Thursday, November 18, 2010
I give up
I've been fighting the good fight about giving Johnny MacLean a chance to work this out, grow on the job...but now I'm done, after nineteen games and a 5-12-2 record that's actually worse than it seems. It's not just that we're losing games, we're not even competitive much of the time. Another listless performance in losing comfortably to a team almost as bad in the Maple Leafs - who's missing their captain and star defenseman Dion Phaneuf as well as longtime nemesis Jean-Sebastian Giguere - was my official tipping point. Not to mention the coach himself appears as if he's reached the end of his rope in terms of being able to get a hold on the situation, and is now changing lines period by period instead of week by week.
I know firing the coach isn't going to magically make us a great team, but right now I'd settle for competitive. For all that ills this team, from the mysterious 'elbow bruise' of Martin Brodeur which again forced him out of action tonight to the injuries to captain Jamie Langenbrunner and star winger Zach Parise, still we should not be nearly this bad, I'm sorry. You still have what should be four competent NHL defensemen, you still have forwards that are very talented and should be scoring a lot more than they are. There's no reason for us to be losing every game by three goals, there's just not. This is no longer merely a bad team, we're now Pittsburgh Penguins pre-lockout type bad and that's unacceptable on any level with the talent still on the ice.
And yes I'm still all for massive changes in the locker room which I feel should be concurrent with the coach's imminent dismissal. There needs to be massive turnover with the staff too, as much as I love Larry Robinson and Scott Stevens as I alluded to in my last blog there's been too much of a 'family' feel on the staff in recent years. Plus any coach knows that Lou Lamoriello hires the assistants, ensuring he has a mole in the room anyway which also doesn't help any coach do his job.
Right now I'm not even annoyed...I'm just half apathetic about the product on the ice and half anxious that whatever changes are going to be made are just over and done with already. Of course I've been feeling that impatience for months with our salary cap issues. It does seem like we've been waiting for the other shoe to drop for months, and it's still hanging up there. Funny thing is when I heard there was a team meeting after tonight's game I figured Lou had called it, now it seems more like one of those players-only meetings. Unless Gordon Bombay's in the room telling the team to be proud and let's fly though, I don't see how talking will help anything at this point.
Especially since a huge part of the problem is just the collective toll that losing has taken since January. Dating back to mid-January of last year the Devils' record is a miserable 22-32-8 in 62 games, including the five-game ouster at the hands of the Flyers in the 2010 playoffs. That's 16-16-6 in our last 38 games of the regular season last year (3-7-1 pre-Kovy trade) with a 6-16-2 record dating back to the playoffs. That's no longer a small size sample and I don't care who you are, that much losing is going to puncture anyone's confidence. One other little nugget to consider, this team's longest win streak since last December is a whopping two games. And we haven't even had what you could call a winning 'streak' this year.
Unfortunately now it seems as if only a total blowup will purge this stink of losing.