Sorry to write folks, after only six games, with a very light schedule ahead until mid-November, there is no time for anything but winning or a sustained streak/not losing in regulation.
The first segment is in the books, 3-3, with a lot of serious questions and a team that looked nothing like it did from mid Dec 2010/mid March 2011, this does not call for a patient approach when a rested team is outplayed to this degree.
One period where Tampa fell asleep is all they have to show for their five on five play, most of this season's offense is all PP/point shots to produce goals.
As we saw after 4-1-2 a year ago, it did not last when the pp struggled.
Despite games in hand, New York losses to Pittsburgh on Tuesday in Richard Park's return, they will trail them by ten points in the standings. The recent history at Pittsburgh has been terrible so that could easily become twelve.
After that San Jose, Winnipeg, Washington at home, then some serious road travel with Boston, Colorado and Vancouver.
Then things finally pick up schedule-wise, but will things be so out of hand by this point, realistic contention will be on the fringe of being over?
Either the club figures out it's even strength/offensive and defensive speed/coverage problems by this point or they will find themselves approaching the eight-ten point cutoff behind the eighth seed before mid-November, likely four/five games under.
NHL five hundred is nowhere, this team has to find itself at least ten-twelve games above that number to be in contention, that may still not be enough.
Garth Snow's tenure should be on the line here if this team drops out of contention, going with his Nov 2010 choices on the backline in Eaton or Mottau, plus signing Staios and if his choices in Pandolfo, Reasoner and Rolston simply do not produce.
If Blake Comeau is again a lost player for half a season or longer that goes on management for not leaving him where he was productive in the second half, and how that effects Josh Baily with no regular right winger. Also there is no hiding the lack of five on five production Nielsen and Okposo have never had long before Okposo got hurt.
Jack Capuano also will have to be accountable for his lineup decisions, something he rarely changed with his forwards last season.
NYIFC personal take is this defense is too slow, they are not going to win games banging bodies because they do not have that kind of defender.
If they can win over the better part of four months with Wishart, Hillen, Reese, a revolving door of injuries last year without Streit, it's time to use some of those future considerations or put Mottau on waivers/AHL, Staios in the stands, while limiting Eaton's minutes or including him in a trade.
Milan Jurcina is also a very disposable part, he can also be moved for a low level pick or someone that helps.
Wishart, deHaan, Reese go into the lineup and perhaps one of Donovan/Ness.
Pandolfo is not a great shutdown, NHL defender, he's not going to produce much or win games with speed or physical play. The club needs a physical element beyond Gillies three minutes, so recall Michael Haley or put Rolston on a fourth line.
When things are not working you try and replicate what did work.
Here were the defenders dressed when New York finally broke out on 12/16/10:
A. MacDonald 25:53
T. Hamonic 23:38
J. Hillen 12:46
M. Jurcina 13:19
R. Martinek 20:57
J. Wisniewski 22:25
Obviously that group did not stay healthy or together for long, a lot of games the goaltending was the story.
They cannot bring back the 2010-11 defenders who are no longer here, but they can call up defenders with the speed to get the offense producing. No one is going to convince me the players are not in the system/current organization with Streit to replace some of the speed no longer here.
I do not believe older, slower defenders become faster, even if rust melts off their games from a long time out. It's a shock-blocking defense, that is so slow it forces the forwards to play the game in the defensive zone.
This offense requires a faster, more mobile defense to get the other team on the defensive.
The November 2010 defense that featured only injured Mark Streit, MacDonald is not the answer.
Travis Hamonic came up Nov 24th, a year ago.