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.