Three games into the 2009-2010 Season, The expectations for a infinitely more Truculent team then previous years has been deflated some what. The hard hitting, fast skating, forechecking, Fighting and Boisterous team some in Toronto came to expect on opening day has yet to arrive. In the games the Leafs have played in so far, They have been out hit and out forechecked. The defense was supposed to be the most improved aspect but has yet to live up to the hype. However, instead of being last in goals against like last year, they are only third last, behind Montreal and Vancouver. They do however have the distinction of being the only team currently sitting on a 3 game losing streak and since they are playing Pittsburgh on Saturday, it could become 4 in a row.
So whats the Dillio?
Why are they no longer playing like they did in the preseason, where they went 6-3 and played some very exciting, fast paced and hard hitting hockey.
Well it seems to me like they are playing very tentatively. Apparently during the preseason Ron Wilson had not yet got into the specifics on the new system he wanted his team to employ. Since he unrolled his grand new plans the defense has looked flat, especially Beauchemin and Schenn. Beauchemin is now getting used to playing on a team where he is counted on as a top defensemen and a mentor. In Anaheim, Pronger and Niedermayer had that job. Beauchemins linemate Luke Schenn is adapting to playing on the right side now. It seemed he was having trouble adapting at first but apart from a few bad giveaways he had his best game of the preseason Vs Ottawa on Tuesday.
Another big difference from preseason is that the goal scoring has slowed down. While it is still at sufficient levels, it would be nice if Blake could start doing something. Plus, with Stalberg hurt indefinitely, the offense could be in for some more trials and tribulations.
I have heard repeated many times now that "Its only 3 games" and this is very true. Detroit and Vancouver were off to horrible starts and most people agree they are locks for the playoffs. It is important to remember though, that for a number of years in a row the Leafs missed the playoffs by only a couple of points. If that happens again this year, will we look back on this streak of games and say what if?
Also, the bad start could be directly attributed to Vesa Toskala. When I go to Leaf games I sit at the very top, so I never noticed anything odd about Toskala until I saw this picture. Could this be why he is so shitty?