Crisis, What Crisis?
So what was that exactly?
A week ago, Rome was burning, or at least the Maple Leafs were in freefall, candidates were openly lobbying for John Ferguson's job, Richard Peddie was saying all kinds of silly things and major organizational change seemed imminent.
Then came a credible performance in a shootout loss to Montreal, followed by a solid victory in Atlanta and an impressive triumph against the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins on home ice Saturday night.
So can the alarm be turned off now? Or should it never have been turned on in the first place?
Well, no and no.
The Leafs did look dreadful eight days ago in Phoenix, Ferguson still is a lame duck GM - a "mistake" according to Peddie - and the team wouldn't be part of post-season play if the playoffs began today.
Morever, the overall concept that the Leafs could use this season to move assets and build for a better future hasn't changed. If they continue as they are, and even make the playoffs, they'll be forced to ice basically the same team next season because they have between $41-43 million tied up in contracts.
Now, if they reel off another 10 games in which they win or get a point, well, then they get to tell everybody to shut up.
Otherwise, all this period of improved hockey really should do is better position JFJ to make the moves that need to be made.
After all, it's always far easier to make trades when you're winning, as opposed to when you're losing.
Trying to do it when you're losing just allows your adversaries to squeeze you a little more. They can smell the desperation.
The NHL governors didn't change the trading system last week as Brian Burke advocated, allowing teams to pay for part of the salaries they acquire in deals. But enough teams are in a state of unhappiness that moves just might start occurring on their own in the next few weeks.
Calgary and Pittsburgh just can't get moving, and don't look now, but mighty Anaheim just lost back-to-back games against Edmonton and has taken a plunge in the standings. Carolina and Ottawa, so hot to begin the season, have hit hard times. Tampa Bay, too, while the New Jersey Devils, after being forced to start the season with nine straight road games, are not moving up the Eastern Conference standings.
The Leafs can celebrate all they want, and they should celebrate improved play from their roster. But the opportunities out there to re-shape this team are still what they were a week ago, and it would be a mistake to let three good games cloud that reality.