First, a couple disclaimers:
In no way can anything that happens from this point forward diminish what has already been accomplished during the Carolina Hurricanes 2018-19 season. The young team took a big step forward just by making the playoffs.
At the other end of the spectrum, by no means am I writing off the playoffs based on the tough opponent that the Hurricanes will face. Anything can and does happen. As the Hurricanes proved in 2009, underdogs can and do pull off surprises.
So with the disclaimers aside, today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short list of three wishes for the 2019 NHL playoffs
1) A home win
Though the team’s accomplishments thus far cannot in any way be tarnished, the playoffs would be a bit of a letdown if the team is unable to win at least one home game to allow the Hurricanes hockey community to experience the exhilaration of playoff hockey on one of its best days.
2) A reasonably even series that provides valuable experience for the Hurricanes young guns
With so many Hurricanes players never playing in the playoffs, even a first round exit could have a huge benefit for the young players. The playoffs are different such that even good young players need to acclimate before reaching top gear in the playoffs which are both faster and more intense. So ideal looking forward into the future would be if the Hurricanes can at least get into the series enough that the team’s young players get a good training course on what it takes to win in the playoffs. If at least the individual games are close, the young Hurricanes can get a round of dealing with the pressure and amped up intensity.
3) Young stars rising up
There are many factors that contribute to winning and losing in the NHL playoffs but one common deciding factor is the play of a team’s top players. That is why a large number of Stanley Cup winners of late were teams that had a handful of elite players. The Blackhawks had Kane, Toews, Keith and Crawford. The Penguins have Crosby and Malkin. Washington had Ovechkin and Holtby. One other thing that I would love to see from the playoffs is the Hurricanes best players rising up and playing well. So even in a losing effort, ideal would be to see the Hurricanes young leaders like Sebastian Aho, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce and Teuvo Teravainen to acclimate quickly to playoff hockey and show that they rise up rather than withering under playoff pressure.
What say you Canes fans?
1) What would be your short (and reasonable) wish list for the Hurricanes in the playoffs?
2) Of the three wishes that I listed, which would you consider most important?