10 Reasons For The Leafs Improvement
Wednesday, 10.20.2010 / 3:20 PM ET / Greg Millen's Blog
By Greg Millen - Leafs TV analyst
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Leafs Nation, what a start to the 2010 season! There are many reasons for the Leafs early improvement. Here are a few:
1. J.S. Giguere’s leadership with his defence:
J.S. has constantly communicated with his defence core and that has provided a stable and confident atmosphere for the group.
2. Excellent puck support:
Quick, accurate and short passes have provided speed starting from the Leafs zone.
3. Luke Schenn/Tomas Kaberle/Dion Phaneuf are much improved:
Luke has found a confidence and comfort level which is part of the process of a young player improving. Tomas looks like he is having fun again. He has leadership help (no “A” - great move Ron Wilson) and you get to a point where you just forget about the trade talk! Phaneuf has embraced the “C” and has kept his game efficient on the ice.
4. The Leafs have a better second line:
Nikolai Kulemin is a terrific two way player, Clarke MacArthur has added speed and skill and so far so good for Mikhail Grabovski.
5. Tyler Bozak is a very underrated player:
He is bigger than most realize and just may be the number one centre the Leafs are looking for. Look at the division, Ottawa has good depth with Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher but with time can Bozak be in the same league as Derek Roy in Buffalo, David Krejci in Boston, Tomas Plekanec or Scott Gomez in Montreal? Perhaps.
6. Phil Kessel:
His fitness has improved this year and he participated in training camp. It looks like he is in for a big year.
7. Kris Versteeg:
A notorious slow starter that has a terrific skill set. Don’t worry Leaf fans he will score. He is fresh off a Stanley Cup and has provided good leadership.
8. Staying out of penalty trouble:
Just short 18 times so far in the five games they have played is a huge improvement from early last season. From this, the PK is much better with the help of Giguere, Colby Armstrong, Kris Versteeg, Tim Brent, Mike Zigomanis, Fredrik Sjostrom to name a few and the defence core.
9. They are finding ways to win:
One night it is the first line, another it’s the fourth, another it’s goaltending.
10. A fresh locker room:
Yes winning always helps but the team has personality! They have fun, they are enthusiastic and work hard on the ice. That’s always a great combination!