What Went Wrong?
What went wrong? We all ask that at the end of the regular season. I’d like to give my opinion on a few teams. Anyone is welcome to leave their opinion of “What Went Wrong”.
Let me start with my team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. What went wrong? Injuries basically. It all started in the preseason, when Billy Tibbets or some other minor leaguer took a run at Mario Lemieux during training camp and hurt his hip. The Pens weren’t off to an ideal start, but things were clicking, Last year’s play-off sensation, Johan Hedberg, was playing a “lil off”, but Martin Straka, Alexei Kovalev and Robert Lang were playing great. Then Straka went down during a game against the Florida Panthers. The Kovie against the Buffalo Sabres. All of a sudden all the Pens had left was Lang. Hedberg played terrific through November and December, but he died off in the New Year; and from then on out it was all down hill… though Mario made a brillant 5 game streak a one point, but then called it quits after the Olympics.
Now onto the New York Rangers. The year started great. They were scoring, they let by a lot of shots, but Mike Ritcher (determinded for a medal in Salt Lake) stood on his head to stop them and earned a nod for the Olympics. The entire team was playing great (Vladimir Malakhov was the +/- leader was one point, crazy huh?) Then the Big E (Eric Lindros) went down with a knee injury. Things seemed ok though, he returned soon. Then came another concussion, his seventh, which hurt the entire teams morale, and they began to slip ever so slowly. Pavel Bure, acquired from the Panthers almost got them back in the hunt, but too little too late.
The Edmonton Oilers: things looked nothing but promising for the Oilers through the beginning months. Ryan Smyth was scoring, Anson Carter was scoring, Mike Comrie was scoring: darn almost everyone was scoring! Tommy Salo was playing great. The defense was holding strong. Then Smyth went down with an ankle injury and things started to slip. Although he made a heroic return early in the new year, he wasn’t nearly as effective as he was in the beginning of the season. After the Olympics, Salo seemed off his game for a few weeks (with good reason). They got it together in April, but once again it was too little too late.
The Buffalo Sabres: this was expected sort of. They never really scored a lot. The team was built around Hasek, so, therefore, you trade Hasek and of course the team falters. Martin Biron looked promising though. He had a rough month in December and another one in January, but things were looking up going into April, they were looking as though they might just sneak in there. Then the roof caved in and they just fell out of the hunt.
Well that is my opinion of what went wrong for 4 of the teams that looked like they were going to pull it off. I didn’t bother to mention Thereon Fleury in my part about the Rangers: I’d just go on a rant for hours about that guy. Post your opinions on what you think went wrong.