Seeking difference-making improvement

Seeking difference-making improvement

With the off-season officially here, possible ways to improve the Carolina Hurricanes has been a regular entry for the Daily Cup of Joe in different varieties.   Seeking an area where difference-making improvement is possible While it is possible for the team to improve in pretty much any area, that task has become harder with the team improving becoming competent or better in pretty much every area. From here, I see the path to winning a Stanley Cup as being one of two ways. First is simply making modest upgrades and more so having a ‘peak season’ and/or riding a hot streak in the playoffs mostly because the current group finds a higher gear. Second is finding a way to make a significant upgrade that significantly changes the makeup and trajectory of the team. If I work through the Hurricanes lineup seeking such an upgrade possibility, it goes like this… In net, I do think the potential is there for the Hurricanes to upgrade, but at the same time I do not think Mrazek/McElhinner or Mrazek/Reimer in any way held the team back. So I think it is unlikely that a change in net significantly changes things. On defense, the blue line was at the core of the Hurricanes 2018-19 success and especially at the top of the depth chart was a strength again in 2019-20. If anything, I think the blue line represents a risk for a drop off. When a team reaches a high level, the risk of less is greater than the potential for more. At forward, the Hurricanes FINALLY have the components for a legitimate...
Canes versus Bruins: Comparing 2019 to 2020

Canes versus Bruins: Comparing 2019 to 2020

With the Carolina Hurricanes playoff push ending at the hands of the same Boston Bruins both in 2019 and again in 2020, the potential is there to at least attempt to measure the team’s progress. An important disclaimer is the unique circumstances in 2020 with the four-month layoff, the bubble and everything else unique to 2020. While the two different years would never be directly comparable anyway, I do think comparing the two years has something to say about the progress of the Hurricanes from year to year.   What was the same? A couple key factors were pretty similar between the two years. In both series, the Bruins’ best players played a huge role in deciding the series. In 2019, the Bruins top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak combined for 6 goals and 14 scoring points. The 2020 series was similar with Boston’s big guns scoring 5 goals and collecting 14 points in 5 games. Also on the offensive side of the ledger, in 2019 the Bruins outscored the Hurricanes on the power play by a massive 7 to 1 mark in only 4 games. Though the margin was not as big, the Bruins 5 goals for versus 1 against on the power play was again a significant advantage for the Bruins. Both series also featured a catastrophic collapse to lose a game that seemed to be in hand. In 2019, the Hurricanes seemed to be on their way to pulling off a game 1 upset to get out to a series lead when they collapsed in the third period and lost. In 2020,...
‘What I’m watching’ — Gm45 Vs. LA: Canes try to ride the Whale to win and 5-2 mark for the home stand

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm45 Vs. LA: Canes try to ride the Whale to win and 5-2 mark for the home stand

After what I consider the most impressive and complete win at least since the long road trip, the Canes now sit at 4-2 for the seven-game home stand. The ball is on the tee for a great weekend and conclusion to the home run with Whalers night at PNC Arena on Saturday night and a beatable opponent in the Los Angeles Kings. With an 18-24-4 mark for the 2019-20 season, the Kings are on the outside looking in for the playoff race already. The Kings are 3-6-1 in their past 10 games, but their 5-2 win Thursday over the Vegas Golden Knights is a reminder that advantages on paper do not automatically convert to wins on the ice. On the Hurricanes side of the ledger, the team is currently on another upswing on the roller coaster with consecutive home wins. Maybe more significantly the team is coming off what would probably be a top 5 win for the season in terms of playing a complete game and being sound and solid for a full 60 minutes instead of just winning via a burst or two of scoring. The game is a big one in terms of trajectory. A loss makes for an okay but mostly treading water-ish 4-3 mark for the home stand, whereas a win finishes strong with a 5-2 mark that is even more impressive considering the level of competition that included Washington twice and also red hot Tampa Bay. My watch points follow.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Los Angeles Kings 1) Continuation from Friday For pretty much the entirety of...
Coffee Shop polls: Build the Hurricanes forward lines (polls and discussion)

Coffee Shop polls: Build the Hurricanes forward lines (polls and discussion)

With the start of training camp upon us, we will dust off The Coffee Shop category and given everyone a chance to build out the Hurricanes 2019-20 forward lines. To keep there from being too many variations, the starting point is assuming that Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark start the season at center. If injuries do not disrupt things, I think that is highly likely to hold true. The Hurricanes do have a couple other options at center, but I view Aho, Staal and Wallmark as locks and Haula as the preferred choice for the other slot. So with no further ado, who plays where come opening night? Polls are below, but even better would be to hear everyone’s reasoning in the comments for why they would build the lines as they would.   Who will play on Sebastian Aho's wings? Clark Bishop Ryan Dzingel Warren Foegele Saku Maenalanen (unsigned) Jordan Martinook Brock McGinn Martin Necas Nino Niederreiter Andrei Svechnikov Teuvo Teravainen One of the AHL young guns rising up View Results  Loading ...   Who will play on Jordan Staal's wings? Clark Bishop Ryan Dzingel Warren Foegele Saku Maenalanen (unsigned) Jordan Martinook Brock McGinn Martin Necas Nino Niederreiter Andrei Svechnikov Teuvo Teravainen One of the AHL young guns rising up View Results  Loading ...   Who will play on Erik Haula's wings? Clark Bishop Ryan Dzingel Warren Foegele Saku Maenalanen (unsigned) Jordan Martinook Brock McGinn Martin Necas Nino Niederreiter Andrei Svechnikov Teuvo Teravainen One of the AHL young guns rising up View Results  Loading ...   Who will play on Lucas Wallmark's wings? Clark...
The script for Thursday night

The script for Thursday night

The task at hand for the Carolina Hurricanes is to win a single hockey game and then go from there. That ask is not that outlandish. The Hurricanes have been a great hockey team on home ice throughout the playoffs and the team’s first loss at PNC Arena on Tuesday was actually not that far off base on a night when the team arguably deserved better. So asking for and receiving a win on Thursday is well within the realm of possibilities. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe writes the script for that win.   Repeat of the start The start really needs to be no different than Tuesday’s. The Hurricanes had an 11-1 shots on goal advantage when Justin Williams and Torey Krug went off the ice with matching penalties, changed the flow of the game a bit and offered a small amount of relief for the Bruins. So in terms of intensity level, pace and just about everything else, the team is simply looking for a repeat of Tuesday without offering the Bruins breathing room by taking penalties.   …But with finishing The difference in Tuesday’s game was the fact that the Hurricanes were unable to convert pretty much a full period of sheer dominance into anything on the scoreboard. The Hurricanes simply missed the net multiple times with Teravainen’s miss 18 seconds in and Svechnikov’s back door miss being the most notable. Tuukka Rask, who was also incredibly good on a number of shots, was also flat out lucky on multiple occasions. Justin Williams nicked the cross bar. Rask had one shot through a screen that he...