The Leafs haven’t looked great so far this season, but with a little patience this team will look much better a month from now.
1. Look at the schedule. in October the leafs have played 4 Ottawa games, 2 Montreal games, and Games against New York(Rangers), Calgary, Columbus, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, and Atlanta! Novmber will be much easier as the leafs play Tampa, Florida, Buffalo twice, Philly, Boston 4 times, Montreal, New Jersey, New York (Isles)!

2. Guys have not been filling their roles. Kaberle isn’t skating well enough in his own zone, and in he neutral zone, McCabe isn’t getting his shots through, Steen isn’t working hard enough in the corners, O’Neill isn’t shooting the puck, Raycroft is still letting in soft goals, and Belak (supposedly the Leafs enforcer) spends 5 minutes a game on the ice, takes dumb penalties, and has one fight, and hasn’t hit anyone! I expect Steen, Kaberle, and O’neill to look much better in the next few weeks. McCabe, Raycroft, and Belak may see reduced playing time in the next few weeks.

3. OLD HABITS. Kaberle standing still beside the net, Sundin dumping the puck, bad penalties are reminents of the old Quinn empire. Maurice has to keep hammering his system to the players, to get rid of these bad habbits.

Injuries are NOT a valid excuse. Kubina, and Wozniewsi went down, but Bell and White have come up and looked great. “Fill In guys” have looked fine its the Powerplay, and the 1-2 defencemen that need to shape up.

The true test for Paul Maurice will come in the next few weeks. If he can take an easy pat of the schedule, and string together a bunch of wins, he’ll build tones of confience that will carry the team through tougher times.

34 Responses to Time

  1. woodsco85 says:

    All I can say is Kaberle, Hat Trick and an assist, against a very decent montreal… he just needed to shake the dust off, he in my mind has always been the best defensman for the Leafs. I was proud to be wearing my Kaberle jersey last night, just like every other night i wear it, regardless of the way hes been playing the first 10 games. Also, i wouldnt say playing Buffalo twice, an easy win by any means.

  2. Aetherial says:

    The young D have not looked *great*. They have all had moments, and not a few of them, of really bad play and bone-headed mistakes in their own end.

    The fact is this is 100% expected… it is ESPECIALLY true this year as the game seems to be called even tighter. The job of a defenseman is even tougher now.

    I am glad a couple of them are getting a chance. I can live with the mistakes, and the losses. In fact, I hope the Leafs finish last for the next 4 or 5 years and get a couple real impact picks.

    If JFJ stays at the helm… they just may be headed there. We can only hope.

  3. mojo19 says:

    Yeah he’s a great player, i knew his slow start was coming to an end eventually.

  4. Aetherial says:

    … wish I felt the same way about McCabe. That signing hurts.

  5. GoalJudge says:

    This is a relatively good article.

    People who belong to the Leaf’s UN-faithful should read, think, understand, and then use this information from now on.

    The only quam is that the young defence has not been ‘great’.
    They created a few of the oppurtunities for the other teams in blowouts or highscoring games. But they are getting better and looking good.

    Raycroft is fine, but I think they should rest him a little more.

  6. leaflova says:

    another problem with the d, is well WADE BELAK!!! whenever he plays d, most of the time we loose, his awful on defence, he should be a scratch and tehy should put harrison in

  7. 92-93 says:

    i said this way back in august, its going to take time for Maurice to establish his systems. i have actually been pleasantly surprised with the progress made so far. it seemed everything happened at a snail’s pace with Quinn.

    As for the article? – i think the leafs have a tougher schedule in November. i do agree that guys like Kaberle and Steen are beginning to turn it on, but that must be counterbalanced by inevitable injuries and slumps from other players as well. For this month, I hope to see the Tellqvist/Aubin situation resolved, hopefully with a trade. I also hope to see Belak traded (yeah right – who here would not prefer Brown, a solid 7th D-guy, over Belak?).

    the thing i am most looking forward to is the continued rise of Bell and White (and perhaps Kronvall and Coliacovo, if and when they return). Kubina will help too, but i hope Maurice will put him with Kaberle, Bell with McCabe, and White with Gill and i hope the ice time on D is more spread out.

    Most of all, i hope the leafs finish with at least a .500 record after November and that they are playing their young guys on D.

  8. 92-93 says:

    i totally agree. i’d rather see Harrison and Kronvall make their mistakes then see Belak back there. i’d rather see Brown there than Belak. i’d rather see a rut in the Leaf’s end that has a 1 in a 100 chance of tripping up an opposing player, than Belak.

