Matt’s short comment: I cannot express enough how thrilled I am to welcome Andrew to the Canes and Coffee team. I read his work at the Technician last season and was thoroughly impressed. I gained a greater appreciation for Andrew’s in-depth knowledge of the Hurricanes and broader NHL from meeting with him this summer and was ecstatic when he agreed to help here. Please join me in welcoming Andrew to Canes and Coffee and add him to your Hurricanes follow list (@) if you are Twitter-inclined.
Hello, Canes and Coffee readers. I thought I would take a minute on my first post here to introduce myself. My name is Andrew Schnittker and I am a Sophomore at NC State University studying Communication Media. I have been a huge sports fan my whole life. I am a huge fan of NC State sports, the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, and above all, the Carolina Hurricanes. I have been going to games since before I can remember and have followed the team religiously ever since the 2009 playoff run.
As I began to take an interest in Sports Journalism in high school, it was only naturally that I would gravitate towards covering my favorite team. When I got to NC State last year, that dream was fulfilled much sooner than I expected. I was given the opportunity to cover some Hurricanes games for the Technician newspaper, and now have full credentials this year, so I will be expanding my coverage even further.
I have been reading Matt’s work both here and at HockeyBuzz for several years now, and this summer we met face to face to discuss both hockey and writing. Matt offered me a chance to work here to expand my Hurricanes writing and audience, and I quickly jumped on the opportunity, so this season I will be writing a Canes “week in review piece”, usually on Sundays, unless the Canes have a Sunday game.
I could not be more excited and honored to join the team at CanesandCoffee, and look forward to hopefully producing quality content that you guys enjoy reading this year. And with that, let’s jump in with week one!
Traverse City Tournament
Matt has already written extensively about this here this week, but just to recap, the Canes captured the title at the annual Matthew Wuest Memorial NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City Michigan for the first time since its inauguration in 2009 (quick trivia, what other good Canes happening last occurred in 2009?) The team scored 20 total goals in five games in the tournament, defeating the New York Rangers 4-3 in overtime, Minnesota Wild 4-2 and Dallas Stars 6-3 in group play, and the host Detroit Red Wings 6-4 in the title game.
This was truly an all-hands-on deck win for the Canes, with many players taking their turn in the spotlight. Matt has already given a pretty in depth run-down of individual performances HERE, but I will say that this win is made even more impressive by the fact the team was down its top forward prospect, Sebastian Aho, who was busy with Team Finland at the World Cup (more on that in a bit), and lost is defensive leader and team captain Haydn Fleury to injury in game one.
I think this also signifies some early returns of Ron Francis’ commitment to building depth throughout the team’s system through drafting and smart trades. Also, that system depth, particularly at the NHL level, is signified by the fact that despite some very strong individual performances, every Traverse City player faces an uphill battle to make the Canes’ opening night roster. Let’s hope we get to see many of these players contribute in a Hurricanes uniform in the years to come.
World Cup of Hockey
Head coach Bill Peters and Team Canada swept their way through group play and defeated team Russia 5-2 in the semifinal to advance to the best of three tournament final against the winner of Team Europe and Team Sweden.
Things were less rosy for the Canes’ two roster players in the tourney, as Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Team Finland went 0-3 in group play and is done for the tournament. While neither recorded a point and Teravainen was a healthy scratch for the first game, I was impressed with Aho’s performance. He was able to showcase his speed and skill to generate a few chances. One play in particular stood out in game one against Team North America, when Aho carried the puck over the blueline and spun wide of a defender to draw a hooking play. Here’s hoping we see more of that from the Finnish phenom wearing the sightless eye.
However, with both seeing somewhat limited ice time and Team Finland pretty much flopping, it is probably for the best the two, particularly as young newcomers to the lineup will be heading back and joining training camp, speaking of which…
Training Camp Begins
The Canes began training camp Friday, welcoming back both new and old faces, and the entirety of the Traverse City Champions (did I just use Champions and Canes in the same sentence? Yes I did, and it felt wonderful). While Matt has already given practice observations, one thing that pleased me was to hear numerous players say they know how important getting off to a good start is, particularly on the annual State Fair road trip that will see the team begin the regular season with six straight road games. The players know this is vital to their end goal of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs in seven seasons, and while getting off to a good start has been a struggle the past several years, the players really sound motivated to flip that narrative this season, hopefully they are able to do so.
That’s all for this week, looking forward to sharing more coverage with you all throughout the season!