Sandin’s injury provides Holl one last chance to show he belongs on the Leafs’ blueline

When I sat down to write about the underwhelming year from Justin Holl on Sunday afternoon, I certainly didn’t anticipate that we could very well be looking at the end of Rasmus Sandin for the season. That certainly fell into the less than ideal category and one that runs counter to the premise of this post which about the need to move on from Justin Holl. Luckily for the purpose of not completely trashing the post and more importantly Rasmus Sandin’s health, it looks like it will only be a two to three week window that Sandin will be out. This new scenario really fits with a lot of the recent articles that about the Holl trade speculation that caution against giving up defensive depth. While the situation has changed, Holl’s performance still leaves a lot to be desired, so while I might have initially been calling for it being time to move on from Holl, instead this seems like chance to turn things around.
A few years back the Leafs took a chance on a former second round pick whose career had sent him on a path to the ECHL.
Things went well on the Marlies, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs have made the most of a limited number of injuries

When it was reported Saturday that Marner, Rielly, Kase, and Woll were all questionable for that night’s game a healthy, errr… rather unhealthy dose of reality set in for the Leafs. Injuries will play a factor in this season. Up until now the Leafs have been very fortunate. Starting the year without Auston Matthews and having him miss training camp was certainly less than ideal, but beyond that injuries have largely been limited to Petr Mrazek and Ilya Mikheyev, two important, but not exactly core pieces for the Leafs. There have been the occasional other absence for a day or two, but generally speaking even having Kase as much as they have has been a surprise and it’s hard to complain.
via nhlinjuryviz.blogspot.com (up to game 22)Sandin’s injury on Sunday night will certainly change some of the perceptions around the injury situation.

Rasmus Sandin is down.
Goes knee-on-knee with Neal Pionk pic.twitter.com/Nh1wVXSb9Y
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 6, 2021

With Sandin having to helped off the ice and assisted to the dressing room there is a high probability that we might not see Rasmus for a while. And if missing a steady bottom pairing …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors win vs Wizards shows Pascal Siakam is still a primary scorer

Raptors win vs Wizards shows Pascal Siakam is still a primary scorer

The Toronto Raptors may have started poorly when Pascal Siakam returned to the lineup after his shoulder injury, but that was to be expected after such a critical piece of the squad missed so much time due to injury. Considering the skill he’s shown during his career, it was only a matter of time before […]
Raptors win vs Wizards shows Pascal Siakam is still a primary scorer – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Matthews’ quote to Gord Miller about “not caring” about media opinions is not an insult

Recently, when interviewed by Gord Miller in between the second and third periods of the Leafs’ last game against the Anaheim Ducks, Auston Matthews did not mince words when it came to how the media’s opinion affects how he feels about his own game:

Auston Matthews doesn’t give a single damn pic.twitter.com/Pt5y0jXj6y
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 29, 2021

Matthews had been struggling to score at 5-on-5, something he had been excellent at throughout his career, until the Leafs’ recent California road trip, where he scored an even strength goal in each of the Leafs’ three games against Los Angeles, San Jose, and Anaheim. Gord’s question is a fair one: it must feel good for Matthews to be returning to his typical levels of dominant 5-on-5 performance.
Matthews’ comments have sparked a bit of controversy; some have referred to the interview as him “calling out” the media, and that he’s “not a fan of” the media. To be fair, these were on Facebook, a place design to promote controversy over facts, but it still begs squashing.
Gord Miller himself, being the gem of a person that he is, mentioned that he’d been asked about …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

David Kämpf moving to the Leafs is an underappreciated gem

When I wrote our offseason introductory post on who David Kampf (Kämpf) is, the numbers I looked at painted a picture of a player who came out of nowhere to be just “okay”. If anything I came away thinking that Kämpf might be a case of subtraction by addition. And my goodness was I wrong.
After scoring just 1 goal last year for Chicago, and only 7 primary points at 5-on-5, Kämpf already has 6 primary points in the 22 games he’s played this season. He’s been locked into the 3rd line center role, deservedly, and performed at a good clip in that spot. From the very start of the season, it felt like he would change my mind.
The recent injury scare was enough to galvanize that opinion. It forces one to think about Pierre Engvall moving to center, or Jason Spezza being pulled up into that role, or Alexander Kerfoot coming down from the top-six. None of those options are terrible, but all of those players seem to fit much better where they are.
It’s not just Kämpf’s scoring though, or feeling like he’s fit in that role. That would be too superficial …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews is shooting his shot, differently