  9. mojo19 says:

    Yeah, I’m sick of him too, hopefully he atleast scores 20 goals or so this year and makes himself somewhat useful.

  10. mojo19 says:

    Thats exactly how I drew up my leafs defense core, except White and Gill were my 3-4, Bell and McCabe were my 5-6.

  11. 92-93 says:

    Gill played his best game as a leaf tonight against the Thrashers. give credit where credit is due. I think Bell and White are doing very well considering the circumstances. Kubina won’t save the day, but when he comes back, the Leafs might very well have their 6 D-guys for the next couple of years together – considering Coliacovo, Kronvall are fragile and Harrison and Harrington seem a little far away right now. they need to call up Brown, demote Belak and their D is set IMO. hopefully Coliacovo and Kronvall can recover and make it interesting on McCabe-Kaberle-Kubina-Gill-Bell-White.

  12. 92-93 says:

    McCabe is playing like crap. and he can come back and put up 60 points and play well on the PP all he wants, the boneheaded decisions he makes cannot excuse his salary and his no-trade clause. it might very well be JFJ’s worst signing ever – which is an incredible thing to say considering the points McCabe puts up.

  13. 92-93 says:

    i think the young D have looked good, not great. but very promising nonetheless – especially White. but yeah, i’d rather see them make mistakes than Gill and McCabe.

  14. mojo19 says:

    Hopefully they can recover, and i think Kronvall is supposed to be back soon. But just think of the beuaty of having so many defensman, we can afford to have a couple injuries here and there. And yes, bring in Brown, enough of Wade Belak already, although, I liked how he stood up for Stajan in the thrashers game (but Brown can do that just as well, and brown can actually play too)

  15. Aetherial says:

    Exactly… At least with the yound d-men there is potential to improve. McCabe and Gill are pretty much at the top of their growth… scary thought in McCabe's case.

  16. 92-93 says:

    yeah the way i look at is this:

    Maple Leafs D –
    [extra: Kronvall]

    Marlies D –
    Coliacovo (recovering)—-Harrison (recovering)
    Brown———————-Wozniewski (injured)

    Note that Belak is nowhere to be found 🙂

  17. 92-93 says:

    Lets review the keys to the leaf’s schedule that I laid out at the beginning of October and see what went down in October. At the start of the season, I stated the following: "Although I have predicted elsewhere – and continue to predict – that the leafs will finish between 8th and 12th with 76-86 points, if the Leafs actually make the playoffs they must get at least 40 wins and 94 points IMO. Therefore, I am going to put the magic record at 40-28-7-7."

    In October the Leafs faced their divisional foes 6 times (Ottawa x4, Mtl x2), Atlantic division teams (NJ, NYR) twice, Southeast Division teams twice (Atl, Fld), and Western Conference teams three times (Colorado, Calgary, Columbus).

    Ok, so against the Western Conference, I projected the following: WESTERN CONFERENCE TEAMS – total of 4 wins and 10 points (out of a possible 20 points)
    1) Cgy: Lose
    2) Col: Win
    3) at CBJ: Win"
    The Leafs did not beat Colorado but made up for that loss with a win against Calgary, a team I expected them to lose against. The Leafs did beat Columbus. Thus, so far, the Leafs are headed towards the projected .500 record that I set out against the West. They do not face another Western Conference team until December, when they are in Detroit on December 9th.

    For the Atlantic Division:
    "ATLANTIC DIVISION TEAMS – total of 10 wins and 24 points (out of a possible 40 points)
    1) Defeat the Rangers at least once and acquire at least one SOL or OTL for 3 pts.
    2) Defeat the Devils and Flyers at least 4 times and at least 1 SOL or OTL for 9 pts.
    3) Defeat the Pens and Isles at least 5 times and at least 2 SOLs or OTLs for 12 pts."

    So far the Leafs have taken the OTL/SOL from the Rangers (meaning that they need to beat NYR just once in their remaining 3 meetings this year – hopefully they can keep Jagr and Co. off the PP next time around). They don’t play the Rangers again until another Saturday night game in December – a must win in my eyes.
    The Leafs also got their lone SOL/OTL from the Devils/Flyers with their shootout loss to the Devils (a game the leafs should have won). This means that the Leafs must win at least 4 games against these two squads (NJ and Philly) the rest of the way. Moreover, they’ll face Philly and NJ once each – both games on home ice and both games must wins.
    They have yet to face Pittsburgh or the Isles but November will see the Leafs face the latter.

