The legendary Toe Blake once remarked that 'predictions are for gypsies.' That being said, our NHL on TSN panel might think about getting its crystal ball checked just two weeks into the season.
In our annual season preview that aired on Oct. 6, we said the TSN consensus choice was that the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs would finish 13th in the Eastern Conference and out of the postseason for a sixth straight year. And you were hard-pressed to find anyone out there that would say anything different.
Well lo and behold, what do we have here now?
A 4-1-1 start!
Improved goaltending, penalty killing and power play!
Is it time for all of us non-believers to grab a fork and start eating some humble pie?
Here was Dave's question to you (prior to Thursday's loss to the Rangers): "Has the Leafs' strong start altered your view of their chances this season?"
And here are the answers that Dave liked best:
"A 4-0-1 start is the same as getting the first number right in the Lotto." - Mike, Oshawa, ON
"I thought the Bruins were a lock for Couturier, Larsson or Nugent-Hopkins at next year's draft…….but not anymore!" - Joe, Kitchener, ON
"Without a Stanley Cup since 1967, it doesn't take much—how can you not be positive?" - Tony, Caledon, ON
"Yes, I have altered my pre-season prediction slightly. I now have the Leafs finishing 4-77-1." - Andrew, Twillingate, Newfoundland
"Brian Burke changes the culture of a team. He did it here and in Anaheim. I expect the same in Toronto." - Vic, Vancouver
"Has their fast start changed my view? It has and it hasn't. Yes, they seem to be playing better, but they could still fall apart." - Kristopher, TSN/Facebook
And Dave's Reply To All:
A Good Start and Bad Teams
I give the Leafs full marks for their good start, but it would be wrong to base giddy optimism on their first five games alone.
I am more inclined to take a different look at the Leafs' chances by examining the dismal starts of several other Eastern Conference teams.
If you picked the Leafs to miss the playoffs, you put at least eight teams ahead of them. I know it's early, but I can no longer name eight teams that are guaranteed to be in the playoffs ahead of the Leafs. Not the New Jersey Devils or the Buffalo Sabres or the Ottawa Senators - three supposed contenders with big worries already, and I'm guessing there will be more.
I'll give you Pittsburgh and Washington as playoff locks in the East, but that's it. And that's the best reason to like the Leafs' chances. The bad teams outnumber the good ones.
You can also catch the best responses on video on demand right after the broadcast on TSN.ca.