I do not want to be critical of a team because some players are out with the flu, clearly this goes well beyond one game.
We are at the point a game they give up over forty five shots and score three shorthanded goals is a great effort overall?
Tonight's goal was off the tail end of a Kings power play where Berard made a good read and stole a puck.
Fair to write Ted Nolan's merit system and his patience with a lot of players is being pushed to the max this season and it also seems he is running out of things to try. We have seen this before where the lines are shaken up, when that does not work they go back to the same combinations.
It's also fair to write many are living up to their reputations as players who just are not consistent scorers on a team desperate for offense.
Did anyone go into this season expecting thirty goals from Josef Vasicek and consistent scoring all year?
Did we expect a repeat of Ruslan Fedotenko's big year in Tampa?
Were Bill Guerin and Mike Comrie going to carry a first line without a first line left winger?
Can Richard Park contribute as a first line player in terms of offensive numbers?
Was Andy Hilbert going to have a breakout season?
You go into these things hoping one or two of them work out with career seasons and that things balance out.
Were getting our answers and unfortunately it seems to be no on all fronts.
This does not even touch on the scoring consistency from Sillinger, Hunter or Satan who's offense is critical to the teams success.
Many will recall last year after 1/31/07 this club was a game over five hundred but out of nowhere Sillinger-Hunter-Hilbert scored a bunch of goals and the team got on a winning streak that saw them lose three times in regulation over twenty games.
Isles have just lost three regulation games in a row. The five on five play from last year is completely different which got a lot of those games a year ago to overtime and produced that streak.
This year it's not happening and for all of Blake Comeau or Sean Bergenheim's hard work and good long-term signs most games it's not realistic for them to produce on a consistent basis at this point in their careers.
I'm not sure we have seen rock bottom yet because the loss of Campoli to this defense is huge and on a team playing with virtually no margin for error one mistake from anyone can be the difference.
We saw some big mistakes from the team defense against Ottawa from both the forwards and defenders, we saw them tonight where Dubie made a few big saves.
I think Ted Nolan is facing the biggest challenge of his coaching career to get this team to play a sixty minute game at this point and put together the kind of hard working team he projected them to be. Full games where the Isles carry the play just are not what this team seems capable of doing.
We are also well past the point of players settling in to a new team because we have seen Comrie and Guerin have stretches with some goals and points, Guerin got settled in here during his hot December stretch. Comrie had his breakout game against Ottawa recently.
We are also seeing this teams defense produce more than it's offense at times.
I really don't think there is an answer with the talent on the roster. I do not see callups from Bridgeport solving anything and to do this you have to move some players.
The kind of shakeup they need could cost them their young talent or a veteran like Satan. Will it produce any answers or just be a lateral move that would be shortsighted to give up a prospect.
Are the Isles out of contention? Obviously no one is out of anything. They are due for some good efforts and a few wins, but it's fair to acknowledge it could start to fall apart from here, the schedule is brutal and despite Los Angeles winning recently that was a game the Isles needed to come out and outwork the Kings.
It is starting to look like they will be at best a low playoff seed. The separation in the standings from the top clubs is only growing with the teams below them catching up quickly. One thing I do see is a club not capable of winning more than a few games in a row.
Also I do not see five teams from one division qualifying.
Lot's of questions, no answers.