Blue Jays Babble
The Toronto Blue Jays put an exclamation mark on a road trip last weekend in Baltimore. After sweeping the Athletics and the Yankees, the Jays took three of four against the Orioles. The series was an offensive outburst for Toronto as they scored 47 runs in Camden Yards. Sunday’s 22-7 win was the crowning glory, when both Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez each hit a grand slam.
The Blue Jays then headed home for a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. On Monday, Sept. 13, the potent offence continued, and Alec Manoah dominated from the mound for an 8-1 win. Tuesday night was a closer affair. Jose Berrios held the Rays to just one run in seven innings, but the Baby Blue were shut out in a 2-0 loss. In the rubber match on Wednesday, Robbie Ray struck out 14 and picked up his 12th win of the season leading the Jays to a 6-3 win. Bo Bichette drove in five runs in the outing.
The Minnesota Twins were due to be in Toronto for a three-game weekend series. The Blue Jays entered the series owning the first wild card spot. It’s bound to be a wild finish to the season, and one you don’t want to miss.
CFL Catch Up
Week 6 in the CFL saw three rematches from Labour Day weekend.
On Friday night in Toronto, the Argonauts defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with a score of 17-16 after losing less than a week earlier in the Labour Day Classic. The Argos controlled most of the game, but the Ti-Cats scored a touchdown late in the final quarter. Then placekicker Michael Domagala hit the post on the single point conversion that should have tied the game. The Argos eked out the win.
For the second week in a row – this time in Winnipeg – the Blue Bombers hammered the Saskachewan Roughriders for a score of 33-9. In the third back to back game, the Calgary Stampeders were able to pull out a win against the Edmonton Elks, doubling them 32-16.
In the fourth match-up, the BC Lions defeated the Ottawa Redblacks 45-13. The Montreal Alouettes enjoyed a bye week.
Rookie camps got under way this past week in the NHL, so it seems like a good time to consider who we should keep an eye on this season to vie for the Calder Cup, which is awarded to the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. Here are six guys I’ll be keeping an eye on.
A goalie hasn’t won the Calder since Steve Mason did it in 2008-09, but Spencer Knight of the Florida Panthers may pull it off this year. He’s one of the Calder hopefuls that has already seen NHL action but has played few enough games to still qualify. Last season Knight joined the Panthers at the end of his season at Boston College and then won four of five starts at the end of the regular season.
A defenceman worth keeping an eye on is Moritz Seider who is expected to join the Detroit Red Wings this season fresh off winning the defenceman of the year award in the Swedish Hockey League. GM Steve Yzerman surprised when he took Seider with the 6th overall pick in 2019, but now the kid looks ready to make the leap to the NHL and make an impact.
There are three centres I’ll be tracking, and only one of them is yet to see NHL action. Quinton Byfield is expected to get a look with the Los Angeles Kings, well insulated with Anze Kopitar and Phillip Danault eating the tough minutes. Byfield had a solid season in the AHL and is expected to be developed into the top line centre of the future.
Shane Pinto made his mark in Ottawa last April, scoring seven points in 12 games after his NCAA season ended. With the Senators in full-on build and develop mode, Pinto will get a chance to come in and grow up with the other young talent. He’s expected to centre the second line behind Josh Norris, and that will mean lots of ice time and opportunity.
The Anaheim Ducks used young centre Trevor Zegras in 24 games last year. Had he played 25, he would have lost his Calder eligibility this season. Zegras split last season between Anaheim and San Diego, but it was his performance at the World Junior Championship that turned heads. Scoring 18 points in seven games, Zegras led the American team to the gold medal.
The Montreal Canadiens’ Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final feels like a long time ago, and right winger Cole Caufield featured so dominantly in that run that it’s hard to think of him as a rookie. He was part of the American Gold Medal Team at the World Juniors and was last year’s Hobey Baker winner as top college player. Caufield is expected to slot in beside Nick Suzuki on the Habs top line and return with the scoring touch we saw in the playoffs. Caufield is my bet to take this year’s Calder.
As rosters are sorted and rookies surprise, this list may look very different in the Spring. Regular training camps open this week, and with it we can expect some action around player movement. Puck drop awaits!
Lori Bennett is a social worker, policy professional, recreation softball player and coach, and newbie ukulele-ist. A Newfoundlander living in Toronto, Lori loves a good hockey chat, just as long as it remains respectful. Find her on twitter as @lori10habs.