Chronological Blog List

Thursday Coffee Shop: Half full or half empty?

The recap and notes from Tuesday’s 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers were significantly less glowing than most of the other viewpoints available. I was happy with the two points and acknowledged the importance of results, but I was not high on the level of play. The Daily Cup of Joe from Thursday assessed the team by position and was also candid and quite mixed. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe goes the other direction and names seven things that I like about the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes through four games. On the surface, the collection of widely different viewpoints over a short period of time might look schizophrenic. But maybe that is exactly right for a sample size of four games that has run the gamut from high scoring to unable to generate offense at all and from sound and steady defensively to intermittently struggling. The Thursday Coffee Shop opens the floor for readers to weigh in on whether the season thus far has been half full, half empty or oddly some both.   Carolina Hurricanes polls Please remember to click ‘vote’ after each individual poll question.   How would you rate the Hurricanes level of play through four games? Poor. They have been lucky to collect 5 points Not poor, but definitely with room for improvement. Neutral. I am sitting firmly on the fence through four games. Slightly positive. Sure they could be better, but overall play has been good and who can argue with the results. Outstanding. The level of play and trajectory are clearly positive. View Results  Loading ...   Based on what you have seen so...

Seven things I like about the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes through four games

If you appreciated the near daily Hurricanes hockey during the offseason and an even faster pace during the regular season, we ask you to please help our cause by purchasing a Canes and Coffee coffee cup. Two options exist to support the site and also net a nice Canes hockey collectible: 1) Simply make a donation to our “Coffee Fund” via credit card and/PayPal for $17.50 if outside of North Carolina or $18.75 if inside North Carolina (includes sales tax), and include your address in the notes or a separate email, and we will get a cup in the mail. The link to do so is here. 2) If you are local to Raleigh, you can purchase a Canes and Coffee Cup for the same price from coffee food truck Tenco and help a small local business in the process. $17.50 nets you a Canes and Coffee cup AND a free cup of coffee (we pay our delivery fee to Tenco instead of USPS in this case and support a local business in the process). Tenco’s web site with upcoming schedule is HERE.         Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe offered a quick assessment of the team by position. It also followed my notes on Tuesday’s 5-3 that were far from being all sunshine despite the win. A couple readers called me out for being unduly tough in my assessment of the team and game. (And by the way, I love the fact that different opinions are increasingly being shared on the site.) So to provide a balanced viewpoint, I will lean strongly positive today and offer a...

Checking In (By Jordan Futrell): And We’re Back!

Welcome back Checking In fans! The Charlotte Checkers were back in action to start the season on Friday (Oct.6), against the Hartford Wolfpack. Starting off the season right the Checkers defeated the WolfPack 5-4, and would go onto win three of their first four games of the year. Saturday (Oct. 7) they traveled to Wilkes-Barre and defeated a scrappy Penguins squad 5-2. All hopes of an undefeated season were lost when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers handed the Checkers their first loss on Friday (Oct. 13) by a score of 5-3. But Charlotte would get the revenge the next night (Oct.14) and best the Sound Tigers 3-2.   Charlotte Checkers’ Three Stars #3: Picking up right where he left off last season, Andrew Miller played terrific to start the year. The veteran started on the first line, giving the team valuable minutes in tight game situations. He showed great patience on offense, rarely forcing the issue and turning over the puck. He also provided solid minutes on the power play, finding open teammates on multiple occasions for scoring opportunities near the net. His effort tallied him a goal and four assists for a productive first two weeks of the season. But Miller’s contribution to this team cannot be just measured by just stats. He is a calming presence on the ice for all his younger teammates by not getting flustered and staying poised in late game scenarios. That is a tremendous example to set for all the new prospects that Checkers have on the roster and it will be dividends as the season goes on. #2: Warren Foegele exploded onto...

State of the Canes through four games

With two home games and now two road games completed, here is a quick assessment of where the Hurricanes are at this very early juncture of the season.   In the standings My playoff math says that a team must get two-thirds of the points at home and half of the points on the road to finish around 95 total which is usually a point or two above the playoff cut line. By this math, the Hurricanes are some tiny fraction of a point above a playoff pace through four games. That is a good thing, especially for a team whose recent seasons have all been doomed by lack of production in October and November.   In net Especially with Scott Darling making a significant transition to a new team, a new role and a new amount of pressure as a starter and Cam Ward sliding into a backup role for the first time in about a decade, I think the goaltending checks out well through four games. Ironically, Darling was not great in his lone win to start the season, but he played well in both of the losses only allowing a single regulation goal in each. Ward followed up Darling’s three starts with a decent start of his own on Tuesday night and seized a win in his first start in the backup role.   The blue line The blue line is still very much a work in progress right now. Peters’ initial decision to split Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce lasted all of one period into the season opener before he reverted back to mostly playing...

