‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm81 @Phi: Down to two games with road finale against the Flyers

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm81 @Phi: Down to two games with road finale against the Flyers

After what most described to me as a lackluster effort (I still have seen only the tail end of the game which is sitting on my DVR) in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, Thursday features game two out of three in the last week playing out the string for the 2017-18 season. In the Philadelphia Flyers, the opponent is a team that still needs a win or two to push into the playoffs, so the Flyers’ compete level will be high. On the Hurricanes side of the ledger, the watch points continue to focus on preparing for next season.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Philadelphia Flyers 1) Sebastian Aho at center Sebastian Aho continues to be worth watching both simply for his offensive play and push to try to reach 30 goals but also for assessing his transition to the center position that could play a critical role in building out the team this summer. On the milestone front, Aho needs two goals in the final two games to reach 30 for the season. As far as his transition to center, I think I would describe it as encouraging but also a work in progress. Aho looks comfortable with the puck on his stick as a puck distributor and does project to be exactly the playmaking center that the Hurricanes need. But his play away from the puck is still a work in progress.   2) Valentin Zykov After a fast start out of the gate after his NHL recall, Valentin Zykov has been a bit quieter in the past...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm80 @Fla: Canes try to drag the Panthers down

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm80 @Fla: Canes try to drag the Panthers down

The Carolina Hurricanes were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday, and with three straight losses in crunch time, the Florida Panthers are currently racing rapidly in that same direction. Such, oftentimes, is hockey in the final week of the NHL season. For the Hurricanes, the represents a chance to rebound from a stereotypical Canes loss that saw the team widely out-shoot the opponent but also simultaneously shoot itself in the foot with the deadly combination of intermittent defensive break downs and inability to put the puck in the net despite shot volume. More significantly, the game offers another 60 minutes of game version ice time to continue building for the 2018-19 season.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Florida Panthers 1) Sebastian Aho’s quest for 30 goals In another down year, Sebastian Aho arguably ranks as the biggest bright spot. The 20-year old has built upon a strong rookie campaign in 2016-17 and has staked a claim to being the team’s best player. With three games to go, he needs only two goals to eclipse 30 goals after scoring 24 in his rookie season. Sebastian Aho continues to be worth watching on a nightly basis.   2) Scott Darling? With the Easter weekend, I have not had time to hunt down if a starting goalie has been announced yet, but my wild guess (and hope too) is that Scott Darling continues to rotate in. Hidden beneath games that do not matter and mediocre top line statistics, Darling has been trending in the right direction for two games. He ultimately gave up four goals and...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm79 Vs. NYR: Canes aim for Easter weekend win against the Rangers

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm79 Vs. NYR: Canes aim for Easter weekend win against the Rangers

After an impressive road win against the Washington Capitals on Friday night, the Carolina Hurricanes return home to face a New York Rangers team that also played and traveled on Friday night in a match up of two teams building toward the 2018-19 season. The Rangers have done an admirable job of tanking in the second half of March with only one win and a 1-4-2 mark in their past seven games. At least recently, the Hurricanes have regained their footing and won four out of five games. But even with the recent burst of wins, the Hurricanes are very much a team focused on building for next year which is the focus of my watch points for Saturday’s game.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the New York Rangers 1) Sebastian Aho’s day I misspoke in my game preview for Saturday in saying that Sebastian Aho would be featured in Friday’s television broadcast. That is in fact Saturday night, so if you are attending the game or otherwise occupied, you might want to DVR the game to indulge in a bit more Sebastian Aho goodness before the 2017-18 season rides off into the sunset. In addition to being a television star on Saturday, the game also has the potential to see him reach 30 goals if he can net two to get from 28 to 30 in a hurry. Saturday night's @CanesOnFSCR broadcast will spotlight @SebastianAho all game, including: * Iso cam at all times on Aho, who will be mic'd up* Sit-down interview* Off-the-ice feature* All in-game reports and teleprompter analysis* Intermission interviews with...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm78 @Was: Playoff-level test continues versus Caps with Aho feature broadcast

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm78 @Was: Playoff-level test continues versus Caps with Aho feature broadcast

