- The lack of a proven backup goaltender to share the load with Khabibulin.
- A center to help take some of the defensive pressure off of Horcoff.
- A top six LW that can be relied on in his own zone.
- More veterans and roles players in the bottom six.
- In general too many unproven players in the opening day roster.
This was the narrative going into the season. Most people were pessimistic of the the teams chances to make the playoffs. So what happens, we go out and win the six of our first nine games while heavily relying on the percentages.
First portion (G1-G9 | 6-2-1): Play shitty and get outshot/outchanced but fluke out bunch of wins in the first couple weeks. Percentages very much on our side (team PDO off the charts).
Second portion (G10-G17 | 2-6): Flu hits, team continues to play shitty but is now getting beaten nearly every night. Game 18 was when Smid returned to the lineup (the last guy that was reported as sick), so I used it as the 'end of the flu' marker. Predictably the team is getting outshot and outchanced.
Third portion (G18-G26) | 2-4-3): A lot of the injured guys are back in the lineup for this stretch. Team is generally healthy, as 44 returns to the lineup on G21. Upper end of the roster injuries include only Grebeshkov. Results are poor and the team is still getting outshot and outchanced on a nightly basis.
Fourth portion (G27-G30 | 3-1): After losing Ales Hemsky for the season, the team lays a huge egg on the road in Vancouver. Chances were close after the Canucks went up 4-0. A well earned victory in Detroit followed (although we certainly had some favourable bounces, we did carry the play). Then we won a squeeker in Dallas that could have gone either way, splitting the scoring chances and winning in the shootout. Next we get outplayed by a bottom feeder in the southeast yet pull out the two points in the shootout.
When I look at the season as a whole I just can't understand the logic behind these two quotes.
At least we are now seeing the team compete for 60-65 minutes, compared to the flu-ridden squad that was mailing in third periods or worse for quite a stretch there. IMO a lot of the negativity about this team fails to properly account for that.
[Accounting for the flu ridden period] would go against the narrative so it is not included in the factual arguement(sp) that this is the worst team in the history of history.
For me, it's pretty clear that this is bad team with or without the stretch where we had the flu. We have not consistently carried the play at any point this season, and I don't have any reason to think things are going to change. Perhaps Dennis is right when he calls the team mediocre rather than bad, but that would be really unfortunate. It is pretty clear that being mediocre is a lot worse than being bad (draft position, confidence in management, etc).