Are These Leafs For Real?

TORONTO - OCTOBER 7: Leafs celebrate Tim Brent of the Toronto Maple Leafs' goal against the Montreal Canadiens during a regular season NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre October 7 2010 in Toronto Ontario Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

Well, let's get one thing clear: they are not.

There are, of course, elements of their play so far that are encouraging, and James Mirtle looks at both sides of the coin in his latest article.

Key numbers: Why they're winning
2010-11 2011-12 Difference
Goals per game 2.60 3.18 0.58
Goals against 2.99 3.18 0.19
Goal differential -0.39 0.00 0.39
Shots per game 28.8 27.4 -1.4
Shots against 31.0 31.5 0.5
Shot differential -2.2 -4.1 -1.9
Shooting pct 9.0% 11.6% 2.6%
Save pct 0.904 0.899 -0.005
Power play 16.0% 17.6% 1.6%
Penalty kill 77.4% 72.3% -5.1%
Read on many more links after the jump.

Leafs Links:

10 reasons why Leaf fans can be genuinely encouraged 10 (11, really) games into the new season
Michael Langlois at VLM likes a number of things going on this year. This is a good counter-balance to James Mirtle's post, I suppose.

It’s Halloween, So Let’s Rank Hockey’s Top 5 Scariest Hitters
If you can't guess who number one is, you're probably Stephane DaCosta. From Justin Bourne at Backhand Shelf.

The story behind the Battle of Ontario
Bad blood between the two teams dates all the way back to a 1904 Stanley Cup encounter. Sort of. By Roy MacGregor at the Globe.

October 31 News and Notes
Robert Cleave posts a few thoughts around the Nation Network. This link from The Leafs Nation.

James Neal vs. Phil Kessel - The Uber Early Rocket Richard Race
Go tell FrankD at Pensburgh what's going to happen, here.

Other Hockey Links:

Backhand Shelf Podcast with Rob Pizzo and Justin Bourne
I confess to not having heard this yet, but Justin Bourne is usually thoughtful, so give it a listen. From Backhand Shelf.\

Sharks overwhelmed by Rangers in second period, lose 5-2
Recap from Mr. Plank over at Fear The Fin.

Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers and the Philly Media
If you've heard about this Bryzgalov-isn't-speaking-with-the-media-on-game-days controversy but haven't actually bothered to read anything about it, this should be your starting point. From Travis Hughes at BSH.

In a War of Machines Versus Animals, Jets Confuse, Bewilder Panthers 4 to 3
Jets versus Panthers recap from Bettman's Nightmare at AIH.

Crosby out until at least Nov. 11
The title pretty much says it all. The team doesn't even have a targeted return date for Sid, yet. From Alan Robinson of the CP at the Globe.

Coyotes’ Torres taking heat for Halloween costume
Boy, this caused a stir on Twitter yesterday. Bruce Arthur was beside himself. Yes, Raffi Torres painted himself brown to look like Jay-Z for Hallowe'en, but it was nothing like the "blackface" that people keep referring to, as it displayed none of the caricature, mockery, or steretyping that defines the old racist tradition. It may have been ill-advised as a choice of costume, since Torres is something of a pubic figure, but ultimately, he is a man who wanted to look like Jay-Z because he thinks Jay-Z is cool, end of story. Feeling pretty done with this story, but have at it if you must.

Matt Read for the Calder Trophy? Could happen
It's early, but James Mirtle (as well as Bob McKenzie) thinks that Read could pull it off.

Red Wings, Kronwall agree on seven-year extension
Most of you probably already saw this, but the Wings gave him $33.25 over 7 years. From Larry Lage of the AP at the Globe.

Devils remove Martin Brodeur from IR
Just in time for him to turn in a lights-out performance against the Leafs on Wednesday. From the AP at the Globe.

Rangers could have Sean Avery back in lineup this week
He's been placed on re-entry waivers by the Rangers, but who would touch him? He'd have three teams paying him. That's sloppy thirds, folks. (Just kidding, I'm well aware that in this case, thirds is a good thing, because a new team would only have to pay 25% of his contract.) From the AP at the Globe.

More Stars Bankruptcy
Are you into legalese and the inner-workings of a hockey team? Tyler Dellow has a post for you!

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