Ferguson: Starting To See Positives With More To Come
/ Toronto Maple Leafs
Our last two weeks have reinforced a simple truth: there is no shortage of competitive balance in the NHL.
Typically, you don’t expect 7-1 or 8-1 games. We’ve been on the right side of one score and the wrong side of another.
We had one game in overtime and one in regulation decided in the last 30 seconds of each. One we were on the right side, one on the wrong side.
We’ve seen just about everything and while we are working toward more predictable performances, there have been positives.
We’ve been able to score goals at a real good rate. We are addressing the improvements we need in our game. I like the way the penalty killing has improved. We are working on improving the power play. We are getting really good early returns from Mats Sundin, Matt Stajan, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jason Blake.
Despite the number of goals we have given up, our goaltending has improved over last year. Goaltending is the bellwether of the club. The play of both Andrew Raycroft and Vesa Toskala have been consistent and at times, very, very good.
If we can continue to produce, continue to get solid goaltending and improve our two-way play, we will get our game to a place where we start getting some game-in and game- out consistency.
We will soon be inserting some important players into the lineup. Kyle Wellwood will be back soon. Boyd Devereaux is coming back from a back injury. Carlo Colaiacovo is getting close. Mark Bell, who we project as top-nine forward, has passed the midway point of his suspension.
Through all of this, we have not changed our expectations. It has been a wild start, but we are confident there are far more positives than negatives to come.