What a day! The Carolina Hurricanes re-sign Jack Adams Trophy winner Rod Brind’Amour

What a day! The Carolina Hurricanes re-sign Jack Adams Trophy winner Rod Brind’Amour

After a short break, hope is to resume posting on a (near) daily basis. Despite the fact that the 2020-21 season is far from over, the off-season began in full force for the Hurricanes this week with the announcement that the team would let Dougie Hamilton explore other options and then Thursday’s announcement that the Hurricanes had officially re-signed head coach Rod Brind’Amour to a three-year contract. We will dive into these and other topics in the coming days, but today’s Daily Cup of Joe focuses on the here and now with Brind’Amour’s re-signing and coach of the year award on Thursday.   Rod Brind’Amour as a transformational leader As much as he is adored and appreciated by Canes fans, I still think it is possible to underestimate what Rod Brind’Amour has done. As I said shortly after the season-ending loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the level of disappointment in that ending is actually a testament to how far this team has come in three short years under Brind’Amour. Exiting the 2017-18 season, the team was a decade removed from the NHL playoffs and a playoff appearance even with a fast exit would have been a massive step forward. Led by Brind’Amour, the team eclipsed that by a MASSIVE margin in his first year at the helm when a feel-good playoff appearance exploded into a thrilling first-round game 7 series win in overtime and a run all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Only two years later, the team made the playoffs without sweating it and won a first-round series. That is good. Simple math measured by...
The sun will come out tomorrow

The sun will come out tomorrow

Except during the COVID layoff, Canes and Coffee has always provided year-round Canes hockey coverage, so one season leads quickly into the next. But with the official end of the 2020-21 season, I would like to thank everyone who spends a portion of their Canes hockey time here. The site would not be the same without the community and especially the regulars who share great insight in the comments. I hope everyone has a tremendous summer, and I look forward to fairly quickly starting the process of debating how best to to build the 2021-22 Carolina Hurricanes.   Go Canes — Matt   With the off-season ahead, no doubt there will be plenty of articles and time to assess the 2020-21 season for the Carolina Hurricanes. But for waking up the day after a disappointing ending, today’s Daily Cup of Joe will focus on the bigger picture which leans much more positive than negative. The Hurricanes game 5 loss and second round dismissal for the the 2021 NHL Playoffs at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning was a massively disappointing end to a good season overall. The team competed for the President’s Trophy and won a series in the playoffs which would easily put them in the top third of teams in the NHL. But yet, the end results feel disappointing because they are. As I said on Twitter shortly after Tuesday’s game ended, the level of disappointment given the results is a testament to how far this team has come. Only three years ago, the goal very simply was just to make the playoffs. A short and crazy...
Playing Rod Brind’Amour heading into game three versus Tampa Bay

Playing Rod Brind’Amour heading into game three versus Tampa Bay

After two home losses, the Hurricanes are in an early hole against a good hockey team. Calling game three in Tampa a must-win is not an overstatement. That puts Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour front and center in terms of trying to pull a lever or two to gain an edge and ride it to a victory. In terms of personnel, with Vincent Trocheck likely out of the lineup, who draws into the lineup and how does Brind’Amour reconfigure the lines minus a top center? More generally, what does he try to spark the offense? After consecutive losses, might Brind’Amour go with Petr Mrazek just to try something different?   The biggest question? I think the biggest question facing Rod Brind’Amour is whether he interprets the first two games as generally the right formula just minus the break or two needed to win? Or if he instead thinks that he needs to drive a change in the current style of play and trajectory to climb back in the series. The case for staying the course is a decent one. I think the Hurricanes played their best defensive game in the playoffs in game one giving up incredibly little to a good offensive team. Take away the soft goal given up by Alex Nedeljkovic in the third period and the game heads to overtime. Add in a weird deflection or other lucky goal for the Canes and the series is tied at one. Game two was not as clear cut. On the one hand, the Hurricanes dominated in terms of shots, time of possession and most other metrics. But at the...
Random Canes notes between games

