‘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...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm75 @Ott: Teravainen/Aho/Zykov show heads north

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm75 @Ott: Teravainen/Aho/Zykov show heads north

First, thoughts, prayers and well wishes go out the Erik Karlsson and his wife who earlier this week lost an unborn child.   Thursday’s win offered some respite for Canes fans who had seen the #CanesCoaster at its very worst in the previous three home games. The fun and the scoring might only have been due to playing an opponent way under the .500 mark, but guess what? …The Hurricanes schedule next serves up two more similar games with a home and home against the Ottawa Senators who also sit below the Canes in the standings. Canes fans would much rather be watching intense games with playoff implications, but beggars can’t be choosers, so we will take another 6-5 win in a shinny-like game with minimal intensity. The opponent is an Ottawa Senators team that ranks 30th in the NHL in goals allowed, so putting up 6 goals in a win seems within reason. But in addition to just hoping for fun, high-scoring hockey, the game represents another 60 minutes of ice time to continue evaluating individual players and combinations for building the 2018-19 roster. And that initiative takes center stage in my watch points.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Ottawa Senators 1) Teravainen/Aho/Zykov In their first game together on Thursday, the trio looked like a top scoring line that had been playing together and terrorizing the NHL for years. Aho transitioned quickly back to his core as a playmaking center who created scoring chances for capable finishing wings just like he did with Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi on the Finnish team at...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm74 Vs. Ari: 2018-19 audition group grows for game against the Coyotes

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm74 Vs. Ari: 2018-19 audition group grows for game against the Coyotes

On Wednesday, it was announced that Victor Rask and Brett Pesce were being shut down for the remainder of the 2017-18 season with shoulder injuries. The team recalled Roland McKeown to replace Pesce. An extra forward was already in tow, so for now Rask’s departure will just pull Joakim Nordstrom back into the lineup. The game marks the third straight against another non-playoff opponent that is also looking forward to 2018-19. The Arizona Coyotes come into the game with the third fewest points in the NHL and actually playing well in March with a 7-3-1 mark. But the opponent is irrelevant. Coming off another abysmal loss, the Hurricanes are at a point where they need to look inward and find something. The timing could not be better to add McKeown to the mix after adding Zykov for the previous game. With the team sputtering right now, I think mixing in a couple players with something to play for and a different mindset could help right now.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Arizona Coyotes 1) Roland McKeown McKeown has always been an interesting prospect for me. In terms of raw physical skill set, I think he is a notch below thoroughbreds who pushed up to the NHL before him. McKeown is not a bad skater; he just is not in say Hanifin’s category. And at 6 feet 1 inch tall and 195 pounds, McKeown is not undersized, but he does not quite have the ideal NHL size as the other defensemen already at the NHL level. But while physical attributes are definitely part of it, they...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm73 Vs. Edm: Canes return home to face the Oilers and Connor McDavid

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm73 Vs. Edm: Canes return home to face the Oilers and Connor McDavid

After a much-needed win on Sunday over the New York Islanders to stop the bleeding, the Hurricanes tour of non-playoff match ups continues in Raleigh against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. With his injury in his rookie season and the NHL schedule that offers only two games per season against teams from the other conference, the game represents only the second opportunity to see Connor McDavid at PNC Arena. From the Hurricanes side, the game represents more ice time to learn some things and build toward the 2018-19 season. Monday’s Daily Cup of Joe listed five initiatives that I hoped to see emphasized in the final 10 games. We should see at least a couple of those continue on Tuesday and also possibly another added with the call up of Valentin Zykov. The game also represents a chance to build on a win which beats grinding through a dozen games of misery on the level of Tuesday and Saturday’s bad losses.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Edmonton Oilers 1) Sebastian Aho at center We will not know for certain until Tuesday afternoon, but I would expect Sebastian Aho’s trial at center to continue. In that regard, I will be watching primarily for two things. First is to see how he looks offensively, especially with the puck on his stick, and significantly if the chemistry between Aho and Teravainen continues with both in different positions right now. Second is to watch for how rapidly he learns and improves his play defending without the puck.   2) Valentin Zykov Full me once, shame on you....
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm72 @NYI: Canes stumble out of town for match up against the Islanders

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm72 @NYI: Canes stumble out of town for match up against the Islanders

After Saturday’s home loss to the Philadelphia Flyers that marked the second straight debilitating home loss, the Carolina Hurricanes still have 11 games remaining in the 2017-18 season. Right now, that feels like about 10 too many, but with no possibility of just waving a white flag at the remainder of the season the team and the part of the fan base that has not yet been able to detach must trudge through 11 more games. It starts with a match up against the New York Islanders in Brooklyn on Sunday night. With both teams sputtering right now, the game shapes up as a battle for last place in the Metropolitan Division and also for draft lottery positioning. Bigger picture, the game represents another try for the Hurricanes to try to take a step in the direction of righting a ship that has been taking on water of late.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the New York Islanders 1) Determination not tentativeness After couple horrible third periods at home this week, some amount of self doubt seems inevitable heading into Sunday’s game. Ideally, the Hurricanes will use frustration from two tough losses to fuel determination and help the team find a higher gear. But with the potential to just become tentative, this is something I will be watching from the outset on Sunday night against the Islanders.   2) A continuation of the blue line offense One positive from Saturday’s loss was a decent game offensively for the blue line. Noah Hanifin stepped up into the play and had a good scoring chance early in...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm71 Vs. Phi: Canes seek a rebound in the middle of March Madness

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm71 Vs. Phi: Canes seek a rebound in the middle of March Madness

After a few days off to pause and exhale after a wild seven-day stretch for Carolina Hurricanes hockey, the team is back at it on Saturday. Last Wednesday saw Ron Francis ousted from the general manager position. Just when things seemed to settling back into a less dramatic routine, the team blew all four tires in imploding and converting a 4-1 third period lead into a 6-4 loss on Tuesday. The aftermath featured post-game interviews flabbergasted players with befuddled expressions and a lack of words to explain what happened and an agitated and verbally confrontational Bill Peters. The next day included more soul searching and  a wait for what happened next. The answer was not much. An odd three-day layoff offered fans the possibility of just fleeing the scene of the 2017-18 season for the greener pastures of the NCAA basketball tourney. And the team had a day off and then a couple rounds of practice to try yet again to reset. And that takes us to Saturday’s home match up against the Philadelphia Flyers. The game represents another potentially treacherous  challenge against a good hockey team. But coming off of Tuesday’s debacle, this game is not about the opponent. Rather, it is about the Carolina Hurricanes and how it responds after yet another bad loss. That search for what the Hurricanes are made of and how the team and individual players  respond to another bout of adversity is the theme for my watch points for Saturday.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Philadelphia Flyers 1) Intensity or self-doubt at the starting gate? Maybe most...