Canes Art on main page generously provided by Chris Clark.
In case you are catching up, this week at Canes and Coffee is “tap takeover” week if you will with both reader and guest articles filling up the website.
Things kicked off in earnest on Monday with a great detailed analysis of the Hurricanes salary cap situation out to 2019-20 by reader David Miller. That article was followed up by a guest post by Bob Wage from Canes Edge in which he offered his thoughts on the potential attendance boost that an ownership change could yield. We even melded the two together for a Monday Coffee shop with polls and discussion questions also focused on the Hurricanes’ financials looking forward.
About the Author
Randy Yale (CandC=ctcaniac) grew up in Raleigh, received his undergraduate degree from NC State, attended graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill, and earned a graduate degree from Duke in 2005. His job then relocated him to Connecticut in 2006 (I was actually interviewing as the Canes were winning the Stanley Cup). So while I made the team’s move in reverse, my family (wife Tracy, son Jacob, and daughter Marcos) and I remain committed Caniacs.
First, let me say that one moment surpassed all last season: Bryan Bickell putting the puck in the net in the shootout the last time he touched it in the NHL. But I am not eloquent enough to say more about that moment.
The list below reflects plays when I thought to myself “that was special.” I have re-watched all of them, most more than twice. As the new season approaches, each of these plays now gives me added excitement.
5) “The Phantom Skate” — the goal that tied the game March 30 against the Blue Jackets. Jeff Skinner was credited with the goal as the puck was redirected by Seth Jones’ skate into the net. While Skinner made a heads up play to get the puck toward the goal, it was Victor Rask who made the key play that kept the Canes’ late season playoff push alive. Rask used his position and his own skates to “cause” Jones to redirect the puck.
From a pure numbers standpoint, Victor Rask did not finish the year strong, especially considering the numbers he put up the first two weeks. But this play epitomizes that Rask was “snake bit” for much of the season–as reflected in the decline in his shooting percentage from 13.1 in 15-16 to 8.6 in 16-17.
The phantom skate has me excited because I believe Rask will have better luck in 2017-18 and is likely to top 20 goals and 50 points.
4) Valentin Zykov’s first NHL goal. The March 9 game against the Rangers began the Hurricane’s point streak. And this goal seemed in some ways to ignite the streak. While it might have been beginner’s luck, even defenders in neighborhood games know not to let players get in front of the net with the puck. Yet Zykov in his first game was able to take 3 shots within 15 feet of the net. On the actual goal, Zykov is not only in front of the net but overpowers two defenesmen.
I am excited to see if Zykov can make it back to the NHL in 2017-18 and continue to add a power dimension to the Canes’ offense.
3) Brett Pesce hitting the post in overtime. The last home game of the season against the Blues went to overtime. The Canes had a 4-on-3 power play and couldn’t covert. When the teams reverted to 4-on-4, Bill Peters went to his star defensemen because as Tripp Tracy stated “Tarasenko was on the ice.” Both Slavin and Pesce almost scored in the first 30 seconds they were together on the ice in overtime. After Jordan Staal forced a turnover, Pesce made a deft move and shot a backhand that was 4 to 5 inches from being perfect as it bounced off the outside post. As it was, Pesce registered 2 assists in the final home game. Over the last eight games Pesce had 4 assists. He showed more offensive confidence the last two weeks of 2016-17.
I am excited because I think 6-8 goals and 35 points are within reach for #22 in 2017-18.
2) Elias Lindholm causes the Rangers to request a review for goalie interference. In the March 9 game discussed above, the Canes were propelled to victory by two Sebastian Aho power plays goals. On the first goal, Antti Ranta thought that Lindholm interefered. I happened to be watching the New York broadcast and the announcers thought the play “was clearly interference.” However, the officials reviewed the play and correctly indicated that Ranta initiated the contact. The reason for the contact was that Lindholm was in the perfect position just as Aho’s shot was taken. On the winning power play goal later in the third period, Lindholm was credited with an assist. Thus started both the team’s point streak and Lindholm’s.
I am excited because from that point forward (which should carry into this season) Elias Lindholm seemed to combine his vision, passing touch, and aggressive positioning to make plays every game.
1) Sebastian Aho plays 1-on-3 and scores. The Canes’ third goal March 25 against New Jersey was Aho’s second goal of the game. In between, Jeff Skinner made an incredible individual effort as he stole the puck and scored on a breakaway (an honorable mention for this list). Aho’s second goal of the game iced a victory when the Canes were desperate to win. The play amazes me every time I watch it, which is more than half a dozen times at this point. It is not just the the effort to get the puck while surrounded by defenders, but I am convinced that in a split second Aho realized that he could get off a shot then intentionally directed it to Cory Schneider’s far side.
The obvious reason for excitement going into this season is that Aho will amaze Canes fans many more times.
What say you Caniacs?
Who else has favorite plays from the 2016-17 season that you fondly remember?
What plays or moments from the 2016-17 bode well as we look forward to the 2017-18 season?