    For the Southeast Division:
    "SOUTHEAST DIVISION TEAMS – total of 12 wins and 27 points (out of a possible 40 pts)
    1) Defeat the Carolina Hurricanes at least once and acquire at least one SOL or OTL for 3 pts.
    2) Defeat the Panthers (twice), Caps (3 times), Thrashers (4 times), and Lightning (twice) and acquire at least 2 SOLs or OTLs against these teams."

    The Leafs dominated this division last year and this time around the domination continued with their win against a very good Thrasher team. They also defeated the Panthers. In November they must continue their domination with wins in TB, in Washington, and in Atlanta (all must win games). Their game in Florida is not a must win but it would fufill the 2-win criteria i laid out at the start of the season against the Panthers. This is a division that has seen the last 2 Stanley Cup champs and is seeing the rise of the Caps and Thrashers now, the Leafs will have their hands full. 

    Finally, the Northeast Division: "As for what the leafs need to do with their schedule, it is quite simple – beat Montreal and Boston. No easy task considering the improvements both teams made. But one must assume that the Leafs won't win much against the Sens and Sabres.
    DIVISIONAL TEAMS – total of 14 wins and 33 points (out of a possible 64 points).
    1) Defeat the Sabres and Sens at LEAST 4 times and acquire a total of 1 OTL or SOL for a total of 9 pts.
    2) Defeat the Habs at least 5 times and 2 SOLs or OTLs for a total of 12 pts. That means contain their wingers, stay out of the 5-on-3s and hope the refs will finally adapt to the Habs' diving, not to mention Raycroft/Aubin must outplay Huet/Aebeshier.
    3) Defeat the Bruins at least 5 times and 2 SOLs or OTLs for a total of 12 pts. Again, the Bruins are an improved team and I pick them to finish ahead of the Leafs this year."

    Toronto has yet to face the Bruins or the Sabres however they'll face these two teams 6 times in the month of Nov. the 4 games against the Bruins are all MUST WIN games while the not much should be expected from their games against the Sabres (although some points would be a bonus). In October, it was all Montreal and Ottawa. The Leafs acquired the first of what I hope to be at least 4 wins against Ottawa/Buffalo with a 6-0 shellacking of the Sens. The Sens returned the favour to Toronto, but the Leafs showed that they could compete with Ottawa (outshooting them in most of the games) and that they would not be pushed around. Hopefully the Leafs will fare a little bit better against the Sens on Dec. 30.
    As for Montreal, the Leafs should really be 2-0 but they blew 2 third period leads against Montreal after badly outshooting them and outplaying them in both games. The Leafs need to be better here but did acquire 1 of their 5 wins and one of their 2 OTLs and SOLs against the Habs. Now they have to focus on trying to win their lone home game against Montreal in November and all or at least 3 of their games against the Bruins this month.

  18. 92-93 says:

    Overall the Leafs were 6-4-3 but could easily be 8-4-1. Three of their four losses came against Ottawa and the other to Colorado. but two of the three losses in the shootout were particularly hard to take. Against the Rangers the Leafs were lucky to get a point, but in NJ and at home to Montreal, the Leafs should have won their games. It is a lesson I hope they learn.

    The best news for the leafs has to be how quickly they have adapted and bought into the Maurice system. They work very hard, skate faster, move the puck quicker and put lots of shots on net. However, the lack of skill offensively is a big concern. Defensively, they have not impressed that much but much of that has to do with injuries and adapting. The Leafs will get better here once the likes of Kubina and Kronvall return.

    Injuries: Kronvall (on his way back), Wozniewski (out for most of the year), Kubina (should be back by next week), Coliacovo (as always, questionable), Tellqvist, (injured ring finger).

    Some things to look for in November:

    1) The return of Kronvall and Coliacovo? If Coli does and stays healthy, he'll make it interesting for White and Bell who have usruped him as the young 2-way D-guys on the squad. My hope is that Kronvall will also return and play solid so that Belak and defence will never be used in the same sentence again.

    2) Tellqvist trade? is it a matter of time? JFJ wants a 2nd round pick for Telly and if that is the case, it should finally confirm that JFJ knows nothing about hockey.

    3) When and if the injured defensemen return, who will be sent down? White is a candidate but his performance as one of the league's best rookie offensive defensemen means that he should stay. Harrison is injured so the decision might not need to be made for awhile.

