RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Podcast Open in Mobile App

« In the Name of Doug: Sixers Go Two Games Over .500 with Win over Golden State | Main | It is time to get out of Afghanistan and use the money at home »

Hitting the Panic Button

Every team in the NHL experiences ups and downs over the course of an 82 game season, some with higher ceilings and others that are bottom feeders. The contenders, pretenders, and the ones that are just out of it half way through or even from the get-go it seems. When a club gets into a losing skid (which is bound to happen in this competitive league), some fans and pundits bring up the proverbial "Panic Button," the point of total misfortune that demands severe action and changes of personnel and philosophy. Or so they think.


Take what we saw with the Capitals during 24/7. Most of the four-part series documented the Penguins riding high and Sidney Crosby's productive 25 game point-scoring streak, then having the Caps on the other side of the coin going through a tough stretch that in turn has put the Lightning in contention in the Southeast. The episodes had given narration of the media and the talk radio waves calling for drastic change and for coach Bruce Boudreau to be gone.

But when HBO asked Boudreau and Caps GM George McPhee about these outcries, they explained that they wouldn't be shaken from their course. Their take was, "if they knew that much about the game, they'd be in the game." An idea with an awful lot of logic to match with its brevity, and the series ended with Washington beating Pittsburgh in the Winter Classic 3-1. Even more recently the Capitals were seen as buyers at the trade deadline, getting Jason Arnott and Dennis Wideman. A lot of the same pundits saw these moves as a completion of a roster than can contend in the East come playoff time. Far from what a team so close to "hitting the Panic Button" would be considered two months before.

Screen shot 2011-03-06 at 11.03.09 PM

The Capitals have certainly righted the shift and have kept where they belong, which is at the top of the Southeast and searching for home ice advantage in the playoffs. They have weathered their mid-season storm and have returned to form.

But there's other ways that critics can peg the Panic Button on a team. Look at today's Flyers-Rangers game and this headline for example. Philadelphia's 7-0 loss on Broadway pushed their losing streak to four games and allowed the Bruins (who are looking very strong) to get within a win of the top spot in the East.

When a front-runner like the Flyers suffers a skid that hits four or more games, some fans and followers start to wonder if there are any problems budding with the organization. But the fact is with the success and the productive pace a top club puts up throughout the year, a bump in the road of this size can just seem magnified. People aren't used to seeing them struggle and it will only be soon before talented teams right the ship. But nothing like this can happen come playoff time, no matter where you are in the standings.

So what does the Panic Button really come from? It comes from the media, it comes from panicking fans. What does it mean to the club? Nothing. It didn't mean anything in Washington and it won't rattle a Peter Laviolette coached team. If a team can get into the postseason, there's no real worry. Take the 7-8 matchup in the East Finals last year. The teams that need to be the most desperate but still don't panic are the ones within a few points of the 8th spot. So get ready for some great hockey coming from Carolina, Toronto, and the log jam out West in the race for the playoffs. No matter what thankfully, the "Panic Button" isn't going to be a factor.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Hitting the Panic Button:


The comments to this entry are closed. Video Corner

MTR Radio: Click Below to Listen Online Now 24/7!

blog advertising is good for you


View My Stats