Well, what if last year was the statistical anomaly, and you overpaid Smith and Wilson because they are consistently inconsistent? What if Filip Forsberg isn’t the elite talent that you thought he was. What if Mike Ribeiro is the player Phoenix (now Arizona) bought out and said, “Good riddance” to. What if James Neal is the James Neal that has played himself off Dallas and Pittsburgh, and looks more like the James Neal that pretty much sucked for the Preds in his first season in Smashville?
You get the picture, and it ain’t pretty. The Preds haven’t scored in over 10 periods of hockey, and their next stop on this runaway train towards futility is the four consecutive shutouts the Oakland (soon to be “California Golden”) Seals had to endure back in 1967-68 when that team was 15-42-17 and were virtually eliminated from the post-season in the pre-season!
Look, the good news is that the Preds defense and goaltending will not permit that kind of collapse (the Seals sandwiched their four shutout losses in between a 6-3 defeat, and a 9-3 defeat.) Pekka was the second best goaltender in these past three games, and yet he made enough extraordinary saves so as to save the team from losing by far wider margins.
Defensive culprits over the past three games? Statistically, from a +/- perspective:
The team gave up 11 goals. 3 were power play goals. 8 even strength goals.
Josi, Ellis, Jones, Jackman each: -2
Up front, Craig Smith leads the suckitude with a -4 (that’s -2, -1, -1 in the three games) Fisher, Forsberg and Ribeiro are all -3 (with -1 in all three games.) Both Watson and Wilson’s -3’s came in two games (-2, -1) and Neal had a pair of -1’s, Jarnkrok had a single game -2. Both Salomaki and Hodgson had single -1 games.
Throw into the mix the distrubing penalties… I won’t even bother to detail (cough Ribeiro, cough misconducts…)
Clean slate tonight. Sabres in the toilet. Chad Johnson NOT Bobrovsky, Lundqvist or Dubnyk. Fire should be lit. Coach has been calm, and knows team is getting their chances…
But, what if this group of forwards is actually as bad as they appear to be? The mind boggles.