It’s never too early for some good old-fashioned panicking. We’re only a week into the National Hockey League season, and most NHL teams have played either two or three games. That’s not a lot, but it’s enough: we can already see that some teams are not going to have a great 2015-2016 season.
Maybe they showed up unprepared, or maybe their front offices’ off-season tinkering hasn’t done them any favors. Maybe a new coach is the solution, or maybe they just need a small winning streak to get things back together.
Whatever the reason and whatever the solution, there can be no doubt that some teams are already in trouble just a few games into the season. Here are our picks for the teams that look the worst of all. If you’re a fan of any of these teams, it’s time to start worrying.
Anaheim Ducks (0-2-0)
The Ducks were a popular preseason pick to win it all this year, but so far they’ve won exactly nothing. They’re 0-2 with losses to the San Jose Sharks and the Vancouver Canucks, and they’ve only scored one goal so far this year. That one goal came from a defenseman, so the Anaheim offense has a lot to answer for already. Maybe this team came in thinking about the end of the season. Whatever the case, it’s time to start thinking about the here and now.
Columbus Blue Jackets (0-3-0)
The Blue Jackets have allowed 13 goals in three games. Naturally, they won none of them. The Blue Jackets don’t look focused, and they’re getting killed on defense and special teams because of it. You can forgive the losses to the New York Rangers, but how do the Blue Jackets excuse getting beat by the Buffalo Sabres?
Los Angeles Kings (0-2-0)
There must be something in the water (or lack of it) in SoCal. Neither the Kings nor the Ducks can put anything together. The Kings seem to have particular trouble with stopping other teams from scoring: they’ve allowed 9 goals in two games. Jonathan Quick doesn’t look good so far, though his defense isn’t doing much to help him. There’s plenty of blame to go around here.
Pittsburgh Penguins (0-2-0)
Like the Ducks, the Penguins have played two games and walked away with no wins and a single goal. Sidney Crosby hasn’t even taken a shot yet this season, and the last time he went two games in a row without one was 2010. Wasn’t the addition of Phil Kessel supposed to revitalize this offense? So much for that.
Winnipeg Jets (2-1-0)
The Jets were the NHL’s most penalized team in the 2014-2015 season, and becoming more disciplined will be a key to their 2015-2016 season. Their first loss of the year, however, did not inspire much confidence in their calmness. The Jets lost 4-2 to the New York Islanders, and they did it by accumulating penalties. Winnipeg took eight penalties, and three of the Islanders’ four goals were scored on the power play.