Monday Morning Musings With Me The Big E; Leafs Look To Rebound Against Panthers

Eric WarrenCorrespondent IIOctober 25, 2010

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 13:  Head Coach Ron Wilson of the Toronto Maple Leafs instructs his team during a time out during a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 13, 2010 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The fact is that the Toronto Maple Leafs are off to their best start in more than a decade.

The question is: Why has it come to a grinding halt?

Alright, grinding may be a little harsh.

Special teams is one of the possible answers; coaching is another one.

As expected, the Leafs are a force to be reckoned with on the penalty kill. The team who had the league's second worst stat in that department last season is currently eighth in the NHL with an average of 88.5 percent.

A far cry from the mark of 74.6 percent of last year.

One area that they are still struggling with is the power play. While it may seem that with a finish of just 14 percent efficiency last year, it should be easy to improve; the truth is though the Leafs are off to an even worse start to the season this year with a meager 12.5 percent efficiency rating, just good enough to keep them 19th in the league.

So, the question begs, how do they get better?

The answer to that one is simple: Time and space.

With time, this young group of forwards will learn to play more efficiently with each other and be able to open more space with which to make plays, especially on the power play when there should already be extra.

This lead us to the second issue, coaching.

None of us can profess to be the coach of an NHL team, thus it is difficult to second guess Ron Wilson.

However, the fifth game of this young season was a tightly fought contest in which the Toronto Maple Leafs played a good game yet lost in overtime.

Why Ron Wilson decided to take Gunnarsson out and put Lebda in made no sense in the eyes of this usually un-biased writer.

I know that Gunner wasn't playing the best, neither for that matter was Komisarek. The team as a whole, however, was.

If it isn't broke, don't fix it!

Now, while the Leafs mini two game slump may not be a direct result of Wilson trying to make something out of nothing, the timing certainly makes it look like it is.

Mikhail Grabovski continues to impress and though he has yet to find the back of the net, he has contributed a more well rounded game so far this season; leading the team with a plus five, he is also tied for fifth in the league in that department and is tied for third on the Leafs roster in points as well with four. 

This team was fine before Ron Wilson decided to try to switch up the personnel; perhaps he should adopt a more hands off approach again and only make changes when they are actually needed.

The Florida Panthers pull into town Tuesday for a tilt at the Hanger and will bring their league worst power play with them.

Another thing the Toronto Maple Leafs will look to improve on is the shots on net total: They have been out shot by a whopping 72-39 margin.

Astounding for a team who had earlier been rather stingy in the shot against department, allowing 23.75 shots on goal over the course of their first four games.

The good news is the Panthers are still allowing more shots per game.