If I reported back from the future after the Leafs‘ first 17 games and told you before the season started:

Joffrey Lupul has been out injured since game three, Jake Gardiner has only played two games and is in the minors, Phil Kessel went on a 10-game goalless drought to start the season, Dion Phaneuf recorded only one assist and no goals in his first 11 games, James Reimer has been out injured for several games and we haven’t acquired Roberto Luongo or any form of goaltending help, our only player acquisition since the lockout ended is Frazer McLaren, Colton Orr has been playing on the third line the past few games, and John-Michael Liles has been a healthy scratch while Korbinian Holzer, Mike Kostka and Mark Fraser are playing significant minutes on the backend…

Would you have put the Leafs record at 10-7?

I think that’s a testament to some pretty good work by Randy Carlyle and the coaching staff from a systems play standpoint and a big credit to hot starts from the likes of James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin, James Reimer, Ben Scrivens, and some of the new role players we’ve seen come to the fore. The million-dollar question is: Is it sustainable? Either way, a good start is a good start and a better start in a short season, so let’s hope the Leafs keep themselves in it and that their cause is boosted when the likes of Frattin, Reimer, Gardiner and eventually Lupul return to the lineup.

Onto some Thursday Morning Links…

The Leafs’ looming PDO demon
Cam Charron says nope to that last question.

Leafs/Sabres Preview from
Bad news: According to this report, the game is only available on Sportsnet-Ohio.

It’s time for Jake Gardiner to return, but it’s not that easy
Complicated by Kostka and Fraser being waiver prone. Holzer is exempt.

Our opponent tonight fired their very long-tenured head coach
Andy Boron at Die by the Blade has his analysis on the firing of Lindy Ruff.

Maybe the most famous loss in Maple Leaf history
Michael Langlois with a not-so-pleasant trip down memory lane.

Toronto Maple Leafs understand Rebecca Marino’s situation
Nice story here.

Tarasenko gets labeled
Scary looking eyes on Vladimir as he tries to figure out where he is.

Flyers end Penguins’ miracle comeback as Voracek notches hat trick goal
Game was circa 2012 playoffs.

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder and editor of, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He's published five magazines on the team entitled "The Maple Leafs Annual" with distribution in Chapters and newsstands across the country. He also co-hosted "The Battle of the Atlantic," a weekly show on TSN1200 that covered the Leafs and the NHL in-depth. Alec is a graduate of Trent University and Algonquin College with his diploma in Journalism. In 2014, he was awarded Canada's Best Hockey Blogger honours by Molson Canadian. You can contact him at