A quick tour of Carolina Hurricanes numbers through 16 games

A quick tour of Carolina Hurricanes numbers through 16 games

Just under 20 percent of the way through the 2018-19 season already, today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at some statistics and numbers for the first 16 games.   Full on roller coaster in effect Through only 16 games, the the Caniac Nation has already experienced high highs and low lows. The team already has a five-game point streak to its credit starting the season. When paired with the 5-0-1 preseason, Canes fans had a stretch of 11 games without a regulation loss. But at the other end of the spectrum the team has also suffered a five-game losing streak already too with only a single overtime loss point mixed in.   Unpeeling the layers of defense One could draw any one of multiple conclusions from looking at the Hurricanes defense. Average in terms of goals allows The Hurricanes are tied for 15th in terms of goals allowed. That is right at the median and a modest improvement over the 2017-18 season. A tale of two opposites – shorthanded versus even strength But the average is actually an odd cocktail of atrocious on special teams and incredibly good at even strength. The Hurricanes much-maligned penalty kill is 29th in the NHL and the team’s 16 power play goals (one per game…Ouch!) rank second worst behind only Philadelphia. At even strength, the Hurricanes have dropped a bit during the recent losing streak but still land in a respectable 9th place. Goalies versus defensemen Another interesting split is considering goalie statistics versus shots allowed and to some degree charged to the defensemen. On the one hand, the Hurricanes...
Gm16 @Chi: Canes salvage 4-3 win to close out road trip in Chicago

Gm16 @Chi: Canes salvage 4-3 win to close out road trip in Chicago

With the Hurricanes arriving with a five-game losing streak and desperately needing a win, Tuesday’s game played out almost exactly the opposite of most recent games which also meant a win. The Hurricanes capitalized on an opponent that had a weak first period to the tune of three goals and the proceeded to over-rely on goaltending and holding on after that. After running out to a 4-0 lead in the front part of the second period, the Hurricanes gave up two quick goals and then faced down waves of Blackhawk challenges after that with Darling playing a key role. Darling’s three goals against will not stand out as spectacular on the score sheet, but he made saves when the team needed them and in the process played a key role in making sure an early lead was converted to a win instead of a deflating loss. For a team and a fan base that has witnessed how hard the game of hockey can seem at times, the first period was a reminder that the reverse can also be true. The Hurricanes played a decent but not necessarily spectacular first period, but when the chance to score presented itself the Hurricanes finished. First, Andrei Svechnikov swooped a a loose rebound into the net. Then Jaccob Slavin intelligently sensed opportunity and jumped up from the blue line on the power play to finish another loose puck. Then finally lost coverage in front of the net saw Brock McGinn with the puck and time and space in between the circles. When he moved the puck to Phil Di Giuseppe, he had open...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm16 @Chi: Canes battle struggling Blackhawks hoping to salvage something from road trip

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm16 @Chi: Canes battle struggling Blackhawks hoping to salvage something from road trip

For the second time this week, the Hurricanes will battle another team desperately needing to right the ship and push upward. The situation in Chicago had become dire enough that the team fired long-time coach and three-time Stanley Cup champion Joel Quenneville. As such, the game will be the Blackhawks first under a new coach. But right now games are much less about the opponent and much more about the Hurricanes finding their way back into the win column and a repeatable formula that can start a path upward after five straight losses. With a downward trend in the standings, the election coverage on Tuesday and a Carolina Panthers prime time game on Thursday, the Carolina Hurricanes are entering a fight for their sports relevance right now. Against that back drop here is what I will be watching for Thursday.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Chicago Blackhawks 1) Attitude and response to adversity What disturbed me most about Sunday’s loss was the way the team imploded early and then seemed to whimper away accepting a losing fate. Despite the ups and downs of the season, Sunday was the first game where the team seemed to fold up the tents early and show some of the fragility that permeated the team in the second half of the 2017-18 season. Tuesday’s follow up was just as bad. The team started hesitant and cautious. Gone completely was the fiery attacking style that won the day in the first few games of the season. The result, maybe not surprisingly, was a run of big ‘oopses’ that doomed Tuesday’s...
Questions as the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 season reaches an early tipping point

Questions as the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 season reaches an early tipping point

With a fun 4-0-1 start now a distant memory, the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 season is suddenly heading in the wrong direction and reaching a critical juncture. Even compared to pretty high standards in recent years, the roller coaster ride only 15 games into the season has been pretty extreme for the loyal fan base that is still holding on. Pressure has built over the five-game losing streak. Even with a win in the road trip finale in Chicago on Thursday, the trip will still be a loser at 1-2-1, but the next win will at least relieve some pressure hopefully before the team explodes. Just as significant as Thursday’s game is what follows. Up next is a six-game home stand heading into the end of year holidays. The team will enter that stretch with a massive amount of pressure and potentially with the fate of the 2018-19 season already at stake. Right now, I have many more questions than answers.   On Rod Brind’Amour’s demeanor Brind’Amour expressed some frustration after Tuesday’s loss but also continues to follow each loss with seemingly more happiness about how hard the team worked and out-chanced the other team than issues with another loss. Is Brind’Amour’s calm, ‘stick to it’ approach exactly what the young team needs to overcome? Or as first time head coach, is Brind’Amour just in over his head and without answers right now?   On Scott Darling In total, the goaltending is failing to be a positive again so far in 2018-19. But Scott Darling is only two games deep into his season that started late due to injury. Is it...
Another short round of things for the Hurricanes to consider

Another short round of things for the Hurricanes to consider

With the Hurricanes losing streak now at five games and and the team now a game below .500 despite a 4-0-1 start, figuring out what must change is increasing in urgency as the current swoon has the 2018-19 season looking eerily reminiscent of recent seasons. I have written a few more detailed and in some cases harsh articles on the team’s weaknesses and areas for improvement. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe is similar but not so much in venting way. Rather, I will attempt to offer a few fairly simple ideas that could change the current trajectory.   Put Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce back together Simple: The duo works well together, and the team could use more things that work right now. What seemed to be a great combination of the team’s two best defensemen and sure-first top defense pairing in Jaccob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton has been ‘meh’, especially of late. I actually think that the offensive part of Hamilton’s game is rising right now even though scoring production has only been modest thus far. But in total, I just do not think either Slavin or Hamilton are thriving right now. After being a plus player in his first three seasons, Slavin will wake up at minus 6 tomorrow. Say what you will about plus/minus, the Hurricanes are losing with Slavin on the ice which is a new thing. With the team sputtering in total, reuniting Slavin/Pesce seems like an easy way to try to get more from Slaving, and I think possibly Hamilton too if he ends up with a partner who he has to share...