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Recent Carolina Hurricanes News

‘What I’m watching’ — 2020 Playoffs — Gm1 vs. NYR: And so it begins…again

Under the strangest of circumstances, the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers will kick off the 2020 NHL Playoffs at 12pm inside the bubble in Toronto but thankfully also live on our TVs. The Hurricanes are the higher seed and team in the standings, but the Rangers swept the regular season series. But with the odd circumstances of having a four-month layoff and then parachuting directly into playoff hockey, I think anyone who thinks he/she can predict how things will go either has a crystal ball or maybe is a bit naive. But from what I have seen/read, those who predict series this time of year either via model or just personal predictions seem to lean in the Hurricanes favor. As for today’s game, the odds shown here have the Hurricanes as being the favorite to win against the Rangers. I have already written a bunch about this series, so I will mostly point to those angles before offering last thoughts. On July 23, I offered a first set of quick hitters on the series which you can find here. I followed up on July 24 with an article that had a varied set of possible story lines for the series which you can read here. Finally, yesterday I boiled the series down to four factors that I think are most likely to decide the outcome. That article is here. Mostly in the vein of that final article, my watch points for the Saturday’s game are as follows:   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the New York Rangers 1) Rusty or ready Somewhere I am on... read more

What decides the Carolina Hurricanes versus New York Rangers series

Now only one day from 2020 playoff hockey, today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers thoughts on what I think is most likely to decide the Canes/Rangers series.   1) Whoever wins the forecheck Both teams have young legs and use them to pressure the puck coming out of the defensive zone. Both teams are at their best when they can tilt the ice, force turnovers and attack quickly in transition. In addition, I think both teams can be had defensively if forced to sort things out and defend under duress. As such, I think whichever team wins the forecheck will gain a significant advantage in terms of high quality scoring chances and could ride that to a series win.   2) Goaltending In the playoffs goaltending always has the chance to be the X factor, and goalie play could be even more significant in this series. In the regular season series, the Rangers had a decided edge in net. Neither Reimer nor Mrazek were particularly good against the Rangers. I chalk that up more to coincidence and a small sample size than anything else, but if happens in the playoffs, it could be catastrophic. The Rangers are strong in net, and that was a significant factor in the Rangers season series sweep.   3) The stars A major story line of the regular season was the Hurricanes inability to control Artemi Panarin or Mike Zibanejad. The pair of Rangers were consistently the best players on the ice during the regular season series. Especially in the playoffs, the team whose best players play better usually wins a series. For that... read more

Recap/notes on Carolina Hurricanes’ exhibition game 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals

After the longest of waits, the Carolina Hurricanes returned to the ice in what felt almost like a surreal event. Sure the game was only an exhibition game, but it felt like so much more in our chaotic world over the past months. The game is significant with Rod Brind’Amour having only a single game to assess individual players and combinations and try to combine that with longer-term track records to figure out how to ice a playoff winner again. In total, the Hurricanes had ups and downs. Rather than doing a recap, I will focus instead on my biggest takeaways as relates to assessing players and figuring out what to do for Saturday.   Tough night for the blue line In total, I thought the defense mostly struggled. I would rate Sami Vatanen as mostly good (though even he had a bad turnover when he mostly whiffed trying to sweep a puck to Jaccob Slavin at the defensive blue line. Haydn Fleury was steady and made some good decisions stepping up into the play offensively. And that is about where my positives end for the blue line. Jaccob Slavin had an uncharacteristically tough night. He failed to identify where the passing lane was defending a 2-on-1 for the Capitals’ first goal. He stepped up and had Tom Wilson go right around him to create another Capitals 2-on-1 and a goal. And on the Vatanen mishap mentioned above, he was a half step slow getting a piece of the puck to play it to the boards or a piece of the Caps player who retrieved it. In general, Slavin... read more

