The 2013-14 NHL season is underway and after the first week we're already starting to see who is playing great, which teams are real contenders and which teams might be in for a long 82 games. Here are some of my thoughts on the first week of the new season.
Toronto takes charge
After finally snapping their postseason drought last season the Toronto Maple Leafs exited the Stanley Cup Playoffs in about as brutal a way as any team can. There's the threat that a loss like that can carry over to the next season, but so far the Leafs look great. One of the things I like about them is in their second game, a 3-1 win at Philadelphia, I thought they were outplayed by the Flyers, but they ended up getting the victory. It's a good sign when you're able to win a game when you're not at your best. I don't know if that could have happened last season and certainly over the past number of years. If Toronto didn't outplay the opposition it had no chance of winning.
On any night the goaltending, whether it's Jonathan Bernier or James Reimer, has been very, very solid, the Leafs aren't giving up very many offensive chances against and they just look rock solid all around. The right names are showing up on the scoreboard, they've got some grit, they hit, they're tough to play against and they're finding ways to win. Toronto is showing last year's return to the playoffs wasn't a fluke. And don't forget, Toronto is 3-0 without David Clarkson. He's a guy who was brought over to change the team and they haven't lost a game with him out of the lineup.