Seven things I like about the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes through four games

Seven things I like about the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes through four games

If you appreciated the near daily Hurricanes hockey during the offseason and an even faster pace during the regular season, we ask you to please help our cause by purchasing a Canes and Coffee coffee cup. Two options exist to support the site and also net a nice Canes hockey collectible: 1) Simply make a donation to our “Coffee Fund” via credit card and/PayPal for $17.50 if outside of North Carolina or $18.75 if inside North Carolina (includes sales tax), and include your address in the notes or a separate email, and we will get a cup in the mail. The link to do so is here. 2) If you are local to Raleigh, you can purchase a Canes and Coffee Cup for the same price from coffee food truck Tenco and help a small local business in the process. $17.50 nets you a Canes and Coffee cup AND a free cup of coffee (we pay our delivery fee to Tenco instead of USPS in this case and support a local business in the process). Tenco’s web site with upcoming schedule is HERE.         Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe offered a quick assessment of the team by position. It also followed my notes on Tuesday’s 5-3 that were far from being all sunshine despite the win. A couple readers called me out for being unduly tough in my assessment of the team and game. (And by the way, I love the fact that different opinions are increasingly being shared on the site.) So to provide a balanced viewpoint, I will lean strongly positive today and offer a...
State of the Canes through four games

State of the Canes through four games

With two home games and now two road games completed, here is a quick assessment of where the Hurricanes are at this very early juncture of the season.   In the standings My playoff math says that a team must get two-thirds of the points at home and half of the points on the road to finish around 95 total which is usually a point or two above the playoff cut line. By this math, the Hurricanes are some tiny fraction of a point above a playoff pace through four games. That is a good thing, especially for a team whose recent seasons have all been doomed by lack of production in October and November.   In net Especially with Scott Darling making a significant transition to a new team, a new role and a new amount of pressure as a starter and Cam Ward sliding into a backup role for the first time in about a decade, I think the goaltending checks out well through four games. Ironically, Darling was not great in his lone win to start the season, but he played well in both of the losses only allowing a single regulation goal in each. Ward followed up Darling’s three starts with a decent start of his own on Tuesday night and seized a win in his first start in the backup role.   The blue line The blue line is still very much a work in progress right now. Peters’ initial decision to split Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce lasted all of one period into the season opener before he reverted back to mostly playing...
Revisiting Carolina Hurricanes’ prospect rankings post-training camp

Revisiting Carolina Hurricanes’ prospect rankings post-training camp

If you appreciated the near daily Hurricanes hockey during the offseason and an even faster pace during the regular season, we ask you to please help our cause by purchasing a Canes and Coffee coffee cup. Two options exist to support the site and also net a nice Canes hockey collectible: 1) Simply make a donation to our “Coffee Fund” via credit card and/PayPal for $17.50 if outside of North Carolina or $18.75 if inside North Carolina (includes sales tax), and include your address in the notes or a separate email, and we will get a cup in the mail. The link to do so is here. 2) If you are local to Raleigh, you can purchase a Canes and Coffee Cup for the same price from coffee food truck Tenco and help a small local business in the process. $17.50 nets you a Canes and Coffee cup AND a free cup of coffee (we pay our delivery fee to Tenco instead of USPS in this case and support a local business in the process). Tenco’s web site with upcoming schedule is HERE. For previous donors and those who have been waiting on their Canes and Coffee coffee cups, I apologize for the delay. I hit a perfect storm with the start of the Hurricanes season and a few things with work and life that had me just trying to keep my head above water for a couple weeks. The good news is that the last couple coffee cup orders will go out Tuesday and/or Wednesday.   Back on August 7, I finished up a series of articles on the...
Four levels on the Carolina Hurricanes’ scoring struggles

Four levels on the Carolina Hurricanes’ scoring struggles

After posting four goals and winning in a shootout in the season opener, the Hurricanes have lost consecutive games by 2-1 margins. The first game at least netted a point with the loss coming in overtime, but the second loss dropped the team to 1-1-1. Through three games, the Hurricanes have exactly two even strength goals from their top 9 forwards. The Hurricanes do have an additional two goals on the power play (Skinner, Ryan), a fourth line goal (Nordstrom) and a tally from a defenseman (Hanifin). But mostly there are a bunch of zeroes in the goals column of the statistics. Aho/Staal/Lindholm combined has zero goals combined Teravainen, Williams, Kuokkanen and Ryan who represent two-thirds of the other two lines also check in with zero goals. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at the short-lived scoring woes on a couple levels.   Is it possible that there actually is not even a problem? In a word, yes. Three games is a tiny sample size, and the scoring slump is only two games of that. If the Hurricanes bust out for four goals and a big win on Tuesday in Edmonton, at a minimum the scoring woes will instantly shift from “slumping” to “inconsistent.” And worth noting is that two-game slumps will happen multiple times even for a good team over the course of a long NHL season. So while I do think noting the Hurricanes scoring struggles for the past two games is worthwhile, I fully acknowledge that there is a reasonable chance that this is just a blip on the stat line of a long season and...
Renewing the search for a playmaking top 6 center; Does the answer lie within?

Renewing the search for a playmaking top 6 center; Does the answer lie within?

An important starting point is noting that this post is NOT some kind of evaluation of the Hurricanes start nor is it a knee-jerk reaction to the tough outing offensively on Tuesday. Rather, it is part of an ongoing process to consider all options to make the team better and also continue a project that Ron Francis was working on over the summer.   The quick history During the post-season press conference in early April, Francis spoke about improving the team and specifically mentioned adding scoring help. The general expectation and hope was that Francis would add a playmaking center capable of fueling a scoring line that complemented Jordan Staal’s first or second line which leaned defense. With Matt Duchene clearly on the market and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Alex Galchenyuk also likely available, the options seemed to be there. But probably for the right reasons nothing materialized in terms of adding an offense-leaning centerman. Instead, Francis added Justin Williams as his headline and higher-budget addition and went the route of adding another defense-leaning center in Marcus Kruger. At a basic level, the team improved at the forward position. But the interrelated questions still looming are whether the improvements are enough and also whether the potential still exists to make a meaningful improvement by adding one more offensively-leaning player.   A VERY early glimpse at the 2017-18 team but IMPORTANTLY with historical perspective Making any kind of rash judgement on the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes is premature. And identifying problems that have great urgency to them based on two games seems bizarre given that the team is 1-0-1. But trying to...
Readying for the road

Readying for the road

My rough math says that a team must get two-thirds of the available points at home and half of the available points on the road. That yields a total of 95.7 points which is usually a point or two above the cut line. In 2016-17, a late surge earned the Hurricanes very close to what they needed at home with 52 points compared the math which calls for 54.7. But on the road, the Hurricanes floundered and finished with a meager 35 points at home which was better than only Buffalo, Philadelphia and New Jersey. Especially during the tough stretch of hockey that mostly doomed the 2016-17 season by end of December, the Hurricanes struggled away from home. When the calendar flipped to the new year, the Hurricanes were 5-10-6 on the road. Multiple factors play into the struggles, but at the most basic level I do not think the Hurricanes roster was deep enough to be balanced. Whereas at home Bill Peters could selectively choose match ups, on the road opposing coaches preyed on the team’s weaknesses on the blue line and with forward depth. With a team that is becoming gradually deeper, the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes will embark on their first road trip of the season. Thanks to a regularly scheduled start to the season with no World Cup this year, the Hurricanes managed two games at home before the North Carolina State Fair road trip which is also only a modest four games. Even with the smaller challenge, the next set of four games will offer an early read on the team’s ability to fare better...