Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a quick list of five likes from the Canes season opener.
1) Ryan Dzingel-Martin Necas
As I said in the game recap, that duo along with Erik Haula reminded me of Whitney/Cullen/LaRose from the magical 2005-06 season. At that transition point to the new NHL that outlawed clutching and grabbing and eliminated the rule against the two-line pass, Whitney and Cullen were just too fast and skilled for many of the match ups that they faced as a third line. They attacked with speed and forced opposing defenders to make quick decisions under duress. Despite the NHL being faster from top to bottom, the Dzingel-Necas combination has the ability to similarly force opposing defenses to make quick decisions under duress. Both players can push pace into the teeth of the defense and cause them to back up, but maybe more significantly both players move well laterally too such they are both able to find and exploit space in the offensive zone.
2) The concerted effort to get bodies to the top of the crease
The Hurricanes were incredibly good at getting traffic in front of Carey Price. Both of the first two goals were net front deflections, and the team had many other times where I was counting two trying to crowd the crease. In an modern NHL where it is incredibly hard to beat goalies if they see the shot, traffic in front of the net is critical.
3) Joel Edmundson
Labeled as a big, physical, stay-home defenseman, my expectations were that Edmundson would be the type that cautiously sits behind the play. In watching Edmundson a bit in his preseason game and again on Thursday, he actually steps up to challenge the puck pretty aggressively similar to how Pesce and Slavin do.
4) Andrei Svechnikov
He was held off the score sheet on Thursday, but I still liked his game. He looks more assertive comfortable with the puck on his stick. I am not a fan of him playing with Staal nor am I a fan of him playing on his natural side, but regardless, I do see a difference in his game in his sophomore campaign.
5) Depth scoring
With tallies by Necas, Wallmark and Haula, all three of the goals were scored by players who started the game in the bottom half of the lineup. Above average depth scoring can reduce the pressure on top players. Wallmark could be key in this regard. He is likely to be the fourth line center regarless of what other shuffling goes on. As such, if he can lead his line to something closer to third line scoring, the team gets much better.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Who has other ‘likes’ from the first regular season game for the Hurricanes?
2) Which of the five likes that I included is most significant?