Carolina Hurricanes versus Boston Bruins: Learning from last year

Carolina Hurricanes versus Boston Bruins: Learning from last year

Earlier today, I wrote an article entitled, “Who are these Boston Bruins?” that looked at the Bruins from 2019 playoffs, 2019-20 regular season and the 2020 playoff round robin. That article is HERE.   For the Carolina Hurricanes, the 2019 NHL Playoffs were nothing short of magical. After a decade-long playoff hiatus, the Hurricanes scratched and clawed to get into the playoffs (which was a huge success in and of itself) and then bettered that by a WIDE margin in beating the Washington Capitals in an enthralling seven-game series. The quick sweep of of New York Islanders in the second round had Canes fans legitimately starting to wonder, “Could it really happen?” But after a long layoff after the second round sweep, the Hurricanes never really got up and going against the Boston Bruins and were quickly bounced from the playoffs in a four-game sweep. The Hurricanes were outscored 17 to 5 in the series and were really only close in a game 3 loss by a 2-1 margin that was the last gasp to try to climb into the series. The series at hand features a huge amount of wild cards with the long layoff, a possible revenge motivator for the Canes and simply the young Hurricanes squad being another year old, stronger and maybe wiser. But despite the number things that make current series an entity of its own, there are still takeaways/things to consider from last May.   Leadership and poise I feel like it is almost sacreligious to even talk about it based on all he did to help the team reach that level, but...
Quick hitters on the New York Rangers series

Quick hitters on the New York Rangers series

Sometime closer to the start of the playoff series, I will write an article or two that goes into a bit more depth on the Canes versus Rangers series. But today’s Daily Cup of Joe jumps the gun a bit and offers a few quick hitters on matching up with the Rangers.   Who pressures whom? The Rangers ice a young team that has the ability to play uptempo hockey and attack quickly if given time. The series could turn on who pressures whom. Can the Hurricanes refind their overwhelming forecheck that was the team’s bread and butter during its success in the latter half of the 2018-19 season and the 2019 NHL Playoffs? That forecheck was not a regular ingredient in 2019-20. If the Hurricanes can do that, perhaps the young Rangers blue liners will wilt under the pressure. But if the Rangers can quickly navigate their way past the first line or two of defense, the Rangers youth and skill can really put pressure on a Canes back end that can have some holes in terms of sorting things out under duress. Who wins this battle could very well win the series.   The mental part of the goaltending battle Arguably, the single biggest factor in the regular season series was goaltending. The Hurricanes netminders were generally decent or better in total during the season but for whatever reason fell a bit flat against Rangers. And the Rangers goalies were outstanding. While I do think it is fair to say that the Rangers have an edge in net, I think the bigger thing could be the mental...
Carolina Hurricanes Return to Play roster

Carolina Hurricanes Return to Play roster

Who knows on the pandemic prognosis, but as of right now the NHL continues to chart a course toward playoff hockey when the calendar flips to August. The timing is ironic since August is normally the deadest time of the hockey season. The Hurricanes are slated to play the New York Rangers in a best of five with games scheduled for August 1, 3, 4, 6 and 8. With that, the team also announced its 31-player roster. That roster is the subject of today’s Daily Cup of Joe.   An interesting starting point is to note that the Hurricanes are using only 26 of the maximum 30 skater slots. Other teams are below 30 too, but most seemed to be closer to 30. I am not sure if this means that the Hurricanes could add players later in which case, you have a weird trade-off. On the one hand, the Canes gain flexibility for position depending on what is needed. On the other hand, you would be throwing rusty players who are basically months deep in the off-season straight into playoff hockey without time to get up to speed even in practice.   Goalies As one would expect, the Hurricanes are carrying all four NHL-experienced goalies in Anton Forsberg, Petr Mrazek, Alex Nedeljkovic, and James Reimer. Because it is not a position where you can just figure something out (except for that one MASSIVE and magical night in Toronton), it makes sense to carry four goalies for just in case with injuries and the threat of COVID-19 lurking. Technically teams are allowed unlimited goalies, so I believe the could...
George Floyd, the Canes and Coffee COVID-19 hiatus and a re-kick off of Canes coverage

