Toronto Maple Leafs: 10 Biggest Barriers Standing in Way of Playoff Run

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Toronto Maple Leafs: 10 Biggest Barriers Standing in Way of Playoff Run
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It's one thing to sprint out of the gate with a hot start; but it's something entirely different to sustain success over a grueling 82-game NHL schedule.

For the first time in the 2011-12 regular season, the Toronto Maple Leafs face the prospect of being on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

That's not to say that there aren't or haven't been legitimate reasons to celebrate so far.

This version of the Maple Leafs have clearly improved in many areas. Their power play ranks second in the league; they have the top offensive duo in the NHL in Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul; and their transition game and overall speed has been greatly improved over previous years.

But at the end of the day—or season, in this case—if all of those positives don't equate to a spot in the postseason, it is ultimately still a failure for the entire organization.

This Toronto team now has their work cut out for them, as they must overcome several obstacles that stand between them and a playoff berth. Before they can work on solutions to help them right their wrongs, they need to clearly identify the problems behind their recently lack of success.

Here are 10 of the biggest barriers the Maple Leafs must overcome if they want to see playoff action in 2012.

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