Gm4 @Edm: Jaccob Slavin and opportunistic scoring convert mixed bag overall into 5-3 Canes win

At the productivity level, Tuesday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was a huge success with a big two points on the road against a good hockey team. At the headline level, Tuesday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was also a success in that the Hurricanes scored in bunches with five tallies on the night. And especially with the Hurricanes early in the season, riding a two-game losing streak and trying not to dig a their usual hole on the North Carolina State Fair road trip, the results trump all else that follows. But Tuesday’s win was anything but textbook and a repeatable formula. When I condense down the Hurricanes win, two things jump out. The Hurricanes benefited from a tough night for the Oilers in terms of breakdowns and also a backup goalie but do deserve credit for opportunistically finishing at a crazy high rate. But between the intermittent grade A scoring chances gifted to them by the Oilers, the Hurricanes really did not play well at all. Puck possession, shots and most statistics other than the all-important goals leaned heavily toward the Oilers. The Hurricanes lost 61 percent their face-offs and were outshot 51 to 21. But I think there is a huge silver lining even in painting a bit of a tarnished image of the 5-3 win. That silver lining is the fact that the Carolina Hurricanes have twice now won games on far less than perfect nights via finding a way and opportunistic scoring. That story beats the good (or often not so good) old days when the Hurricanes dominated possession statistics but just...

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm4 @Edm: Second try on the road against Connor McDavid and the Oilers

After losing the first road game of the year on Saturday in Winnipeg, the Hurricanes will take their second try at road hockey in Edmonton on Tuesday night against Connor McDavid and the Oilers. Bigger than the road loss on Saturday was that the game was the second in a row with minimal offense and only a single goal scored. Monday at Canes and Coffee was focused on trying to spark the offense before the run of low scoring and the losses that inevitably come with it continued. Monday’s Daily Cup of Joe looked at four levels of options to try to boost the offense, and the Monday Coffee Shop featured reader polls and great discussion on the same topic. And apparently Coach Bill Peters awoke Monday morning in Edmonton with similar thoughts on his mind, as Michael Smith reported in from practice that lineup changes seem to be in process for Tuesday’s game. Michael Smith’s game day article at CarolinaHurricanes.com will likely have more concrete lineup information by late afternoon following the Pacific time zone morning skate. Based on what we've seen in practice, it looks as if Martin Necas, Josh Jooris and Trevor Carrick will all be in the #Canes lineup tomorrow. — Michael Smith (@MSmithCanes) October 16, 2017 UPDATED (NEW COMMENTS IN ITALICS/CAPS) AT 3:30PM ET BASED ON LINEUP INFORMATION. Against that backdrop, here is ‘what I’m watching’ for Tuesday’s match up against the Edmonton Oilers.   1) A noticeable desire to play hockey in front of the net in the offensive zone One of the things that stood out in the two flat efforts offensively...

Revisiting Carolina Hurricanes’ prospect rankings post-training camp

If you appreciated the near daily Hurricanes hockey during the offseason and an even faster pace during the regular season, we ask you to please help our cause by purchasing a Canes and Coffee coffee cup. Two options exist to support the site and also net a nice Canes hockey collectible: 1) Simply make a donation to our “Coffee Fund” via credit card and/PayPal for $17.50 if outside of North Carolina or $18.75 if inside North Carolina (includes sales tax), and include your address in the notes or a separate email, and we will get a cup in the mail. The link to do so is here. 2) If you are local to Raleigh, you can purchase a Canes and Coffee Cup for the same price from coffee food truck Tenco and help a small local business in the process. $17.50 nets you a Canes and Coffee cup AND a free cup of coffee (we pay our delivery fee to Tenco instead of USPS in this case and support a local business in the process). Tenco’s web site with upcoming schedule is HERE. For previous donors and those who have been waiting on their Canes and Coffee coffee cups, I apologize for the delay. I hit a perfect storm with the start of the Hurricanes season and a few things with work and life that had me just trying to keep my head above water for a couple weeks. The good news is that the last couple coffee cup orders will go out Tuesday and/or Wednesday.   Back on August 7, I finished up a series of articles on the...

