I’ll be the first to admit that this season has been difficult to watch. In fact, it’s honestly been unbearable. We’ve seen this team struggle before, and most of us have been around long enough to see this team fight through a rebuild. But believe me when I say this: this one is different.
I know what you’re thinking, mostly because I see your comments on social media. “We’ve been watching this for 23 years! It should be better!”. Look, I agree, we do deserve better. We deserve to be watching meaningful games in March; not 6-2 poundings by a team who stole our best player away four years ago.
We don’t deserve to see this team in the tank, vying for a lottery spot against teams that we should honestly beat 10/10 times if we play them head to head. But it hasn’t gone our way this year, that’s a fact. This team was constructed to take a step forward this year, which meant perhaps a run at a wild card spot in the playoffs – but a slow start, compounded by injuries to some of the most important players on the roster, derailed any chance of this team making a push.
But – bear with me here – this time, it really is different. I know you probably don’t want to hear it. Many of you won’t agree with me and will simply respond by telling us all that Jarmo Kekalainen is the wrong man for the job. He’s had ten years, only one series win to show for it, etc. I get that frustration, I feel it too.
Before we dive too deep into this thing, let me make one point: the reason this team is so disappointing this year, is because, on paper, this is one of the best rosters we’ve ever had.
Is that really up for much debate? This team entered the season with two prime-aged, elite skilled wingers. They had two veteran wingers to balance out the top-six; as well as some seriously promising rookies coming into the lineup. The real question marks were on defense and down the middle, but still, a lot of us thought this team could take steps in the right direction. Whether you saw playoff potential or not, the reason this season has hurt so much, is because we expected more from this group.
Think about that for just a minute and answer this question: with that in mind, is it really fair to call for a new GM, during the rebuild, in a season where the team will end up with 500+ man games lost to injury? Honestly, he deserves credit for scrambling and icing a team we thought could be so much better this year, after losing all of the talent he’s lost in the last four years. These are the up front reasons why I’m still believing in Jarmo’s plan, but there’s a lot more to this puzzle we need to discuss…