Toronto Maple Leafs: 6 Things We Learned About Them This Season

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Toronto Maple Leafs: 6 Things We Learned About Them This Season
Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

With the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff hopes officially crushed by a 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals Tuesday night, it is a good time to reflect on the 2010-11 season.

Heading into this season there were a plethora of varying opinions regarding where the Maple leafs would finish in the Eastern Conference.

While most Maple Leaf and NHL fans had the Blue and White missing the playoffs, where the team would ultimately end up in the standings varied from dead last to as high as eighth in the Eastern Conference.

Looking back at my own Eastern Conference predictions, I had the Maple Leafs finishing around 18th—20th overall, with the Blue and White finishing the season in a heated playoff race.

Obviously, the Maple Leafs were never really in a “heated battle” for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. That said, the fact that the Maple Leafs played at the level they did down the stretch has many fans believing that the Buds will make a strong push for a playoff spot in 2011-12.

Truth be told, the 2010-11 season has been an uphill battle for the Maple Leafs.

The Leafs started the season strong, going undefeated in their first four games. Inconsistencies, injuries and an inability to find proper chemistry between the players caused the Maple Leafs to go into an extended free-fall, including a horrible end to October, followed by an equally abysmal November which saw the Maple Leafs drop eight straight games, including two shootout loses from the period of October 28th through November 13th.

Suffice it to say, the club that lost eight straight is hardly the team that we have watched over the past 25 games.

The Maple Leafs have been one of the better NHL teams since the All-Star break. The biggest reason may be the promotion of goaltender James Reimer from virtual unknown in the American Hockey League with the Maple Leafs affiliate Toronto Marlies to legitimate NHL starter.

Reimer’s arrival seemingly changed the fortunes of the team and the attitude of the players.

Reimer’s rise to success is just one thing we were able to watch happen right before our eyes this season—and there were so many more things we have learned.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at six things we learned about the Toronto Maple Leafs this season.

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