No doubt the players will continue to talk a good game, most of them seem to be giving all they have.
Having written this, when a team plays fourteen games, and it's painfully obvious they are too old, small, slow, not physical enough in virtually every game, it's obvious that things are only going to get worse, as the schedule and frustration mount.
Colorado, Vancouver were not even playing well.
What's The Problem Exactly?
As written in every blog entry, the veterans brought in or returning defenders simply have too much mileage on them. Impossible for the Isles younger/faster forwards (with MacDonald/Hamonic) to play the game outnumbered in all three zones.
Most of the Isles five on five offensive chances are generated off turnovers, or point shots, exact opposite of the formula that worked in the second half a year ago with a more mobile defense, that had some physical players.
Kyle Okposo only had five goals in second half of last season, few noticed because Grabner was on his line scoring with Nielsen, who has three even strength goals, but is creating little so Nielsen is more noticeable without shorthanded goals/penalty shots.
The Brian Rolston trade to bring in the Devils forty points/forty games in second half forward of last season has failed because he needs to play left wing. So far, that decision has hurt Comeau, Bailey and now forced Grabner to change his position, being that it's obvious Comeau cannot play right wing.
The Isles Pk with Reasoner and Pandolfo have not been exploited yet to a large degree, but it's the exact opposite of last year's team when Bailey, Grabner and Nielsen attacked other teams and put them on the defensive.
Jack Capuano: See no fault or blame with the head coach. His comments early in season suggested he knew this was not enough, and his team most nights has worked hard. No line changes with slower forwards or a very slow defense are going to work.
Capuano looks like he is over matched and knows it going into games, his changes have not helped Comeau, Okposo, or Bailey and likely will take it's toll on Grabner, and it looks like frustration bordering on desperation calling out his players again.
Garth Snow: The blame goes entirely on the general manager. For the same reasons he moved on from Trent Hunter and others, he needed to recognize the returning defenders, plus Staios made for a very slow, old, turnover prone mix that failed in November/Early Dec of 2010. What did he really expect from Jay Pandolfo, or Steve Staios?
As I wrote previously, he doubled-down on a weakness already there with his backline and went back to what failed in Nov/Early Dec of 2010.
It's failed again.
Jack Hillen, Bruno Gervais, Radek Martinek, Ty Wishart, Dylan Reese may have had flaws/injuries to their games, but skating was not one of them. Folks now see how valuable Martinek was when he was moving well with the puck.
Marty Reasoner looks like a player who Florida moved on from at the right time, or his camp injury plus a struggling club has take it's toll, his thirteen goals should have made him a huge improvement over Zenon Konopka's fights by appointment, but it has not. Haley's ability to fight (not score) is more valuable than Jay Pandolfo's contribution.
With Calvin deHaan likely out with a shoulder injury, the gm seems reluctant to call up Ty Wishart, who was successful in twenty games here last season.
Garth Snow boxed himself in good with the roster he constructed or let return from November 2010. Other teams see it and know they can force play most games.
Charles Wang: No blame at all. Like most teams he cannot offer front-loaded contracts to players. He was spending well over forty million before the league had a salary floor, after Snow traded Wisniewski/Roloson's 4.5 million last December with no roster return, the club was still over the cap.
The UFA defender market was not a good one, the Isles made a trade and Christian Ehrhoff signed for huge front-loaded money, same as Wisniewski.
With all the teams in new buildings bleeding red ink, getting taxpayer funds or exemptions, there is no blame that can be given to Charles Wang.
But why would anyone want to notice these things?