Just inconsistent? Or starting to figure it out?

Just inconsistent? Or starting to figure it out?

Oftentimes, the development of young players comes with growing pains. There are flashes of brilliance or a run of strong play that suggests a player has arrived. And then just when it looks like the player is ready to hit and stay at the next level, a setback occurs. The Hurricanes roster is full of young players with high ceilings pretty much all of whom have had bursts of strong play but as of yet have not strung together a full season of playing at a higher level. With Francis prioritizing internal development over external help, the next leg up for the Hurricanes will likely need to be driven by at least some of the Hurricanes young players reaching a higher level of play. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a look at some of the players who have shown flashes of playing at a higher level but as of yet have not been able to sustain it for the long haul.   Sebastian Aho Arguably as much as any other player on the Hurricanes, he projects to be a top-tier scoring forward. And he has been exactly that for short stretches of hockey. Aho’s 24 goals and 49 points in his rookie season as a 19-year old in 2016-17 were impressive in their own right when considered “for a rookie.” But across the NHL and not adjusting for potential, I would consider 49 points to be high end depth scoring and not truly in the top tier of NHL scorers. And just like in 2016-17, Aho started slowly in 2017-18 at least in terms of goal scoring. He...
The need to seize wins in favorable games

The need to seize wins in favorable games

So I just finished writing a long and detailed article entitles “Seeking heroes…and taking the next step” only to see it seemingly disappear into the ether of the internet. If this is what the internet looks like post net neutrality, I’m quitting. 🙂 More seriously, I do not have the energy to re-write that article right now, so I will instead pull out something else that I have some scribbled notes on. In the NHL, there is enough parity that there is no such things as a sure win. Bottom teams beat top teams on a fairly regular basis. But good teams do seem to have an uncanny knack for winning most of the games that they should and also rebounding and cutting losing streaks short. For the young Carolina Hurricanes, I would say that this is still a work in progress. Right when the team was surging and trying to play its way back into the 2016-17 season, it somehow managed to lose to bottom dwellers Arizona and Colorado. The 2017-18 season has featured a few puzzling losses to. The team entered Thanksgiving week generally playing good hockey only to lay an egg twice before eking out an overtime win against Nashville salvage something from the week. The Hurricanes near-term schedule features a couple important rounds of games that the team needs to win. It starts with a huge match up in Buffalo on Friday night. The Sabres are near the bottom of the NHL, are 3-5-2 in their past 10 games and played and traveled on Thursday night to boot. The game looks favorable for the Hurricanes...
Re-handicapping the Metropolitan Division

Re-handicapping the Metropolitan Division

Through 30 games of the 2017-18 NHL season, the Carolina Hurricanes have two problems. The first is that they have not been good enough. The team’s 31 points in 30 games is on pace for 85 points which is two short of its 2016-17 total and destined to be about 10 points short of a playoff berth regardless of how the competition shapes up. The second problem is that the competition in the Metropolitan Division has played well through 30ish games. Worth noting is that the Hurricanes would still be below the playoff cut line and chasing the same teams in the Metro if they were instead in that Atlantic Division, but the vantage point sitting in fourth place would feel much better than their current eighth. With enough games to evaluate teams based on actual game action, today’s Daily Cup of Joe reassesses the Metropolitan foes.   (Standings based on games above .500 to adjust for games played Columbus Blue Jackets First place — 19-11-1 The Blue Jackets picked up right where they left off during the regular season in 2016-17. Columbus has been near the top of the division most of the season and seems destined to finish the season there. Vulnerabilities: The Blue Jackets are deep at both forward and defense and do not rely on a small number of players to drive play. The only big vulnerability I see is if Sergei Bobrovsky was injured and missed a significant number of games. Short of a Bobrovsky injury, I do not see the Blue Jackets as a team that the Hurricanes likely to chase/catch.   New...
Carolina Hurricanes random thoughts

Carolina Hurricanes random thoughts

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short collection of random thoughts…   Scott Darling One of the biggest challenges for the Hurricanes right now is getting consistently decent or better goaltending. Though not perfect himself, Ward has been the better of the two goalies. On the one hand, Peters and the team in general needs to have an overarching bias toward forcing Scott Darling into the starting role until it works. That said, I think an interesting step on the path to accomplishing that might be to shut Scott Darling down for a few games. To be clear, my aim is NOT to punish him or play mind games. Rather, the aim is very simply to give him a chance to just completely reset and start fresh. There are no guarantees that this would have the desired effect, but given the current trajectory of Darling’s play, I think it is worth a try.   Overtime The Hurricanes shootout win on Tuesday marked the eleventh time that the Hurricanes have played extra hockey in only 30 games. The Hurricanes are now 4-7 which means they have left 1.5 points on the table relative to average and even more if they could beat the average.   Trying to make it February I said before it started that I would be happy with a 5-4 record for the nine-game stretch that includes to current six-game road trip followed by a single stop at home before two more road games. I stand by that assertion despite the fact that treading water is increasing the gap between the Hurricanes and the teams that...
Second guessing…

Second guessing…

Let me first start by putting forward a few disclaimers since the current state of Hurricanes hockey has the potential to have this read like a tirade. First, as far as Bill Peters and Ron Francis go, I am not ready to chuck either under the bus. Francis is doing exactly what he said he would do from day 1, and even if the schedule continues to push out, he deserves credit for consistency and steadfastness. Though I do question whether he will be able to break from methodical and conservative when he needs to, I am not going down that road tonight. My rating on Peters right now is more mixed. At best, his team is playing to their talent level, but I do not think it is impossible that this team could be capable of much more. That said, at a minimum I think Peters deserves this year to show what he can do. Second, I am not suggesting that each and every one of the decisions detailed below was wrong. Decision-making for managing an NHL team is an imperfect process even for those who do it well, so picking out some handful of decisions that did not turn out well and using it as evidence that the coach or general manager are not competent is just not accurate. Finally, I honestly am not writing this as part of an angry tirade. Rather, I had a busy day on Monday and unfortunately did not have time to write Tuesday’s Daily Cup of Joe before the 10pm game, so that has me rambling away at nearly 2am. With...
Assessing the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes

Assessing the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes

As we push closer to the end of 2017, Canes and Coffee’s end of year holiday gift sale/pay bills fundraiser is in its final stages. If you are a regular reader, appreciate our daily Hurricanes coverage and have not yet contributed to the cause, please consider a small contribution. Small $5-10 contributions add up, and for $17.50 out of state or $18.75 in state (with sales tax), you get a Canes and Coffee cup to boot. It’s as simple as making a credit card or PayPal contribution by clicking on the PayPal link HERE and being sure to include your mailing address if you order a coffee cup.   With the ups and downs (with a few more downs) recently, I have spent some of my Canes’ time thinking about where exactly this team is right now. Trying to boil it down into a neat, tidy and somewhat organized article seems nearly impossible right now because the team’s play seems to run the gamut. For any given area of the game, I feel like I could find a stretch of great hockey and also a stretch of utterly abysmal hockey. Despite the challenge in doing so, today’s Daily Cup of Joe will forge forward and try to sort the wildly differing data points into some kind of assessment.   The Carolina Hurricanes at the top level Inconsistent: I think the best word to describe the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes thus far is “inconsistent.” On average, the team is below average offensively yet has had games during which it looked like an offensive juggernaut. In total, the goaltending has again been...