Monday Coffee Shop: Seeking goals

The roller coaster ride always occurs during a long NHL season seems to have already started for the Carolina Hurricanes. The home opener was sloppy, but when you win on opening night in exciting fashion, you just take it and be happy. And game two netted a point making for a respectable three points in four games to start the season. But the trend coming out of the Columbus loss and carrying through a loss in Winnipeg was a lack of offense in a pair of 2-1 losses. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at the two-game (and it is very important to note that it is TWO games) scoring struggles and today’s Coffee Shop discusses the same topic.   Carolina Hurricanes poll questions Please remember to click ‘vote’ after each individual response.   How critical do you consider the Hurricanes current scoring issues to be? (1 not even an issue=>5 extremely critical) 1 - It's two games and too early to even consider it an issue. 2 - Worth watching but not worth reacting to just yet. 3 - Definitely time to make adjustments, but it's just a matter of figuring it out. 4 - I've seen enough. It's time for a sense of urgency from Bill Peters. 5 - Critical to the point where another slow start could be dooming. Francis needs to act. View Results  Loading ...   If you were running the Hurricanes, what would you do to boost scoring? (Select all that apply.) Invest practice time improving the power play and also getting the puck and players to the net. Try some different line...

Four levels on the Carolina Hurricanes’ scoring struggles

After posting four goals and winning in a shootout in the season opener, the Hurricanes have lost consecutive games by 2-1 margins. The first game at least netted a point with the loss coming in overtime, but the second loss dropped the team to 1-1-1. Through three games, the Hurricanes have exactly two even strength goals from their top 9 forwards. The Hurricanes do have an additional two goals on the power play (Skinner, Ryan), a fourth line goal (Nordstrom) and a tally from a defenseman (Hanifin). But mostly there are a bunch of zeroes in the goals column of the statistics. Aho/Staal/Lindholm combined has zero goals combined Teravainen, Williams, Kuokkanen and Ryan who represent two-thirds of the other two lines also check in with zero goals. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at the short-lived scoring woes on a couple levels.   Is it possible that there actually is not even a problem? In a word, yes. Three games is a tiny sample size, and the scoring slump is only two games of that. If the Hurricanes bust out for four goals and a big win on Tuesday in Edmonton, at a minimum the scoring woes will instantly shift from “slumping” to “inconsistent.” And worth noting is that two-game slumps will happen multiple times even for a good team over the course of a long NHL season. So while I do think noting the Hurricanes scoring struggles for the past two games is worthwhile, I fully acknowledge that there is a reasonable chance that this is just a blip on the stat line of a long season and...

Gm3 @Wpg: Failure to ignite offensively dooms Canes in 2-1 loss versus Jets

On Saturday night in Winnipeg, the Carolina Hurricanes faced their first road test and came up short in a 2-1 loss to the Jets. If I had to summarize the game in one Twitter-size comment, I stand by my Tweet immediately after the game ended. Most troubling in #Canes loss is inability to generate anything offensively even when desperation level dialed up in 3rd period. — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) October 15, 2017 The game was somewhat similar to Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime loss to Columbus. Jeff Skinner managed to notch a goal, but in total the Hurricanes offense was mostly ineffective and generated minimal even decent scoring chances despite holding their own territorially.   Notes from the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets From my ‘What I’m watching’ preview first… 1) The blue line As I suggested might happen a few days back, Peters shifted to balanced defense pairings over the top-heavy ones preferred at home. The top 4 was not perfect, but in total I think they had a solid night. Noah Hanifin had his best regular season game of the young season, and despite a few mistakes, the rest of the top 4 also held up its end of the bargain. Pesce and Slavin probably had a couple significant ‘oopses’ turning the puck over in bad places; luckily the team survived those. But Pesce especially also had some strong plays defending one on one.  Despite the miscues, I would take the outing from the top four defensemen. The third pairing struggled. Putting it bluntly, I just do not think Klas Dahlbeck is a serviceable third...

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm3 @Wpg: First road test sees Mo as the foe

After a solid 1-0-1 start in two home games, on Saturday the Hurricanes will begin their annual North Carolina State Fair road trip. At only four games, the trip looks much less ominous this time around. The opponent is a familiar foe in former Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice. The match up is also one against a similar team that has been on the outside looking in recently but has young talent that could boost future fortunes. As always, I recommend Michael Smith’s game day article at CarolinaHurricanes.com which should have line combinations and defense pairings from the morning skate and much more.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Winnipeg Jets 1) The blue line As I have written about many times, I consider the blue line to be one of the most significant Achilles’ heels for the 2016-17 Hurricanes especially on the road. The defense was a focal point in my article entitled “Readying for the road” from earlier this week. For the defense, the 2017-18 season has been split so far. The team struggled significantly on defense with too many big ‘oopses’ in game one but rebounded and played much better in game two. The Hurricanes blue line will need to be solid and steady across all three pairings on the road. Best guess is that Coach Bill Peters will start with Slavin/Pesce, Hanifin/Faulk and Fleury/Dahlbeck, but if the game is close I think Peters will mix and match some to get his top defensemen more minutes and into more of the critical situations.   2) Bill Peters’ tinkering Per my Daily Cup of...

