The 5 Biggest Letdowns of 2010-2011

In BOS, CHA, Special Features, STE, STL, VAN on June 11, 2011 at 8:34 am

Who doesn’t like a feel-good story? When a player breaks through and makes a difference, it makes for good headlines… to bury in the sports pages next to the cricket scores.

Because if there’s one thing we all like more than a feel-good story, it’s a tale of misery and woe. An 82-game car wreck.

Failure is fun.

So here it is – the companion to our profile of the biggest breakthroughs of 2010-2011 in the form of five brilliantly disastrous performances from the season gone by.

5. Justin Williams, Charleston Chiefs

Williams has had all kinds of injury trouble in recent years, but the Charleston winger is a lot better than the four – four! – goals he scored in 38 games this year. The Chiefs needed a big bounce-back season from him after a one-goal 2009-2010, and he quadrupled that output, so… success?

4. Cam Ward, Saint Louis Blues

Saint Louis was one of the league’s best teams for much of the season, so it’s weird to list their starting goaltender. But Ward just wasn’t very good. His .901 save percentage – a big drop from last season – doesn’t say “starter on a league-leading team” and if it wasn’t for Scott Clemmensen’s 15-5-2 record, the Blues might have struggled to make the post-season at all.

3. Alexei Kovalev, Sterling Eagles

The enigmatic Russian somehow managed to outdo Williams and only scored three goals in his 40 games. Kovalev’s always run hot and cold, to say the least, but this is bad even by his standards. To make matters worse, he now the veteran has competition on Sterling’s wings. He’s going to need a bounce-back year or he’ll be done.

2. Pekka Rinne, Vancouver Night Train

Rinne was hands-down one of the league’s top goalies last season, leading the Night Train to their best-ever finish. So what happened this year? He stumbled to a 3.52 GAA and freaking terrible .889 save percentage, down from 2.60 and .923. By the end of the year, he’d been supplanted as the go-to guy by rookie Ondrej Pavelec.

1. Daniel Alfredsson, Boston Banshees

Alfredsson outscored both Williams and Kovalev, but unlike those two, he is hands-down his team’s best player – and the Banshees needed him to be. Unfortunately, he only mustered 11 goals in 70 games – way below his standards, his lowest in 11 years, and not nearly enough to help drive an otherwise very good Boston team into the post-season.


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