Behold, your 2012-13 St. John's IceCaps in all their glory. Please do not confuse them with last year's squad.
After dropping two of three games this weekend by way of shutout, it seems as though the IceCaps spent all their road luck over the course of last season. A team that held off until New Year's Day last season to record their first regulation road loss is now 2-3-0-0 away from Mile One to start this campaign -- their most recent being yesterday's beat down by the Providence Bruins.
Yesterday's loss was the third game for the Caps in three days, so chalk some of their struggles up to fatigue. But they were easily disposed of by the Bruins in a 3-0 shutout in which Providence out-shot St. John's 38-18. It was the fourth time the IceCaps have been shut out in their last six games. Yes, you read that correctly.
After the rough weekend, St. John's now cling to seventh in the Eastern Conference with ten points in 11 games played. In terms of winning percentage (.455) they're actually 11th. Upon glancing at their goal differential (now -10), the team now ranks dead last in the East.
Is it time to panic? Not at all. The IceCaps have been outshooting a number of their opponents over the last few games and outside of the Bruins debacle yesterday, it isn't like they're getting run over on a regular basis. But there is definitely some cause for concern, based on the numbers mentioned above. The next ten games will obviously help to paint a better picture of this club and only then can we decide to push the panic button.
Given the ebb and flow of the AHL's scheduling and roster juggling, it's unrealistic to expect similar results from a club from year to year, but the IceCaps are a team who held over a fair amount of key personnel from last year. The league around them has gotten better, but they've enjoyed their own boost in the form of Jets' forward Alexander Burmistrov. With only one goal in eleven games, Burmistrov's presence alone hasn't been enough to offset the bolstered line-ups of opponents.
Another factor is obviously luck. As previously mentioned,the IceCaps jumped out on an amazing road streak last season and didn't suffer their first regulation loss away from Mile One until the Marlies beat them on January 1st. Quite frankly, that's insane. Since that time, we've definitely seen the scales tip in the opposite direction with a road W/L ratio closer to .500.
Again, with only eleven games played the season is still young. But this doesn't look like the same IceCaps' team that won the division last season, and it certainly isn't the same AHL either.