    4) Can Steen turn it around? He is starting to already but his role seems pretty defensive right now. Maurice wants him to play with more abandon, hopefully he'll respond. The other young forwards have played well, but once Steen ups his game, the Leafs should be even more dangerous offensively (and they have averaged 3.4 goals a game so far).

    5) The emergence of McCabe and Kaberle – already this is happening but these 2 guys need to get back to their league-leading form. Again, along with Steen, the improvements from these two D-guys should help the Leafs' offense. But more important is the improvement of their play in their own end -especially McCabe, who along with Belak and Gill – have been the Leafs 3 worst players.

    6) Improvements on the PP and PK. it is amazing that the leafs are not better on special teams. Their PP – with Tucker and Wellwood and Sundin all clicking – will improve with McCabe and Kaberle getting back into a groove. their PK should be better will Gill and Peca, but for whatever reason, its pretty weak right now.

    7) Will the Leafs finally waive Wade Belak to the minors???

    Ok, my 3 stars for the month of October:
    1) Sundin
    2) Tucker
    3) Stajan/Raycroft (tie).

    Sundin is leading the way as usual and is carrying the team. Thankfully, good starts from Tucker, Poni, and Wellwood have given Sundin some decent linemates (although Nagy from Phoenix sounds good right about now doesn't it?). Tucker leads the team in goals and points and is playing his best pest hockey for the Leafs (which leads to PPs, which, in turn, leads to more points for Tucker). Matt Stajan has been the best young forward for the leafs – yes, better than Welly and Poni. Stajan has been a force and has elevated the game of O'Neill as well. I like Mike Peca's play but if he wants a raise next year (and he will), I say it makes more sense to go with Stajan as their 3rd line centre. Raycroft has been a pleasant surprise and Cox seems right when he says that its better for Aubin to get every third start to keep Andrew rested.

    Right now the lines look like:

    [Suglobov, Ondrus]

    Hopefully by the end of this month, Kubina will be paired up with Kaberle, Bell with McCabe, White with Gill, and Coliacovo and Kronvall will be knocking on the door of the Leafs to challenge Gill, White, and Bell for spots on defence.

    Finally, 2 players to keep an eye on in the Marlies – Harrington and Williams, and in the CHL – Tlusty (Greyhounds) and Reimer (Rebels).

    Here's hoping the Leafs remain above 8th place and above .500 after the end of November (and no major injuries).

  19. 92-93 says:

    Projected Wins and Losses for the Leafs in November:

    at TB – loss
    at Fld – loss
    at Buff – loss
    Philly – win
    at Boston – win
    Mtl – win
    at Boston – SOL
    NJ – win
    NYI – win
    at Buff – loss
    at Wash – win
    Bos – win
    Bos – win
    at Atl – win

    Record: 9-4-1 in November.
    Overall record: 15-8-4 – 34 points, tied for 5th in the East with Mtl.


  20. Aetherial says:

    I would guess more like 7-5-2 or 5-6-3 or 5-7-2 something arounf .500 in terms of points.

  21. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    i definetly overemphasized the play of Bell and white. As the 4-5 defencemen, they have been average. but 100% better than I had ever expected. At the beggining of the season, i figured guys like Bell, White, and Ondrus would never make it as nhl regulars. now, i think they can all do it. if i'm paul maurice I call up brown or Moro, send belak to the ECHL and play Ondrus Battaglia and Antropov as the 4th line. Pohl and suglobov should go back to the AHL. if a guy like Tucker or Poni gets injured they can come up and try to fill in goal scoring roles. Neither can do much as a 4th liner. They're good defencively, but not nearly as good and Battaglia, Ondrus, and Antropov.

  22. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    I think you'r underestimating Boston. I think this team will start to get a lot better in a few weeks. The last 3 games will all be tough, i'd pick 2/3. the leafs have  really struggled  against speedy teams, i expect buffalo to trample over us.

  23. 92-93 says:

    you are probably right there. the leafs have a habit of meeting teams that are on their way up in terms of turning their season around. I do expect the leafs to do slightly better this month though but after that, its below .500 or at .500 for the rest of the year.

  24. mojo19 says:

    Well I got tickets in buffalo for saturday so I hope they win. Now what jersey should I wear, Sundin, Kaberle or Antropov

  25. mojo19 says:

    Very true (about Suglobov). I had the same sentiments as you towards Bell and Ondrus, but I had a lot of faith in Ian White given his play at the world juniors a few years ago and the way he played late last year  when he was up for 10 games or whatever, and I think White is the best of all our yound defensman hands down. Now if Carlo can just stay healthy for a while he might actually be valuable.

