NHL players and fans are optimistic heading into a new season. Even with potential holes in the roster, hope endures that a Stanley Cup might be within reach. This hope usually fades if a club stumbles out of the gate or if problems develop which don't have an easy solution.
Claude Giroux is a man with hope. Giroux believes that despite Philadelphia's 1-7-0 start, his Flyers are playoff bound in 2013-14. Is Giroux realistic, optimistic or perhaps completely insane?
His comments to the Philadelphia Daily News:
We're not far off at all. How many points are we out, six? To think of the start that we had and we're that close . . . we never thought about not making the playoffs. We've got to go game by game and we will make the playoffs.
Giroux is essentially saying that it's early and we shouldn't count his team out. He's right, it is early, but let's be realistic here. His Flyers are off to a dreadful start and even though there's a lot of season left, the Flyers have some major issues. After eight games the Flyers are averaging just 1.38 goals per contest (29th in the NHL) and they're allowing 3.00 a night (23rd in the NHL).
We all knew goaltending would be a big issue for the Flyers, but perhaps the most troubling development is the fact some of Philadelphia's most influential offensive skaters haven't shown up. This includes Giroux and his inability to light the lamp through eight games.
The Flyers will rebound and Giroux will start scoring goals again, but it might be a stretch to assume (or even hope) this team is playoff bound.