It was natural to wonder how the Carolina Hurricanes would react Monday after two ugly losses at home.
The St. Louis Blues fired coach Davis Payne on Sunday just 13 games into the season, hiring Ken Hitchcock. Would the Canes, at 5-6-3, consider such a move?
Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford is not one to make hasty decisions or overreact. Even in a copycat league like the NHL, Rutherford is not influenced by what other teams elect to do.
Paul Maurice, he said Monday, would remain the coach. The coaching staff, Rutherford said, has prepared the team well much of the season.
"The easiest thing when you've lost a couple of games as bad as we lost them is to start pointing at the coach or the coaches," he said. "It takes everybody when it comes time to win, and it takes everybody when it comes time to lose. We need to get back to work and get back to playing the style of game our team did when we were winning games.
"Now, if we're talking again in a six- or-seven game losing streak, I'll probably be in a different frame of mind and answer those (coaching) questions differently. Let's get back on track. If not, I'll look at all the situations differently."
Losing to the Washington Capitals on Friday was one thing. The Canes floundered in the third period and lost 5-1.
Two days later, the Dallas Stars were at the RBC Center and Maurice was looking for a sustained, emotion-filled, physical effort.
Stars 5, Canes 2. It was never close. Goaltender Cam Ward was lifted in the second period and boos were heard in the arena.
"Clearly it wasn't there from the start," Maurice said Monday. "That's a very difficult thing to deal with, especially coming off our third (period) against Washington."
Maurice went behind closed doors Monday at Raleigh Center Ice to address the team before practice. Team captain Eric Staal said the message delivered was blunt and on-point.
"We didn't compete, we didn't show enough fight the last game, which is disappointing," Staal said. "You can say all the right things and you can talk about it all you want. You just have to show it on the ice.
"To a man I don't think we came out with enough fight and intensity. When you do that against good teams they'll make you pay, and they did the last two games."
Staal, more than anyone, has been troubled by his scoring slump. He has five points in 14 games, has not scored a goal at even-strength and has a minus-16 rating.
Staal initially was credited with an assist on Chad LaRose's power-play goal Sunday, but a late scoring change gave the assist to Tomas Kaberle. That's the way things have gone for Staal.
Rutherford said Monday that he was not "overly concerned" about Staal, saying he had not gotten many breaks around the net and that all he needed was a puck or two to go in to get on a roll.
Told of Rutherford's comments, Staal said. "I would like to think, I would like to hope.
"It's been ugly. I'm a guy that's counted on obviously to score, a guy who's counted on offensively for this team and it's not happening. I've got to find a way and I'm working my tail off to try and do that.
"I'm getting a lot of attempts at the net, a lot of shots, a lot of opportunities and it didn't happen but I've got to stay with it. It's a long year yet, so there's no use feeling sorry for myself. Just continue to try and get better and try to put points in the board, because I know if I'm giving that we have a better chance winning games."
Staal insists he is not injured. Rutherford and Maurice say the same.
"He knows what he needs to do," Maurice said. "It's not a one game's perfect for him."
The Canes may get forward Jussi Jokinen back this week. Jokinen, who missed the past two games with a leg injury, won't play tonight against the New Jersey Devils but may return Friday against the New York Rangers.
LaRose noted every season has its rough patches.
"It take a little bit more effort, a little bit more heart, and that always winds up getting you out of it," he said. "In our building, we expect more of ourselves. But we're looking forward to (tonight) and redeeming ourselves."
NOTE: The Canes recalled forward Zac Dalpe on Monday from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL and reassigned forward Drayson Bowman to Charlotte. Dalpe was assigned to Charlotte on Nov. 2 and played in two games for the Checkers.