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Recent Carolina Hurricanes News

What and why for Hurricanes signing 2016 draftee, goalie Jack LaFontaine

Thanks to those who reached out to make sure I am okay during my writing hiatus. I am fine; just hit a combination of a couple things taking a lot of energy and a couple others taking a lot of time and not with flexibility for the after midnight writing that I have relied on at times to get through busy stretches in the past. Hope is to get into a regular rhythm for writing about Canes and hockey on a steady basis even if not daily, so check in here and there, and you should find something to read most times.   Jack LaFontaine overcomes setbacks on path to NHL contract As a starting point, Jack LaFontaine’s path to his first NHL contract is a great story. As a rising 18-year old prospect, he was drafted by the Hurricanes in the third round of the 2016 NHL Draft. Slotted to play for a top-tier NCAA program at the University of Michigan, there were no guarantees, but he clearly had a direct path to an NHL contract a couple years down the road. And like most athletes of his caliber at his age, I would be shocked if he did not have a bunch of people telling him how great he was and was going to be. And that is about when the train to the NHL was completely derailed. LaFontaine entered a crowded crease with a couple veterans in the mix and struggled to find his footing. In his freshman year at Michigan, he finished with a 1-7-1 record and 3.34 goals against average. His .911 save percentage... read more

Gm14 @Veg: Canes start long trip with 4-2 win over Vegas Golden Knights

Starting a long road trip in Sin City, the Hurricanes continued finding a way to win even on less than stellar nights. The Hurricanes played two good periods and one bad one which was enough to win by a 4-2 margin. My notes follow:   1) Antti Raanta Because the shot volume was modest, Raanta’s game maybe will not stand out, but after being beaten twice early in the second period, he did well as the last line of defense for the rest of the second period when the Canes were struggling defensively. Thus far Raanta has done exactly what one would want from a backup goalie being able to step in after long layoffs and play well enough to give his team a chance to win, which it has in both of his starts.   2) Horrid second period Sometime shortly into the second period, the Canes seemed to switch to off. Whereas the 0-4 first period against Florida was mostly just taking and then not being able to kill penalties, the second period in Las Vegas was more of a broad-based break down. The Hurricanes had a run of mismanaging the puck int eir own end and compounding it by missing on defensive zone coverage. The result was two goals against that could have been four or five. Bear had a pass on the wall that Svechnikov was soft on that led quickly to a turnover and goal against when the defenders could not sort out the front of the net. Bear also figured in two missed coverages in front of the net for point blank chances.... read more

The possible interplay between Seth Jarvis and Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Right now, the Hurricanes have two young players new to the roster in 2021-22 who have the potential to add higher-end scoring depth to the top half of the lineup. Jesperi Kotkaniemi was acquired with the hope and to some degree expectation that he could be exactly that when the Hurricanes gave up first and third round draft picks and also ponied up a $6.1 million salary that spent most of what was left in the salary cap budget. Seth Jarvis, on the other hand, was projected to be back in juniors by now, but a good training camp/preseason and an auspicious start to his NHL career has him still at least potentially in the mix for a longer-term stay in Raleigh. On the surface, these two situations might appear to be separate, but I actually think they are very much intertwined. If you consider Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast to be a pair for a third checking/match up line (that is also scoring at a decent clip) and also like what Niederreiter brought to that line as another big body who could play a heavy, cycling game in the offensive zone, then that really only leaves five players to build out the top two scoring lines — Aho, Svechnikov, Teravainen, Trocheck and Necas. Especially if the Hurricanes want to improve from last season, the team really needs one more player who can score at a top six forward pace and not just be a low-scoring complementary player. At a basic level, I think the point of parting ways with solid depth players McGinn and Foegele was to try... read more

