1-4-1 is not a good record. Especially when that is all conference games. But its also not the time to panic. Yet. The Huskies next three games are @Merrimack, vs Merrimack, @Boston College. If Northeastern were to lose those 3 games they would be 1-7-1 and have just 3 points after completing a third of their conference games. That’s obviously not good. Especially since they would still have 3 games to play against BU and 2 against Maine.
Northeastern has played a very tough schedule. And its about to get tougher before it gets easier. And the fear is that by the time they get to the “easy” part (which isn’t all that easy), they could be digging out of a massive hole that has killed their confidence and fan support. That is a very real, and scary, possibility.
The DogHouse is an important aspect to this team. You can look at the players comments about it. Or you can look at the lifeless displays they put up on the road without the DogHouse’s backing. Its both a good and bad thing, but this team needs a full DogHouse. Hopefully they get one against Merrimack, and hopefully they take advantage because time is starting to become an enemy for them.
Merrimack is 6-0 and they didn’t seem troubled by Northeastern the last time they met. But Northeastern needs to find a way to get at least 1 win this weekend. Its not going to be easy, especially with the way they have played. So whats the problem? Good question. Lets start with everything.
39, 40, 27, 47, 43, 38. Thats how many shots the Huskies have given up this season. Guess which game they won? Yes, obviously it was the 27 shot game. They blocked 30 shots in that game. They were also outshot (27-21). They have been outshot in every single game. So while everyone can debate who should play in net (ourselves included), it doesn’t really matter because they are going to be fighting a losing battle.
The players all talked about how great the new coaching staff was. We heard words like “refreshing”. They were no longer “robots”. But they still get badly outshot every night, just like they did under Cronin. Coach Madigan has already said that you cant expect to win when you give up shots like that and he is right. Now he has to find a way to fix it.
In addition to give up way too many chances, the Huskies aren’t exactly creating that many either. The Power Play has been beyond atrocious, as its been for years. Going 1-8 on the PP against BC isn’t making the most of your opportunities, which is what you have to do to win games against good teams. Besides the win, they have looked lethargic for long portions of the game. There are plenty of quality players on this team. There is no reason it should just be 2 lines getting time. Guys like Rob Dongara and Zak Stone may not be the most talented guys on the team, but you can’t argue that they give it their all on every shift. They can impact the game, given the chance. As Dong would say, let them eat.
Its not talent. That is for sure. But despite bringing in some pretty good recruiting classes, this team has continually failed to meet expectations. Its not surprising that a team with a whole new coaching staff and a decent amount of freshman is struggling. Unfortunately for them, the schedule is doing them no favors and it doesn’t really afford them any time to struggle. Last year’s start was dismal. But it was mostly non-conference. Struggling in the conference is another story. This season is looking like its going to be a long and difficult battle just to reach the playoffs.
Its not panic time yet. This team has had moments where its looked great. They just need to find a way to make those moments more frequent and more consistent. Give them time. They will get there. Its just a matter of time.