‘What I’m watching’ — Gm74 Vs. Min: Potentially pivotal weekend begins against the Wild

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm74 Vs. Min: Potentially pivotal weekend begins against the Wild

On Thursday, the Hurricanes were beaten by the ultimate 2018-19 measuring stick in the Tampa Bay Lightning. But courtesy of an extended winning run and also two straight wins to start the home stand, the Hurricanes are still in great position in the playoff race. Sitting in the first wild card slot, the Hurricanes are up two points with a game in hand over Montreal and are up three points with a game in hand over Columbus. The Hurricanes need to beat out only one of those two teams to win a playoff berth. Looking up, third place in the Metropolitan Division is also still within range especially since the Hurricanes have another game against the Pens. Put more succinctly, the Hurricanes are in a tremendous place right now and control their own destiny. That resumes on Saturday with the Minnesota Wild visiting PNC Arena. (Insert a face showing significant pain) Because of the relative weakness in the Western Conference, the Wild enter the game with eight points fewer but still in playoff position. Clinging to that playoff spot and with a 1-2-2 record in their last five games, the Wild should be a desperate and hungry team. On the Hurricanes side, the team just needs to put the loss to the Lightning in the rear view mirror and keep doing what it has been for some time now. The bigger game looms on Sunday against the Canadiens but each and every two points is critical right now. My watch points follow.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Minnesota Wild 1) Pace and tenacity The...
The next wave for the Carolina Hurricanes prospect pool — The 2017 draft class

The next wave for the Carolina Hurricanes prospect pool — The 2017 draft class

Today it was announced that the Hurricanes had signed 2017 draftee Stelio Mattheos to his three-year entry-level contract. The move was no surprise after Mattheos had a strong prospect camp last summer and an even stronger 2018-19 season in juniors. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at the class of 2017 and its progress toward producing NHL players.   On the path at the professional level Martin Necas At least the fast track version of Necas’ NHL career hit a bit of a setback when he showed to be not yet NHL-ready in a short beginning of season stint at the Canes third line center. Since that setback, Necas’ development has been primarily positive. He had a hot streak in the AHL after adjusting, then cooled down a bit and recently has reemerged. After the fall setback and a mostly positive but still up and down 2018-19 season in the AHL, Necas NHL time line is much more uncertain. That is why I advocate for trying to add a veteran top 6 type forward who ideally can play center or wing equally well. Adding such a player would allow Necas to develop at his own pace and jump to the NHL level when ready not when needed to fill a hole.   Morgan Geekie Since he was an overage player when drafted, Geekie was able to move up to the professional ranks a year earlier than would be typical for a Canadian junior player. In his first year at the AHL level, Geekie has a respectable 38 points in 62 games. He has made the transition...
Gm73 Vs. Tam: Canes come up short in 6-3 loss to NHL’s toughest measuring stick in the Lightning

Gm73 Vs. Tam: Canes come up short in 6-3 loss to NHL’s toughest measuring stick in the Lightning

Playing a Tampa Bay Lighting that won a hard-fought, marquee match up against the Capitals 5-4 in overtime yesterday the Carolina Hurricanes had the upper hand early against the Lightning. Tampa Bay had a few bursts of offensive zone puck possession but generated very little in terms of shots or scoring chances. The Hurricanes had a couple of the better chances early including a shot from Nino Niederreiter from point blank range but were unable to finish. But after being outplayed early, the Lightning scored first when Steven Stamkos had too much time and fired a laser into the corner of the net. After that, the Hurricanes resumed getting the better of play 5-on-5 and were eventually rewarded when Nino Niederreiter had his second grade A chance after a pass from Sebastian Aho. Niederreiter finished to tie the game. The Canes scored again when Dougie Hamilton finished a rebound on an Andrei Svechnikov rush to the net. Up 2-1, the Hurricanes had a golden opportunity to push ahead with a three-minute power play (five minutes less an offsetting two minutes) but were mostly disjointed with the man advantage and unable to convert. On cue, Tampa Bay struck back with less than a minute remaining in the period when Curtis McElhinney spit out a juicy rebound and then had the second chance find a hole through him. The Hurricanes exited the first period tied 2-2 but could have had better. The second period saw the Lightning find a higher gear but also the Hurricanes do a decent job of trading punches and matching them. McElhinney seemed to settle down. The...
‘What I’m watching’ — Gm73 Vs. Tam: Canes face ultimate measuring stick in the Lightning

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm73 Vs. Tam: Canes face ultimate measuring stick in the Lightning

With a near-perfect (gave Pens an OTL point) 2-0 start to a critical five-game home stand, the Hurricanes will next face the best of the best in the Tampa Bay Lightning. If the team was based in Canada, the hockey world would be regularly debating where this team rates among the best teams of the past few decades. With eight games to go, the Lightning have already have 118 points which would have been good enough to win the President’s Trophy for the 2017-18 season. Timing-wise, there is at least a chance that the Hurricanes will catch the Lightning with the door cracked open. Tampa Bay emerged from a battle of the Eastern Conference titans with the Capitals on Tuesday with a hard-fought 5-4 overtime win. With the travel and quick turnaround, is it possible that the Hurricanes could catch the Lightning with a bit of a letdown and maybe weary legs? One can hope. But regardless, games are decided on the ice not in the standings, and the Hurricanes have been faring well in that regard too. The ‘just find a way’ Hurricanes have a chance against any team in hockey right now. My watch points for the game follow.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Tampa Bay Lightning 1) The best defense is a good offense Trying to defend the Lightning to a low goal total is almost certainly to be unfruitful. The way to beat a great and deep offensive team like the Lightning is not so much to defend their attacks but rather to stay on the offensive and be the...
Better than originally thought — Brock McGinn and Teuvo Teravainen (away from Sebastian Aho)

Better than originally thought — Brock McGinn and Teuvo Teravainen (away from Sebastian Aho)

Check out also Canes and Coffee’s Canes March Madness that will feature a series of brackets on the team’s 2018-19 season. Vote on which roster moves were most significant in building the current lineup.    Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short list of Canes things that I like better now than I did initially (not in any particular order).   1) Brock McGinn When McGinn first broke into the NHL, I was skeptical that he would ever be more than a fringe NHL/AHL player. He does not possess high-end scoring type of skill, and he is a bit undersized for the rugged brand of hockey that he plays. Furthermore, in his first run of NHL hockey, McGinn mostly played on a struggling fourth line with Jay McClement that did not make anyone look good. Based on his somewhat low ceiling offensively, challenge with his style of play at the NHL level and his play on a struggling line, I just did not see a regular NHLer in McGinn. Fast forward to today, and I would readily admit that my initial assessment was wrong. McGinn’s ceiling is still likely that of a depth forward. And I think a good and deep version of the Canes ideally pushes McGinn to a regular role on the fourth line. But I think McGinn brings enough to be a good version of an NHL depth forward. Though he maybe will not score enough to play on a higher line, he does finish enough to provide good fourth line scoring. Aside from that, his every single shift motor brings consistent energy to the...