Extra Coffee Shop: Grading the Canes at the midway point of the 2017-18 season (Goalies and Management)

Extra Coffee Shop: Grading the Canes at the midway point of the 2017-18 season (Goalies and Management)

After a bit of a break to cover the official announcement of the sale of the team and the last burst of three games in four days before the bye week, my short series grading the Carolina Hurricanes at the midway point wraps up today with the goalies, coaches and management. The format again offers the chance for readers to chime in, so with this being by far the most controversial set of evaluations, hopefully the bye week lull will keep things under control and most importantly civil. If you missed them last week, the grades for the defensemen are HERE, and the grades for the forwards are HERE. Without further ado, here are my grades at the midway point of the 2017-18 season.   Carolina Hurricanes 2017-18 mid-season grades Please remember to click ‘vote’ after each individual poll response. Goalies Scott Darling — C-. Per readers’ votes on my previous grades, I am on record as being an easy grader, and I do generally stay in the A through C range, so to put it bluntly Scott Darling’s C- is pretty harsh by my standards. Graded as an NHL starter who needs to be at least league average, Darling just has not. Early in the season, he seemed to alternate in a reasonably balanced way between good starts and ‘meh’ at best starts, but more recently he has struggled more often than not. His statistics place him near the bottom of he goalie heap. Important to note is that I think it is far too early to declare this story over and consider his addition a bust. He...
Purchase of Carolina Hurricanes – Part 2: Thoughts on Tom Dundon/team sale press conference

Purchase of Carolina Hurricanes – Part 2: Thoughts on Tom Dundon/team sale press conference

On Friday just after 12pm after Peter Karmanos straggled in a bit late due to travel delays, an interesting group met with the local media to discuss the sale of the Carolina Hurricanes to Tom Dundon and take questions. On the far left side of the table was President Don Waddell followed and former, now minority owner, Peter Karmanos. In the middle was NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. And to the right was new owner Tom Dundon and General Manager Ron Francis. If you missed it, my top level thoughts on the transition can be found in my article from first thing Friday morning. That article also provided a pre-press conference spoiler for what I expected to be said at the press conference which was pretty accurate.   The expected motherhood and apple pie per my morning article At a basic level, the press conference was largely without surprise. All of the stuff from the standard formula sheet were included and discussed as expected. From my article in the morning… Will you consider moving the team?  No. The team is not moving. Per my comments above on the NHL terms, that is 100 percent true for seven years… NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman yet again addressed this detail repeating what we have heard for years. That was always just rumors…The team is staying in Raleigh…It’s a great NHL market and the league loves it… Etc. More significant than the latest batch of words are the two things that I discussed this morning. The team is now locked in for seven years per league terms for the deal. That makes for a...
NCSU vs. UNC at PNC Arena on Monday night: The NC State Icepack side

NCSU vs. UNC at PNC Arena on Monday night: The NC State Icepack side

Tonight at PNC Arena, local hockey takes the center stage when Carolina Hockey and the NC State Icepack face-off. The game starts at 7pm with free parking and a (recommended) $5 donation at the door. The atmosphere was electric for this game/event last year and comes highly recommended for Monday night hockey entertainment.   This preview is the NC State side. Please also check out the Carolina Hockey side HERE.   About the interviewee Ethan Barry (Twitter=@ejoebarry) is a junior at NC State and major in communications with a concentration in media. He is the play-by-play voice of NC State hockey for PackTV which covers all home games and streams them live on YouTube and/or broadcasts them on the radio on WKNC 88.1 FM. The 2017-18 season represents Ethan’s third year covering the hockey team for PackTV first as a director for two years and now calling the games in 2017-18.   Check in on NC State Hockey heading into Monday’s match up with UNC-Chapel Hill   Canes and Coffee: How has NC State Hockey fared thus far in their 2017-18 season? Ethan Barry: The Pack comes into Monday’s game at 8-4 and 7-3 in the ACCHL. However, the way the ACCHL works, only divisional games (and games in the Stephen Russell Memorial Tournament) count towards making the ACCHL tournament. State, UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke and Charlotte are in the same division and play each other twice. The Pack went 2-1 in the Stephen Russell Tournament and have beaten both Duke and Charlotte so far this year. In a nutshell, State has won 4 of the 5 games that help...
Calling It Now: 10 Premonitions for the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes Season by Cory Fogg

