Friday, February 2, 2007

Where Do We Go From Here?

With all the ranting and raving on message boards and other blogs from fans since last night's result, this seems to be the main question. The answer is simple, we need to patient. Everybody is disappointed, I'm disappointed, the players are disappointed, the fans are definitely disappointed. But the main thing we need to show right now is restraint and continue to support this developing team.

The fact is last night's loss pretty much killed any thoughts of this team making a run and slipping into the playoffs. While that would have been great for the confidence of this organization, it would not have led to a Stanley Cup Championship this season as the most likely scenario would have been a first round loss to a top seeded team anyway. And let's face it that is the goal. When the front office decided during the 03-04 season to trade away all of our veterans and rebuild they did that for a reason. The team that we had assembled was a mediocre team, that while good enough to challenge for a playoff spot, was not a contender for the Stanley Cup. Rebuilding from scratch with talented young players that grow up together is the best way to reach that ultimate goal in today's NHL.

Look at the facts, Carolina finished last in the Southeast Division during the '02-'03 season with a record of 22-43-11-6, 61 points. The next season they improved slightly to 28-34-14-6, 76 points. After the lockout year, they finished last season with a record of 52-22-8, 112 points and a Stanley Cup Championship.

The previous winner, Tampa Bay, got there in a similar way. They were terrible for years and used those high draft picks to select players that eventually led them to a championship. In the '01-'02 season they were 27-40-11-4, 69 points. In the '02-'03 season they improved to 36-25-16-5, 92 points, won the Southeast Division and defeated the Caps in the first round of the playoffs before exiting. Then in '03-'04 they improved on the previous year by going 46-22-8-6, 106 points and a Stanley Cup Championship.

The model is there, and two teams in our own division have proven it successful. So as dire as things may seem, we are on the right track and things will only get better from here. Hanlon is going nowhere, McPhee is going nowhere, and the fans need to just relax and give this team time to develop.

Jump on the bandwagon now, it'll make the pending success this team is about to experience all the more sweeter.

Down on the Farm:

With the Capitals off tonight you can take your pick of their affiliate teams to watch. The Hershey Bears travel to the Hartford Wolf Pack for the teams' first meeting of the season. You can catch all the action live via b2networks by visiting the Hershey Bears website, game time 7:00 PM ET. The South Carolina Stingrays travel to Duluth, Georgia for a matchup with the South Division's first place Gwinnett Gladiators, game time 7:35 PM ET. Visit to watch all the live action via b2networks.


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Biff said...

I'm not bothered as much by the fact that the Caps won't make the playoffs as much as I am that the Penguins are still right in the thick of things.

Seriously, I hate Pittsburgh.