Building a blue line without Dougie Hamilton

It is a Carolina Hurricanes game day!!!! For those looking for pre-game or similar, I got impatient after the long layoff and wrote that yesterday. You can find my ‘what I’m watching’ for the Canes versus Caps HERE.   When we lost saw the Carolina Hurricanes in action many months ago, consecutive injuries to Dougie Hamilton and then Brett Pesce left huge gaps in the blue line. General Manager Don Waddell opted to add reinforcements via the trade market rather than reach to the AHL. Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen were acquired. Skjei jumped immediately into the lineup and paired with Haydn Fleury on a new second defense pairing. Vatanen who was injured when acquired had setbacks and had not played in a Hurricanes uniform when the season was cut short. After the long layoff, the Canes figured to be deep on defense with Hamilton back, Vatanen and Skjei both still onboard and even Pesce a possibility later in the playoffs. But fast forward to today, and the team might be right back where it was after the trade deadline. Pesce seems unlikely to play in the Rangers series, and now Hamilton is dinged up. Brind’Amour called him doubtful for Wednesday’s exhibition game. Hopefully being even a tiny bit hazy about the situation implies that Hamilton is at least a maybe for Saturday’s playoff start. But just in case not, today’s Daily Cup of Joe considers how to build a blue line minus Hamilton and Pesce. The good news is that the Hurricanes are still fairly deep at the position. All of Jaccob Slavin, Jake Gardiner, Sami Vatanen, Haydn... read more

Watch points for Wednesday

Usually, my ‘What I’m watching’ is a game day article.But with hockey now only a day away after a four-month layoff, I think it is fair to jump into it a bit early especially given the unprecedented circumstances with the game being the lone exhibition game before parachuting straight into playoff hockey only three days later. So today’s Daily Cup of Joe has at least a first set of watch points for the Canes exhibition game against the Capitals on Wednesday at 4pm.   General team level Jump Under Rod Brind’Amour, the Hurricanes have generally been fast out of the gate in preseason. Other teams catch up by the start of the regular season which is all that matters, but under normal circumstances that is three weeks later. Is that preseason advantage mostly a function of the fact that the games do not matter? Or is it something that will repeat even when the games matter? Teams that take a week or two to get up to speed will likely exit the bubble quickly and start looking toward the 2020-21 season. So on Wednesday, I will be watching closely to see if the Canes seem to have the same advantage in terms of jump and intensity.   Crispness After a four-month layoff from real games, there is likely to be some sloppiness. The question will be which teams can shake off any rust and find at least a mid-season rhythm sooner rather than later. Wednesday represents a first look at how ready the Canes are to play real hockey with a good measuring stick on the other bench.  ... read more

Three players most critical to Canes’ playoff success

If you are just getting back into the swing of things for Canes hockey with the start of the playoffs now only five days away, you can always catch up on recent coverage by checking out the chronological list of articles HERE. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe continues on the playoff theme and identifies three players who I think are most critical to the Carolina Hurricanes’ playoff success.   Sebastian Aho In his first NHL playoffs, Sebastian Aho was productive and good. But in both the Capitals series and the Bruins series that ushered the Canes out of the playoffs, the other teams’ best players were better than Aho and his line. In the NHL, depth and balance matters, but at the same time playoff series are very often decided by which team’s best players are best in the series. Because of that, the playoffs are often players climb the last notch on the ladder going from being very good to elite. In his second playoffs, I think one of the areas for upside for the Canes is if Aho’s line which is currently loaded with talent with Teravainen and Svechnikov joining him can go from being capable of holding its own against the NHL’s best to bettering them. If Aho and his line can make that leap, I think they could carry the team deep into the playoffs.   Petr Mrazek Goaltending can often be a bit erratic early in the season when goalies are trying to find a rhythm and consistency. With the four-month layoff, the restart could be very much like early season hockey for many... read more

Most Recent Comments

  • ashevillecaniac: Looking forward to it! Bring that forecheck [...]
  • ashevillecaniac: Wow that was fun! A glorious return indeed! Butter my butt and call me a biscuit. Very [...]
  • icecobra: After such a long break and no fans I had no idea what to expect. Very good observations less then. [...]
  • danok1: I commented to my brothers that I haven't seen any forecheck like that this season with the [...]
  • lessthanstable: So, so smart of the Canes to turn the game into slugfest. Kudos to Skjei and Williams for setting [...]

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Hot From Twitter!

August 4, 2020 at 1:34am
Bit delayed after a long day, but recap/notes from @Canes 4-3 win over @NYRangers is here=>
August 3, 2020 at 2:41pm
@andyjohnson_ Agree. I wrote that Aho was not bad but other teams' best were better than him in Caps and Bruins series last year.

...That's just to say there is another level for him.

He is reaching it so far in this series.
August 3, 2020 at 2:40pm
Petr Mrazek was also very good in an understated way. Made best saves when the outcome was still being decided.
August 3, 2020 at 2:40pm
Joel Edmundson and Brady Skjei pairing stood out defensively in another game in which the defense was generally sound. #LetsGoCanes
August 3, 2020 at 2:38pm
Andrei Svechnikov will deservedly net the headlines, but Sebastian Aho also had a phenomenal game. Mad things happen with the puck all game.

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