George Floyd, the Canes and Coffee COVID-19 hiatus and a re-kick off of Canes coverage

George Floyd and a vote against racism in any form From its very beginning, Canes and Coffee has with incredible consistency been solely focused on Carolina Hurricanes hockey. Both the site and the Twitter handle have stayed the course of being a reprieve from the problems and contentious issues in our world. I challenge any of the long-time readers to count more than a handful of digressions into social issues, politics or anything else that was not related to Canes hockey. In general, that will not change. Social, political and other world topics will not become a regular entry here. That is not because those issues are not important but rather because that is not what this site is for. But with my wife out of town and my kids mostly occupied with their own stuff, I spent a significant part of my weekend thinking about the George Floyd murder and the resulting chaos that has unfolded over the weekend across our country. Though it is off-topic for this site, I feel personally compelled to say something because I feel like we all have a role to play in building a better world. Per my comments below, increasingly not saying anything actually says something too. In very simple terms, racism in any form is wrong. Though it is not pleasant to consider, the volume and effects of racism are much more significant than those of us who are white and privileged care to recognize especially if we do not wish to spend time being troubled with something that does not too often affect us directly. If there has been...
An early look at building the 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes

An early look at building the 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes an early look at building the 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes. To be clear this is not commentary on the likelihood of the 2019-20 season resuming. It is just an interesting topic for discussion in my opinion.   The budget Before the world changed, estimates were that the NHL salary cap would increase significantly by $4 to $7 million. Increasingly, a flat salary cap seems more likely with most, if not all, of 18 percent of the regular season lost and likely the playoffs to be abbreviated if they occur at all. As noted in my Daily Cup of Joe yesterday that looked at impacts from the suspended 2019-20 season, the Hurricanes are actually positioned well for this and could actually benefit from it. The Hurricanes will net some salary cap relief from clearing Patrick Marleau’s salary and the small portion of Justin Faulk’s that was retained. Those two contracts clear almost $7 million without the need to replace a player. And the vast majority of the team’s top players are already under contract. From the current roster, the Canes have only Warren Foegele to re-sign and Justin Williams to re-sign or replace. On defense, the Hurricanes already have five defensemen under contract for the 2020-21 season with the need to re-sign Haydn Fleury who is a restricted free agent. Only Joel Edmundson and Trevor van Riemsdyk are unrestricted free agents. When one nets it out, the Hurricanes will not need much of the $7 million freed up to maintain the status quo. Most of it should be available to either add players outright or...
Hurricanes acquire defenseman Brady Skjei from Rangers for 2020 1st round draft pick

Hurricanes acquire defenseman Brady Skjei from Rangers for 2020 1st round draft pick

See also initial thoughts on Canes obtaining defenseman Sami Vatanen from the New Jersey Devils for prospect Janne Kuokkanen and a conditional fourth-round pick. See also initial thoughts on the Hurricanes acquisition of center Vincent Trocheck from Florida for Lucas Wallmark, Erik Haula, Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen.   The Carolina Hurricanes’ final move on a busy 2020 NHL trade deadline day was perhaps the most surprising. Shortly after it was announced that the team had added a defenseman as many including myself expected, word came that the Hurricanes had also landed New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei in return for the lower of the Hurricanes’ two 2020 first-round draft picks. I was skeptical, but the initial report proved to be true.   The key terms For the trade itself, the Hurricanes will give up the lower of its two first-round picks. Brady Skjei arrives with a contract that lasts four years after this one at an annual salary cap hit of $5.25 million per year. As such, Skjei is not signed solely as short-term help for the Hurricanes injury woes but rather as a longer-term addition to the core of the blue line.   Brady Skjei Skjei is an interesting case. The positive on him is that he brings great size and skating ability and a skill set that is every bit top 4-capable. He played his way up to that level by the completion of his entry-level contract which earned his current contract. And as a 25-year old, he is theoretically just entering his prime. So if one considers him to be a legitimate top 4 defenseman...