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...
Carolina Hurricanes 2017-18 Season Preview: Part 1-Four pillars and 5(+) upsides

Carolina Hurricanes 2017-18 Season Preview: Part 1-Four pillars and 5(+) upsides

I thought about doing some long step-wise lead up to the critical points of the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes season, but the the playoff-less streak at eight seasons and the sense of urgency increasing, I am instead going to lead with the important stuff and follow up with other details afterward. An important starting point is recognizing that the nature of the NHL game especially in today’s day and age requires contributions from all 20 players on the roster. Even the #6 defenseman will play 13-15 minutes and will be targeted by opposing coaches making that role potentially make or break for any given game despite its ranking way down the depth chart. The backup goalie will not figure at all in a large number of games, but he is very clearly front and center for a large chunk of schedule estimated to be 25-30 games for the Hurricanes this season. And though the fourth line will usually see fewer minutes and might even get skipped in the rotation late in close games, those players often man the all-important penalty kill which sees the other teams’ best players with a good chance to score. In addition to recognizing that all 20 players on the roster plus likely 4-7 more who see action because of injuries or search for a spark during a long NHL season, it is important to recognize that the next leg up for the Hurricanes requires players who have plateaued as productive players further in their careers to continue to perform at a similar level. The crux of this article focuses on young players who have the...
Six ‘If’s’ Holding the Keys to a Carolina Hurricanes Playoff Run in 2017-18

Six ‘If’s’ Holding the Keys to a Carolina Hurricanes Playoff Run in 2017-18

After a summer to rest and recuperate, Cory Fogg makes his triumphant return and Canes and Coffee 3027-18 season debut. It is still preseason, so go easy on him in the comments. 🙂   A few days ago, in Matt’s ‘5 Things I Really Like Right Now’ article, there was a statement on the message board that really struck home with me as an excited Hurricanes fan.  Our dependable message board sage (and seemingly ridiculous early riser) ctcaniac aptly differentiated the rampant optimism about the Hurricanes, from that of years past. “In years past, the optimism seemed to be the ‘if the stars align’ type’. Now the optimism seems justified because, if only two of five/six things go better than expected, then the year will be a success.” – ctcaniac Ctcaniac is absolutely spot on and went on to list several of these possibilities that Hurricanes fans are banking on to bring us back to the playoffs.  From the continued progression of our young guns, to the potential of significant goaltending improvement,  this article will explore several of these scenarios (and others), evaluate their probability*, and discuss their importance in driving Carolina back to the happy world of sustained springtime hockey. *Probabilities are based on writer’s gut opinions with sporadic statistical support   1. If any of Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask, or Teuvo Teravainen find a new level offensively… As all avid Canes fans know from years past, we have two sources of consistent offense (Jeff Skinner and Sebastian Aho) and a whole bunch of intermittent ones. The signing of Justin Williams as a consistent 20 goal scorer helps,...
Caniac Carnival practice session #1 notes

Caniac Carnival practice session #1 notes

Skip below the divider if you just want the on-ice part… Continuing a good run, Sunday provided another beautiful day for Carolina Hurricanes training camp hockey and the fun of the Caniac Carnival. The atmosphere is always phenomenal between the on-ice action but also the inflatables, giveaways food truck and true carnival atmosphere outside. I would like to extend a huge thank you to Ashleigh and Cory at Tenco Coffee for offering a convenient pick up and sale point for Canes and Coffee coffee cups at the Caniac Carnival and also for tremendous locally-roasted Counter Culture coffee to help me power through two practices and a long day. And best part of the day was meeting up with both new and old friends and fellow Caniacs from having a real life Canes and Coffee experience with a small group before the first practice to seeing a few familiar faces to catching a few people carrying Canes and Coffee boxes around to just chatting with the people near me at the practices. I cannot be happier to be a tiny part of a great hockey community!   On the ice, the day offered two practices. The first saw a mostly veteran group that included all of surefire NHLers and another 6-8 players who presumably earned the chance to sit at the adults table. The second practice was actually the more interesting. The ‘kids’ practice featured enough scrimmage/real hockey type drills that it provided a great evaluation point for many of the prospects. This article will cover the first practice. I will loop back around either late tonight or otherwise sometime...
Notes from Carolina Hurricanes’ first training camp practice

Notes from Carolina Hurricanes’ first training camp practice

Canes and Coffee coffee cups for sale and/or pick up at the Caniac Carnival For those considering picking up a Canes and Coffee coffee cup, it is now possible to just pay for an pick up a cup at the Caniac Carnival at the Tenco Coffee food truck. The deal/price is the same. The cost for a coffee cup plus a coffee (in a regular cup, so you don’t have tote a dirty coffee cup home) is $17.50 out the door after sales tax. You can also order one here either for prepaid pick up at the Caniac Carnival or for shipment. Sales obviously go to support the Canes and Coffee website as we prepare for the significant endeavor of covering 87 (hopefully plus) Hurricanes and everything in between on a daily basis. Your purchase with pick up also helps Tenco which is a small local business that also uses Counter Culture coffee which is also a local business.   Canes and Coffee impromptu ‘hello’ at the Caniac Carnival until 10:30am To drop off a box of coffee cups, I will be at PNC Arena around 9:30am. The Caniac Carnival does not technically start until 10am, but if there are any early birds chomping at the bit to talk Hurricanes hockey, I should be in the general vicinity of the Tenco Coffee truck until 10:30am when the first practice starts. Tenco hopes to open early, so the potential is there for a first ever”Canes and Coffee Live.” Whether you are picking up a coffee cup or not, please stop by to help me put a name to a face...
Canes and Coffee coffee cups for sale and possible pick up at the Caniac Carnival

Canes and Coffee coffee cups for sale and possible pick up at the Caniac Carnival

After receiving a shipment of coffee cups, we very nearly got sidetracked enough with Traverse City and preseason writing to back burner finally starting merchandise sales yet again. But after more than 2 years Canes and Coffee coffee cups are now available for sale. Why should you buy a Canes and Coffee coffee cup? Here’s why you should consider buying one for you and for every Caniac you know. Your purchase: * Gets you a cool Canes-ish-looking coffee cup that you can show off. * Fills an actual everyday need for drinking COFFEE!!!! * (Insert sarcastic emoji) Is a collector’s item as the first Canes and Coffee merchandise (NOT AVAILABLE IN STORES! WHILE SUPPLIES LAST! Etc…) that will certainly become a valuable item to be sold on EBay for a small fortune in 10 years. The hope is to add something to the website that is a tiny bit smoother for taking orders, calculating shipping and sales tax, etc.   How much do they cost? $12.50 + sales tax if in North Carolina + shipping & handling with a couple different options. Total cost (see below) varies a little, but we would greatly appreciate anyone who generously rounds their purchase to an even $20. We promise to put the extra coffee money to good use with the 2017-18 season nearly upon us.   What if I contributed to either the original Kickstarter or the spring 2017 fundraiser? If you contributed enough to pay for a coffee cup through either of the two fundraisers, we would love to get you a coffee cup as a small token of our appreciation....