DAVOS IN TROUBLE?
DAVOS, SWITZERLAND - It was supposed to be a season of triumph; a season that showed HC Davos Dynamo were back as contenders for years to come. Instead, all that's left is confusion and uncertainty.
Roughly one third of the way through the Victory Hockey League's sixty-sixth season, the Dynamo currently sit in 4th place in the newly reborn European Conference, 7 points back of the third place Malmo Nighthawks. However, with the re-introduction of conference crossover for playoff positioning, Davos is 1 point behind the Toronto Legion for the last playoff spot. Funnily enough, when crossover was discussed in the Board of Governors during expansion planning, it was being brought back under the thought process that it would be the European Conference that would be weak, with two new expansion franchises recently added. Whether it's irony or some other type of English class thing that I don't know, the reality is that the introduction of crossover due to the Malmao Nighthawks, the rag tag team of castoffs currently ahead of them in the standings, is what will most likely allow Davos to "save" their season and make the playoffs.
But is that enough? Expectations in the Swiss town were much higher before the season began. In an off-season that saw the team add legitimate stars like Glade, Dragomir, and Crimson to a young roster that barely missed the playoffs last season, many were talking about making it to the Conference Finals, if not the Continental Cup itself. Comparisons were made to the teams of yesteryear, with players like McAllister, Bassolino, and Gow. So far, that's not happening, and the supporters are starting to get upset.
"It's not been an easy season for us," said Simon Valmount, former Davos player and current leader of the Dynamo's largest supporter group. "We put up with a couple of rebuilding seasons and saw the club heading in the right direction, and put up with some shenanigans at the end of the last season. We know the players are trying their best, but we're unsatisfied with the results."
The results are the crux of the issue, as the peripheral stats are there. The Dynamo have scored the second most goals (72), have taken the most shots (828), and have given up the second least shots (686). However, Davos has given up the 6th most goals. This can partly be explained by not only playing their back up goalie, Tyler Smith, in his required games this season in order to avoid a repeat of leas season, but also by the fact that Smith has played in 11 of the team's 23 games, 2 more than is required by the VHL. When taken into consideration, if the team won or recorded points in half the games already played by Smith if Davison played instead, then they'd be in much stronger playoff positioning. This is something that will have to be remembered during the end of the season, as most teams wait until then to play their backups.
So what is the team going to do about it? For now, nothing. "We're just not getting the bounces right now," said captain Alvaro Jokinen. "If things don't pick up in the next week or two, I think you may see some more dramatic changes, but right now, we don't think we're playing badly. The results aren't there, but the process is OK."