Friday, November 21, 2008

Time to Panic?

Mike Chen puts on his clarity helmet and says no.

Put it this way: ten years ago, if I told you your team was two games under .500 and three points out of a playoff spot, would you panic? Probably not, but because of the gradual increase of parity in the league over the past decade, that sort of record will put you in the cellar.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the traffic jam in front of a team with that record is closer than you think. So standings aren’t a reason to panic yet, not for Ottawa, St. Louis, Florida, or any other team finding them in the lower half of the leagues standings. What are genuine reasons to panic?

If you’re a team like the Tampa Bay Lightning, you look at goals-for. When you’re barely scrapping past two goals a game, that’s a problem.

If you’re a team like the Dallas Stars, you look at goaltending. When your goalie’s “improvement” is reducing his goals-against from 3.9 to 3.4, that’s a problem.

If you’re a team like the Ottawa Senators, you look at secondary scoring. When your secondary scorers are all bunched in the 4-6 point range, that’s a problem.

If you’re a team like the Columbus Blue Jackets, you look at special teams. When your power play is barely scrapping the bottom of the barrel and a sniper like Rick Nash isn’t producing, that’s a problem.

If you’re a team like the New Jersey Devils, you look at primary scoring. When you can’t rely on Martin Brodeur to steal games, players like Patrik Elias need to step up. When they don’t, that’s a problem.

Interesting. The Thrashers have solid goal-tending. They're getting all kinds of scoring chances, occasionally even scoring, and honest to goodness in the games where they're (we're) losing they're (we're) going down by one goal. And we did kill a 5-on-3 penalty last night. Just saying.

1 comment:

aaron said...

just noticed the linkage. thanks, guys.