Forget the year of the horse, the 2013-14 season for the Carolina Hurricanes has been the year of the slide.
It’s hard to not expect them to be streaky when that’s all they’ve been since the puck dropped on the season in October. Win five games, drop four has been the MO; make a big win against a juggernaut like the San Jose Sharks, and drop one to the Florida Panthers. If a playoff spot wasn’t hanging in the balance, it would be almost amusing.
It’s not amusing.
Since the 2014 Winter Olympics break ended, Carolina has not won. Nothing. Not a thing. Including a loss to the complete joke of a team, the Buffalo Sabres. To pay Buffalo a backhanded compliment, they’ve been more consistent than Carolina this whole season. Consistently bad, but consistent nonetheless. If the Hurricanes were as awful a hockey team as Buffalo is, the slides would be palatable. Carolina is a frightfully talented and underperforming team though. They’re a good hockey team, and it’s asinine to see them slide.
Before the break, Hurricanes GM and walking liability Jim Rutherford made a statement by saying he’d turn the team around and some things will change and let’s hold some meetings. Blah blah blah, Rutherford. He made a trade or two, unloaded Tim Gleason, and gave head coach Kirk Muller a stern talking to. It put a win streak together, and then Rutherford went back to watching shiney objects and eating string cheese while the team fell apart again.
After dumping to the Los Angeles Kings Saturday and taking the trip down the 57 on Sunday to play the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina cannot just saunter in and play like it’s November. No matter who calls them the ‘Cardiac Canes‘ or tells them they can pull it off in the end, they aren’t. Anaheim is serious business, and to head up to San Jose with a real possibility of an oh-fer road trip hanging over them is unacceptable.
This is a coaching and management issue. Muller and Rutherford simply need to carry through on threats and promises. Muller needs to coach like it’s actually March, and Rutherford needs to be on the phone in preparation for the trade deadline.
The clock is ticking, and another playoff-less spring in Raleigh is not an appropriate way to thank the fans.