To say that the Carolina Hurricanes were off to a rough start this season would be an understatement. Earlier in the year, they played 14 consecutive games without a win and they still have yet to win a single game on the road all year, a 12 game streak. They are in last place in the NHL with a 5-14-5 record and have earned 15 points.
Odds are that the Canes will not make the postseason this year. As a matter of fact, the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against them. Sports Club Stats, a local website which actually specializes in calculating a team's odds on making the playoffs, gives the Hurricanes less than a 1% chance of making it at the present time.
Of course the odds change everytime a team wins or loses and several teams have beaten adverse odds over the years, but still the Canes have a daunting task ahead of them.
But while daunting, it's not impossible.
Just two years ago, November 27, 2007, the Washington Capitals found themselves to be in a similar situation that the Hurricanes are presently in. With a record of 8-15-1, the team had earned 17 points and was sitting in last place in the NHL.
Coincidentally, Carolina was in first place in the Southeast Division at the time with a record of 13-8-3 and 29 points.
We all know what eventually happened. Washington went on a tear and ended up winning the division while Carolina missed the playoffs by two points.
The Caps got a shot in the arm on that Thanksgiving Day when they fired then coach Glen Hanlon and hired Hershey coach Bruce Boudreau. The affect was almost immediate as Washington went 7-4-4 the rest of November and through December. They finished with a 43-31-8 record and 94 points which was the sixth highest in the East.
Can the Hurricanes do something similar this season?
They will not have the jolt to the system that a new coach can bring, but they believe that they have the talent in the room to get the job done. After all, this is about the same group which went on a 13-3 break out near the end of last season, a streak which included nine wins in a row. This is about the same group which won two tough playoff series in last year's postseason.
If they did it once, they can do it again, right?
This team still has much to prove, but they have a chance to show something very soon as they approach a tough, three games in four nights stretch starting on Friday night. They battle the Atlanta Thrashers first at the RBC, then travel to Buffalo for a Saturday night game against the Sabres, then face the division leading Capitals on Monday night at home again.
Will they show any signs of life?
I will be attending the morning skate on Friday and will have the Atlanta game preview up shortly after noon.