Gm13 Vs. StL: Canes rebound with 3-2 win over good St. Louis Blues team

After losing the first of two at home on Friday against the Flyers, the Canes rebounded quickly on Saturday with a win over a good St. Louis Blues team. The game featured heroics by two non-regulars and a decent even if not top shelf level of play by the Hurricanes. After both losses so far this season, the Hurricanes have rebounded to score wins over good teams.   My notes follow: 1) Sebastion Aho shot out of a cannon The top line and especially Sebastian Aho started on fire. In the first period, Aho set up at least four grade A scoring chances. Brady Skjei’s snipe netted a goal, but he also set up Jarvis in close twice and Svechnikov between the circles who was slashed to eliminate a great scoring chance. Aho has been up and down of late. He seemed to find a higher gear on Saturday. The question is if he can keep the dial on that gear or if it is reserved for extra effort games. Aside from taking two penalties, Svechnikov also had a strong game, and Jarvis continues to look capable on that line having a goal taken away from him for the second consecutive game.   2) Alex Lyon Playing his first game as a Hurricane, Alex Lyon did his part in helping the team collect a 3-2 win over a good team. Having a third goalie in today’s NHL can be important. One game is not a statistically valid sample size, but what stood out about Lyon’s play was that he looked comfortable and calm. As a 28-year old with now... read more

Gm12 Vs. Phi: Canes fall to Flyers 2-1 for first home loss of the season

On Friday night at PNC Arena, the Hurricanes took their first home loss of the season falling to the Philadelphia Flyers by a 2-1 margin. On the hand, the Hurricanes could easily have gained a better outcome with a break or two. On the other hand, the Canes level of play was uneven which left the door open for the Flyers. My notes follow:   1) Did Canes deserve better? The Hurricanes had the edge in shots, and though the game did go back and forth a bit, I thought the Hurricanes were the better team even if only by a small margin. No doubt, the Hurricanes could have played a cleaner game, but the result was not driven by a horrible effort.   2) Seth Jarvis auditions on the top line Jarvis played the entire game with Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov and did not look out of place doing so. After scoring his first NHL goal on an odd play that saw him lose the puck on the rush just to have it sneak through the five hole for a goal, Jarvie nearly scored an odder one on Friday. From in front of the net, he had his stick hacked in two with the blade winding up in the net first. The puck followed a second later after the puck seemed to go off a stick-less Jarvis’ skate. But the goal was waved off because he was offside entering the zone. In general, Jarvis looked okay on the top line, but I would not say he was truly a difference-maker. But Jarvis playing on a scoring line... read more

Should Canes try true ‘new NHL’ with fourth line?

Many moons ago, the fourth lines of NHL hockey teams were stocked with one or more players whose primary job was to skate just enough to find someone to fight. That transitioned to teams maybe having a single player of that mold but also players with utility often as penalty killers on the fourth line. Then finally teams started trying to gain an advantage by having a fourth line that could play regular shifts and hold their own. The path seemed to be headed toward teams icing a fourth line with as much scoring talent as possible. While fourth line players are leaps and bounds better than years past, fourth lines that score at a decent clip are still a rarity. I think the primary cause for that is a combination of the salary cap with escalating salaries even for young players still in the restricted free agency phase and maybe some lack of guts to take on the risk of stocking a fourth line with young skill players who may be prone to learning curve errors. But is it possible for a team to have enough salary balance and young scoring depth to ice a fourth line that is the best it can in terms of offensive upside? Seemingly, this would require young players on entry-level contracts because very few teams can afford signing/keeping a collection of scorers in the #10 to #12 slots. And if it is possible and someone tried it, what would be the results? In general, I think coaches are risk averse at the bottom of the lineup with the mentality being to aim... read more

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January 14, 2022 at 12:52pm
Daily Cup of Joe for Friday has quick @Canes thoughts on Thursday's debacle and scoring from the wing=>
January 14, 2022 at 11:34am
Probably not logistically possible since he was there to work obviously, but it would have been phenomenal to have @KevinWeekes sound the siren for yesterday's @Canes game.
January 12, 2022 at 10:48am
Daily Cup of Joe for Wednesday offers 5 (still early) thoughts on Jesperi Kotkaniemi through 33 games in a @Canes uniform=>
January 11, 2022 at 11:03am
Daily Cup of Joe returns after a layoff jumping right into the here and now considering the why for @Canes signing of 2016 draftee goalie Jack LaFontaine=>
January 10, 2022 at 11:41pm
Either really early (for tomorrow morning) or REALLY late (based on hiatus since last article)...Daily Cup of Joe for Tuesday considers the why for @Canes signing of 2016 draftee goalie Jack LaFontaine=>
December 15, 2021 at 9:47pm
Almost exactly 5 years after the bizarre 'melting ice' cancellation of #LetsGoCanes versus #LGRW on December 19, 2016, who would have believed that game could be rivaled for bizarre circumstances?

...and yet here we are.

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