Where are our new heroes each game? We lack skill players. Very apparent at last nights game that even though you may outwork the other team it is still skill we are lacking. Going to those hard places, trying to get those "garbage" goals, outworking the other team, this all sounds great and sometimes works out. But trying to outwork the other team every night is not going to happen. Hitch knows this, but he has what he has. Next to last in scoring, middle of the back pack, this is oh so familiar. Love having a local team but I am so sick of this I don't know whether to renew next year or not. This team continually does not do what it takes to get better, but I am supposed to believe this is the year they do.
First this team 'ain't the same team we've seen in the past.'
The managemnet is different - new President, GM and coach (full year anyway.) They took what they had and did what they could. And look at what they've done.
This team is much improved over last year. Let's start with some numbers.
While we have only 1 more win than last year (so far) we have pushed 4 more games into overtime or a shootout and have 6 more points than last year (with 4 more games to play).
If Nashville or Vancouver (currently 8th seeds at 86 pts) win out and we lose out we will finish a maximum of 15 pts out of 8th vs 23 pts out last year - an improvement of 4 wins (again - if we lose out.)
We've also been shut out far fewer times than last year - 5 vs 16.
Our goals against average is down by nearly half a point (3.06 vs 2.60)
Our goals for average is down by only .07 per game and that is with a reduction of 25 goals between Vyborny and Modin (.32/game).
Now some items that are less quantifiable..
We have depth like never before. Look at our lineup - a third of it started the year in Syracuse or played there last year and half of that will be back there next year.
We can go out and get two or three very good players with the money we won't be spending on F&F alone.
What this management group has done with what it had, combined with a stash of cash and some bargaining chips like depth and perhaps an extra draft pick or two to trade, I can't fathom how you can say 'they never get better' and not expect next year to be the best ever.
In regards to pre-season predictions: No, who was "right" or "wrong" doesn't really matter. But I've been re-reading those old threads, and I highly recommend others do as well. They can teach us all why we shouldn't cop attitudes when making and defending predictions