We all know the old cliché, you can't make the playoffs in October and November, but you can surely eliminate yourself. Unfortunately, it looks like that's exactly what the Ducks have done with this atrocious month of November. Usually I make it a point to avoid looking at the standings until at least Christmas. With the fluctuation from day to day and the end of the season being so far away, there is usually little knowledge to gain. The exception to that rule is the bottom of the standings.
To put it into perspective, I looked back to last season for comparables.
Toronto was compelling, seeing as they started the season with a four game winning streak and subsequently fell off the map, winning only four more games through the end of November. They won 20 games in the second half of the season and finished tenth in the East, eight points out of a playoff spot. That's relatively encouraging. They went just under .500 in their final 41 games and ended up in a respectable tenth place after a horrid start, however the Ducks are currently in a bit more trouble than the Leafs were at this time last year. And, over the past decade or so, it's saying something to be in a worse situation than Toronto.
22 games in, on November 25, 2010, the New Jersey Devils were second to last in their conference, with a record of 7-13-2 for 16 pts. That's the same number of games played and points as the Ducks have today, with one more win. New Jersey needed a stretch of 23 wins in 28 games (23-3-2) to get back to 11th in the conference by the end of the season. In fairness, the Devils didn't hit rock bottom until the beginning of January, and they lost their best player to injury for the season on October 30.
In the West last season, it was Calgary that made the second half push from the basement of the conference to playoff contention. After 22 games (Nov. 26) the Flames were 9-11-2, four points ahead of the Ducks today. They put together an impressive run of 18-5-3 from January 14 to March 9, but finished the season three points out of eighth. So close and yet so far.
The one thing we have going for us is that Robby was right last week when he said that the Ducks shouldn't be this bad. They have more talent than this, and in my humble yet severely biased opinion have more talent than all three of the aforementioned teams of last season.
Corey Perry showed us last year with 19 goals in has last 16 games that he and his team have the ability to come through when the chips are down, the key is going to be recognizing that they already are.
All three of those teams turned their seasons around last year, but it ended up being too little, too late. While that's become a popular phrase around these parts this season it will come to define the year if something doesn't change soon.