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Will a poor October mean tricks or treats for the Syracuse Crunch?

Looking back through the past 12 seasons, what has a poor showing in October generally meant for the Crunch?

Scott Thomas

The Syracuse Crunch has had a rough October. Ending with a final 3-5-0-1 record, the Crunch finds themselves at the bottom of the AHL’s North Division in 7th place, and towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference at 12th. It isn’t exactly the start anyone was hoping for after the team reached the Calder Cup final last June.

Is it a hangover from that Cup run that’s at fault for such a poor showing to start the season? Maybe, but one could argue that the amount of turnover the Crunch has seen is more to blame.

Syracuse has nine rookies in the roster on any given night, and only has a few major holdovers from last year’s team. Cory Conacher, Tye McGinn, Matthew Peca, Adam Erne, Dominik Masin, and Ben Thomas are the only guys left who played serious time with the Crunch throughout last season. Crunch captain Erik Condra, also a holdover from last season’s success, has yet to see ice time with his team (which could be another factor in and of itself).

Honestly. the cause behind the Crunch’s struggles this season are multifaceted. Although they all generally add up to one problem - the team isn’t playing like a team - there’s a lot of different issues behind it. At the end of the day, what it all meant was a fairly dismal October for the 2017 Eastern Conference champions.

However, for fans looking towards the 2018 AHL post season, there may be a light in the distance. Here is a summary of 12 seasons worth of Octobers for Syracuse, starting with the 2005-06 season (that’s as far as the league’s website would let me go back).

Twelve seasons of Crunch Octobers

Season October record Final record Playoff results
Season October record Final record Playoff results
2005-06 4-4-0-0 47-25-5-3 Lost in 1st round
2006-07 2-6-0-1 34-34-4-8 Out of the playoffs
2007-08 4-8-0-0 46-26-2-6 Lost in 2nd round
2008-09 6-1-0-0 40-32-5-3 Out of the playoffs
2009-10 4-4-1-1 34-39-4-3 Out of the playoffs
2010-11 4-3-1-1 35-38-3-4 Out of the playoffs
2011-12 4-3-0-2 37-29-5-5 Lost in 1st round
2012-13 3-2-1-1 43-22-6-5 Lost in 4th round
2013-14 5-2-0-1 31-32-4-9 Out of the playoffs
2014-15 3-4-1-0 41-25-10-0 Lost in 1st round
2015-16 4-3-0-1 32-29-11-4 Out of the playoffs
2016-17 4-3-0-0 38-24-7-7 Lost in 4th round

So, in general, what does a strong or a weak October mean for the Crunch?

Er...well...Absolutely nothing, really.

Disappointing, maybe, but take heart.

Out of the 12 Octobers looked at, half of them had winning records. Of those six Octobers, only two of them resulted in a playoff spot come April. A 33% chance of making the playoffs after a strong October is better than nothing, but it also isn’t anything to write home about.

On the other hand, out of the six Octobers with losing records, the Crunch made the playoffs 4 different times. While one might not think a poor start to the season would result in a 67% chance of making the post season, maybe all of those old cliches really are true:

  • It isn’t how a team starts, it’s how a team finishes.
  • It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Only teams that gel at the right time make it.
  • Don’t want a team to peak too early!
  • (I’m sure there’s more, feel free to mention your favorite in comments!)

Or, maybe, just maybe, making the post season in any league is a lot more complicated than one month at the very start of the season can predict.

It’s very possible that the players on this team look back at the end of the season at this rather wasted October and wish for an extra point or two, like those on the Crunch did in 2008-09. That season, Syracuse missed the post season by two points (which it could have gotten had the team not lost that one game in October).

Or, it’s also possible that the team will figure out how to play together and overcome such a rough start and make the post season. It’s only October. If history has taught Crunch fans anything, it’s that so much can happen between now and the end of the season. Much more goes into a successful season than just one month.

Yes, this past month was frustrating. There’s no point in downplaying that.

Yes, the fans in the stands need to see more passion, more effort, and more wins.

But, to be honest, there’s no reason to give up on these guys. If making the post season is the goal, then history is actually on the side of not having a great October.

So...Happy Halloween, Crunch fans (and players). Enjoy your treats!