Ron Wilson tossed a rare no-quoter to the media, but it was probably good for the Maple Leafs' players to answer for their own failings rather than the coach.
The official explanation was that Wilson didn't wish to sound stale by week's end, when a five-game road trip starts Saturday in Vancouver. The 0-6-1 Leafs commenced a week of practice today at the Mastercard Centre in Etobicoke.
"It takes three or four goals to win a game and obviously, we're not doing that," winger Lee Stempniak said of scoring just 14 in seven games so far. "But we can't be giving up five, six or seven. If we buckle down defensively, we'll have the puck more, play more in the other team's end."
Toronto is in the midst of its worst start since 1990-91.
"This can be a road trip to turn around the whole season," said a hopeful Stempniak. "We can win four or five and be right back in the thick of it."
Defenceman Ian White was not at practice this morning, after taking a puck in the face during Saturday's 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers, requiring about 25 stitches. Otherwise, the Leafs kept their forward lines together from Saturday.
Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson was in full equipment before the practice, but did not stay when the main group arrived with Joey MacDonald and James Reimer still the starter and back-up for now. He could play by the second or third game of the trip in Anaheim or Dallas early next week.
"You can never tell with groins," the rookie Swede said.
The Leafs have already surpassed their longest losing streak of last season (five games) and are one more defeat away from matching their longest skid since 1995-96.