A quarter for your thoughts

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Attention, Brian Burke.

We know you've been busy out on the left coast, including your duties with the Anaheim Ducks that ended less than two weeks ago.

And we know an announcement anointing you as the new Maple Leafs president/general manager should come any day now.

If you don't mind us jumping the gun a bit, here is a rundown of how your soon-to-be Leafs have fared thus far at the quarter pole of the NHL season.

Feel free to take notes.

BY THE NUMBERS

The 7-8-5 record is the same mark they had after 20 games a year ago. They have scored the same number of goals (63) while allowing one less (72-73).

SURPRISES

F Matt Stajan: After the indignity of being a healthy scratch, he leads the team in scoring with 19 points, averaging more than one per game since returning from the press box.

F Mikhail Grabovski: Cliff Fletcher was mocked by some for surrendering a valuable second-round pick plus a prospect to acquire this guy. Who's laughing now?

D Luke Schenn: Experienced growing pains recently but still shows poise beyond his years. A standup teen both on and off the ice at just 19.

D Mike Van Ryn: Was really getting into an offensive groove before getting his face mashed against the Montreal Canadiens 16 days ago.

ROCKY RIDE

G Vesa Toskala: Came out of the gate hot before regressing the past few weeks. He certainly can not complain about being overworked. The Leafs, after all, have not been outshot by an opponent in their past 16 games.

F Ryan Hollweg: Already was suspended twice for a pair of hit-from-behind incidents before the regular season was even four games old. Labelled "dirty" by superstar Vinny Lecavalier.

F Alex Steen: So much talent, so few points (four). Hasn't enjoyed much time with top-tier linemates but still averaging more than 15 minutes per game.

F Jamal Mayers: Great leadership guy in the dressing room. Having said that, he is a team-worst minus-10.

THE JURY'S OUT

F Nikolai Kulemin: Shown flashes of offensive brilliance like his winning goal on opening night against Detroit. Then again, there are some shifts where you'd have an easier time finding Jimmy Hoffa.

D Jeff Finger: Is he worth the four-year, $14-million US deal he signed? Probably not. At the same time, he's been steady, as evidenced by his plus-minus of plus-one.

D Anton Stralman: Gifted offensive force. Too bad you don't see it every night he dresses.

A TALE OF TWO PLAYERS

D Ian White kept his yap shut when he was a healthy scratch for the team's first 11 games. When finally activated, he was put at an unfamiliar position (forward) and responded with seven points in nine games. Now, due to injuries on the blue line, he's back on defence again. A valuable cog.

F Jason Blake also spent a couple of games in the press box. Unlike White, he shot from the lip, calling it "embarrassing" and wondering if perhaps Toronto was not the place for him. He could avoid all such controversy by improving on his goal total of three.

BEST WIN

A dead heat between two of them. Watched Red Wings raise Stanley Cup banner opening night Oct. 9, then shocked Motown with 3-2 victory. On Nov. 8, at the annual Hall of Fame game, they thumped the high-flying Montreal Canadiens 6-3.

WORST LOSS

A 6-1 drubbing to the Habs on Oct. 11 was not the way the Leafs wanted to kick off the home season.

SCARIEST MOMENT

Van Ryn suffered a concussion, broken nose, fractured a bone in the palm of his left hand and needed countless stitches to seal facial lacerations after being run from behind by the Canadiens' Tom Kostopoulos Nov. 8.

WILSONISMS

In his brief time behind the Leafs bench, coach Ron Wilson labelled the media "bipolar," called out Carlo Colaiacovo for being out of shape, and has been nicknamed "Napoleon" by Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry.

Other than that ...


Videos

Photos