Chronological Blog List

George Floyd, the Canes and Coffee COVID-19 hiatus and a re-kick off of Canes coverage

George Floyd and a vote against racism in any form From its very beginning, Canes and Coffee has with incredible consistency been solely focused on Carolina Hurricanes hockey. Both the site and the Twitter handle have stayed the course of being a reprieve from the problems and contentious issues in our world. I challenge any of the long-time readers to count more than a handful of digressions into social issues, politics or anything else that was not related to Canes hockey. In general, that will not change. Social, political and other world topics will not become a regular entry here. That is not because those issues are not important but rather because that is not what this site is for. But with my wife out of town and my kids mostly occupied with their own stuff, I spent a significant part of my weekend thinking about the George Floyd murder and the resulting chaos that has unfolded over the weekend across our country. Though it is off-topic for this site, I feel personally compelled to say something because I feel like we all have a role to play in building a better world. Per my comments below, increasingly not saying anything actually says something too. In very simple terms, racism in any form is wrong. Though it is not pleasant to consider, the volume and effects of racism are much more significant than those of us who are white and privileged care to recognize especially if we do not wish to spend time being troubled with something that does not too often affect us directly. If there has been...

Dreaming of max Hurricanes

With the 2019-20 season hanging in doubt, the season could potentially become a missed opportunity for older teams whose potential to hoist the Cup will decrease in the coming years. But the Carolina Hurricanes are very much a team whose future chances will likely be better than the team’s chance in 2019-20. For that to become true requires the Hurricanes to improve from being a team battling at the edge of the playoff cut line to being a team in the next tier. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe speculates on what it takes mostly from the current roster for the Hurricanes to rise into the top tier of teams in the NHL that are expected to compete for the Stanley Cup.   On defense A tiny bit more offensively is always welcome, but for defensive anchors Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin, I think they really just need to keep doing what they have been which is be stalwart defenders and the leaders for two capable defense pairings. I question whether Dougie Hamilton’s scoring pace from 2019-20 is sustainable, but I think simpler for Hamilton is just repeating the basics of what he did in 2019-20. He boosted the offensive from the bak line at even strength, on the power play and as a bonus in overtime, and equally importantly his lapses defensively were minimal such that he was a bona fide top 4 defenseman defensively while being elite offensively. Exact goal and point totals for Hamilton are not as important as just being a difference-maker offensively and defensively. Hamilton is only signed through the 2020-21 season, so being part...

Carolina Hurricanes sign forward David Cotton + update on upcoming prospect decisions

Today the Carolina Hurricanes announced that they had signed 2015 six-round draft pick David Cotton to a two-year entry-level contract. The team also signed his brother Jason Cotton who is an undrafted free agent graduating from Sacred Heart University.   On David Cotton David Cotton is an interesting prospect. As a sixth-round pick, he is the type that is a long shot to make the NHL when drafted, but he has made steady progress over the course of his college career. He possesses the size and skating ability to have a chance at the NHL level and has developed a decent power forward scoring tool bag over the four years since being drafted. He also developed as a leader being the captain of his Boston College team as a senior in 2019-20 and also one of two veteran leaders (along with Matt Filipe) for the most recent Carolina Hurricanes prospect camp. My big question with him is how he will look against NHL preseason competition and then at the AHL level. As an NCAA player, he has not been able to participate in the prospect tourneys or preseason action, so the only reference points for him are against prospect camp and NCAA competition. He looked very good at the most recent prospect camp, but playing against mostly 18-20-year olds most of whom will not see the NHL is not a great reference point for a player drafted four years ago. But in giving credit where it is due, Cotton did stand out in that group and had a strong senior season with 39 points in 32 games. He figures...

Greatest sources of upside going forward

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe has a similar theme as my Daily Cup of Joe from Tuesday that looked at the 2020-21 Canes roster from a high level.  Today’s Daily Cup of Joe makes a short list of players who offer the most upside (and potential risk as the flip side) looking forward into the 2020-21 season.   In goal Alex Nedeljkovic (if he sticks at the NHL level as I expect for the 2020-21 season) If the Hurricanes make room for Alex Nedeljkovic at the NHL level for the 2020-21 season as I expect, he represents both significant upside and risk at the same time. Recent times in the NHL have seen many rookie or young goalies be given an opportunity, seize it and boost an entire team. Jordan Binnington is top of the list, but in addition Elvis Merzlikins has capitalized on Sergei Bobrovsky’s departure in Columbus, Carter Hart has burst onto the scene in Philadelphia, Tristan Jarry has risen up in Pittsburgh, Pavel Francouz has challenged in Colorado, Ilya Samsonov has done the same in Washington and Igor Shesterikin has accelerated the transition to the next generation. At least 25 percent of the NHL had goalies who were not even in the mix two years ago lead the way. So with Nedeljkovic, the upside is the potential that he is part of a revolution in the crease which increasingly seems to be a young man’s position. The downside is that the Canes clear space for him only to learn that he is not ready. In today’s NHL, a #2 goalie is generally expected to shoulder about one-third...

