October 22, 2011

Things Can Only Get Better - These NHL Teams Need Help

Many fans are currently singing the praises of the likes of the Capitals, Flyers, Redwings, Stars, Avalanche and Maple Leafs. Praise where praise is due. All these teams have had very good starts and if they can keep it up will be in the mix come playoff time. However, some teams haven’t been as fortune. Let's take a minute to look down the bottom of the Conferences and spare a thought for the fans of the teams that have made the worst starts to the season.

Columbus Blue Jackets – Played 6, Lost 5, Lost 1 (SO)
Columbus can count themselves to be unlucky to be sat at the bottom of the Western Conference. They may have only managed to get 1 point from 6 games so far but have lost 4 of those by 1 goal (1 by SO) and the others by only 2.They have conceded 20 goals in these 6 games – a GAA of 3.33 a game whilst only manage to score at a rate of 2 GAA. Infact, they have scored exactly 2 goals in every game played so far. It is no surprise to see Rick Nash leading their scoring with 2+4 but they are not getting scoring in depth at the minute which is showing in the low scoring results they have had so far. They have played 2 games against Dallas so far, Minnesota, Vancouver, Nashville and Colorado. Not the easiest of starts but they need to start finding points from somewhere before they get 20 games in and still below 10 points. At the minute, that could be a possibility.

Winnipeg Jets
It was always going to be hard for the Jets. They haven’t set any sort of expectations of making the playoffs but must have been thinking somewhere, it would be nice if we did make it. The start of the season doesn’t look like they will. This is a rebuilding process and one that could take 3 or 4 years and this is the start of it. Winnipeg have lost to Montreal, Chicago, Ottawa and Phoenix and also to Toronto via a shoot out but had an impressive win against Pittsburgh. They have managed 3 points from their 6 games played so far. Neither Pavelec or Mason have impressed in between the pipes so far, both posting under .900% SP and the team conceding 21 goals so far. Hopefully the enthusiasm of the city and the fans will start pumping through the players and they can grind out some more results and get some more points on the board.

Montreal Canadiens
The first of two teams you may not have thought would have been mentioned as being a poor team at the start of the season. Montreal have lost to the impressive Toronto, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Calgary and via a shootout to Colarado whilst beating Winnipeg. Mike Cammalleri has missed 3 of the 6 games and the Canadiens will hopefully be welcoming him back to the line up in the next few games to try and create some scoring for the team as they have only managed 13 goals so far. Price has played all 6 and is below .900% SP which is not what you would expect from a netminder who was outstanding last season. Montreal shouldn’t be down here for long and expect them to pick their game up and climb back up the standings over the next 2 weeks.

San Jose Sharks
San Jose find themselves in 14th place in the Western Conference. This may be due to the fact they have only played 4 games so far but they are 1-3 and would have hoped for more in their opening games.
Antti Niemi has been missing from 3 of the opening games and Martin Havlat is yet to feature in a Sharks uniform which has contributed to the start they have had. Joe Thornton has yet to bring his A game to the ice this season and once that comes back and players start to click,  the Sharks have plenty of firepower to get themselves back up the standings. Anaheim have beaten the Sharks by 1 goal on 2 occasions, the young St Louis blues have beaten them but the Sharks did start with a good 6-3 win over the Coyotes and expect a few more results like that once San Jose get their wheels rolling.

That covers 15th and 14th places in both Conferences but I feel a special mention for the Ottawa Senators is needed in this article as in the 7 games they have played they have managed to concede 31 goals which is an outstanding 4.42 GAA. They have managed to win 2 games which currently keeps them out of the bottom 2 in the East but my god have they struggled defensively. Philadelphia and Colorado put 7 past them, Toronto 6, Detroit 5 and Minnesota 3 (although the Sens took that game on a SO). The Caps made it tough work but took a 2-1 win and Ottawa managed a 4-1 win over Winnipeg – one of the teams that make up the bottom 2 in the East. Craig Anderson and Alex Auld have both been pretty awful so far, so those having a go at the likes of Tim Thomas, Roberto Luongo and Carey Price this season – be thankful you haven’t got one of these guys between the pipes!

- Adam Yates

No comments:

Post a Comment