So we gave Chris the morning off. Really. You should see him. He needed it. I think he wanted some time to do some research after yesterday's JABS posting. So you're stuck with me. Let's do a quick state of the Leafs Nation and then I want to throw it back to you.
Mark Zwolinski has the latest on the ever-changing lines (maybe more on that later):
Regulars Denial and Gary (BTW, it's Nieuwendyk) started a good discussion yesterday in this space, with Gary kicking it off with a quick look at some of the changes from 2003-04 (O'Neill, Lindros, Allison, Khavanov in; Mogilny, Roberts, Nieuwendyk, Leetch out) and a question:
Overall I like the offseason moves. So why are the Buds just over .500?
They're 9-7-0-2. For 20 points in 18 games. In 2003-04, they were 45-24-10-3 for 103 points. So why are the Leafs barely above .500? And did we really expect them to be better this year?
Gary suggests that should the team defence improve, the results would too. And thanks, Gary, for leaving Berg out of it for once. It's not all his fault.
Should we blame this "new NHL"? Maybe the Leafs are just too slow.
Or, consider Denial's angle:
The leafs are OVER ACHIEVING at the moment, and they can absolutely thank the new rules for the fact that they're over 500. In fact, I don't think that there is another team in the NHL who has benefitted from the new rules than Toronto. ... The leafs are riding their power play right now, that that power play is riding the new rules.
A good point. Leafs have the second best power play and we know that with the penalty parade most of the offence comes a man up.
So I throw some questions at you today. We're a quarter into the season. You've watched the games, read the stories, listened to the interviews:
Why are the Leafs are hovering at .500? Is this the best they can do? Is it Ed Belfour's glove's fault?
Send your top-3 ways the Leafs can improve, and I'll put together our shopping list throughout the day. Then we can check off the items during tonight's test against the Rangers. (SW)