Of course, three games are three games, so this is all within that context. David Bolland is a much better player than I imagined. Scrappy guy who keeps on an even keel, doesn't get too emotionally invested in the moment. Much unlike Grabo, the guy he is essentially replacing. Grabo has skills, and he gave 110% on many nights, but the fact that he cut off communication with Carlyle last season reflects on his character. Bolland seems better suited for the third (and at times second) line centre role, because when he won't let up because of a lack of ice time. He'll continue to earn it and lead by example. Which brings me to Nazem Kadri, who is losing some of that ice time. The way he plays at times is not reflective of a guy on a team vying for a championship. I'm not saying that's where the Leafs are at, but that's how Carlyle evaluates his team. Sure, Nazem scored a ton of points last year, and broke out as far as offensive output goes. But last night vs Ottawa he looked a lot like the Kadri prior to last season. Lazy blind passes to try and escape your defensive zone will get you into the coach's dog house in a hurry, especially if he has other options. I'm hoping he just needs to get his legs going and it's just some early rust. Time will tell, but so far it's a bit disappointing to see him dogging it a bit. The same can't be said about Mason Raymond. He's buying into Carlyles system and giving it his all each night. In hindsight, so far, what a nice pickup by Nonis (get well soon big man), for virtually nothing. I'm not sure how the Canucks gave up on him so fast, and that nobody else snatched him up. To me, it's like he replaced Matt Frattin almost perfectly. And speaking of offseason pickups off to good starts, the man of the hour, Jonathan Bernier, has been everything he's been billed up to be so far. I was skeptical at first, as I'm a big believer that goalies can easily be overhyped because of the team they play for, and can rust away with little playing time. Bernier was a high draft pick, which is always a gamble with goalies, and I thought the pedigree he carried with that inflated his value. After watching him now for these first few games (last night was what it was, he looked good, much like he did vs Philly), I can see the reason the Kings took him so early. The Bernier-Reimer combination is a wonderful thing for a Leafs team that often gets into hi tempo back-and-forth games, with high speed forwards and pinch-happy defenceman. Great move, Nonis. JVR looks like he has a bit of an extra step this season, I think he should get 30. Ranger looks a bit off pace, and gets caught making poor decisions. We really miss Fraser there. Hopefully he gets back soon. Reilly looked fine to me, after a nervous start. Kid has wheels and sees the ice well. I think he'll do just fine if they decide to keep him with the big club. I hope they don't trade Gardiner, I think he's just beginning to scrape the surface with his tremendous skating and hockey sense. Can't wait to see Clarkson and see what he brings to the mix. Overpaid, but definitely a guy with some unique skills that can go a long way in a playoff type of setting. Gunnarson looks a lot better this season, as does Dion. Sure, he might not fit as a captain, and he does seem a bit full of himself which I think is why he gets voted as the most overrated player by the players, but he still brings a lot to the table with his strength, shot, and offensive mindset. Overall, great start, but they need to tighten up a bit defensively (especially the core guys like Kadri) to be a team that earns home ice for the post season. I think we'll see Bernier and Reimer bail these guys out often, but that can only work for so long. They're getting there, but there's still work to do. I think the Bruins will regress (old team), and the Habs and Sens are a tad bit overrated (I'm just not a fan of either teams' offensive depth). The Red Wings will fair well in the East and will compete for one of the top three spots. The Flyers are toast. The Lightning are better. The Penguins might struggle a bit, but overall they'll be alright. Perhaps the Rangers get hot, but I wouldn't count on it under Vigneault. I can see the Leafs getting into the top three, if they play their cards right, and more importantly, if they stay healthy. GLG.