After a four-game run against non-playoff teams and a three-game winning streak, the Hurricanes winning run was halted on the road against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night. Friday’s match up against the Washington Capitals represents another chance to match up against team currently in playoff position. As such, the game represents a good test for depth players coming off contract and AHL players trying to make a case for a 2018-19 NHL roster spot. The biggest story going right now is the surge from the AHL brigade.  After scoring a goal and an assist in his NHL debut on Monday, Warren Foegele followed it up with a goal and an assist on Tuesday. Valentin Zykov had his point streak snapped on Tuesday but still has five points in five games in an NHL uniform this season. And Roland McKeown continues to be reasonably solid in a quiet way on defense. But unfortunately for Canes fans who are focused on prospect tracking right now, Warren Foegele and Roland McKeown were returned to Charlotte presumably simply because the Checkers are trying to lock up a playoff berth. Though maybe not as hungry as the New Jersey Devils who entered Tuesday’s game scratching and clawing or a playoff spot, the Washington Capitals represent an equal if not bigger challenge. Rounding into form in time for the playoffs, the Capitals have reeled off wins in nine of their last 10 games.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Washington Capitals 1) Teravainen/Aho/Zykov With Warren Foegele and Roland McKeown returned to Charlotte, Zykov respresents the lone chance for prospect watching...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm77 @NJ: Canes AHL brigade steps up to tougher test against the New Jersey Devils

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm77 @NJ: Canes AHL brigade steps up to tougher test against the New Jersey Devils

Just when it seemed that the last 8-10 games of the Carolina Hurricanes 2017-18 season was going to be a completely miserable grind filled only with more brutal losses, the Charlotte Checkers breathed some goodness into what was left of the season. The chance just to watch something interesting with call ups auditioning for 2018-19 roster spots would have been something in itself but the group from Charlotte has done much, much more. Valentin Zykov has proven more than capable of being a strong complement to Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen on a top scoring line. Zykvo now has three goals and five total points in only four games. Warren Foegele wowed in his NHL debut on Monday with a goal and an assist. And quietly playing strong hockey in the background behind the scorers is defenseman Roland McKeown. And the team has suddenly won three straight games. But worth noting is that the Hurricanes happened upon a soft stretch of schedule with the last four games against teams who are out of the playoff chase and also with sub-par defenses. The New Jersey Devils on Tuesday will present a varsity-level challenge. The Devils currently sit right at the playoff cut line and are scratching and clawing for every point they can get. The Devils are also playing well having just completed a six-game road trip against high-end competition with a 4-2 mark and then returning home to defeat the Lightning. The question is whether the Hurricanes can continue on their current positive path or if the tougher opponent will see the Hurricanes crash back to Earth with another...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm76 Vs. Ott: Warren Foegele joins AHL brigade as Canes aim for third straight win

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm76 Vs. Ott: Warren Foegele joins AHL brigade as Canes aim for third straight win

On Sunday, it was announced that the Carolina Hurricanes had recalled Warren Foegele from the Charlotte Checkers. He would be making his NHL debut on Monday if he steps into the lineup as anticipated. With Valentin Zykov scorching hot in three games since his recall only a week ago, Foegele as more excitement for the Caniac faithful who are still tuning in down the stretch for the 2017-18 season. The game also represents a chance for the Hurricanes for the third straight time in their fourth of four straight games against teams destined for the draft lottery before the competition steps up a notch starting on Tuesday. In Saturday’s match up between the same two teams, the Hurricanes won in odd fashion being on the winning side of one team winning the possession shot metric battle but the other team winning the game by a wide margin. The Hurricanes benefited from loose defensive play against and some finishing and saw Cam Ward make an equally ‘iffy’ defensive effort look better than it was. Against that backdrop, here are my watch points for Monday’s rematch in Raleigh.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Ottawa Senators 1) Warren Foegele He was the subject of today’s Daily Cup of Joe where I discussed his skill set and audition in some detail. The shorter version is that I will be curious to see where Peters slots him (if in fact he does draw into the lineup) as a starting point. From there, my top watch points will be his read/react and positional ability on the forecheck and in the...