An early look at building the 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes an early look at building the 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes. To be clear this is not commentary on the likelihood of the 2019-20 season resuming. It is just an interesting topic for discussion in my opinion.   The budget Before the world changed, estimates were that the NHL salary cap would increase significantly by $4 to $7 million. Increasingly, a flat salary cap seems more likely with most, if not all, of 18 percent of the regular season lost and likely the playoffs to be abbreviated if they occur at all. As noted in my Daily Cup of Joe yesterday that looked at impacts from the suspended 2019-20 season, the Hurricanes are actually positioned well for this and could actually benefit from it. The Hurricanes will net some salary cap relief from clearing Patrick Marleau’s salary and the small portion of Justin Faulk’s that was retained. Those two contracts clear almost $7 million without the need to replace a player. And the vast majority of the team’s top players are already under contract. From the current roster, the Canes have only Warren Foegele to re-sign and Justin Williams to re-sign or replace. On defense, the Hurricanes already have five defensemen under contract for the 2020-21 season with the need to re-sign Haydn Fleury who is a restricted free agent. Only Joel Edmundson and Trevor van Riemsdyk are unrestricted free agents. When one nets it out, the Hurricanes will not need much of the $7 million freed up to maintain the status quo. Most of it should be available to either add players outright or...

Checking In with Brandon Stanley: Welp (February/early March update)

The roller coaster of a year continues. Last time out I spoke of a wild ride that had skyrocketed heading down the stretch. The Checkers were playing at an extremely high level, showcasing their depth, flexing their muscle as one of the best teams in the AHL. Then, well, we all know what happened: NHL Trade Deadline Day. Gone are Kuokkanen, Gauthier, Priskie, and Luostarinen, plus veteran defenseman Fredrik Claesson. Geekie was called up (and made a huge splash, eh? Love the kid, but didn’t see this coming). Both goalies spent time in Raleigh, though Ned is now back. And now, I’m looking around the roster, and on many occasions asking… who? This is a business, and competing for a Calder Cup is a long way from Waddell and co.’s mind when trying to maneuver to bring a Stanley Cup back to Raleigh. I think the team has successfully put itself in better position moving forward, as Skjei is going to fit in nicely on an already-deep blue line with his grit and skating ability, Trocheck is a good middle-six center that fits the Canes’ system and is a rock-solid placeholder for when (if?) Necas moves to the middle, and Vatanen is going to add a much-needed offensive dynamic from the back end when (… if?) he finally gets on the ice, while also providing a balancing effect as a right-hand shot. But we aren’t here to talk about the big club; I guess, maybe, this has just been my way of avoiding talking about the losses of my large adult children. It stings a bit to watch so...

2019-20 NHL suspension’s effects on the Carolina Hurricanes…plus fluid plans for Canes and Coffee

Quick (will become regular focus) public service comments on COVID-19 pandemic I do not plan to use this platform to cover the COVID-19 pandemic or to pretend that I am an expert on what we should or not be doing right now. That said, I feel like I have an obligation to say something and will use that to say two quick things. 1) Please consider this as an opportunity to constantly pick a couple small spots to do something to help someone else right now. What that looks like is completely different for all of us. Maybe it is helping out your local restaurants by buying gift cards or ordering takeout. Maybe it is helping elderly neighbors make sure they get what they need. Maybe it is making a monetary donation or two to charities who help people in need right now. Find your own spots. 2) If we reach a point where we realize that maybe we did too much to slow the pandemic and minimize its effects, that will be at worst a minor inconvenience. If instead we reach a point where we did not do enough, the toll on everyone’s lives could be massive. Please consider erring significantly on the side of caution and doing your part to charting a path to better not worse. Again, I promise not to make Canes and Coffee a site for COVID-19 coverage or recommendations. There are plenty of capable media covering that obviously.   Fluid plans for Canes and Coffee   As for Canes and Coffee and Canes hockey coverage, to say that we are in uncharted waters...

Day off? Open reader discussion in comments?

For anyone who could use some lighthearted Canes reading, here is a link to an article from a while back that compiled a reasonably thorough list of John Forslund-isms from the team’s TV broadcasts. I have a half-written article that looks at impacts of season being suspended for the NHL in total, the Hurricanes 2019-20 season and also going forward, but timing does not seem right to jump straight into that after quite an eventful couple days. Tentative plan is to finish/post that for Monday and to continue covering the team during the layoffs. For today, it is either a day off or a chance for readers to start their own discussions in the comments.   Wash your hands and stay safe y’all!   Go...

