One or two games does not make a season -- not even when your season's been truncated to 48 games. All fans and teams have heard about since the lockout ended is that it's important to start fast, that every point matters, and that letting two points slip away could be the difference between making the playoffs or playing golf.
It's true that way during a normal 82-game regular season, too -- so why are fans of teams off to a stuttering start panicking? Granted, yes, there is a lot less time to make up that lost ground, and that should be cause for concern. Two games, however, is such a minute sample size. You can't judge anything after a couple of games, especially since a lot of these guys haven't seen the ice with a team since last April. Not every player was fortunate enough to play with a European league.
Training camps were short before the season started as well. The Flyers' penalty kill right now is indicative of what happens when you don't have any time to practice special teams before the season starts. The Rangers' defense is clunky, and Vancouver's doesn't look any better. They haven't had a pre-season to work through any of this; give them time, and it is more likely than not that these problems will fix themselves.
Detroit has played exactly one game without All-Star defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. They looked terrible in their 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night, but they're also decimated by injuries. That's not stopping some column writers from declaring that blow-out just the "start of an epic failure."
It was a terrible game for the Wings, yes (as a disclaimer, I am a Blues fan, but I do realize that the win was helped along by a Detroit team that played like pylons -- Kyle Quincey, I'm looking at you), but it isn't something that can't be looked at and adjusted. It doesn't portend a dark and stormy playoff future. None of these starts do. Call me in ten games, and if these teams haven't improved, then we'll talk. As it stands, I'm pretty sure that Detroit, New York, Philly, and Vancouver will all easily make the playoffs barring some catastrophe, and one or two games isn't one of those.
Photo Credit: Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY Sports
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