Here we are, redefining the term "laughingstock", mired at 15th place in the conference. The league? Twenty-ninth. Only Dallas is statistically worse, and there's no way The Brett Hull Experience will allow for that much longer.
Perennial jokes such as Atlanta, Columbus, and Phoenix (um, sorry) are looking down at us in the standings. Every respectable MSM Power Ranking has Florida in 29th or 30th (and you wonder where I've gone with those updates...how many different routes can I travel to arrive at the same spot?).
My two cents? Thanks for asking:
- The "D" is far too porous for a group of this sort. Cullimore escaped serious injury and is day-to-day. Bryan Allen remains the only long-term casualty. Welch has proven to be capable of playing respectably, if unspectacularly, each night. Boynton? Big, strong, fearless...and the perfect complement to conjoined twin - and new fan-favorite - Keith Ballard. Skrastins? Does it all (just ask Phil Kessel). Seriously, steady and reliable. Bryan McCabe? Awesome PP addition, less-than-stellar 5-on-5 play (but we knew this before he arrived). Who's the other guy? Starts with a "B"? The guy who's value is dropping faster than his team's? Oh well...must not be important.
- Goaltending? What's to say? Andy's been the star to this point, but neither he nor Vokoun has - realistically, salaries aside - locked up the starter's spot. Reliability and consistency have been frightening concerns, but face it folks...this tandem is what we've got for the year, and we all know they are both far superior than recent performances have shown. This should at the very least improve.
- Weiss? Vanilla. Horton? Back on the wing. Give it another game or two. Complete flop at center. Booth? As usual, the point of ignition for the entire offense. Stillman? Ah, what could have been. Once again, the Cats need a center. Like really really double badly now. Nylander from Washington? Big contract, little return in his second stint with the Caps. And dealing with a divisional foe is never without great risk. Could he work with Horts? Or (currently benched) Olesz? Might be quite a spark. Who to deal away? Yikes...the Caps are a positionally-sound club, though some cheap defensive help probably wouldn't be frowned upon. What do I know...I'm at work.
To borrow an overused phrase in PantherLand, I'm "frustrated". Sure would be nice if JM gave some indication of life with his office.