After losing six games in a row, what looked like a promising season for the Hurricanes is slowly falling apart at the seams. For a good part of the season, this team looked good enough to make the playoffs but a myriad of injuries happened followed by a brutal losing streak and now they are hanging onto dear life just to stay in the race. If the Hurricanes were to miss the playoffs, it will be the sixth time in the last eight years that they've been on the outside looking in and that's pretty troubling. I don't think this team had cup aspirations for this season because they do have a few missing pieces, but the end result of missing the playoffs for the sixth time in eight years still looks pretty bad.
How bad is it to miss the post-season this year, though? It's been kind of a strange season with a shortened schedule, so injuries and bounces/puck luck are going to have a bigger impact than usual. The Hurricanes have been on the wrong end of that scale more times than not this year and it's clearly at a low point right now with Justin Faulk on the shelf and the team being unable to buy a goal for whatever reason. In a full 82-game season, there is a chance that things like this even out but with only 48 games (and 17 remaining) this year, puck luck and a good streak can be the difference in a team making or missing the playoffs. Just ask the Anaheim Ducks.
This is why I feel that this season shouldn't be judged on results, even if failing to make the playoffs is a failure. Jim Rutherford made some big acquisitions this summer with Alexander Semin & Jordan Staal and while I think most fans are satisfied with what they've done, they are still going to be criticized because they couldn't bring the Hurricanes to the playoffs even in the lowly Southeast Division. Then again, we will only see 48 games from them by the end of the year, so is it really fair to close the book on these players based on that? Rebuilding this team was going to be a long-term process, so 48 games is very small in the big picture.
With that being said, a good question to ask is how far away this team is from being competitive? How much progress have they made so far this season and what else do they need to do to improve? The door is still open for them to make the playoffs this year, but it's going to take a long winning streak and I'm not sure if the odds are in the Hurricanes favor right now. Anyone who has watched the last six games will tell you that the team needs to be blown up, but the big picture suggests otherwise. Watching this team for the last two weeks has been borderline infuriating but at the same time you have to tell yourself that it's only six games and that doesn't undo an entire season.
I figure that this as good of time as any to review the Hurricanes season, see where they stand now and what they can do to make themselves better. Is there any hope left for this season and if not, what needs to be done to put them over the edge? I'll explore all issues after the jump.no comments