Thursday, November 28, 2013
Interpreting Results in the 2013-14 Season
Like family, we reserve the right to criticize our team when we feel they don't meet our expectations. And, these last few games have provided plenty of fodder for criticism, as well as some profoundly satisfying moments. In the previous post, the Dark Blue Jacket raised some issues related to the relative stability at the coaching position at this juncture, which brought fast and thoughtful response from some of our readers. Good stuff folks, thank you!
What I wanted to do tonight was to share with you some thoughts I have had about how this season is turning out. With a team that is likely to be a bubble team in the NHL, we need to ensure that we are at least a .500 team, and then try to make a few runs that will put us into a playoff position. This remains doable for this team. The 2013-14 season was always going to be about surviving the first half of the season to see what would happen with the addition of Nathan Horton. So far we are hanging in there at this task, benefiting from below par play from our fellow Metro Division opponents. This won't last, but it has served to keep us in touch with a play off spot.
You see, one thing about this year, is that we play a home and away with all the western conference teams. If you split all of those home and away games, you have a solid foundation for a .500 season. Win a few of them, and you do your self some favors. Lose a few of them, and you dig yourself some holes.
Earlier this year, the CBJ went 4-5 in a 9 game home stand. Not so good. But then they went on the road, and actually finished up 3-2, before losing to Nashville last night. So what did they accomplish? Well the CBJ lost disappointing games to Ottawa and Calgary at home already this year. On the road trip, we canceled out those home losses with road wins. We are .500 on those games. Also on the road trip, we lost a pretty brutal game to Vancouver. But low and behold we had already beat them at home. Vancouver cancelled out. We did lay another beating on Toronto, so we are ahead in that series. Pittsburgh, not so much, but the two series cancel out. We are behind the 8 ball with Boston, but we are up on the Islanders. Likewise we are down with the Capitals, which puts us in a hole. We have more games against them that we cannot afford to lose.
So we have laid some ground work we need to make up to cancel out other losses in this early season. Edmonton comes to town tomorrow. Obviously, we badly need to cancel out the egg we laid up there. We now have to win a road game against Nashville later in the season to cancel last night's loss. But viewing the season as a whole, the CBJ have managed to stay even on a lot of fronts, in spite of injuries and a lot of subpar play.
It is quite possible that this is all going to fall apart going forward. I don't think it is a reasonable expectation that the rest of the Metro will continue to play the way they have. I think you can look for a Division wide elevation of play. The CBJ are going to have to match that in order to hang with the pack.
The situation is less than ideal, but so is the news on the injury front. So long as the CBJ can maintain their manic pace, and balance the curb stompings (DBJ's term) with the eggs they lay, they will hang in there. Then at some point in the season they will need to make a move. But they are staying close enough for that to remain possible, and that is all we need to get out of this early season. The youth are learning valuable lessons. Hopefully they can use those lessons going forward.