This team "could" be the best team since Quinn's arrival. On paper for sure, they are, but playing to that capability is an entire different issue. The team in Quinn's first year overachieved and this year are underachieving. It's also the largest payroll the Leafs have ever had which would be a reflection of potential.
I often wonder what would've happened with this team if they HAD missed the playoffs during 2000-2001.
They had only 90 points that year after a half-season swoon (that was the year of the "Lindros trade rumour" fiasco), and made it by the skin of their teeth.
I remember that final night of the season in Chicago well...with the playoffs on the line, Quinn's Leafs turned in a pathetic effort and won 1-0 thanks to Cujo standing on his head. They easily could've lost that game.
I think the best team Quinn's had was the team that lost to the Canes. That was their best chance to reach the finals, and unfortunately it was ruined by injuries.
The team I had the most fun watching besides that team was the 1999 team, which scored the most goals in the league and had tons of speed. That team had sooooo many tic-tac-toe goals off the rush...how many times do we see that nowadays from the Leafs??? Try never.
"Well sure, but I don't think it's fair to judge their 03/04 season on-ice performance"
Ya, its not fair to judge how well a team is playing based on how they are playing. Its much better to judge them based on what they've done in the past.
"Who's to say that in the end this team won't be the most successful on the ice as well?"
Me, and no one was willing to take that bet I proposed about a week ago so obvisouly not many have much faith in this team.
"If they're the best team on paper, then what's holding them back from being the best team on the ice?
It can't be coaching, because it's been the same the whole time.
Age? Well is this team really that much older than the team that lost to Carolina"
The fact that the coaching hasn't changed is part of the problem. The weakness the Leafs had 2-3 years ago are still their weakness. And yes, this team is that much older then the team that lost to Carolina. All te players still with the team are 2 years older (or will be come playoff time) and they've added more vet. players.