What a difference a month can make! Just a few short weeks ago, the Carolina Hurricanes were riding high and reminding many fans of how the team played during the magical 2005-06 season. But now the team is struggling and some fans are questioning everything from the coaching of the team, to some of the player's drive and commitment to win. While all teams have losing streaks and even some other conference leaders like Ottawa and Montreal also are mired in slumps, it's the way this team is losing that is causing the most frustration. For instance Ottawa has a 6 game losing streak, but let's take a look at the scores in those games. They started the bad streak with a 4-2 loss to Buffalo, then lost 6-5 to the Pens, 4-3 to the Flyers, 3-2 to the Islanders, 6-5 to the Preds, and 5-2 to the Rangers. As you can see, 4 of the 6 losses were by just one goal. The total goal differential of those 6 games was a respectable 9 goals. Now let's take a look at the Canes last 6 losses, (in the past 9 games). This streak started with a 6-1 loss against the Lightning. Then came a 3-0 loss to the Thrashers, 6-3 loss to the Flyers, 5-2 loss to the Caps, 3-1 loss to the Flyers, and 8-1 loss to Buffalo. The goal differential in those games is an alarming 23 goals! The good news is that the Canes have won 3 games in that mix, but even inserting the goal differential of the wins, (each were by 1 goal), there is still a large differential of 20 goals! Now you can understand why fans are seeing red. The losses are not even close, some of the players don't seem to be giving maximum effort, and the 2nd oldest team in the NHL looks beat up and tired. There is no rest in sight.
The good news is that while they are one of the oldest teams in the league, they are also one of the most experienced. If any team can figure out what is wrong and can fix it, these guys should be able to. If they can't do it, then it will be up to Jim Rutherford to help them. We all know what that means. This blog is not going to make any projections about personnel changes yet. As I mentioned in my last post, if changes aren't made by the players during this road trip regarding on ice performance, I have a feeling that changes will be made within the roster, either by trade, waivers, or recalls. This a very tough road trip, so I don't think that winning or losing is what should be looked upon here. I think what needs to be evaluated is how the team is playing. Are the games competitive? Is everyone giving 100%? Do they look like a unit, or a bunch of individuals? If they play well and the games are close, the wins will come eventually. (Like in Ottawa's case). But if they continue to be blown out, the team will eventually be blown up. It's all up to them.
Goo Goo Dolls
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Long Way Down