ALL FIVE OF TORONTO’S MAJOR PROFESSIONAL SPORTS SQUADS ARE LINED UP FOR ACTION IN OCTOBER, AND HOPES ARE HIGH THAT THEY’LL EARN SOME IMPORTANT WINS
Whether or not they’re deserving of the attention, the Toronto Maple Leafs are inevitably the talk of this town as soon as the weather begins to cool. But there’s a decidedly different atmosphere surrounding the Blue and White’s upcoming season. Following years of subpar returns from highly paid players who never quite seemed to coalesce, the Leafs seem to have accepted their fate and entered rebuilding mode. Stalwarts like Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul anchor an otherwise unremarkable lineup; it’ll be reasonably competitive, but few fans are expecting the team to contend this season. Local puckheads instead have their sights set on the future: team president (and hall of fame player) Brendan Shanahan has brought on marquee hockey minds, including GM Lou Lamoriello and head coach Mike Babcock, to mold the squad in their image, a job facilitated by a preponderance of future draft picks, and, ideally, the continued development of young contributors such as Nazem Kadri, Morgan Reilly and James van Riemsdyk.