Overall, the Canes are 5-6-3 with 13 points - enough to gain them 11th in the Eastern Conference and 4th in the Southeast. This is slightly worse than last year around this time, where the Canes were 7-7-0 and 10th in the East. Oh boy.
I haven't been keeping up with the team as much as normal... but what I've been able to listen to and read about on the internet does not give me warm and fuzzy feelings. Eric Staal, our wonderful captain, is taking after the last captain in that he has the worst plus/minus in the league at -16. (Out of all the things to take after Brind'Amour in, he chooses the plus/minus...) He also only has 5 points through 14 games and hasn't gotten a point in the last five, which is not necessarily the rate that we want our star player to be producing at.
Another alarming trend for the Canes is that they seem to not have enough fire in the game (specifically the last two losses).
"I don't have an explanation for it, but we did not have the fire in order to win that game," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "And that's the bottom line. Whether it's your passing, your hitting, whatever it is."
The above quote was taken from the recap from the Washington loss on Friday. The part that is concerning to me is the "I don't have an explanation for it" section - he's the coach, he ought to have a reason for why the team plays like crap. Granted, this is coming from someone who was hoping the Canes would completely tank so that Maurice was fired - but it really really frustrates me to be reading these sorts of quotes. Because what happened after the Washington game? The Canes turned around and lost to Dallas in a game that wasn't even really a game after going down early. You would expect to see some change, but apparently that's too much to ask.
I go back to a game two weeks ago, where the Canes lost in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators. The led the Senators in shots the first period, and I actually had a warm and fuzzy feeling about the team. They then allowed Ottawa to score two goals in the second and the team generally plays like crap from there on until five minutes left in the the third when Ruutu scored a fluke goal. I don't think I've ever been so frustrated at a game I wasn't watching. Listening to Chuck K call this game was like listening to every poor game from last season. The Canes can't score and only play at tops 20 minutes of good hockey, hoping that a last minute drive will pull them out of a hole.
Because this team seems like the exact same team as last year, with some cast changes. They're frustratingly inconsistent and seem to be going nowhere. I don't see anything changing, which is not good as the present is not looking particularly positive. I really really hope they get rid of Maurice - I hate to see anyone out of a job, but I really don't see what option the team has. Nothing is different. Nothing is exciting. Nothing is making me want to turn off Pandora and listen to the Canes while I work. I know that waiting for me is a team with a lack of passion, at least until the third period when it could be too late.
So, yeah, that's my bitter monthly update.