Toronto Maple Leafs Could Use Help with a Little "Man Advantage"

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer IOctober 15, 2009

As October quickly bleeds away from us, two things are certain.

Number one, it’s getting quite cold outside.  Number two, the reception for the Leafs during home games so far has been that much colder.

If you didn’t hear (please note the sarcasm), the Toronto Maple Leafs are marred in one of the worst starts in their storied history.  To make matters worse?  Well, the NHL schedule makers have Leafs games so spaced out, there is nothing to do but talk about the woeful state of the team.

As I watched the third period of yet another embarrassing game the other night, I was approached online by a friend who follows the sport as well, albeit one who’s allegiances lie with a different team.  After we exchanged brief greetings, he asked me what just about every person I know has asked me in the past five to seven days.

“What the heck is wrong with the Toronto Maple Leafs?”

That’s what he said.  Or, something like that, anyway.  A few of the words may have gotten lost in translation.

And to be honest, I simply couldn’t tell him the answer.

A brand new year, the first full year for the illustrious Brian Burke.  New players.  Skaters, who at the time, looked tailor-made for this team (and I am not saying they still aren’t, mind you.)  All this leads to one thing.

Expectations of a team that should be improved.

It started in June.  Continued into July.  And with a 6-3 preseason record that saw the team play very well during the entire exhibition schedule, expectations were raised.

And perhaps expectation is the fly in the ointment, if you will.

If you look at teams rebuilding, it is fair to say only Toronto has a group of fans who feel the rebuilding process is taking longer than it should.

After all, the Kings and Coyotes are off to fast starts.  But there is no reason to believe they can continue these winning ways, just as there is no reason to believe the Leafs will continue to bomb this 2009-10 season as bad as they are currently.

It’s about time.  And it’s about basics.  These two things will be the key to the Leafs turning this season around.