Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short collection of random thoughts…
One of the biggest challenges for the Hurricanes right now is getting consistently decent or better goaltending. Though not perfect himself, Ward has been the better of the two goalies. On the one hand, Peters and the team in general needs to have an overarching bias toward forcing Scott Darling into the starting role until it works. That said, I think an interesting step on the path to accomplishing that might be to shut Scott Darling down for a few games. To be clear, my aim is NOT to punish him or play mind games. Rather, the aim is very simply to give him a chance to just completely reset and start fresh. There are no guarantees that this would have the desired effect, but given the current trajectory of Darling’s play, I think it is worth a try.
The Hurricanes shootout win on Tuesday marked the eleventh time that the Hurricanes have played extra hockey in only 30 games. The Hurricanes are now 4-7 which means they have left 1.5 points on the table relative to average and even more if they could beat the average.
Trying to make it February
I said before it started that I would be happy with a 5-4 record for the nine-game stretch that includes to current six-game road trip followed by a single stop at home before two more road games. I stand by that assertion despite the fact that treading water is increasing the gap between the Hurricanes and the teams that are swimming away. At some point, the Hurricanes will need to find a higher gear and go on a run. Those runs usually result more from just playing better than from schedule, but I still think the goal for the Hurricanes is to stay within range until February.
Starting on January 30 and running through February 23 the Hurricanes play 11 out of 12 games at home. If there is a time for the team to surge, that stretch of schedule offers the greatest potential boost.
Trevor van Riemsdyk
Van Riemsdyk has been quietly playing his best hockey of the season of late despite the team’s struggles. He has been a bit noisier with three scoring points over the past two games including a huge game-tying goal late in the second period on Tuesday night, but I think the bigger thing has been his ability to complement the Canes young left shot defensemen. Van Riemsdyk played a significant role in helping Haydn Fleury get his feet under him in his rookie season. And more recently, van Riemsdyk has been playing with Noah Hanifin during Hanifin’s best run of hockey thus far. Right now van Riemsdyk reminds me a bit of John-Michael Liles playing next to Brett Pesce in Pesce’s rookie season and providing the kind of stable situation that helps a young player build confidence and grow as a player.
What say Canes fans?
Who has random Hurricanes hockey thoughts to contribute to the conversation?