Is there a Stanley Cup hangover in Los Angeles?
What’s happened to the Bruins?
Is this the same King Henrik?
Everyone stop. Stop this madness. It’s ridiculous. Yes, now that we are in the regular season, each game matters towards the race to qualify for the playoffs. However, the first few games don’t dictate everything.
After their opening night loss at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, rumors about the Kings falling on their face after a summer long party were already underway. However, the Kings boast way too much talent to not be able to compete. Henrik Lundqvist, one of the best at his job in the world, was ridiculed after Toronto lit up the scoreboard in the second period in the Rangers home opener. Should everyone be up in arms about his poor performance, or for a team’s slow start out of the gate?
No, they shouldn’t be. After the dress rehearsals, the regular season is a faster, more polished brand of hockey than the preseason and training camp. Players need a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things. The first five or so games won’t guarantee that your favorite team will or will not make the playoffs.
Last season, the Bruins started off the season 1-3-0. Flash forwards a few months, and Boston won the President’s Trophy. This season, the Bruins have stumbled out of the gate again. With uninspired play, the Bruins looked lost on the ice. However, with a locker room full of veterans and a roster oozing with top notch, the Bruins won’t be relegated to the middle of the Eastern conference and should be able to pick up the pace.
Let’s look at past examples to prove that the first few games don’t dictate much: Columbus stumbled to begin their season, with a chilly 0-3-1 to their name. They played Metropolitan division champion Pittsburgh Penguins extremely hard in the first round of the playoffs and flashed great potential. The Toronto Maple Leafs (4-0-1), New Jersey Devils (3-0-1), and Washington Capitals (5-0-0) all got off to blistering starts before failing to qualify for the tournament that actually matters.
Yes, the beginning of a season definitely sets a tone. Every game matters, so no team wants to start in the hole. Chasing down a divisional opponent is a position no team wants to be in the spring. But zero championships have been won in October, so no team (unless they are getting blown out of the water by their opponents) should be freaking out about a poor start.