I was foolish in thinking this team was going to make huge gains and make some noise under first year head coach Mike Yeo. I was excited for how well they were playing. But even when the team was hovering in the top three spots in the Western Conference standings I knew it was a bit of a mirage since their goal +/- was around zero, obviously this is a sign they should have been closer to .500 and an eight seed instead of a division lead.
After last night's 5-1 loss to Philadelphia, the Mild have won two out of their last 16 games. In those 16 games consider:
- They've amassed eight points
- They've won one game in regulation
- They've been outscored by 26 goals
- They've averaged 1.6 goals per game
In the modern day NHL where it is really hard not to average a point in the standings every night, this is as embarrassing of a run as anything the Vikings and Timberwolves have produced in recent memory.
Now to be fair the team has battled injuries. It's hard to lose top-six forwards like Guillamue Latendresse, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Devin Setoguchi and now All-Star captain Mikko Koivu to injury.
But this isn't exactly the Oilers of yesteryear losing Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jarri Kurri and Glen Anderson. Judging by the goal differential when the team was riding high they were not a "kick-ass offense" as former Vikings head coach Brad Childress would say.
Latendresse scored 25 goals in 55 games two seasons ago and has played 17 games combined the last two seasons.
Bouchard is out again with concussion-like symptons. Something that cost him all but one game of the '09/'10 season and 30odd games last year. I'm not going to pile on the guy because the concussion stuff is serious business but for a playmaker who never met an empty net he would shoot at, a number eight overall pick, and someone whose best season was compiling 50 assists he has to be as overrated as it gets.
Bouchard is lucky other first round draft picks from the Doug Risebrough era (A.J. Thielen, Benoit Pouliot, James Sheppard, and Colton Gillies) played a combined 378 games before being released from the organization, if any one of them lived up to their potential who knows how the fans would view Bouchard, it's just that he actually helped the team even a little bit that fans like him.
And don't you dare give me that "but he does the little things" b***s**t because that is all we ever hear.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard: Well he does the little things!
Martin Havlat: Well he does the little things!
Cal Clutterbuck: Well he does the little things!
Mark Parrish: Well he does the little things!
Andrew Brunette: Well he does the little things!
John Madden: Well he does the little things!
Matt Cullen: Well he does the little things!
These guys have had varying degrees of success in the lineup, but if all these forwards do all the little things how come they haven't made the playoffs in three seasons and unless there's a Tebowian miracle better make it a fourth consecutive Spring.
Setoguchi has been hurt a bit and was even benched for a game last week for missing a practice. He owned up to it but you had to expect more out of the 25 year-old who came from San Jose.
Dany Heatly is on pace for about 25 goals, about what I expected, but then he doesn't even get a shot off last night in Philly without Koivu in the lineup. Unbelievable.
Koivu and his shoulder injury buries this team and their playoff chances, the panic move will be trading Josh Harding for 45 cents on the dollar to Tampa Bay surely for a little things guy, hopefully a defenseman.
This organization is lucky they have young talent that will be coming in next couple of seasons, but I have to ask the question if all we are waiting for is the next Bouchard or Latendresse then I might as well start rooting for the Blackhawks.
Why the hell would a guy like Zach Parise want to come here as a free agent then?
Forget it I'm sick of having injury prone players who play that "little things" philosophy like the Twins. To quote former Baltimore Oriole Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver who once eloquently said "Ya get them big c***s*****s that can hit the ball out of the ballpark and you can't make any mistakes." Well one of these prospects better be able to put a puck in the net because no one else seems to be able or want to.
The organization should be just as ashamed of themselves as I am myself for falling for their success.