Cup contender is the success. Winning the Cup is the reward for a successful franchise. Moving to top 4 in the conference on a yearly basis is what defines you as a Cup contender, at least top four in most years.
Making the playoffs is part of the building process but isn't something that would define your franchise as successful. The fact that Howson stood pat in our one playoff year, and actually took away from the locker room as opposed to adding, speaks volumes to me about his belief in this franchise.
I can understand the mentality that went into the 2009 offseason; don't forget how decimated the playoff team was with injuries. Players who missed more than 30 games included Torres, Modin, Chimera, Klesla, Brassard, and Leclaire. Vermette had only the partial season after being acquired, and Filatov showed a lot during his brief callups.
In short, there was no reason to believe that there would be any type of downturn, because those who played the whole year weren't guys whose ability and production had peaked, or who were on the wrong side of their prime and suddenly had a huge year. The idea of 21 losses in 24 games was so far removed from what even the most pessimistic person could have expected or would have even said in passing.
Developing young players isn't a measure for success anymore than Nash scoring 40 goals from a franchise perspective. It can lead to success but isn't a measure of it. Wins and long playoff runs are how you measure success.
Unless you win the Cup, there should be no celebration the day after you are eliminated. There are some franchises that won't tolerate first round exits. Hell there are some that won't tolerate slow starts. Acceptance of our plight is the first problem. Bemoaning injuries and suspensions are excuses. Once the players hear you using them, you've planted the seed that failure is acceptable. A team like the Pens can lose super stars for months and still win. We lose a someone who isn't even a star for an eight game suspension and we're done.
But it still requires a realistic assessment of where a team is starting from and where it's ending up. First-round exits with a loaded team are different than one with an average team, injuries and suspensions can be better tolerated by a team with a lot of depth than one without, and I put minimal stock into what players or coaches say in public. And then we're getting into a discussion of whether Dan Bylsma is a better NHL coach than Scott Arniel, and that's not going to end well for Arniel.
Where was this franchise in 2007? To say that the front office or the coaching staff or the players as a whole have dramatically underachieved would require an honest and realistic assessment of what the starting point actually was. Obviously, my conclusions on that matter are a bit different than most other people.
I love watching hockey and as Skraut says it is entertainment to me, I don't live or die with the jackets, that I save for my son's teams. I will admit we did not go to a single CBJ game this year, reading this forum turned me off with all the complaining but that was not the total reason for not going. This year was spent on the road with the family and friends at my sons 60+ games and when home 100+ practices on and off the ice. But we did watch online or tv whenever possible.
As for success this season was not one, but it was a growing year. As the season started it looked promising with the new players SH brought in, thoughts that we would have a chance to make the playoffs and I am not the only one here that thought this way. Well that fell apart for some reason and no one here really knows why, no mater what they say here. But we did grow, SH grew to realize there weren't enough smart players with heart that would go all out to win, Nash grew to realize he may want to go somewhere else, but after the trades that were made maybe he will stay. This team is 11 years old and growing, most of them are young and are growing together, this year of experiences will teach them something important. After Richards took over this team continued to work better together and the PP looked good, not great, the D looked better and they started putting pucks in the net and winning games at the end of the season. They couldn't even do during the playoff year. There will be no success for most fans until they make playoffs, but we did have some successes at growing as a team. There will never be success if we keep taring down the franchise every 4 years.
I love watching hockey and as Skraut says it is entertainment to me, I don't live or die with the jackets, that I save for my son's teams. I will admit we did not go to a single CBJ game this year, reading this forum turned me off with all the complaining but that was not the total reason for not going. This year was spent on the road with the family and friends at my sons 60+ games and when home 100+ practices on and off the ice. But we did watch online or tv whenever possible...
You choose for yourself how to spend your family's time and money, but letting our complaining decide for you may not be the wisest way to go. If the posts turn you off to participating in the forum, that's reasonable, but seeing NHL hockey in your town is a separate thing. Take your son to see the best game on the planet. Put us all on Ignore!