Great Canes’ moments of the past 2 years

After a difficult day for the world yesterday, today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a tiny bit of levity in trying to collect (with readers’ help) the absolute best moments of the Carolina Hurricanes from the past two seasons. Requirements are that it needs to be more of a ‘moment’ captured in a minute-ish or ideally less, so this is not looking for full games. Please add to the list in the comments or ping us on Twitter to have yours added. In no particular order but loosely categorized….   2018-19 regular season stretch run Petr Mrazek coming way out to clear a puck in overtime to be followed by an overtime game-winner shortly thereafter. The team’s reaction when they were on the ice after a win and Montreal lost to officially clinch a playoff berth. (Could also include Mrazek’s interview as the game’s first star.)   2019 NHL playoffs Warren Foegele’s first period goal in the first period of game 3 against the Washington Capitals that marked the return of playoff hockey to Raleigh and started a 5-0 route. Brock McGinn’s overtime game-winner in game 7 against the Washington Capitals and his leaping celebration afterward. Jordan Staal’s overtime game-winner in game 1 against the New York Islanders.   2019-20 regular season Andrei Svechnikov becomes the first player in NHL history to score a lacrosse goal against the Calgary Flames. Justin Williams scores in the seventh round of the shootout to win the game and put an exclamation point on his return to hockey. David Ayers being congratulated by team mates after a most improbable win in Toronto. Morgan...

Seeking (and finding?) forward depth scoring

Many years ago, NHL teams had three lines of hockey players and a line of limited function penalty killers and goons. Those days are of course gone, and good teams stock all 12 forward slots with players capable of putting the puck in the net. But find true four line depth can be elusive. Injuries disrupt things. There is still sometimes a need to reserve a slot or two for penalty killers who might be lighter on offensive ability. And it just is not easy to get everything clicking at the same time. Today’s Daily Cup Joe takes a look at the Hurricanes’ current efforts to build out a forward group that is four lines deep. The constant evolution of the situation itself over the past few weeks has been fascinating. Very recently, the Hurricanes were very much a one line team with Teravainen/Aho/Svechnikov on fire but nothing else really working. And in the middle of that the Hurricanes traded away two centers but received only one in return. So the team seemed to be desperately trying combinations seeking something that could work past the top line. Fast forward only a week or so to today, and the situation is almost reversed. Despite Aho’s two goals that both came on special teams, the top line has been struggling a bit of late. But driven by an unlikely source in Morgan Geekie, the Hurricanes seem to be making great strides on the depth front.   Teravainen/Aho/Svechnikov Other than leading the Canes special teams outburst on Tuesday, Aho’s line has actually hit a short-term slump in terms of 5-on-5 play. The...

Gm68 @Det: Canes battle for periods and rise in the 3rd for 5-2 win over the Red Wings

Entering Tuesday’s game against the Red Wings, the question was whether the Canes would get the Red Wings who are in last place in the NHL and 23 points behind the team in front of them or if instead the Canes would get the RedWings team that came in with two straight wins including an impressive 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Early on, the easier road looked possible. The Hurricanes had the better of play out of the gate and collected couple decent scoring chances while giving up very little. The Canes capitalized on early momentum with yet another goal by upstart super star Morgan Geekie. The play was a showcase for Geekie. Earlier in the shift he won a puck on the boards and advanced it out of danger in the defensive zone. Then he retrieved a puck in the neutral zone and quickly fed a short pass to Warren Foegele who was in front of him, so they could gain the blue line before Detroit could adjust. Then he stepped into the open ice behind Foegele to receive a pass and snipe a shot bar in from between the face-off circles. But possible with help from a Canes penalty, the Red Wings responded after the Canes goal. For much of the rest of the first period, the Canes had trouble with the Wings’ speed and spent portions of the rest of the period under duress and having trouble in their own end. Petr Mrazek was sharp and neutralized a number of good chances. But Detroit finally broke through when Tyler Bertuzzi scored on one of...