Two truths can co-exist when it comes to Auston Matthews’ start to this season:
He remains one of the most talented hockey players in the world
He has, by his established standards, had a slow start to his season in the goal-scoring department
The second point is not meant as a criticism: just an observation based on facts. Matthews’ eight goals through 18 games are the second-lowest totals of his career to this point of a season, just two goals ahead of his rookie campaign.

So why the slow start? Is it just poor luck or something more? Matthews had surgery on his wrist late in the offseason which resulted in him missing all of training camp plus the first three games of this season. While missing training camp could have had some impact on Matthews through the first few weeks of the season, what I’d like to focus on in this piece are some changes to his shooting habits that may suggest some mechanical limitations are still lingering and impacting his shot.
Shot Selection
While Matthews is as shot-happy as ever this season, posting the highest shots-per-60 and shot attempts-per-60 of his career, his shot quality is slightly lower …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Leafs have the luxury of giving their injured players time to heal

When it comes to injuries this season, I’d say the Leafs still fall in the fairly fortunate category. It’s early, but knock on wood, after the initial games missed by Matthews most of the absences have been fairly manageable.
The two players presently on the injured reserve are about ready to make their return as well, or at least within the next few weeks.

Per Keefe, Mrazek had another assessment today “that went very well.” Projected to get back on the ice toward the weekend. Mikheyev recently had pins removed from his thumb. Continues skating. #Leafs
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) November 16, 2021

Of course their imminent return is good news, but even if it is an attempt to stick to the initial timeline for recovery, the question needs to be asked, could these players benefit from a more conservative path back into the lineup.
In Mrazek’s case he’s already essentially rushed himself back once or been rushed by the Leafs. The results didn’t do Mrazek or the Leafs any favours. It could be attributed to not fully comprehending the severity, or it could’ve been the need to live up to his contract or to make a …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Trail Blazers Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Nov. 15

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Trail Blazers Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Nov. 15

The Toronto Raptors were punched in the gut when the Pistons arrived in Toronto and proceeded to completely eviscerate their defense. According to the latest Raptors odds, Nick Nurse and the rest of the team may face long odds when it comes to getting back on the right path. Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Trail Blazers Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Nov. 15 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors stud Gary Trent Jr. is outperforming his free agent class

Raptors stud Gary Trent Jr. is outperforming his free agent class

When some Toronto Raptors fans saw the Gary Trent Jr. contract after Masai Ujiri decided to lock up the talented young guard, a small segment of the fanbase was in disbelief. How could someone who had just one season of above-average production get a three-year contract worth just under $52 million? That contract is not […]
Raptors stud Gary Trent Jr. is outperforming his free agent class – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

TLN Three Stars: Leafs’ stars shine against depleted Vegas lineup

Remember when we were mad at this team?
The Leafs managed to pick up their third win in a row in a dominating 4-0 win against the Vegas Golden Knights, which is admittedly not as impressive with Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and William Karlsson out of the lineup. The Leafs came flying out of the gate with by far their best start of the season, as they spent most of the first period in Vegas’ zone. They basically wouldn’t let up until the score got more and more out of reach, as goals from Mitch Marner and William Nylander, two from Auston Matthews, and a shutout from Jack Campbell would make this a pretty relaxing game for the team… and the fans.
Three stars
Third Star: William Nylander
Nylander had a vintage Nylander night alongside Matthews, getting an assist on a nice feed across the width of the ice to Matthews on the power play, and scoring a nice breakaway goal with a sick snipe. Like most of the Leafs tonight, he also dominated possession against the Golden Knights, with 65.71% of the shot attempt share and 84.39% of the expected goals at even strength.
Second Star: Auston Matthews
After a …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation