Sharing the credit across the Carolina Hurricanes roster

Sharing the credit across the Carolina Hurricanes roster

Today is a day to ever so briefly revel in what the 2018-19 Carolina Hurricanes just accomplished before turning to what is next (will have first look at Isles series up no later than Thursday night). To pull off a win against the defending Stanley Cup Champions in a war of a seven-game series requires contributions from everyone. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe dishes out well-deserved credit for the Canes series win.   Sebastian Aho Calling it like it is, he did not have a great series in total, but when the chips were down and it was a handshake game for certain, Sebastian Aho had his best game of the series. Twice he made plays to get the Hurricanes back into the game first scoring a shorthanded goal to get the Hurricanes on the board and a 2-1 deficit. Then he made a smart play that enabled Teravainen’s goal late in the second period to against pull the Canes to within a goal at 3-2.   Patrick Brown When a team calls up an AHL player for an NHL playoff game, it is not looking for that player to win a game. Rather, the team just wants a player who will not lose a game. As a veteran AHLer with NHL experience, Brown brought exactly that playing sound even if unspectacular hockey. As such, he did his job in securing the win.   Calvin de Haan De Haan gave the Hurricanes the blue line depth it needed to compete in the series. After a late-season layoff with an injury, de Haan had about 10 minutes of ice time...
Mental angles for Hurricanes/Capitals game 7

Mental angles for Hurricanes/Capitals game 7

The normal game preview will cover the on-ice watch points for Wednesday’s game 7 between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Washington Capitals. With the pressure for a winner takes all game 7, today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at some mental angles for the game.   The series so far Having won three consecutive games at home, the Capitals should rightfully feel confident that they can win a fourth game to claim victory for the series. By the same token, the Hurricanes do have an obstacle to clear to prevail in the series. The Hurricanes were close after slow starts in games 1 and 2, so it is not like they have not been competitive at all, but even still there is an element of DC momentum on the Capitals side.   The Capitals’ history The Capitals are the reigning Stanley Cup champions and did successfully battle through the ups and downs of the NHL postseason. So based on last season alone, the Capitals could be labeled as a veteran group that knows the ropes. But past that single season was largely about conquering the demons that had haunted the Capitals for the better part of a decade that featured strong regular season play followed by disappointing post-season failures. Facing a game 7 in a series that the experts expected to be much shorter, might the Hurricanes have stirred up the demons from years past and the self-doubt that comes with them?   Rod Brind’Amour Cliches along the lines of ‘never being satisfied’, ‘having bigger goals,’ etc. are commonplace this time of year. There can sometimes be an element...
Top priorities for game 7

Top priorities for game 7

For Monday’s Daily Cup of Joe, I wrote a wish list for each of 21 Hurricanes players.  That article detailed what the team needed to do to win the series based on individual player data. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe also looks at what it takes to win but comes at it more from a high level. Here is what I think the Canes need to do differently to win game 7.   1) Establish the forecheck and prevent the opposition from doing the same From the beginning, I said that the series outcome would be determined by which team could more effectively move the puck and also keep the opponent from doing the same. That has held true. When the Hurricanes forecheck is effective, the rest of the team’s game has flowed from that starting point. There is less pressure on the blue line to defend, and the forecheck also generates scoring chances. The result is a game with significantly more chances for the Hurricanes.   2) Be better at sorting out the Capitals rush A major Achilles’ heel in the Hurricanes three losses in Washington, D.C. has been the team’s struggles sorting things out defensively off the rush. As I detailed in the game 5 recap, the Capitals’ general approach on the rush has been to split the first two forwards into the zone wide. With the puck on the wing and the middle open, the Capitals have regularly slashed a player into the wide open middle lane for scoring chances and goals. (1) and (2) actually work as a combination. When the Hurricanes are unable to get...
Hurricanes player by player — What it takes

Hurricanes player by player — What it takes

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe works through the Canes roster with quick hitters on what each player needs to contribute to win game 6 at home and follow that up with an improbable series win on Wednesday.   Sebastian Aho: Aho needs to find a couple of his better offensive games and look like the dynamic playmaking center that he was for most of the 2018-19 season. I think it starts with finding some combination of courage and comfort to carry the puck into the teeth of the Capitals defense instead of reverting to his v1.0 playmaking from his first year pulling up just inside the blue line to safely assess things offensively. Clark Bishop: (Bishop was recalled on Sunday with Saarela returned to Charlotte, so he figures to be in Monday’s lineup.) I think he would have been the first call up had he not been out of the Checkers lineup and on the shelf since late March. More than any other call up possibility, Bishop brings the hard-skating forechecking that fits with what Brind’Amour wants to do right now. He needs to parachute in at full speed and be a disruptive force on the forecheck. Patrick Brown: His role is that of another aggressive, hard-skating forechecker. He will likely play limited minutes but needs to finish checks and ideally force errant passes when he is in the game. Calvin de Haan: If the Hurricanes have to kill penalties, de Haan has a significant role as one of the leaders on the penalty kill Justin Faulk: His series has been Jekyl and Hyde. Faulk has played very well...
Canes recall Aleksi Saarela — Sorting out the depleted forward position

Canes recall Aleksi Saarela — Sorting out the depleted forward position

Today it was announced that the Hurricanes had called up Aleksi Saarela from the AHL to join the team for Saturday’s game 5 of the first round of the playoffs. Saarela will make his NHL debut in a playoff game which is exciting. Does he still get the solo skate?   Aleksi Saarela Aleski Saarela is yet another of the Finnish contingent. If he joins Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Saku Maenalanen as expected, fully one-third of the Canes forwards will be Finnish in Saturday night’s game. As noted above, Saarela will be making his NHL debut. His game is that of a sniper with NHL-caliber receive/finish skills and the potential to put the puck in the net. In preseason, he looked good in scoring situations but mostly disappeared otherwise. He had a strong regular season in Charlotte with 30 goals and 54 points in 69 games played and finished strong with a whopping 14 goals in the last 18 games of the regular season. He is a bit undersized height-wise at 5 foot 11 inches tall but physically reminds me a bit of Jeff Skinner as a slightly shorter player but with a strong lower body that makes him sturdier than height would suggest. His calling card and upside is the ability to score goals.   Patrick Brown Brown played only 4:34 in Thursday’s game, but he looked okay and stayed out of trouble in doing so. With another forward down, it will be interesting to see if Brind’Amour shortens the bench and hopes that the top players can run extra or if he maybe extends the leash...
Random Hurricanes playoff notes

Random Hurricanes playoff notes

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a list of short playoff notes.   Pressure is now on the Capitals Now tied at 2-2, the pressure is clearly on the Capitals for Saturday. If the Capitals lose, the Caps would have lost three games in a row and would have to play an elimination game in Raleigh. Look for the Capitals to throw everything including the kitchen sink at the game on Saturday.   The depleted forward group and lack of pure scoring With Ferland and Svechnikov out, the Hurricanes are basically iced two fourth lines on Thursday. If Martinook is unable to go on Saturday, the Hurricanes will need to reach even deeper into the AHL depth chart. It would be fair to call Greg McKegg, Saku Maenalanen, Patrick Brown and whoever else is called up for Saturday AHL call ups. Yes, McKegg and Maenalanen have been at the NHL level for awhile now, but the point that the Hurricanes are deep into their depth chart should not be lost. The forward group right now is really light on raw scoring power. Fortunately, the Hurricanes are driving scoring chances from their aggressive puck-hounding style and their forecheck, but if that dries up the team could be hard-pressed to generate and finish enough scoring chances. With safe and steady Patrick Brown already in the mix, the next AHL call up could seek to add a player with greater scoring potential.   Acclimation to the dangers of playoff hockey Sebastian Aho did pick up a secondary assist on Thursday, but in general he has had a fairly quiet series. Teravainen had...