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm68 @Det: Canes seek to extend winning weekend against the Red Wings

After a fun weekend with another storybook win courtesy of Morgan Geekie on Sunday over the Penguins, the Hurricanes return to the ice on Tuesday night in Detroit for game four of five for the road trip. The two wins see the Hurricanes enter the game tied for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but still very much in a crowded pack that will likely see three teams come within a couple points of a playoff spot but get sent packing at the end of the regular season. The opponent is a Red Wings team that looks like an easy win on paper. The Wings are the bottom team in the NHL by a MASSIVE 23 points and have long been playing for draft lottery position. But in a league where parity reigns supreme, one need look no further than the Wings last two games that include wins over Cup contender Tampa Bay and a Chicago team that is trying to play its way into the playoff hunt. In the NHL, if you do not show up and put forward a strong effort nasty surprises linger. On the Hurricanes side, this game is about continuing the current trajectory. Only two weeks ago, the Hurricanes posted a rousing, feel-good win with an emergency goalie only to fall flat with four straight losses. Aside from the utter debacle in terms of taking penalties (six in the first half of the game) which was buried underneath the win, the Hurricanes put forward their best 5-on-5 effort in some time. The goal Tuesday is to find that same gear. If the...

Carolina Hurricanes schedule ahead

With consecutive wins over the weekend, the Hurricanes are down to 15 games remaining in the 2019-20 NHL regular season. In addition, the team has successfully navigated the first three games of a potentially treacherous road trip with a 2-1 record. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a look at the schedule remaining. The road trip wraps up with two games against non-playoff teams in the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils. Interestingly, both teams are playing decent hockey right now with respective two-game winning streaks. After the road trip is completed, the Hurricanes will play eight out of their last 13 games at home. The run of 10 games leading up to the final week will feature some repeat customers with a home and home set against the Buffalo Sabres and three more games against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The last week is interesting with two tough match ups against the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins and what could be a wild card play in type of game against the Columbus Blue Jackets for game #81. With the Bruins extending their lead, there is a decent chance that the Bruins will have little to play for in those two games which would be helpful. If I had to make a short list of keys, they would be as follows: 1) Repeat on the Penguins. After the road trip, the Penguins make up nearly 25 percent of the remaining schedule, so having their number would be a huge benefit. 2) Run the table or close on the beatable teams. Beating lesser teams can be incredibly challenging this year because those...

Player notes: Edmundson/Slavin, Haydn Fleury, Morgan Geekie and Alex Nedeljkovic

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short collection of player notes.   Joel Edmundson/Jaccob Slavin I have liked this pairing with Slavin moved to the right side and Edmundson on his natural left side. Slavin has not looked significantly different switching across and the gain has been Edmundson looking much more comfortable especially handling the puck under pressure.   Haydn Fleury He suddenly has four points in his last four games with three of those being primary points from finding ways to get shots to the net from the point. In addition, he has averaged 20:46 of ice time in a much bigger role. Could he be on the brink of taking a step up? That is an intriguing situation to watch as the season winds down especially because the team needs a defenseman or two to step up with the team minus Brett Pesce and Dougie Hamilton. If he is breaking out as we speak, the timing could be perfect. As a restricted free agent who must be re-signed this summer, his late surge could put him in a bigger role heading into the 2019-20, but the effect on his next salary should be modest. He logged three-fourths of the 2019-20 season in a third pairing/healthy scratch role which dictates a modest salary increase over his entry-level contract salary. And though he has been collecting points of late, he is unlikely to score his way up to a significantly higher pay grade. Especially with the Hurricanes having a few other question marks on the blue line with level of play and possible departures to free agency, the...

Gm67 @Pit: Morgan Geekie and Canes post another weekend storybook victory 6-2 over Pens

Only two weeks ago, the Hurricanes rode 42-year old Zamboni driver David Ayers to an improbable win in Toronto. The team’s storybook win road tour continued on Sunday in Pittsburgh. With Ryan Dzingel sidelined with an injury, the Hurricanes called up Morgan Geekie from the AHL to make his NHL debut. With the quick turnaround from a Saturday game and the 1:30pm start on Sunday, most Canes fans probably did not learn about the move until pregame or game time. The game proved to be a magical and historical debut for Geekie. With the Canes trailing 1-0 after Patrick Marleau shoveled a backhander past Alex Nedeljkovic off the rush, Geekie scored on his first NHL shot to tie the game at 1-1. The goal was a pretty one. First, he won the face-off. Then he deftly redirected a Jake Gardiner shot-pass into the net from out front. The Hurricanes would give up a power play goal to Evgeni Malkin late and actually be fairly lucky to exit the first period down only 2-1 after after a sloppy period saw them take four minor penalties in 20 minutes of play. But that just set the stage for more Geekie heroics. First, he would win the face-off to collect an assist and then be the screen that led to a Jaccob Slavin goal. Then at the end of the period, he would again be the screen for a Jake Gardiner power play goal. The Hurricanes were dominant out of the gate in second period playing 5-on-5 only to have momentum sapped again by two more penalties in the front part of...
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