Five reasons why they won't

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

Think the Maple Leafs have no realistic chance of winning the Stanley Cup next June? Here are five factors that could bolster that argument:

- The rise of the Senators: So the Leafs have wiped the mat with the Sens the past four times they've met in the playoffs. But in Dominik Hasek, the Sens no longer have Patrick Lalime. And unlike Marian Hossa, Dany Heatley plays with heart. There's a different attitude with new coach Bryan Murray, who is not the robot his predecessor, Jacques Martin, was.

- Lack of depth on the blue line: Few feel the Leafs would go too far in the playoffs with the crew they have now. Even with the addition of Brian Leetch for a run in 2004, they were done in the second round.

- The X factor, injuries: Under Pat Quinn, the Leafs have shown a lot of gumption when it comes to dealing with big-name players out of the lineup. However, if Ed Belfour goes down for a long time, is Mikael Tellqvist capable of carrying the ball?

- Defensive shortcomings: In their first 28 games this season, the Leafs have been outshot 20 times. Not only does it underline the amount of work the goaltenders face, it's an easy way of measuring some of the Leafs' defensive liabilities. Quinn has said this season that sound team defence has been a sore spot for him in years past.

- Lack of killer instinct: In the 13 playoff series the Leafs have played with Quinn behind the bench, 11 have been at least six games. It's a bit of a puzzle as to why the Leafs have not had consistency when it comes to putting teams away quickly.


Videos

Photos