It could be decision time for the Hurricanes.
Time to decide on the coaching staff. Time to decide on players. Time to decide if a trade or some trades need to be made.
The Canes' 4-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, in a mostly listless effort Wednesday, was their sixth in the last seven games. At 6-10-3, the Canes are skidding and their season is quickly coming undone.
"We didn't play really," captain Eric Staal said of the loss. "We didn't show up, we didn't play and we got what we deserved."
Aked if there's increasing concern about the season, Staal replied, "No question there's concern. If we keep losing we're not going to be in the mix for the playoffs, so we've got to figure this out and get back to winning some games. Because if you keep losing, you'll be out of the picture before you know it and the season will be wasted."
What's the answer? Changing coaches is always a quick fix, and especially in the NHL. Coach Paul Maurice, who is in the final year of his contract, has been fired by the Canes before.
If general manager Jim Rutherford wanted to make a quick change behind the bench, assistant coach Dave Lewis is a former NHL head coach. Ron Francis has served as associate head coach. Jeff Daniels has done a good job as head coach of the Charlotte Checkers. Rutherford has options. Another would be sticking with Maurice.
But the Canes' problems run deep, regardless of who's coaching. They're one of the NHL's worst teams in goals against. They have a number of players who either aren't scoring goals or can't score goals. They have players who aren't producing and pulling their weight.
"We've got to sort of figure it out," second-year forward Jeff Skinner said. "It's on us. We can't be sort of hoping and looking for help outside our locker room. We've got to figure it out and the sooner the better."
'There's obviously not one sort of quick fix or hopefully we would have had it by now. I think it's a combination of things. Obviously the confidence isn't there right now and that's a big part of the game. And you just have to work for it. You can't hope for something. We have to work for our bounces to get out of this."
Hard work is always a must, of course. But the Canes may need to shake up the lineup to get out of the doldrums.
When the Canes held on to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, forward Tuomo Ruutu said they needed to remember how hard they had to play to win. Apparently it was forgotten quickly. Maurice has said the Canes need to play at full-tilt to win, and he's right.
The Canes were down 2-0 after the first period Wednesday, managing just four shots. It was 4-0, Habs, after two and the Montreal shooting edge was 33-12.
The schedule has not helped. It has not been easy. But Maurice certainly has to take some the blame. In trying to beat the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, he asked his best forwards to play big minutes. The fourth-line guys made cameo appearances.
Then, after the Montreal game, Maurice said, "You've got to skate. We were so slow, right from the start. It doesn't matter who you play if you can't skate.
"I can give you a list of excuses but nobody wants to hear them. We were just so slow we couldn't do anything. It starts with the one-on-one battles but we didn't even get to them, let alone win them."
The Canes aren't winning much of anything now, which means change probably will come sooner rather than later.