Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Time To Panic, Or Too Early?

1) We recently read an interesting stat from a fellow blogger; Apparently no team that has started the season 0-3 has EVER won a Stanley Cup. At least not in the modern era (After 1925). That stat/factoid has to be of interest to several NHL cities that are used to their teams, at the very least, competing for the Cup, if not having actually won it in the recent past. These teams are accustomed to winning, so any streak, especially this early/noticeable gets our attention

2) The team that first jumps out at us are the Vancouver Canucks. Picked by many to win the NW division, and compete with the other West powers for the Conference title and possible the Cup itself. After all they just re-signed the Sedins to long contract extensions, and then a lifetime deal to (captain-?) goalie, Roberto Luongo. All looked good. Then the reality of the season set in. Thus far the team is that dreaded 0-3. Worse yet the goalie for Life has been anything but stellar. His goals-against average this season is 4.55, his save percentage .820 and his record 0-3, after getting yanked in the 2nd period against Columbus at home last evening. Counting the last playoff game a 7-4, season-ending loss, Luongo has now given up 18 goals in his past four NHL starts. No way to start a 12 year contract! Time to panic?

3) While no other team is 0-3 (yet) there are several other teams that could be in that predicament. Leading us to opine that their next games are literally Must wins! Those teams are the Hurricanes, New Jersey, and Detroit (5 other teams have only played once and are 0-1) Those teams have won 8 of the past 15 Stanley Cups!!

  • Carolina coming off a Final 4 finish are picked by most (including Faux) to make the playoffs, and possibly compete for the SE division with the Caps. Of course it should be pointed out that the Canes have played/lost to 2 of the teams to also compete for the Eastern Conference Title/win their division in Philly and Boston. Still you'd have to think Pal Maurice is looking toward their next game, tonight in Raleigh against the Lightning as vital (Yes, even for a early October contest)

  • Meanwhile in 'Hockey Town things aren't looking rosy either. They too have a ready made excuse in that they lost 2 close games to divisional rival St. Louis while playing in Sweden. If last season is any indicator Mike Babcock better worry about his job (all 4 coaches that went to Europe last season failed to finish the season)- but we'll let Faux write about coaches getting fired in their post later this week. As FR prognosticated in their predictions, goaltendings might be an issue in Detroit. Jimmy Howard has looked like the career AHL goalie he probably is which might cause Ken Holland to have to sign or make a deal if this continues, as they can't expect 38 Osgood to play 70+!

  • Meanwhile there isn't a goalie controversy in Jersey, but they might need one if Marty doesn't start to play Marty-like soon. So far his stats in the Devils 2 losses are not Vezina worthy. A GAA of 4.04, and save % of .849 won't cut it! With Yan Denis as his backup can/would Lemaire even think of curtailing Brodeur's work load? It could get interesting fast in Newark if this early poor start becomes a trend.

4) We want to make clear we would NOT begin to panic if we were any of these 4 winless teams. History might say that a Cup is impossible if you lose your first 3, but records, as they say, are meant to be broken, right? All of these teams are talented enough to turn things around, and in 2 weeks time we might look back at this post and laugh. However it is also entirely possible in at least one of these teams we might already be seeing a season long trend. That's why we play the games folks. No one knows for sure, and another reason why we never wager on sports. Are you listening Mr Tochett/Mrs Gretzky??

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