Random Canes musings — The importance of buy in, the rise of Necas and the silver lining in Svechnikov’s slowed scoring

Random Canes musings — The importance of buy in, the rise of Necas and the silver lining in Svechnikov’s slowed scoring

After a solid win on Monday in Columbus that was one of the team’s soundest of the season even if not as spectacular as a few other wins, all seems right in the Caniac Nation again. The dip was overstated anyway with only three losses and two of those being decent or better efforts that netted an overtime loss point. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers an eclectic set of musings on the current state of the Canes.   The importance of buy in from young players Getting young offensive players up to at least a competent level in terms of defense and attention to detail is critical to a team’s success. Jeff Skinner is the textbook example of a player who enters the NHL at a young age at an incredibly advanced level offensively but deficient defensively. Not all players like that are destined to round into near-Selke form defensively, but at the same time it is absolutely critical that players like that make steady progress defensively. If they do not, it is completely possible (and happens regularly) that high end scorers can still manage to be a negative in terms of winning hockey games. In that regard, I think Brind’Amour’s single greatest strength as a coach is getting talented young players to buy in. Each of Sebastian Aho, Andei Svechnikov and Martin Necas entered the NHL with exactly the imbalance I mentioned above where they were NHL-ready offensively almost out of the chute but were nowhere close to that same level defensively. The early version of Aho had a tendency to float a bit in the defensive...
Canes roster situations — Mrazek/Nedeljkovic/Reimer and Jake Gardiner

Canes roster situations — Mrazek/Nedeljkovic/Reimer and Jake Gardiner

In my most recent Daily Cup of Joe, I wrote about the possibility of adding the current roster in the form of fomer Cane Eric Staal. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe covers a two different situations with the current roster including the impending goalie situation and Jake Gardiner’s flight across the waiver wire last week.   Petr Mrazek / James Reimer / Alex Nedeljkovic With Alex Nedeljkovic settling in and playing better than James Reimer right now and Petr Mrazek inching closer to return, the Hurricanes suddenly have the three-headed goalie problem in terms of who gets (how many) starts, who (if anyone) finds their way to the waiver wire (or does not because they do not clear waivers) and what the path forward is.   #1 or #1A With the Hurricanes winning seemingly regardless of who is in net or even how well they play, there is no incredible rush to get Petr Mrazek back in the mix. Priority one is to err on the side of caution in terms of making sure his thumb is 110 percent healed with no need to push timeline. Even when does return, there is no need to ride Mrazek for a bunch of games. The Hurricanes have an odd luxury of not being at the playoff cut line, and as already noted, they are winning regardless of netminding right now. Further, even if 100 percent healthy and with the team needing the win, it has never in two plus years been Brind’Amour’s goalie management style to really ride a hot hand. Back-to-backs get split with only one exception over two and...
Considering Eric Staal

Considering Eric Staal

With the Carolina Hurricanes flying high in the midst of an eight-game winning streak, pretty much everything is going well. Even minus a couple players out with injuries, the team is winning and often doing it by a wide margin. Were the team to ride the current roster into the playoffs, it would have a good chance to beat everyone. And success in the playoffs is almost unanimously driven by a first and foremost by a team’s core not players added at the trade deadline. But at the same time, the playoffs are a long grind and quality depth helps. No doubt the full-year players like Brind’Amour, Staal and Stillman drove the bus offensively when the Hurricanes hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2006. But veteran additions Mark Recchi and Doug Weight made the team more competitive from top to bottom and played a role in surviving the grind at times and hanging round in range for heroics to win the day. There is still a lot of hockey to play and inevitably some ups and downs to come, but the 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes are very much a team within range of competing for the 2021 Stanley Cup. And though the current roster is very good, there is still room to both improve and become deeper. Also consider that to even make the semifinals, the Hurricanes will likely have to beat a Lightning team that has beaten them three out of four times (the Canes 3-on-3 overtime win is basically a tie as far as playoff games go) and should add 2019 Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov in time for...
Gm26 Vs. Nas: Canes ride another scoring outburst to seventh straight win, besting Preds 5-1

Gm26 Vs. Nas: Canes ride another scoring outburst to seventh straight win, besting Preds 5-1

Anyone else just pinch themselves sometimes because they're not sure it is real how @Canes can just score goals in bunches sometimes regardless of how game is going, if they are playing particularly well or whatever else? — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) March 12, 2021 Thursday’s game against the Predators started normally enough. The game was fairly even with Nashville even having the upper hand early by a modest margin. But the Predators did not score on a couple decent early chances. And then it happened. In a span of barely over two minutes, the Hurricanes scored three quick goals. First, Morgan Geekie deftly tipped a Jake Bean point shot/pass on the power play. Next, the Canes won a puck on the forecheck resulting in a Warren Foegele pass across to Brock McGinn who sniped a shot into an open chunk of net. Then Andrei Svechnikov made a pretty pass to Dougie Hamilton who finished to put the Hurricanes up 3-0. The first period would end with the play somewhere close to 50-50 in many ways, the Predators having a wide 15 to 6 shot advantage, but the Hurricanes posting a 3-0 lead on the scoreboard. The second period was more of the same. The game was fairly even, but Nashville struggled to beat James Reimer for a goal, and Morgan Geekie struck again on a lucky goal that went off the goalie, off a defense and behind the goalie for a 4-0 lead. Again, Nashville collected shots, but only the Hurricanes scored. The third period saw Martin Necas score from right out front on the power play when...
The foundation of Canes 2020-21 success — Strength down the middle

The foundation of Canes 2020-21 success — Strength down the middle

Ask and you shall receive.   Pre 2020-21 season concerns A regular theme of my pre-season writing about the Canes was for the team’s middle centers to find a higher gear than in 2019-20. On September 4, I wrote this article entitled, “Questions down the middle.”  And on December 30, I pegged the second line center slot that Vincent Trocheck is in as one of “The two most critical slots in the Carolina Hurricanes 2020-21 lineup.”   Expectations I figured Sebastian Aho for a near certainty to produce in the neighborhood of a point per game for a floor and therefore be a bona fide first line scoring center. He has a higher gear yet but is in the neighborhood of that level of production. Then past that I had Vincent Trocheck and Jordan Staal as keys to the team’s success. Staal started slow in 2019-20 and had a ‘meh’ season overall even defensively and dipped to a new low offensively. The question of whether he was fading in the second part of his career was legitimate. Vincent Trocheck’s situation was an odd one in that he played a few games after arriving via trade, then went on COVID hiatus with the league for four months and then played another few games in the playoffs. By no means was the separated, small sample size enough to make any final declarations on Trocheck as a Hurricane, but it was fair to say that his production out of the gate (twice) was not at the level hoped for when he was obtained.   10x expectations so far Fast forward to 2020-21...