Calling It Now: 10 Premonitions for the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes Season by Cory Fogg

Matt’s quick introduction: This week we will introduce the 2017-18 writing team at Canes and Coffee with a short series of articles that takes a look into the crystal ball and/or previews the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes season. Up first is Cory Fogg who I am thrilled to have back for a second season at Canes and Coffee. Cory’s writing will run the gamut, but his specialty is writing feature articles that go in depth on a particular topic. Welcome back Cory!   As we count down to opening night, we all have our thoughts on what’s going to happen. Really the only givens over the past nine years have been that ‘we won’t make the playoffs’ and the opener is better known as “The Game with the Most Hurricanes Fans in Attendance All Season’. Many Caniacs, myself included, believe that this season is the first year in that span with a real chance of getting out of Rebuilding Mode and into Playoff Mode. My roommate and I, both half season-ticket holders, always enjoy going through the season playing Nostradamus over what’s going to happen next. The phrase “Calling it now” is often heard in our domain, usually followed by some ridiculous premonition that we’re only saying so that we can have ‘In-House Hockey Genius’ bragging rights. Or just the sound of hot air expanding in our heads.  In any case, with the Hurricanes season now here, I thought it would be fun to channel my inner hockey clairvoyant for all of you. Because, obviously, the more people who know, the higher the ego boost if I’m right. So without...
Hurricanes name Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk co-captains

Hurricanes name Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk co-captains

After a full season without a captain after Eric Staal’s departure, a summer of questions and then suddenly a sense of urgency and a schedule even with Bill Peters’ comments at media day on September 5, the situation was resolved today. The team announced that Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk would be alternating captains and Jeff Skinner would be the lone alternate captain. Not mentioned directly but also newsworthy is the fact that Victor Rask will no longer be an alternate captain and also the fact that Justin Williams is not an alternate captain. I find the announcement today numerous on multiple levels.   The public relations and first impression angle Reactions were mixed but my conversations and browsing of Twitter seemed to suggest that many were not thrilled with the non-decision decision that is still leadership by committee despite the ‘C’ being back in the locker room. My initial reaction which I posted on Twitter was thus: Initial reaction to .@NHLCanes announcement: Big fuss was made (accidentally?) about picking a captain only to not actually pick a captain. — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) October 5, 2017 After some time to contemplate the announcement today, I still stand by this initial reaction. When Coach Bill Peters suddenly stated that the team would have a captain by the start of the season, the hype engine was fueled. Would it be Skinner? Staal? Newcomer Williams? A surprise? What would the decision be. The fact that the team has two co-captains and that the expected version of a decision was not made does have a ‘What?! That’s it! (sigh)’ type of feel...
Carolina Hurricanes 2017-18 Season Preview: Part 2-What does it take to make the playoffs?

Carolina Hurricanes 2017-18 Season Preview: Part 2-What does it take to make the playoffs?

Though the reasons for optimism continued to grow, in many ways the Carolina Hurricanes 2016-17 season followed a fairly typical pattern. The team struggled out of the gate and found itself in a hole standings-wise by the beginning of December. Then right about when it seemed to appropriate to just take a complete write off the entire season a couple things clicked and the team charted a course higher. The resurgence offered reason for hope, but the team never really did climb all the way back into the playoff chase. The season wrapped up with a second half that offered reason for optimism but a season in total that was not good in enough in a league where 16 of 30 (now 31) teams make the playoffs. With the team gradually trending upward, young players maturing and Francis making a couple significant ‘win now’ moves over the summer, the 2017-18 season is not one for ‘sticking to the plan,’ ‘continuing to improve,’ ‘hoping to have a chance in March,’or similar. It’s time. It’s time for the Hurricanes to push back into the playoffs. With some themes that were also in part 1 of my preview that came at it more from a player angle, here are three keys to making the playoffs for the 2017-18 season.   1) The goaltending must improve The Hurricanes goaltending has been near the bottom of the league by many measures over the past few years. Winning in the NHL without a ton of Hart Trophy type players is difficult. Winning in the NHL without a ton of Hart Trophy type players while trying...