Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Season That Couldn't End Soon Enough

That is how I sum up the '08-09 Springfield Falcons, their fans, and their coaches likely feelings on this season.

Worst team in the league with 55 points in 71 games, worst in wins with 22, 2nd worst in GF with only 164, 3rd worst in GA with 226, 2nd worst in negative goal differential with a -62 goal differential. It's not pretty any which way that you look at it.

This season for the Falcons is the equivalent of the Oilers last 20 games in '06-07. Yeah, it hasn't been pretty. Unlike the Oilers there's no draft lottery reward for being a piss poor team, just a loss of confidence in the players by themselves and the fans.

There are far more negatives in terms of player "development" than there are positives. The positives? Cody Wild and Taylor Chorney finally getting a chance to play "their game" when Rob Daum came to town, the much improved play of Geoff Paukovich and Colin McDonald since his hiring, Ryan Potulny breaking the 30 goal mark in an otherwise terrible offensive year for the Falcons, Tyler Spurgeon with a healthy season, and Ryan Stone keeping a solid level of play for the majority of his Falcons tenure. And of course the Charles Linglet for Carl Corrazini trade.

The negatives? Take your anti depressants before you read this list.

Rob Schremp has gone from an average of 20 goals in his first 2 seasons to likely being under 10 goals on the year, Ryan O'Marra hasn't shown much progress at all, Sebastien Bisaillon has been buried in the ECHL, Slava Trukhno never took the next step this season after a promising end to '07-08, the PP has been brutal all year long, Gilbert Brule hasn't shown consistency despite showing brilliant flashes as a goal scorer at times, Carl Corrazini was a brutal signing and looked like a bottom 6 forward all year long instead of a top 6 forward like he was expected to be, Tim Sestito never took the next step, Guillaume Lefebvre showed promise for lengthy periods but like the rest of the team also showed inconsistency. It seemed as if no one took the next step this season who returned from last years team.

The Oilers will be sure to let some of these players walk next season, and there will have to be a LOT of work put into these players games to make next year a positive season for the Oilers pro prospects. It isn't every year where a number of a teams top 10 prospects stock falls significantly after a sub par individual season and a sub par team season. This seemed to be a perfect storm of suck for whatever reason. At this point in time I think that it is counter productive to judge anyone on this season. However next season these players should be raring to go at training camp and into next years AHL season.

Any professional athlete with any kind of pride would not enter the off season content with starting next season without doing what they can in the off season to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Next season is the season that we judge the worth of Slava Trukhno, Ryan O'Marra, Geoff Paukovich, Taylor Chorney, Cody Wild, Devan Dubnyk, and the rest of the returning Falcons players.

This season has been tough on everyone, and the sooner that the lights get turned out in the Mass Mutual Center, the better. If this is the last group of Oilers players to grace this venue in Springfield Mass as the hometown team, it is a shame, however the people of Springfield Mass deserve a playoff team. Hopefully after a number of consecutive failed affiliates, that day comes next season.

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