If you did not read it already, please check out the site update for the 3-month anniversary of Canes and Coffee and please complete the survey inside of that post to help us chart the path forward from here.
Also, though I am still posting a Daily Cup of Joe, my heavier writing this week is actually my ‘7 D in 7 days’ series profiling each of the Canes defensemen. Wednesday’s part 3 HERE features rookie Brett Pesce.
As someone who covers the Hurricanes, I actually enjoy when the team has multiple days off after a busy stretch. Especially now, I tend to write most days, but the volume of stuff with tight time windows around games is much greater and also comes without the ability do a late night writing binge and then take a day or 2 off completely.
But an entire week is starting to feel like a day or 2 too many which has me looking forward to the weekend’s back-to-back set at home against the Dallas Stars on Friday and then the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.
The Canes fared much better in October this year, but if the team truly wants to climb into the season, it needs to make hay points-wise with a home-heavy November schedule. Already 0-1 for the month, the time to get moving is now.
Here are a few random thoughts heading into this weekend’s games:
How does Coach Bill Peters’ play the goalies?
The standard is to play the starter in the first game and then get the backup some work in the second game. But last week Coach Bill Peters flip-flopped it and started Eddie Lack on Thursday against the Islanders and then came back to starter Cam Ward on Friday against the Avalanche. The result was 2 wins, so there is a decent chance he returns to that formula this weekend.
I did not see where Peters went into detail for the why, but I think it makes some sense in this regard. For all of the troubles Eddie Lack has had with rebound control, he has actually been the better of the 2 goalies in terms of stopping first shots (if you count the leaky stuff as rebounds). That bodes well for stopping a collection of snipers, and if you pair it with a game plan to be a bit conservative fleeing the defensive zone to instead come back and clear rebounds (the old Justin Peters formula), it could and did work last week.
Interestingly this week’s schedule looks somewhat similar. The better offensive team was up first last week just as it is this week. In the Isles win, the Canes play a buttoned-down, come back to the house and defense with 5 brand of hockey that stifled play a bit for both teams. Then the Canes rose up in a furious third period and claimed a win. Will Peters try to use the same goalie and same formula on Friday against high-scoring Dallas and then come back to Ward on Saturday against Ottawa?
Does 4 days off spur energy or collect rust?
After a long road trip and 4 games in 6 days, the Canes definitely needed a breather, but sometimes 4 days off is too much. Will the Canes come out energized from the time off? Or will they look sloppy and behind game speed from too many days off? With 2 quick games that make the week a positive or a negative, the Canes need to find their stride right out of the gate on Friday.
Can the Canes get back to sound 3-zone hockey?
A trademark of the 3 wins last week was a sound brand of hockey that did not give the the other team many openings offensively. That streak ended when the Lightning cracked the code and created turnovers, found odd man rushes and flew up the ice unimpeded. Dallas similarly has skilled players who can skate, push pace and make plays offensively. The Canes need to quickly climb back on the ‘sound defensive play’ horse facing another team in the Stars who can dissect you quickly if you are soft defensively.
Can the team find and keep a rhythm for November?
With a decent number of reasonably spaced home games, if the Canes can find a rhythm, the schedule sets up well to go on a run, make up for a couple of the early losses and play past the quarter point in the season without it being over. That would already be an improvement upon the 2014-15 season.