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Are The Leafs A Playoff Team?

from Michael Traikos of the National Post af Faceoff.com,

“The standings after U.S. Thanksgiving, you sort of know who you are,” a Western Conference general manager said. “The Leafs might not be one of the two best teams in the conference, but they’re in that next cluster of teams. That’s a good sign. I certainly think they’re for real.”

This could all change, of course. With the first-quarter of the season in the books, the Leafs were four points out of first place, but were also only four points out of 11th. They appear to be a team headed for the playoffs. And yet, part of us keeps waiting for Lucy to yank the ball and for the beleaguered team to end up on its back again.

We have been fooled so many times in the past. The Leafs started last season 4-0-0 only to be sucked into a November tailspin that they would not get out of. This year, when the team got out to a similar start, critics pointed out Toronto’s schedule had been one of the easiest in the NHL.

That may be true. But after nearly two months of hockey, the Leafs stand above five teams - the New York Rangers, Buffalo, Washington, Tampa Bay and Montreal - that made the playoffs last year. And they have been doing it with a shorthanded lineup.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Toronto’s definitely a playoff team this year.  Watching them, you can see a real identity forming.  They may have some adversity this year but I think this group is a good group with a lot of toughness and ego and genuine hate to lose mentality and they’ll pull through and make some waves.  Glad to see the Leafs having some success

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 11/28/11 at 03:23 PM ET

WingMan's avatar

As a fan of the team, a realistic one, it is hard to give in to the good feeling I should have with their start.  I am enjoying the wins, and the play of the team overall - but I have some trepidation and really will always have that pessimistic feeling until they are in the top 8 come April 8th.

I guess the most encouraging thing is they are winning without a few starters and most importantly without their starting goalie.  If they can play just above .500 the rest of the way they should be okay.

Posted by WingMan from The Q C on 11/28/11 at 03:32 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I don’t think too many teams in the league are NOT playoffs teams at this point.

Wait and see how they react when some real adversity hits first…

Posted by Primis on 11/28/11 at 03:34 PM ET

Avatar

Being a life long leaf fan, who has had his heart broken many times, I try and not get too emotionally involved, especially before Christmas.  However, I like what I have seen in this team, fast, tough, good goaltending etc.(and thats with their number one rated goaltender out.)  The Kesel line carried the team for a large part of this early season, but now with Connolly returning from injury, and the call ups all doing well, I think although they are perhaps the youngest team in the league, they have shown the ability to bounce back after a poor performance.  The leafs finished off the season last year stronly when critics suggested the pressure was off, but I am guessing that they have ne of the best records in the NHL over the last twelve months.  They have disappointed me many times over the forty or so years, but I am as optismistic as I have been in years.  Go Leafs GO

Posted by Peter Connelly from Ajax, On. Canada on 11/28/11 at 03:53 PM ET

Avatar

Wait and see how they react when some real adversity hits first…

You mean something along the lines of having their starting goalie go down indefinitely?

Posted by Garth on 11/28/11 at 05:27 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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