As I sit here between the 2nd and 3rd period, I cannot help but reminisce over the roller coaster of a season this has been. From the 2 straight losses to the Blackhawks to open up the season, to the 6-4 win over the Smurfs on Clutterbuck’s top-shelf snipe, the 5-0 loss to the Pens as we seemed to throw away the season in its last few weeks, to JT’s wrap around goal two weeks ago, I’ve been sitting in my basement in Missouri cheering the whole way. But now that we are a period away from ending back to back seasons on no-shows (Game seven vs. the Caps we posted 11 SOG), I have to wonder, what now?
Change in Management?
It was fairly clear that Cappy would not be returning had we lost to the Panthers, but we ended up winning. The 23 year streak was ended, but the team reeked of inconsistency throughout the entire season. Sometimes, (Like the 6-5 win over the Stars) we looked like a team that will at least make it to the conference championship. Other times (The aforementioned 5-0 loss to Pittsburg) we looked like a team that could barely compete with Columbus. That all points to a lack of leadership, across the board. Snow built this team, but he’s been satisfied with the status quo, and the same can be said for Cappy. It’s seemed like he does not know how to keep the team at the top for very long. People will be mad about this decision no matter what happens.
Okposo, Nielsen, Martin, Cizikas, Strome, Strait, Prince, and Quine’s contracts are all up at the end of the season, and who we resign next season will have a huge effect on it. Okposo and Nielsen are expected to move on to other teams, but I would like to sign at least one of them back. Martin and Cizikas are part of our 4th line, who had the most ice time in the NHL, behind the Kane line in Chicago, and the Jarg line in Florida. These two are key signings if we want to keep the 4th line going. Strait would be a good idea if we are going to honor Hamonic’s trade request. I though Strome got the shaft throughout the season, even if his numbers are bad. Prince and Quine both had solid postseasons, and deserve a spot on the roster come October.
The Greiss/Halak situation should work out well for us. Whichever goalie we do not choose as the starter next season can make for a good piece to trade for someone to fill an Okposo or Nielsen sized hole in our roster.
The sky is not falling
As bad as this game was for us, our next season looks bright. Pulock, Quine, and Mayfield are a big part of the youth we have on the roster in Brooklyn, and in Bridgeport. Tavares is staying, Anders Lee will be healthy next year along with Brian Strait and Mikhail Grabovski. I think it is safe to say our Cup Window is officially open, it’s time to start working.
P.S. This has been my first full season following hockey, so I apologize for any errors I made in this.