Thankfully Mr. Metro Division’s Wild Ride has come to an end. It feels like just a week ago the Canes had peeled off four straight wins and were flirting with being a formidable squad. Then, a large dose of reality beat the hell out of this team in four consecutive games.

Sure, the four wins all came at home, where the Canes are still 15-5-1. And yes, two of those wins were against the less than good Sabres and Islanders. But DAMN, stepping up and playing three of the best teams in the league¬†shouldn’t have been this jarring, right?

In two games against Columbus, and one each against the Pens and Caps, Carolina mustered a mere five goals. Five. Show of bagels, how many wins will that garner most teams? Exactly. Worse than that, they allowed 20 goals. Maybe it’s time to give Cam Ward some help before he loses his mind. Or maybe he’s already lost it.

Even worse than the scores of these games is the depth of team problems that were exposed in the past week. We already knew that this club is too reliant on Cam Ward to start nearly every game. Yes, health issues can crop up at any time, but getting a quality backup is critical for the Canes. Next time we go shopping for netminders, how about we get one that a) already plays how Bill Peters wants and/or b) won’t mind having his entire playing style messed with to fit this system?

The Pittsburgh game was one of the more pathetic hockey events I’ve witnessed in person. It’s now right up there with losing 9-0 to the Thrashers (hey kids, remember that team) and 6-0 to Ottawa. What was most upsetting about that game was how so many Canes seemed like they had tickets to watch the Penguins play. Everything about that game was awful, especially all the Penguins fans apparently forgetting that they were once so lowly attended that Kansas City was about to be their new home. Does Kansas City have a Cary? How would that even work? Moving on.

Hey Enzo and Cass, any thoughts on our defense? For those non-wrestling fans in the crowd, I’m saying this defense is soft. I know they’re still young. I know they range in competency from All-Star to the revolving door of suck that is Tennyson/Dahlbeck/Murphy. I also don’t want to hear excuses for goals like the one Kuznetsov scored last night.¬†Sure, Kuznetsov is a great player, but this team needs to figure out how to not let one guy get three chances within two seconds.

Now for the only sliver of hope I can pull from these four beatings: the All-Star break is coming. Sure, the team won’t have extra days to practice as a result, but it’ll give the front office, coaching staff, and every player on the team time to think about what the hell just happened. Do they all chalk it up as, ahem, crap occurs? Do they realize what this team needs to truly make a playoff push this year? Or does Ron Francis decide that he’s going to stay the course again this season and hope the 23 guys in the room are good enough to compete?

Somehow (thanks, Florida and Boston) we’re still within striking distance of the wild card, but there’s not much margin for error.