    And about Nik playing on the fourth line, he got a promotion to Peca's line in the 2nd period vs. Tampa then was put back where he belongs with Mats Sundin in the third period. We'll see how he does up there, hopefully he can pick up where he left off last season.

  26. mojo19 says:

    You got it Joe.

  27. 92-93 says:

    youre going to take a lot of flak for it, but i have a feeling about him. Either line he plays on – with Sundin and Poni, or with Pohl and Battaglia/Kilger – I think he is going to produce.

    I hope its against Buffalo, but i see him having a big week next week against Philly, Boston, and Montreal.

    hopefully i'm right.

  28. mojo19 says:

    Yeah, I could see him having a big week with Philly and Boston on the schedule. Fast teams aren't exactly Niki's forte offensively, but we'll see how he does in Buffalo anyway.

    And if there was one really good thing about the Florida game. A couple guys like Steen and Bell, and White really stepped up in the third. Wellwood on the other hand folded up and was mishandling passes and trying to force too much through centre and caused a lot of turnovers, I think it was his worst period of the season.

  29. 92-93 says:

    true, and that is going to happen with young players. but i'd rather watch him make mistakes then a vet like Allison or Lindros. i have WAAY more patience.

  30. mojo19 says:

    I agree. A couple years from now Wellwood Steen and Stajan are going all going to be good players, points raging from 50-70 (maybe 80 for Wellwood) and Stajan and Steen will both be awesome, well rounded two way players. 

    But just for the record I like Jason Allison and, I think someone should pick him up. Leafs had the number two PP in the league last year, Allison was on their #1 unit, he was a point per game player and he wasn't exactly known for scoring 5 on 5. Translation: Philly, Ottawa, and Phoenix who all have PP % or under 10 should maybe consider this guy. And Tampa and LA aren't much better.

  31. 92-93 says:

    Philly cannot afford to have a player like Allison on their team. Ottawa – sure – because they can make up for his mistakes. but no philly – too slow as it is.

  32. mojo19 says:

    The biggest problem with Allison is that he won't accept a role as a third liner/PP specialist. He'll wine about not getting enough ice time and he won't sign anywhere he can't be guaranteed to be a top 2 centre. But yeah, in one way you're right, Philly doesn't need another big slow guy, but they could use a boost and they couldn't be any worse with Allison in there.

  33. 92-93 says:

    The magic record: 40-28-7-7 (94 points in 82 games).

    DIVISIONAL TEAMS – total of 14 wins and 33 points (out of a possible 64 points).
    1) vs Buffalo: 2-8-0—————-so far: N/A
    2) vs Ottawa: 2-7-1—————-so far: 1-3-0
    3) vs Mtl: 5-1-2——————–so far: 1-0-1
    4) vs Boston: 5-1-2—————-so far: N/A

    SOUTHEAST DIVISION TEAMS – total of 12 wins and 27 points (out of a possible 40 pts)
    1) vs Carolina: 1-2-1—————-so far: N/A 
    2) vs Florida: 2-1-1—————-so far: 1-0-0
    3) vs Washington: 3-1-0—————-so far: N/A
    4) vs Atlanta: 4-0-0—————-so far: 1-0-0 
    5) vs Tampa Bay 2-1-1—————-so far: N/A

    ATLANTIC DIVISION TEAMS – total of 10 wins and 24 points (out of a possible 40 points)
    1) vs NYR: 1-2-1—————-so far: 0-0-1  
    2) vs NJ: 2-1-1—————-so far: 0-0-1
    3) vs Philadelphia: 2-2-0—————-so far: N/A
    4) vs Pittsburgh: 2-1-1—————-so far: N/A
    5) vs NYI 3-0-1 —————-so far: N/A

    WESTERN CONFERENCE TEAMS – total of 4 wins and 10 points (out of a possible 20 points)
    1) Cgy: Lose—————-result: Win 
    2) Col: Win—————-result: Loss
    3) at CBJ: Win—————-result: Win
    4) at Det: Lose—————-result
    5) at Chi: Win—————-result
    6) Minny: Lose—————-result
    7) Van: Win—————-result
    8) at Nsh: Lose—————-result
    9) at St.L: OTL or SOL—————-result
    10) Edm: OTL or SOL—————-result

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