Now I'm not saying the Caps will be 9th after 30 games (the Thrashers made the coaching change at game 7 and the Caps made the change at 22), but there is a lot of time left and there is no point to give up on this team yet.
They need a nice winning streak before the playoffs are even in the picture again. At or above .500 by Christmas would be a nice start, and set them up nicely for a streak in the spring to get them in.
Also, shrew deadline acquisition might help a lot.
I predicted Hanlon would be gone by XMAS and got an early gift to right this sinking ship. I think there is plenty of time to patch the hull and make a run this season. I think we gave Hanlon a final chance with a full lineup so it took a little longer than Atlanta.
If the Caps make the playoffs, I would not want to be the team that gets them in the first round....unless it were the Penguins, of course. The Caps would get lost on the way to the arena if it were the Pens.
Really, though, if the Caps make the playoffs they will have played the last half of the season like a top 4 seed and will be no fun to play against in round one.
I am going to reserve judgement on all of that. IF Boudreau can get the team back to playing defense like they were when they were 6th in the conference in goals against AND keep the power play goals coming regularly, the Caps could win 15 outof 20.
I think Hanlon got one or two games with Semin and Clark back. But it is indeed a long season and we will certainly have to be peaking going into the playoffs if we make it, so we are looking good all things equal. It is such a long season and so many teams make the playoffs, its not too late. I rarely check the standings this time of year. Watching the first place Caps bow out in the first round many moons ago made me realize the standings arent as important as I thought they were.
Atlanta won 10 out of 14 games, after their terrible start to get back into it. I think that it would take the Caps the same kind of stretch to get back into the middle of things.
They have 13 games before Christmas, and it would take 9 wins and a OTL to get back to .500.
Hanlon is a class act and a great person, who gave it his all, at least in my opinion. I don't think you need to bash him every chance you get. He wasn't the right person for the job and he probably had some bad luck in there that made it worse and then he lost his job. He's gone and he won't do any more damage to this team, so I think it's time to let go.