Instead, let's focus on how the Leafs have been doing over the first quarter of the season. Yes, they're in a playoff spot, and while that's fantastic news for Ron Wilson's job prospects, if all the teams beneath the Leafs were given a chance to play 21 games, we might be talking about an 8th or 9th place team. The boys better keep the pedal down.
Individual report cards were doled out yesterday by James Mirtle, and though I don't agree with all his assessments, there is one player that not even the biggest Leafs detractor could award anything less than an A+:
Phil Kessel: A+. Kessel’s numbers to this point speak for themselves. He leads the NHL in goals and points, is a plus player, is logging more than 20 minutes a night and is facing the other team’s top lines every game. At 24, he’s found another level to his game – one few knew he had – and along with linemate Joffrey Lupul, has essentially carried this team (offensively anyway) to the record it has. Kessel remains very reluctant to speak with the media but has definitely become comfortable in Toronto behind closed doors. While he can’t possibly manage to score on 22 per cent of his shots all season, 40 to 45 goals now seems a reasonable target.
I think it's nuts that Joffrey Lupul doesn't have an A+, and it's a tad harsh to give Nikolai Kulemin a D-, but I'll let you lot have your say. Remember, any angry artwork should be forwarded to:
444 Front Street West
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2S9
40 Leaf and NHL thoughts as we reach the quarter-pole
Michael Langlois has an Elliotte Friedman-esque "thoughts" post for your enjoyment.
Korbinian Holzer to join Leafs on the road
Story from Kyle Cicerella.
Leafs Prospect Update: November 21st, 2011
Good news all around. By Justin Fisher at Hogtown Hockey.
Leafs Vs. Capitals Scoring Chances
A few notes on the numbers for your consideration at The Leafs Nation. By yours truly.
Leafs Vs. Predators Scoring Chances
Wow, Anthony Petrielli. I notice you used a lot of words there. It was a little long, so I didn't read the whole thing, but who cares, because I gave you an 'A'. From MLHS.
Other Hockey Links:
Crosby makes sensational return
In case your head has been stuck in the sand, David Shoalts has the story at the Globe.
Fenwick Page for 2011-12 is up-and-running
Wonderful news from Hawerchuk, as linked at Arctic Ice Hockey.
Video: Sidney Crosby needs just 5:24 to score first goal
Check out the awesome stat that Jeffler tweeted that's quoted in this article by Sean Leahy.