I'm a big fan of Behind the Net (despite my complaints about stats) and this week he's had a couple of interesting Leaf posts.  First there was this post about how Beauchemin thinking the Leafs had one of the best records to finish the season last year was apparently wrong.  Then, he decided to poll fans about how many points the Leafs would get this upcoming season.  Finally, he drew conclusions from the poll - that apparently Leaf fans don't think Burke's done a good job of improving the team in the past season.

This all got me thinking - is he right? Now I don't think his final conclusion is necessarily correct - Leaf fans may not be expecting a big jump in points this upcoming season, but is it really because they're unhappy because of what Burke's done?  I can't speak for everyone, but I know that I am liking the direction he's taken the team.  He's moved out a lot of older players who have probably stagnated in their development for youth with potential.  He's gutted a roster that has proven unable to make the playoffs.  And he's given the team a new captain and a few faces of the franchise.  Does this mean that I think, on the scoreboard, the team will improve?  With reservations, yes.

I say with reservations because aside from a few players - Beauchemin, Kaberle, Kessel - there really aren't many that are proven.  We honestly don't really know how much we can realistically expect from this roster.  I'd like to think that Komisarek will bounce back from his surgery, that Schenn will continue to improve his play as he did from February on last year, and that BOZAK's great play in the NHL will carry over into this season.  But those are all ifs, at best.  I'm not going to base my hopes for this upcoming season on a number of shakey ifs.  And I haven't even gotten to what has proven to be the Leafs' achilles' heel since the lockout - goaltending.  There are too many areas on this team that need dramatic improvement to confidently say they will be better than the team last year, at least when it comes to the standings.  What I am confident in, however, is that I will enjoy watching this team play more than last year's team.

Two years ago, when Burke took over partway through the season, that team was great to watch.  They didn't play all that well, but there was a hardworking nature to them that at least helped me get through the year.  This past season that was gone for large chunks of the season.  I'm still not quite sure how the results of last summer gave us the team we saw on the ice (unless players were just as demoralized by Toskala as we all were) but that team was terrible to watch.  They could implode at any minute, any brain cramps or poor decisions were almost guaranteed to end up in the back of the net, and it was painful.  So while I don't really expect a huge jump in points for the Leafs this upcoming season, I am in general happy with our new direction and hopeful that I won't be yelling at the TV and getting grumpy as often as I did this past season.

Oh and here are your links.