After a heartbreaking loss on Saturday coupled with wins by both Toronto and Boston who are the nearest 2 teams currently in playoff spots, Hurricanes fans are either set up for an even bigger miracle or otherwise the Hurricanes are down to their final 5 games. At the same time, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels won on Saturday night in the NCAA basketball Final Four to advance to Monday’s championship game.
It is the time of year when a large swath of the local sports media heads out of town many weekends to chase the local teams in the NCAA basketball tournament. In March of 2017, the media headed out to cover basketball in Greenville, SC, Memphis, TN and Scottsdale, AZ and provided intermittent check ins on Canes hockey from hotel lobbies, basketball arenas between games and bars and restaurants far away. In March 2018 when the Carolina Hurricanes are in the midst of a playoff stretch run that sees the team emerge as a 2018 playoff team, the same local media will be in another set of far away cities focused primarily on the NCAA basketball tourney.
Canes and Coffee will be right here, anchored in Raleigh, North Carolina and PNC Arena and focused on our hockey team with basketball as a secondary concern instead of the other way around. If you believe in local, dedicated Hurricanes hockey coverage, please consider making a modest contribution to our “coffee fund.”
Despite Saturday’s setback, today’s collection of articles focuses primarily on the positive. Articles links cover individual Hurricanes players who are surging right now, the expansion draft, playoff chances for the Hurricanes organization below the NHL level and a couple other miscellaneous topics.
So many good things for the Caniac Nation right now
Andrew Schnittker wrote a great article on Sebastian Aho’s successful rookie season with quotes from Bill Peters, Jeff Skinner and Aho himself.
Justin Gilliland at Fansided’s Cardiac Cane wrote about Jeff Skinner “Leading the Charge.”
Charles Taylor from Fansided’s Cardiac Cane suggests that Noah Hanifin has “Completely Turned His Sophomore Season Around.”
At the prospect level, Nicholas Niedzielski from the Charlotte Checkers team website captured prospect Aleksi Saarela’s 2-goal outing in only his second AHL game.
Cory Wilkins at theScore writes about the Hurricanes’ promising future at more of a team level.
NHL expansion draft
ESPN.com had a panel of their experts project who the Las Vegas Knights would select in the expansion draft this summer (assuming no deals to keep players from being selected).
Canes and Coffee’s Daily Cup of Joe for Thursday also took a shot at how the expansion draft could play out for the Hurricanes.
Playoffs at the lower levels
The Charlotte Checkers are currently in playoff position with only 8 games remaining. At Canes and Coffee, check out Jordan Futrell’s latest ‘Checking In’ to catch up with the Checkers.
Also consider my Daily Cup of Joe article this week that detailed the playoff situation for all of the Hurricanes prospects below the AHL level playing in Canadian juniors and the NCAA in the United States.
Only 1 year after the draft is too early to draw final conclusions, nevertheless, Brian Costello from The Hockey News redrafts the 2016 NHL draft with interesting results.
Brian LeBlanc from Canes Country does the due diligence on an Andrej Nestrasil interview with a Czech newspaper that suggests Nestrasil’s days in the Hurricanes organization could be numbered.