These are the times that try fans' souls.
You cheer for a last place team. A team which has had trouble scoring goals, stopping goals, staying out of the penalty box, and staying off the injured reserve. There certainly has not been much for fans of the Carolina Hurricanes to be happy about this year.
With almost one third of the season gone, the team is reaching a crossroads, as John Forslund so aptly put it the other night. Should the team assess the benefits of "blowing it up", or continue as they are?
One problem with a season like this is that the fanbase becomes more divided than ever. Some still cheer for victory. They refuse to boo. They will never give up and will always remain positive. Some hope for continued losses. They want to make sure the club qualifies for the best possible draft pick this summer and have no problem booing loudly, whenever they feel the need.
Some want a coaching change. Some want a change in the front office. Some want under-performing players to be traded or put on waivers. Some love those players and want the franchise to remain loyal to them. Some want the younger players here in Raleigh. Some want them to develop longer in the minors.
A few fans think that if people are too critical about the team, they should not even be allowed to be called "Caniacs".
There are probably more things for fans to disagree about right now, than to agree about, except for the fact that they still love the Canes.
There is good news. First of all, there are still plenty of fans. During the 2002-03 last place finish, crowds dropped to 9,000 at the RBC and seemed even smaller. There did not seem to be much interest, if any, around town.
While attendance has certainly dropped this season and the game night walk up crowd has decreased, there is still plenty of passion. The community here at Canes Country is a testament to that. We had record high numbers here last month. (thank you!).
There is still plenty to look forward to.
The Hurricanes have several good prospects who are close to coming up to the NHL level. Remember, they did win the prospects tournament in Michigan in September. They are a good bunch!
And this team could still pull some upsets, still play role of the spoiler, still put in some enjoyable performances to watch. Remember the five reasons why I love hockey article? Like the rest of you, those reasons have not changed just because the team is in last place.
But there will be challenges. For instance, you will see tons of crazy rumors like the one last week which had the Hurricanes sending two of their best prospects, (Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman), to Montreal for third line center, Tomas Plekanec. That makes sense, eh? They should trade away their future for a player in a position they do not even need.
You would think that if people took the time to make up rumors, (Eklund), they would at least make up something that made some sense?
But there are some interesting rumors, like this one from Spector:
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Jackets, who recently lost defenseman Rostislav Klesla to injury, might look at Senators defenseman Brian Lee, who's believed on the trade market, but the Jackets might have more interest in Carolina Hurricanes veteran blueliner Aaron Ward, who Garrioch claims is being shopped.
Get 'er done!
We have always had a pretty liberal policy here at Canes Country regarding our comments, perhaps too liberal. We do not allow outright personal attacks, excessive profanity, or obvious trolling, but sometimes those things have gotten through. Some folk are more easily offended than others, but I would like there to be a happy medium so that everyone, or at least the vast majority, can feel comfortable posting here and reading the comments.
To that affect, we will be working on some Community Guidelines, so at the very least, people will know the boundaries that we strive for and how people can notify us when they feel that the lines have been crossed.
This will also take into consideration how visitors should be treated, or how much rope they should be given, when they come here to "talk hockey" immediately after a tough loss or a key player gets injured.
While everyone is welcome, this is a home for Hurricanes fans first, and foremost, so please let me know your ideas, complaints, frustrations, and suggestions. Everything will be taken into consideration. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.