come off the IL in just over a week.
Springer made his Blue Jays debut last Wednesday but appeared to re-aggravate his injury on Saturday. Despite that, Springer managed to smack two dingers in that huge comeback win, but was then removed mid-game on Sunday with what the team called “fatigue.”
Apparently, Monday was a “scheduled day off” for Springer after the team took a flight to the West Coast, but Springer was also kept out of the lineup on Tuesday and Wednesday, making it very, very clear something else was going on. After running an MRI on Wednesday, the team decided to put him back on the IL.
This truly is a weird situation. Why the Blue Jays felt compelled to pretend this was about fatigue is puzzling, given the fact that everyone paying any sort of attention could realize that wasn’t the case. It made the organization come across as disingenuous …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Top 5 shooting guards in franchise history

Toronto Raptors: Top 5 shooting guards in franchise history

If it wasn’t for a few of the shooting guards we’re about to talk about, the Toronto Raptors franchise would have been completely different. In their 25-year legacy, the two-guard has been instrumental in team success and has provided some of the best moments in franchise history. While most would typically look at the point-guard […]
Toronto Raptors: Top 5 shooting guards in franchise history – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Stephen Nixon / Raptors HQ

Three key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors’ loss to the Pelicans

Three key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors’ loss to the Pelicans

Opening night wasn’t pleasant for the Toronto Raptors, as they go under .500 for the first time since 2014. Wednesday night marked the start of the 2020-2021 season for the Toronto Raptors. A game that the Raptors looked to put their stamp on early, quickly turned to an ugly turnaround as they lost to the […]
Three key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors’ loss to the Pelicans – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nickeem Khan / Raptors HQ

In the 6th and 7th rounds the Leafs proudly select a lot of players

If the Leafs draft strategy wasn’t clear in the early rounds, Kyle Dubas made sure everyone understood what he was up to in the final rounds of the draft. He was out to draft high skill players that have a league to play in this year. Not a bad strategy, but for a team that is based in Ontario and used to relying heavily on the Ontario Hockey League for its prospects, it was certainly a change. The fact that in the middle of the draft word came down that it is going to be difficult to have hockey in Ontario this season should serve as some validation for Dubas’ strategy.
Loading up on players this year is also smart. Next year who knows how much many of the prospects will have played. Those who are playing might have been further down the depth chart than they’d usually be in, and getting around to see players play will be a challenge for scouts. Using 12 picks and using them on active players makes sense.
As for who those players are from the 6th and 7th rounds, here they are:
Veeti Miettinen
Miettinen is a 5’9 right winger from Finland, and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Anthony Alford has been designated for assignment

Here’s something that wasn’t expected.

After beating the Phillies in the first half of Thursday’s doubleheader, the Blue Jays have designated Anthony Alford for assignment ahead of the second game. The move, of course, opens up room on Toronto’s active roster for Trent Thornton, who’s starting the nightcap, to be activated from the 10-day Injured List.
Once one of Toronto’s top prospects, Alford simply wasn’t ever able to figure things out at the plate. This season, in limited action, he’s managed three hits (one homer) over 16 plate appearances, striking out seven times and not taking a single walk.
It seems the organization figured that, at 26 years old, Alford just wasn’t going to pull it together. But, the somewhat strange thing here is that he never really got an extended look at the Major League level, even in 2019 when the team was fully in rebuild mode.
Since making his debut in 2017, Alford has only had 75 plate appearances in the big-leagues. Of course, he didn’t exactly command more opportunities, as he slashed a .155/.200/.245 line over that time.
Given the fact teams have …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Top Leafs Players Outside the NHL: Honourable Mentions

Yesterday we kicked off the series by mentioning who wasn’t in the mix for being the top Leafs outside the NHL, so with Sandin, Engvall, Rosen, and Barabanov not factoring into the conversation, these three players still failed to make the top 20.
Two of these players certainly classify as longer term projects, while one has had a pretty limited look with the organization, but shows a little promise.
Filip Kral
The recently signed Kral has been hiding away in the far reaches of the Western Hockey League for the past couple of years, but he has quietly been doing a decent jump as an offensive defenseman, who has begun to round out his game.
Kral, 20, is a left handed defensemen from the Czech Repubic, has played the past three seasons with the Spokane Chiefs. Drafted in the 5th round in 2018, the 6’1 defender has been relatively consistent in his performance, and not taking any significant leaps. He possesses the foot speed, and the intelligence to be a contributor at the AHL level, but it’s questionable if he has any standout abilities that put him on track for the NHL.
The Leafs have historically done well with …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation