Just 19 games in, the Carolina Hurricanes are facing a critical point in their season and the outcome of this weekend could determine the fate of head coach Paul Maurice.
This isn't new to the former Toronto Maple Leafs coach, who has had to deal with an undercurrent of speculation of his demise over the course of the past two seasons in Carolina.
Sources say Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford is trying to make a deal for a forward and even though his top defenceman Joni Pitkanen is injured, it's believed Rutherford would trade either Tomas Kaberle or Bryan Allen in return for an offensive boost up front.
Wednesday's 4-0 loss in Montreal showed a lack of passion, but what is less obvious is whether the team has the personnel or financial resources to get better.
The Hurricanes' roster is among the youngest in the league, while their payroll sits in the bottom four.
Hurricanes captain Eic Staal's poor offensive start continues to draw league-wide attention as he searches for chemistry with yet another set of wingers, but more than a lack of goal production is Carolina's woeful defensive play.
The Hurricanes possess the second-worst goals-against average in the NHL having allowed almost 3.5 goals per game.
Wins over Buffalo and Toronto on Friday and Sunday could help save the coach, but the holes in the 'Canes line up will require time and more money to fill.
99 in The Big Smoke
As Wayne Gretzky publicly acknowledged in a recent interview with TSN, over the past couple of years he has had multiple teams and potential ownership groups reach out with interest in bringing him on board.
In the interview, Gretzky cited Los Angeles and Edmonton.
However, while his name may be circulating in the Toronto business community, sources close to Gretzky say there has been no recent contact with him about potential involvement with any group interested in buying MLSE.
A statement from Gretzky's camp was released Thursday night regarding his possible involvement with Leafs ownership.
"Wayne is often approached about becoming involved in various hockey opportunities. At this point in time there is nothing happening involving the purchase of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Wayne has always said that whoever purchases the Maple Leafs is getting a great franchise in a great city," Gretzky's agent, Darren Blake said.