Local Hockey Check In: NC State Takes Home ACCHL Title

Local Hockey Check In: NC State Takes Home ACCHL Title

Last weekend in Winston-Salem, the top eight teams in the Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League did battle looking to hoist the Admiral Cup as conference champions. The NC State Icepack, the top seed with a 22-0-0 record (9-0 in conference play), were looking to cap off the best season in program history with the title. With a lethal forward group, deep defense, stellar special teams play, and rock-solid goaltending, the Pack looked like the odds-on favorite coming in. But as with any one-and-done tournament in the game of hockey (or any sport, really), strange things can happen. To open the tourney, the Icepack easily dispatched eighth-seeded St. Joseph’s on Friday afternoon by a score of 11-1. Up next, the Pack drew fourth-seeded Wake Forest, one of the hottest teams in the conference who were playing a de facto home game. Just one week prior the Deacs nearly ended State’s undefeated season, carrying the lead into the third period before two goals in the last 6 minutes gave NCSU a 3-2 victory. This game was similarly tightly-contested, but, as they’ve done countless times this year, the Pack would pull away in the third. Almost immediately after the Demon Deacons had cut the score to 3-2 early in the frame, assistant captain Ryan Kinney wired a perfect shot just under the crossbar to re-instate the two-goal lead. Then, just two minutes later, captain and league MVP Sam Banasiewicz would add an insurance marker, banging in a rebound to make it 5-2. From there, sturdy defense and rock-solid goaltending from Josh Cannon took the Pack to a Sunday afternoon date with the...
Hurricanes re-sign Teuvo Teravainen for 5 years at $5.4 million per year

Hurricanes re-sign Teuvo Teravainen for 5 years at $5.4 million per year

On Monday morning, the Carolina Hurricanes announced that the team had extended Teuvo Teravainen for five years at $5.4 million per year. Scroll down a bit for more details if you already read my initial reaction on Twitter: 2/? Teravainen is still only 24 years old and is established as top half of roster player. $5.4M/year for 5 years through his prime is a low-downside deal with upside to boot. — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) January 21, 2019 3/? Especially with chemistry with Aho, making Teravainen a permanent part of the mix was a no-brainer and gives you 2/3 of a true 1st scoring line. #TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) January 21, 2019 4/? Interesting timing in that deal highlights the risk of the Ferland situation. Ferland has a stretch of 40ish games and a stretch of 25ish games as legit top 6 scoring forward and possibly prices at north of $6M per year. #TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) January 21, 2019   The deal itself The term and price are very fair in today’s NHL. William Nylander is a couple years younger and might arguably have a bit more upside because of that, but if you simply look at them head to head for the 2017-18 season, Teravainen had 64 points to Nylander’s 61 with Teravainen having an edge in terms of power play scoring (20 points to 12) and Nylander an edge otherwise (49 points to 44). When one considers how much better Toronto’s offense was in 2017-18, the gap could be considered a tiny bit higher in Teravainen’s favor. Both are similarly good second...
Checking In by Brandon Stanley: Player spotlight on Janne Kuokkanen plus stats update

Checking In by Brandon Stanley: Player spotlight on Janne Kuokkanen plus stats update

In case you missed it yesterday, detailed recaps and notes from last week’s Charlotte Checkers’ slate can be found HERE.   Player Spotlight – Janne Kuokkanen After being one of the most dangerous players for the Canes in the preseason and looking like a legitimate candidate for the opening night roster, Kuokkanen was a victim of the numbers crunch and sent back to Charlotte. Considering that he will be just 20 years old for the entirety of the season, this is hardly reason for panic. He had just 73 professional games (including postseason) to his credit, and getting top line/first PP unit duties was likely the best choice for his development rather than a lesser role with the Canes. However, I think we’re getting close to the point where he may force the organization’s hand and earn a look with the big club. He has certainly been one of the best players on the best team in the AHL in 2018-19, scoring at over a point-per-game clip with 27 points through 26 games. One of the things that sticks out to me most about Kuokkanen is his smarts. He just seems to make the right play in any scenario, and unlike the stereotype with young, skilled European players he plays a mature two-way game already. He’s not quite the Aho 2.0 some of us pined for, back when he was drafted at near the same point of the draft the year after Seabass became a Cane, but I do see some similarities. For one, his confidence with the puck is top-notch, especially on the powerplay. Much like Teravainen with...
Checking In with Brandon Stanley: Jake Bean player profile plus ‘Odds and Ends’

