‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm50 @Van: Canes face the Canucks in finale before an extended break

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm50 @Van: Canes face the Canucks in finale before an extended break

After an exciting and well-played 3-2 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, the Hurricanes are right back on the ice on Wednesday in Vancouver.  The game is the team’s last before an extended eight-day layoff for the NHL All-Star break followed by the team’s bye week. As I said yesterday after the Calgary game, Wednesday’s game is as close to must-win as possible in January. By virtue of a horrid December, the Hurricanes currently sit six points off the playoff pace (adjusted for games played) with the need to catch and pass two teams. Each and every point is critical as the Hurricanes try to defy the odds, climb the ladder and get to a point where the team’s all too common March surge is not too little too late. The opponent is a team of surprises. First, the Canucks are surprisingly in a dog fight for the final playoff spot. Second, the odds on favorite to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie is Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson. His dynamic play and 23 goals and 44 points in only 39 games are maybe what Canes fans envisioned for Andrei Svechnikov whose development has been more step-wise fits and starts. Important to note is that Pettersson is a year older, so perhaps Svechnikov’s break out is just a year away. On the Hurricanes side, the key is simply to keep the pedal down and muster exactly the same effort as Tuesday despite playing in the second half of a back-to-back. My watch points for Wednesday night follow.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus...
Carolina Hurricanes quick hitters — Trading a defenseman, Dougie Hamilton, the future in net and room for improvement for Sebastian Aho

Carolina Hurricanes quick hitters — Trading a defenseman, Dougie Hamilton, the future in net and room for improvement for Sebastian Aho

My hope is to get back to Micheal Ferland, Teuvo Teravainen and the interplay between them, but with a busy day and no time to write and the late Canes game that will have to wait. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short series of quick hitters.   On trading a defenseman For me it is like this…Jaccob Slavin is part of the core and not going anywhere. Calvin de Haan is unlikely to go because he is the only other proven left shot. The options would be one of the three top 4 type right shot defensemen — Justin Faulk, Brett Pesce or Dougie Hamilton. Though I could see the team partly seeing which yields the greatest return, I put Pesce in a different category. His $4 million annual salary for five more years is a huge plus and not something I would easily part with. And I also think he is the steadiest even if also most unspectacular of the bunch. Low salary and low downside in a proven 24-year old top 4 is not something that should be taken lightly.   On Dougie Hamilton Also on the topic of the blue line, I think it would be fair to say that Dougie Hamilton has been a disappointment thus far. In total through 49 games, he has not been a regular difference-maker offensively, has had intermittent issues defensively and rightfully fell to the third pairing. And based on the team’s logjam on the right side, I would not be against trading him for the right return. All that said, my preference would be to have a...
Gm49 @Cal: Hurricanes post strong effort but fall 3-2 in overtime to the Flames

Gm49 @Cal: Hurricanes post strong effort but fall 3-2 in overtime to the Flames

So here is a late night analogy for the difference between the Hurricanes and the opponent in match ups against top teams in the league. The Hurricanes attack and quite often attack more than the opponent, But the Hurricanes are like birds pecking and pecking and pecking hoping that eventually it does enough damage whereas the elite teams in the league tend to be more like cobras. Oftentimes, top teams do not muster a ton of chances, but the chances are more dangerous and usually in the end outdo a bunch of lesser attacks. I feel like if Tampa Bay or maybe even Calgary played like the Hurricanes did on Tuesday that they would have walked away with a 5-2 win. On a more positive note, Aho did have a big answer late to at least claim a point. Late night analogies aside, the Hurricanes played incredibly well on Tuesday night in Calgary and easily could have earned a fate better than the 3-2 overtime loss that they suffered. The Hurricanes stared on time and were the better team by a significant margin the first period. But one early mistake when Brock McGinn turned the puck over on the side wall in the defensive zone and no one could recover in time and the Flames struck quickly like a cobra to go up 1-0 and interrupt what had mostly been the Canes outplaying the Flames. On the play, former-Cane Derek Ryan lifted Mrazek’s stick, but the goal stood after a Brind’Amour challenge. To their credit the Hurricanes kept pushing instead of easing up as they have at times this...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm49 @Cal: Canes face familiar foes in match up versus the Calgary Flames

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm49 @Cal: Canes face familiar foes in match up versus the Calgary Flames

After a bounce back win to end a tough 1-2 week that included two lackluster losses, the Hurricanes face a stiff challenge on Tuesday night against the Western Conference-leading Calgary Flames. Though the team is a unfamiliar foe from the Western Conference, the faces will look very familiar when the Canes face Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin, Derek Ryan and Bill Peters for the first time. On the Hurricanes side, the game is a return to Calgary for Micheal Ferland and Dougie Hamilton. Aside from the family reunion aspect, the simple ‘points in the standings’ aspect is critical for the Hurricanes. After a setback with two losses last week, the Hurricanes still face a significant six-point gap (adjusted for games played) suddenly approaching the 50-game mark for the 2018-19 season. Tuesday’s game is very similar to the recent tough road match up against the Tampa Bay Lightning in that it is a game that maybe charts as a loss on the schedule and therefore represents a chance to make up for one past wrong with a win. The key from the Hurricanes side is to find the higher gear and consistency that was part of the recent winning streak before suddenly disappearing in consecutive losses last week. The Canes looked better in Sunday’s win over the Oilers, but it is hard to tell how much of that was simply facing a struggling team that had also played the night before. Regardless, the Hurricanes will need to be at the top of their game and do it for a full 60 minutes to beat a very good Flames team. My watch...
Defining the Carolina Hurricanes’ core

Defining the Carolina Hurricanes’ core

On Monday, the Carolina Hurricanes re-signed Teuvo Teravainen for five years. I covered that deal HERE. At the same time, debate rages on about whether the Hurricanes should re-sign or trade Micheal Ferland. That topic was the subject of Monday’s Daily Cup of Joe.  This week the Hurricanes also parted ways with Victor Rask to add Nino Niederreiter which I addressed HERE. All of this follows an off-season that saw the Hurricanes bring in six new players. The team is working hard to find a winning combination that can forge a playoff return. All of the turnover and to some degree the success that 2017-18 Hurricanes are having elsewhere this season begs the question of whih players should form the core that the new team is built around. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers my two cents in terms of identifying the centerpieces that the team should be building around.   Forwards Sebastian Aho He has become the offensive leader on this team and in my opinion will be the team’s next captain. He is 21 years old and on pace for 90+ points and would be the player I would start with the build a core.   Teuvo Teravainen Partly because of how well he meshes with Aho but also partly because of his versatile skill set and reasonable contract that now has him signed up for five more years, I think Teravainen is also part of the core.   Andrei Svechnikov I will start by saying that Svechnikov has not yet played his way up to a level where he would be considered a core player. But he...