The nature of Sheffield Steelers’ 7-1 capitulation at Cardiff Devils hints at a pending “clear-house” operation.
Players must now fight for their jobs after a Challenge Cup display coach Paul Thompson described as humiliating.
It’s fair to say that last Summer’s recruitment failed to tick all the boxes - some of the first-season players haven’t delivered and the team is sixth in the League.
While individual-form is always variable, the speed of the sport now appears to be catching out some veterans.
It’s true that the club has endured some horrible injuries.
But the fact remains some skaters have not performed in the big games - their season-long statistics inflated, perhaps, by statistics gleaned against teams from the lower reaches.
Hard decisions will be taken.
But they will be taken by coach Thompson - despite the wishes of a vocal and barbed minority on social media.
The only person who could possibly have a motive to end his association with the club would be he, himself, should he find the cutting comments against him no longer worth the hassle.
Thompson is not one to back away from a challenge.
And it will be interesting to see what he can rescue from a season in which only the Play Offs present silverware opportunity - before moving on to the inevitable re-build.