Mo Must Win: November 7 - December 3

AD pointed out that this is not a year to finish in the middle of the pack when the top of the 2012 draft is going to be great. In the same post, AD said that there is no downside to sticking with Mo for the rest of the season. I agree with the first point but not the second.

There is more than one downside to sticking with Mo if he doesn't turn things around resoundingly and fast. My list of downsides includes:
* Having to watch the team play the way it's playing for another 60+ games, with frequent noncompetitive efforts
* Canes' management turning off fans by sitting idly by while the Canes are often appalling to watch or even talking about having the best coaches in the league while the team's play on home ice often says otherwise
* Inculcating a culture of mediocrity, nonaccountability and helplessness in the face of adversity
* Still not knowing before the 2012-2013 draft whether the Canes' current prospects can hack it in the NHL
* Not knowing whether another coach can get more out of Eric Staal
* Likelihood of not falling to the cellar but finishing 9th - 11th in the East and missing out on a top 10 draft pick as well as the playoffs

We are at the point of needing a big winning streak either under Mo or anybody assigned the role of cleaning up Mo's mess. Whoever the coach is, the rational course is to demand winning big immediately. Otherwise, the Canes should start the fire sale to accumulate future assets, including higher picks in next season's draft.

It's easy to envision a replay of what we saw late last season, with a rally that does nothing but make the Canes' draft position worse. However, last season the Canes had a slightly better record on November 7, with 14 points in 14 games instead of 13 points. The year before that, the Canes had a measly 7 points on November 7.

You have to go back to 2008 to find the Canes in much better shape on November 7.

That gives us an interesting, objective reference point for judging Mo. More after the jump.

November 7, 2008 under Lavi

8 - 4 - 2 18 pts after 14 games, on pace for 105 points

December 3, 2008 under Lavi

12 - 11 - 2 26 pts after 25 games, in trouble but still more than a pt per game, on pace for 85 pts that season

November 7, 2011 under Mo V2

5 - 6 - 3 13 pts after 14 games, on pace for 76 pts

December 3s under Mo V2

2009 5- 17 - 5 15 pts after 27 games, on pace for 46 pts

2010 11 - 11 - 3 25 pts after 25 games, on pace for 82 pts

The Canes have not started any season as well in the 3 years of Mo V2 as they did under Lavi in the season that got Lavi fired. In fact, the Canes need 16 pts in the 14 games through December 3 just to bring Mo up to the standard that cost Lavi his job. I'd rather see Mo held to something higher than the standard for firing another man. Lavi got to keep his job after having 33 pts in 28 games on December 3, 2007. He got to keep his job after having the same 33 pts after 28 games on December 3, 2006. He got to keep his job after having 34 pts after 26 games on December 3, 2005. Mo was fired in 2004 with 26 points after 30 games (8 - 12 - 8 - 2). Poor starts have been the norm with Mo for quite some time.

I'm not arguing that the Canes should bring Lavi back or even that the Canes were obligated to keep Lavi as head coach just because Lavi won. I am saying the Canes should hold Mo accountable for the actual performance of the teams he coaches and make decisions that will strengthen the team for 2012-2013. The standard of accountability for Mo should be the same as for any other NHL coach. The standard of accountability for Canes' management is to do what's best to strengthen the team going forward. Those are not novel concepts in pro sports. They do not suggest a vicious personally motivated campaign against Mo, JR or PK. It is not unreasonable to ask PK and JR to judge Mo by the same standards that apply to any coach in pro sports and to consider the welfare of the franchise and its fans over the job security of a friend.

I wish Mo the best, including a good next job. But if he doesn't turn things around in a big way by December 3, the Canes should turn to somebody else.

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