Checking In with Brandon Stanley: Jake Bean player profile plus ‘Odds and Ends’

In case you missed it yesterday, my detailed recap of the Charlotte 2-0-1 road trip is HERE.   Player spotlight — Jake Bean Last week, Jake Bean had an incredibly strong week on the road. Wednesday night in Lehigh Valley, in particular, he was absolutely phenomenal. Every time the puck was on his stick it seemed like he made something happen. Perhaps more importantly, his defensive game does not look to be lagging so far behind. He maintains solid gaps and although he’s still not as physically mature as he needs to be for the NHL, he gets by because he has a very good stick. Jason Shaya, the play-by-play man of the Checkers, does a weekly “10 Thoughts” segment. It is very insightful regarding the Checkers, the organization in general, and occasionally even the hockey world at-large. In his most recent edition he mentions speaking to an NHL scout who raved about Bean after this game, saying he was probably the best player on the ice Wednesday night. I have to agree. Even aside from the assist, steady defense, slick passing, and constant takeaways, he just seems to already be a calming, poised presence on the back end. He never seems to get sped up; he just processes the play and makes smart decisions at his own pace. When facing forecheckers he’s incredibly shifty, evading checks and getting the puck out quickly. He is not the fastest straight-line skater, but his edge work and agility are fantastic. He moves really well at the blue line as well, making quick little moves to maneuver around opponents trying to pressure...
Checking In with Brandon Stanley: Checkers collect 5 of 6 points on the road

Checking In with Brandon Stanley: Checkers collect 5 of 6 points on the road

Sorry for the delay in doing so, but good news – we finally have the AHL TV package! After a great start to the season, the Checkers have sputtered ever so slightly of late, dropping two of their last three games. They continued their early road-heavy schedule with three tough games this week. They would face their two playoff opponents from this past spring, visiting Lehigh Valley on Wednesday followed by back to back games at Wilkes Barre-Scranton for the weekend set.   Game One – Lehigh Valley The Checkers started off their week with an entertaining, back-and-forth affair against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers. If you recall, the Phantoms are the team that knocked the Checkers out of the Calder Cup Playoffs this past spring thanks to a Herculean effort from Alex Lyon. He stopped an absurd 94 of 95 shots in a 5-overtime win that gave the Phantoms a commanding 3-1 series lead in the longest game in AHL history. Though not quite to the same level, Wednesday’s game was comparable in the sense that Carter Hart (one of the NHL’s top goaltending prospects) proved very tough to solve. The Checkers’ powerplay started off the season ridiculously hot, and the unit has really felt the law of averages crashing down on them as they have been quite snake-bitten of late. They had three man-advantages in the first period alone, but could not convert on any of them. They were able to beat Hart just once on their sixteen shots in the frame. The Phantoms attempted to clear a puck, but Dennis...
In Rod We Trust

In Rod We Trust

Today at high noon, Rod Brind’Amour was officially introduced as the new head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes in a press conference alongside owner Tom Dundon and now official general manager Don Waddell. The press conference is well worth the investment of your time to gain a little bit of insight into Rod Brind’Amour as a head coach on his first full day officially on the job but more significantly to feel the positive vibe emanating out from the media room at PNC Arena. Especially for those who are negative or on the fence on this move, I encourage you to watch the press conference and suck in some of the positive energy. As a Canes hockey fan, you deserve it. I originally called for Rod Brind’Amour to be named interim coach on March 14 after one of many debilitating losses during the 2017-18 season. To be clear, my intent at that time was simply to make a statement, put a stake in the ground and move forward. One has to wonder if not for the financial situation that ultimately enabled Dundon to see Peters to the door without risking paying him for next season if in fact he would have been on in mid-March. More recently on April 25, I posted a reasonably balanced set of pros and cons on the potential for Rod Brind’Amour to be the next head coach. And yesterday after the announcement that Brind’Amour had been named head coach, I penned some additional notes on the situation. To be clear, I stand by my original preference for a coach with more head coach experience, and...