If your team absolutely bombs during the months ending in -ber, not even a miraculous run in the spring will be enough for them to climb out of their hole.
Just ask the New Jersey Devils.
For the Toronto Maple Leafs, it is absolutely essential to start off the season with a bang if they want to have a shot at making the playoffs.
Why is it that the Leafs of recent years have always been able to make a late-season push after having put together a miserable record leading up to the All-Star break?
There is speculation that this phenomenon is a result of a team playing with nothing to lose.
At one point last spring, however, the Leafs came within three points of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Despite ultimately placing 10th, eight points behind the eighth-place New York Rangers, there was a point in time last spring when the Leafs were truly in the fight for that last playoff spot.
The squad that the Leafs have assembled for this season is better, if only a little, than the one that made that late playoff push last season.
However, in order to carry last spring's momentum over to this fall, a few things will need to happen.
Here are seven of those things.