I can proudly say that I've never turned my back on any of those guys. I may not always like what I see out of them but when they struggle, I like to recognize that they have the tools to be great and it's a matter of their own mental and physical toughness to live up to their talent. That 18 wheeler off the cliff was the best thing to happen to this team. It seems these players truly have learned a valuable lesson from last year's disaster. Their maturity and their mental toughness this year is far above what it was in years past.
The best thing about this team is that I don't even need one hand to count the amount of games where I felt that the team's loss was because they lacked any effort. That is a HUGE improvement from last year.
For me, I've never doubted Reimer. Always believed he could be a #1.
I didn't always believe Phaneuf was a #1 defenseman. Thought he was a #2 who could fill in as a #1. I can now confidently say that he is a #1 defenseman, and I don't care what any media outlet, some stupid poll, or what HFBoards thinks of him
Lupul when he first came here, the summer before his breakout point per game srason in 11-12, I thought he'd be a stop gap till we got a legit top line left winger to take his spot. Glad to be wrong about him.
There is no acurate way to project NHL success, and even the experts will be wrong from time to time. Its the Leaf fans who curse and uses expletives, and claim management knows nothing on players that have not even had a chance to prove themselves, that look the most foolish. Perusing the thread where the Leafs first drafted Kadri is one of many examples of this.
I've eaten so much crow over Phaneuf. I kept on thinking he was only a #2, passable #1, but we needed someone else. This season, he just stuffed a plate full of crow with garnish of "wow I ****ed that prediction up" on my table. He's a #1 and a damn good one.
As for Reimer, I had faith, but I was never sold. I did not want Luongo as I was totally willing to give Reimer at least this season. Now I'm sold that we've got our first legit #1 goalie since Eddie.
The one guy I never believed in was Lupul. Did not think he'd be here to stay, and did not think he would be able to perform at the level he has... If he can get healthy, and stay healthy, this team would be really scary in the playoffs.