Good Riddance, January

Hopefully three days completely away from hockey, at least for everybody except Jon Audy-Marchessault and Mats Zuccarello, will be just the tonic the Whale needs.

That, and maybe the end of the month of January, which could not have been much un-kinder to the Whale.

The team hit the First of the Year in first place by a margin of six points in the Atlantic Division, and now, after an 0-6-3-2 month, the Whale find themselves two points behind division-leading Bridgeport in a Northeast loop that has only a five-point gap between first place and fifth place.  Before Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Springfield dropped them into second, the Whale had held at least a share of first place since November 18, more than two months.

More important now are the conference standings, which show the Whale tied for, yikes, eighth place in the East, the last conference playoff spot, with Portland.  So is it time to start scoreboard watching?

It used to be easy, when for the most part you only had to keep an eye on what the other divisional teams were doing.  Now though, you’ve got to be concerned not only with trying to grab that first-place spot, and its attendant automatic top-three playoff berth, back from Bridgeport, but also no fewer than ten other conference teams that are within eight points, plus or minus, of the Whale.

It’s not like it hasn’t been agonizing, either.  Two more one-goal losses, one in overtime, over this past weekend, meaning that in this 11-game winless drought, five of the defeats have been in either overtime or shootouts, Saturday’s was by one goal in regulation and the other five have been by two goals.  They’re certainly not missing by much, but a quick gander at those conference standings are all it should take to know that things had better get turned back around fast.

One big positive in the midst of all this frustration, though, has been the size of the crowds lately.

Great Chris Rutsch Shot of a Great Crowd!

Saturday’s throng of 11,181 was easily the largest of the year, and ranked ninth all-time in regular-season, XL Center franchise history.  And five of the last seven home gates have topped 5,400.

And believe me, the guys notice.  I’m always getting asked by the players, “What kind of crowd are we going to have tonight, how many in the barn for this one?”  It really makes a difference, and the team genuinely wants to give the lively building a good show.  There is a palpable sense of disappointment among the group when they are unable to send a great turnout like Saturday’s home happy, and the spinning turnstiles add legitimate extra motivation to get the ship pointed back in the right direction.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Good Riddance, January”

  1. chris Says:

    11 losses in one month of hockey. if they can bounce back to there winning ways quickly I’ll just call it a fluke month. if they cant get back to there winning ways ill call it the start of the end of there season. go whale.

  2. Used to be a Binghamton Ranger fan, still would be if they were still there Says:

    I hope they start playing better by the time they come down to Hershey PA. Saturday night. I will be there with my NY Ranger Jersey on (sorry no whale jersey yet) and I would like to stand up and cheer some goals. Come on Gernander get them boys scoring and hitting again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: