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Recent Carolina Hurricanes News

Canes-centric comments on NHL playoffs thus far

The closest Canes fans will get to playoff hockey for the 2017-18 season starts tonight when the Charlotte Checkers kick off their playoff series at home. If you missed it, please also check out my Canes-centric Charlotte Checkers playoff preview from yesterday. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a few quick-hitters from the NHL playoffs thus far.   Offense wins The playoffs have historically featured close-checking hockey with tamped down scoring, but that has not been the case thus far for the 2018 playoffs. Of the seven teams who have either already advanced or are up 3-1 in their respective series, five of those teams are above or very close to four goals per game. Vegas advanced behind stingy defense and goaltending, and Winnipeg has not been quite as lights out offensively, but the other five teams have mostly won by scoring in bunches. Where will the Hurricanes find more offense this summer?   What might have been with Marc-Andre Fleury? One has to wonder if the Hurricanes could have had Marc-Andre Fleury this past summer. The Penguins were going to lose a goalie and were committed to keeping young Matt Murray which meant Fleury was leaving. Could the Hurricanes have brokered a trade directly with Pittsburgh before the expansion draft? Or if Rutherford would not have been willing to deal him within the division, might Vegas have given him up during their early wheeling and dealing phase? And what difference might Fleury have made in a Hurricanes uniform in 2017-18?   Star power carries the day in the Eastern Conference thus far Time and time again playoff games... read more

Canes-centric preview for the Charlotte Checkers playoff series

We will have to wait at least another year before we see playoff hockey in Raleigh, but for the second season in a row, the Charlotte Checkers have provided live playoff hockey to the contingent of Canes fans willing to make the 2 1/2-ish hour drive down I-40 to Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte. The schedule lines up absolutely wonderfully for a road trip with the series starting in Charlotte at 7pm on Friday and then continuing with game 2 at 6pm on Saturday. I will not be able to make the trip but am 100 percent jealous of what should be a sizable group that does for one or both of the games.   Charlotte Checkers vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins series basics The Checkers are actually the lower seed in the #2 versus #3 match up but start at home by virtue of the AHL’s 2-3 format that minimizes travel. The Checkers won three of four games against the Penguins during the regular season and maybe more significantly enter the playoffs red hot with seven straight wins and points in their last 10 games. As long as the four days off does not slow them down, the Checkers should enter the series with a head of steam. As long as the playoffs do not suck the offense out of it, the series has the potential to be an exciting and entertaining one. The Checkers led the entire AHL in scoring with 262 goals, and the Penguins were not far behind with 252. For more details on the Penguins side of the series and great coverage in general, I highly recommend... read more

Is the grass really greener?

With 16 teams competing in the NHL playoffs (I guess actually five with Los Angeles’ early ouster), there are plenty of reasons to be envious of other teams right now. And no doubt, the Canes fun meter continues to hover near all-time lows with nine consecutive playoff misses that represent the longest streak in the NHL right now. And certainly there are teams with multiple recent Cup wins whose fan bases are in a better place right now. But when one looks objectively at the lot of the other 30 teams in the NHL, how many would a Canes fan rightfully trade places with right now when looking at an extended history that reaches back behind the Hurricanes current down times? I do not think it as close to 30 teams as some might think. For every Pittsburgh Penguins there are a couple teams who have had it as bad or worse than the Carolina Hurricanes.   Columbus Blue Jackets No doubt, the Blue Jackets are in a better place right now with a 2-1 lead in their series with the Washington Capitals. But that franchise has truly had a tough go of it in terms of post-season success. In 18 years of existence, the team has yet to win a playoff series. The team has played in only four series counting their current one, and with their loss at home on Tuesday night, fans through the years have seen only two home playoff wins in eight tries. One could debate whether the Blue Jackets’ future looks better than the Hurricanes right now, but there is no way I... read more

An early look at the center position for the 2018-19 season: Part 3-My 2 cents

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe is part 3 of 3 considering one of the projects that lies ahead for the Carolina Hurricanes during the current offseason – figuring out the center position heading into the 2018-19 season. Part 1 last Friday looked at the recent history that lead up to this point. Part 2 on Monday considered the options for going forward. Today’s part 3 offers my thoughts on the various options and which direction I am leaning.   Jordan Staal as a foundation Say what you want about Jordan Staal’s scoring totals as compared to other top centers in the league, but he still fits as a cornerstone of a good hockey team at the center position. No doubt, more scoring would be appreciated, but something like 50 in a role that does not ‘use up’ higher-end scoring talent on his wings and plays break even hockey against other teams’ best lines can be a valuable and contributing component on a playoff hockey team. The key for this are the two things I mentioned plus one more. As stated above, Staal’s 50 points in the middle just is not enough if he plays between two scoring wings. His 19 even strength assists when flanked most of the season by Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen just are not enough. That duo is better-served aiming even higher (think a point per game), but that requires a more scoring-capable third. No doubt, the inevitable need to shuffle and spark a lineup here and there over the course of a long NHL season will see TSA reunited, but if Jordan Staal is... read more

An early look at the center position for the 2018-19 season: Part 2-The options and considerations

For last Friday’s Daily Cup of Joe I ventured knee deep into starting to consider the work ahead for the summer and building the 2018-19 lineup. In that article, I presented the recent history leading up to the current situation with the Carolina Hurricanes at the center position.   Where we left off At a basic level, we left off with a primary group (before late season tinkering) of Jordan Staal, Victor Rask, Derek Ryan and Marcus Kruger that just was not good enough. For the 2018-19 season, the Hurricanes will need more out of the position and will need to find a way to upgrade especially in terms of scoring production.   Slotting the original four from the 2017-18 season The starting point is figuring if and where the four primary centers from the 2017-18 fit. Ryan is an unrestricted free agent, but Staal, Rask and Kruger are all under contract.   Jordan Staal Despite being a bit light on scoring for a first or second line center, he still fits in a winning lineup because of how strong he is defensively and because of his ability to anchor a line that can hold its own against the league’s elite scoring lines. Key though, is an opposite/complementary scoring first or second line that makes the math work offensively. Verdict: Let’s call his the second line center.   Victor Rask His offense fell off a cliff for most of the season (only 31 points in 71 games) and his play in total was ‘meh’, but he did manage to stay on course defensively for the most part such that... read more

An early look at sorting out the center position for 2018-19 season: Part 1-The history

More in-depth coverage of the offseason will start in earnest a bit later, but Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a summary level look at the all-important situation at the center position in preparing for the 2018-19 season. This part looks back out how we got here. Part 2 to follow will handicap the situation entering the offseason.   The summer of 2017 The Carolina Hurricanes entered the summer of 2017 with a couple slots to fill at the center position and also needing to upgrade offensively. Jay McClement was 34 years old and coming off of his contract and unlikely to be re-signed. Derek Ryan was also an unrestricted free agent with an uncertain future with the organization. Jordan Staal and Victor Rask figured to be locked into two of the top three center slots in the opening day lineup. The post-season press conference with Coach Bill Peters and General Manager Ron Francis offered early clues as to what direction the team might go to fill out the center position. The team readily admitted that it needed to add more scoring punch. Though that was not directly labeled as a center, the fact that Peters seemed to prefer Elias Lindholm and Sebastian Aho at wing seemed to leave an opening for a higher-end offensive center. In short, Peters said that he preferred Lindholm at right wing and also that Aho would eventually be a center but not likely for the 2017-18 season. That starting point left two center positions open to be filled over the course of the summer. One of the two openings was at least tentatively... read more

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  • dogbutler: I vote no. I loved Brindy as a player and Captain, but now is not the time to hire someone with no [...]
  • ashevillecaniac: Excellent analysis and comments, including the observation that exit interviews may determine RBA's [...]
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April 25, 2018 at 10:28pm
Charlie McAvoy's game is really pretty much what peak Justin Faulk would look like. Physical and rugged, but also with gap control, quickness and aggressiveness defensively.
April 25, 2018 at 3:33pm
@CaniacAmber I am pretty much same. I vote 'no' but it is not by as wide of a margin as a first rational assessment would suggest.
April 25, 2018 at 12:13pm
ICYMI...Today's Daily Cup of Joe has case for and against Rod Brind'Amour for next @NHLCanes head coach=>
April 25, 2018 at 9:26am
Daily Cup of Joe for Wednesday has case for and against Rod Brind'Amour for next @NHLCanes head coach=>
April 25, 2018 at 3:13am
Daily Cup of Joe for Wednesday makes case for and against Rod Brind'Amour for next @NHLCanes head coach=>
April 24, 2018 at 12:51pm
#Canes Twitter reaching peak vengeful state. Because of old ties and top ranking for questionable usage, Derek Ryan is now officially part of the bitterness for Bill Peters whether he chose to/deserves to get on that bus or not.

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