Random Canes notes between games

After losing the first game of a playoff series, a typical article would be writing about what the losing team needed to do to rebound in the next game. While there is a little bit of that below, I do not think the answer boils down very quickly to three things. First is to mostly do the same. The Hurricanes generally played a solid game and were even with the Lightning. Second is to eliminate costly mistakes. In a tight game, one mistake was the difference at the end. Third is to catch a break or two. In a game like Sunday’s, a bounce here or there can be the difference. With that taken care of pretty hastily, today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers some random notes between games.   1) Morgan Geekie I really like the idea of inserting him into the lineup in Cedric Paquette’s place. Geekie showed good ability to generate offense from behind the net in the latter half of the regular season. With Vasilevskiy seemingly dialed, trying to defend from behind to in front is a challenge for even the most dialed in goalie. Surrounded by Steven Lorentz and Jesper Fast, I would not be concerned about any downgrade defensively. With help on the wings, I do not see whatever small downgrade it might be being an issue, and possibly uncovering a source of offense would be huge.   2) Cat and mouse with Nedeljkovic’s puck-handling I had good intentions of writing a full article about this, but ran out of time to write it. The short version is that this continues to fascinate...
Playing Rod Brind’Amour seeking peak Hurricanes

Playing Rod Brind’Amour seeking peak Hurricanes

By no means have the Hurricanes been horrible through five games. The two losses were in double overtime and though the Hurricanes have not really been able to pull away versus the Predators, they have had a chance to win every game. But at the same time, the current version of this team has been nowhere close to the peak version of the Hurricanes during the middle of the regular season. Give credit to Nashville and its coaching staff for making things for some tactics to make things difficult on the Hurricanes. The regular use of aerial passes quickly up and over the forecheck minimizes what the Hurricanes usually gain by aggressively forechecking and challenging every pass. And the Predators fairly conservative style in terms of structure offensively usually has two defensemen behind the play which has nearly eliminated the Hurricanes ability to attack in transition with numbers. Even with speed, it is very regularly 2v3 or or 3v3/3v4. But at the same time, except for game four which was plagued by costly errors, the Hurricanes have not been able to find extended stretches during which they significantly had the upper hand. Part of that is playoff hockey where the other team is good too. But part of that has been a decent number of Canes players being too quiet so far. True to his style, Brind’Amour has been incredibly patient with his combinations so far. Jordan Staal’s (Foegele and Fast) and Steven Lorentz’s (Martinook and McGinn) lines have been together for almost the entirety of the playoffs. Nino Niederreiter has played a few short stretches elsewhere including swapping...
Two sides of the coin after four games

Two sides of the coin after four games

With two rousing home wins to start the 2021 NHL Playoffs followed immediately by two losses, the Canes have already endured a first round of ups and downs in the playoffs. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe similarly looks at a few different situations through four games from both a positive and a negative perspective.   The 2-2 tie after four games Positive: The Hurricanes are still on track to win a long series with two of the three games on home ice and a perfect 2-0 record in the first two. In addition, one could easily argue that the pair of double overtime losses in Nashville were just toss ups that went the wrong way. A single lucky bounce through more than a period of overtime hockey in either game, and the Hurricanes are up 3-1 with a chance to close out the series in five games. No doubt the series is tighter than that, but it is not so much because the Hurricanes were abysmal. Negative: The Predators should carry some positive momentum and belief into game five. Tied at 2-2, there is some additional pressure on the Hurricanes to hold serve at home or otherwise play a possible elimination game on the road.   Dougie Hamilton Negative: He was horrible in game four and in general has not been very good in the series. With some struggles in past playoffs, especially 2019, it is just possible that he is not a great playoff performer. With Slavin out and Hamilton needing to be the lead on a top 4 defense pairing, the chance of doing anything more than...