The Carolina Hurricanes goalie situation: Round ??

The Carolina Hurricanes goalie situation: Round ??

For just a couple games, everything was okay with the Hurricanes netminding. Both Scott Darling and Cam Ward good enough in strong games by the skaters in front of them for two weekend wins. And the Hurricanes massive seven-goal outburst in Tuesday’s win almost made Cam Ward’s play irrelevant in terms of assessing the game. But lurking in the past was the monster that has been Hurricanes netminding both in recent history in prior years and also during the 2017-18 season. And that monster reared its ugly head in another tough outing for Scott Darling in Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Devils. If you missed the game, you can suffer through the game and the goals against in my recap. The short version is that Scott Darling had another tough night giving up five goals on only 22 shots including three where I think you could make a case that he should have had them. The New Jersey Devils looked faster all night, but the Hurricanes did a decent job of limiting chances such that this game could easily have been a 2-2 game headed to overtime with a point in hand and another in play. With crunch time officially here, the Hurricanes sitting right at the playoff cut line and only 24 games remaining, the burning question is where to go from here in terms of goaltending.   The starting point My baseline for where we are right now goes like this: * Cam Ward has had a handful of horrid outings himself, but in total, he has been serviceable if not better. His .912 save percentage is respectable...
The single greatest catalyst for Canes success

The single greatest catalyst for Canes success

If you missed it yesterday, please make a stop to read a special article highlighting a group from our Caniac Nation who are investing their time and energy for a great cause.   A #CanesCoaster of a season has seen its share of ups and downs across the board The Carolina Hurricanes 2017-18 season has been a roller coaster ride with a many a sudden twist and turn. Just when the trajectory seems unmistakably upward a deflating losing streak like last week seems to come out of nowhere. But seemingly just before team reaches its breaking point, every losing streak seems to end with a burst of wins just like the current three-game winning streak. No doubt Hurricanes fans have seen a team that could battle for last in the league on multiple occasions but have also seen utterly dominant games and strong stretches that suggest a playoff return is imminent. Along the way, Canes fans have seen all kinds of good and bad. The goaltending has seen Cam Ward put together some strong stretches of play and the goaltending duo lead the way to wins in both halves of back-to-backs on three occasions. But Canes fans have also seen Scott Darling hit a lower that was lower than anyone could have imagined. On offense, the team has had a handful of massive goal-scoring outbursts in single games and even short stretches when it looked like the offense might be clicking. But the team currently ranks 24th in the NHL for goals scored and has seen more struggles than surges offensively even recently. Finally, there is the young blue...
Random Hurricanes notes: Patrick Brown recall, Sebastian Aho at center, Justin Faulk and more

Random Hurricanes notes: Patrick Brown recall, Sebastian Aho at center, Justin Faulk and more

With a bunch of games and a personal schedule that has had me chasing it for about two weeks now in terms of just keeping up at Canes and Coffee, I have accumulated another small set of notes that have not found their way into larger articles yet, so today’s Daily Cup of Joe is another round of random notes.   Patrick Brown recalled from the AHL After the Hurricanes 7-3 win on Tuesday, the team announced that it had recalled Patrick Brown from Charlotte. The move will undoubtedly leave some asking why the Hurricanes did not recall one of the higher scoring Checkers. The reason is simple — Patrick Brown is merely an emergency backup slated to be a healthy scratch in the press box. After three consecutive solid wins, I will be shocked if Peters does not roll with the same 12 forwards on Thursday unless someone becomes ill or gets injured. With both the Checkers and Hurricanes in North Carolina for the past three games, Francis had the option of taking a small risk with only 12 forwards knowing that if someone turned up ill or injured at the morning skate on a game day, he could have someone on I-40 by lunchtime and easily on schedule to be at PNC Arena by game time. With a road game on Thursday, that luxury disappears, so Brown’s role is to be there just in case emergency help is needed.   Joakim Nordstrom Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe did a fairly deep dive on both Francis’ work to get to where the team is now and the path...
An early preview of the Carolina Hurricanes future at the forward position

