As the season hits the quarter pole, expectations are being revised. Teams like the Canadiens, Flyers and Avalanche have impressed with strong starts and generated talk of what they might need to put them over the top.
Of course, for every club already on the fast track to the playoffs, there's another whose dreams have been staggered, if not derailed, by a brutal start. For those teams, the question is simple: Can this season be saved?
The team that couldn't miss last season can't finish now. The league's most potent offense in 2006-07 (3.63 goals per game) ranks 21st (2.70), and has scored just five goals in its last five games.
What's gone wrong: Much like the Stars, the team they knocked off in a grueling seven-game first-round series that will be remembered as a benchmark of offensive ineptitude, the Canucks failed to address their most glaring need in the offseason. Only one team (St. Louis) has scored fewer goals than Vancouver's 41, and the Blues have played just 15 games thus far to the Canucks' 17. The tap is especially dry at home, where the Canucks have scored just 15 goals in nine games. While the Sedin twins have been customarily solid, and
The Canucks were able to work around similar struggles last season thanks to an airtight defense backed by the best goalie in the West:
Without Niedermayer, coach
The rebuilt blueline, featuring
Don't overlook the lack of lineup consistency as a factor. Edmonton already has made 18 player moves with Springfield of the AHL in an effort to spark the team. The results of this shuffling of deck chairs speak for themselves.
On the bright side, the early reviews have been glowing for rookies