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"A Player's Journal" with Alyn McCauley

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Oct. 8th Entry

Alyn McCauley has been with the Leafs organization for five seasons, peaking with his 15-point playoff performance last year. Alyn will share his thoughts with you periodically as he and the Leafs battle towards the Stanley Cup this season.

by Alyn McCauley
-- Leaf forward and all-around good guy

Well, we got off to a good start against Pittsburgh and I think we felt pretty good about ourselves. Maybe the result masked a few errors that we'd been making defensively and those came to the forefront the next six, seven or eight games.

We have such a good talent level in this locker room, it allows us to compete and have a chance to win every night, but those errors cost us the wins. We have a lot of guys that can score goals and if we had been a little more mindful defensively, we felt we could have won some of those one-goal losses.

It was tough, everybody was frustrated and down on themselves, down on the team. It's just one of those things. It happens through the year, you just hope it doesn't happen at the beginning of the season. It seems like when you're about to get on a streak, you're close, but you're still losing and it's just not there yet. But then, on the other hand, towards the end of a streak you're winning games that you probably should be losing.
McCauley could be seeing a lot more of the corners this season.
Graig Abel Photography

I'm kind of getting that feeling right now. We're getting closer. We're in the right places. We're starting to do smarter things and make better decisions. So I'm optomistic that we can turn this thing right around and get back to .500 in the near future.

I feel good about the way the first ten games went for me. I felt like I was seeing plays, holding onto the puck and trying some things that I didn't try last year, certainly at this point of the season. I'm shooting the puck, but it wasn't going in. I did get one last game (vs. Anaheim), but I felt like I had good chances and that's almost as important as getting the goals sometimes. So I think I was a little unlucky, but I'm also optomistic that those chances will start to go in now.

Thankfully, I don't have to worry about getting that first goal anymore and I'm excited to go out and get my second and third and keep moving forward. I think, personally and team-wise that the next seventy games are going to be a good progressive place for us. We are going to become the players and the team that can put it all together and win a Stanley Cup.

There's been a few changes on our team and because of that, maybe we needed to get a little worse before we could get better. Maybe we needed to realize the mistakes instead of just making them here and there and having them continue throughout the season.

Perhaps we had to make them all the time for us to realize that they would hurt us down the road and once we fix those, it would help make us that much better. As the saying goes, maybe we needed to take a step back to take two steps forward.

I've been moved to the wing for the first time in my career. Through minor hockey right up to the NHL I'd always been a centreman, I've played a little defence on the powerplay, but other than that I'd always been a up the middle. But, I don't mind playing the wing. Robert (Reichel) and Tie (Domi) are easy guys to play with and it's been fun so far.

Tie holds on to the puck down low and Robert is very sound in his own end. At the same time I can go down low and help out and they've made the transition pretty easy. I was skeptical going into the first game, wondering if I'd get lost out there, but after the first couple of shifts I felt pretty good and settled right in. I don't know if it will be a permanent thing, but it makes me a little more versatile.

So now, as a team I really think that we're moving in the right direction, heading towards playing a lot more responsibly and getting to the place where our fans and we, as a team, expect to be.

Talk to you soon,

Alyn McCauley

Check back soon for the next installment of "A Player's Journal" with Alyn McCauley.
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