An early preview of the Carolina Hurricanes future at the forward position

Three years ago when Ron Francis inherited the Carolina Hurricanes general manager duties from Jim Rutherford, the team was woefully short on forward talent across the board — top level NHL players, depth at the NHL level and the prospect pool. The forward crew included Patrick Dwyer, Chris Terry, Andrej Nestrasil, Jay McClement, Jiri Tlusty, Riley Nash, Nathan Gerbe and Riley Nash. Of that group, only Riley Nash is still playing at the NHL level. Atop the team’s depth chart at forward at the time was Zach Boychuk, and there was a dearth of high-end prospects on the way to help. From that group of depth forwards from the 2014-15 season, only Riley Nash is still playing at the NHL level. Entering the 2015-16 season, the Carolina Hurricanes were still struggling just to fill out a top 9 with capable players and by my math were two or three players short. That version of the team also had an old school fourth line that aimed to fill a niche role with penalty kill duty, limited minutes and light scoring. And maybe most significantly, the prospect pool did not seem likely to provide much near-term help.   Restocking via the trade deadline Since inheriting a forward group that was sub-par, Francis has been steadily at work. His first two years at the helm focused heavily on stocking the prospect pool for the future. During the trade deadline for the 2014-15 season, Francis traded Andrej Sekera, Jiri Tlusty and Tim Gleason for defenseman Roland McKeown and four draft picks. During the trade deadline for the 2015-16 season, Francis traded Eric Staal,...
Reassessing the Eastern Conference playoff chase

Reassessing the Eastern Conference playoff chase

With two consecutive wins and some help with other teams’ losses, the Carolina Hurricanes have pushed back up into playoff position in the middle of the pack of Metropolitan Division teams. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a shot at handicapping the current situation.   The Atlantic Division As has been the case for awhile now, it looks like only the three required teams will make the playoffs from the Atlantic Division. The Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings are hanging around .500 and therefore still in range at 4-5 points back, but at this point in the season that gap would require a big winning streak to move up the ladder. For now, I am considering the Eastern Conference wild card race to be a Metropolitan Division event.   The Metropolitan Division In a class of their own (Capitals) Last time I checked in on the playoff standings, I considered the Washington Capitals to be in. As the top team in the division and with a sizable lead, the Caps are still in and not a concern for the Hurricanes.   Trying to join the Capitals (Penguins, Flyers, Devils) Below the Capitals are three teams that currently sit a notch above the collection of teams competing for the last wild card slot. Measured in games above .500, the Pittsburgh Penguins are +9, the Philadelphia Flyers are +9 and the New Jersey Devils are +7. The group is not equal though. I view the Penguins as a team that figured it out and is starting to pull away from the pack. The Pens’ 7-2-1 record in their last 10...
Comparison of current Canes players to past Canes players

Comparison of current Canes players to past Canes players

The big news swirling around the Caniac Nation right now is Thursday’s announcement that the team had waived veteran fourth-liners Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris. On Thursday evening, I posted an article that looked at the Kruger and Jooris’ moves on multiple levels. Since the second shoe has yet to drop, you can also vote and see who other readers predict for AHL call ups on Friday to fill the slots in the Thursday Coffee Shop. While we wait for the other shoe to drop with the announcement of AHL call ups for Friday’s game, today’s Daily Cup of Joe goes a completely different direction with a quick list of current Canes players who have at least part of their skill sets that resemble past Canes players.   Joakim Nordstrom as Kevyn Adams My comparison of Joakim Nordstrom to Kevyn Adams in an article earlier in the week is actually the genesis of this article, so I will start there. The two actually play different positions, but what is eerily similar to me is both players’ dogged determination and even more so each’s uncanny ability to anticipate and steal passes at the blue line and then get 2-3 really quick strides to create the separation needed to fairly often generate shorthanded breakaways. As I noted previously, the unfortunate thing is that the similarities end when we get to finishing ability. Whereas Nordstrom just does not seem to capitalize by scoring as often as would be ideal, Adams had a single patented move where delayed as long as he could to hold the goalie and then quickly went forehand to...