Renewing the search for a playmaking top 6 center; Does the answer lie within?

An important starting point is noting that this post is NOT some kind of evaluation of the Hurricanes start nor is it a knee-jerk reaction to the tough outing offensively on Tuesday. Rather, it is part of an ongoing process to consider all options to make the team better and also continue a project that Ron Francis was working on over the summer.   The quick history During the post-season press conference in early April, Francis spoke about improving the team and specifically mentioned adding scoring help. The general expectation and hope was that Francis would add a playmaking center capable of fueling a scoring line that complemented Jordan Staal’s first or second line which leaned defense. With Matt Duchene clearly on the market and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Alex Galchenyuk also likely available, the options seemed to be there. But probably for the right reasons nothing materialized in terms of adding an offense-leaning centerman. Instead, Francis added Justin Williams as his headline and higher-budget addition and went the route of adding another defense-leaning center in Marcus Kruger. At a basic level, the team improved at the forward position. But the interrelated questions still looming are whether the improvements are enough and also whether the potential still exists to make a meaningful improvement by adding one more offensively-leaning player.   A VERY early glimpse at the 2017-18 team but IMPORTANTLY with historical perspective Making any kind of rash judgement on the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes is premature. And identifying problems that have great urgency to them based on two games seems bizarre given that the team is 1-0-1. But trying to...

2017-18 Charlotte Checkers Season Preview — By Jordan Futrell

Matt’s comments: I am absolutely thrilled to have Jordan Futrell returning to Canes and Coffee for his third season covering the Charlotte Checkers. His regular updates with a ‘from the rink’ viewpoint from tracking the Checkers as closely as I track the Hurricanes are incredibly valuable. Last season, Jordan was really high on Haydn Fleury BEFORE the masses made their way to considering him a likely NHLer in 2017-18. Here is hoping that Jordan can similarly find the next player ready to impact the Hurricanes roster during the 2017-18 season and give us an early heads up.   (Re) introduction for Jordan Futrell My name is Jordan Futrell, and I am currently a junior that is majoring in Communication and minoring in Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. This will be my third season on the Canes and Coffee writing staff, and I am looking forward to another exciting year covering the Checkers for fans of the website. After playing and enjoying youth hockey for many years, I realized around the 7th grade that I probably would not ever make it to any professional level of hockey. Even though I knew the NHL was not a likely career destination for me, I made the decision that I wanted to work with the game in sports media because what I loved most in life was sports, especially hockey. I knew even at that early age that I wanted to work in the sports industry for the rest of my life and that feeling has still not changed to this day. My love for the Canes dates back...

Thursday Coffee Shop: Next up is the road

The 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes hockey season is officially underway. The Hurricanes collected three out of a possible four points and will next try its hand on the road. If you have not read it already, today’s Daily Cup of Joe profiles Hurricanes hockey as relates to playing road games. The Thursday Coffee Shop will simultaneously look backward at the two home games to start the season and forward to the upcoming four-game road trip.   Carolina Hurricanes polls Please remember to click ‘vote’ after each individual poll response.   What are your thoughts on the Hurricanes picking up three points out of four in the two home games to start the season? I am ecstatic. 3 out of 4 points is a great start and a huge step up from anything in recent history which changes the vibe right out of the gate. Good enough. 4 out of 4 and an in-division win would have been better, but 3 points is playoff pace. Not horrible but somewhat disappointing. To make the playoffs in a tough division, the Canes need win in-division and are effectively 0-1 in trying to do that. Other (add in comments) View Results  Loading ...   How many points does it take for a successful four-game road trip? 7 or more. The Hurricanes need to make a big statement early to change the mentality. 6. The Hurricanes need to establish winning ways in a big way early. 5. Anything better than break even on the road is a clear success. 4. Treading water away from home is acceptable, especially after a 1-0-1 start at home. 3....

Readying for the road

My rough math says that a team must get two-thirds of the available points at home and half of the available points on the road. That yields a total of 95.7 points which is usually a point or two above the cut line. In 2016-17, a late surge earned the Hurricanes very close to what they needed at home with 52 points compared the math which calls for 54.7. But on the road, the Hurricanes floundered and finished with a meager 35 points at home which was better than only Buffalo, Philadelphia and New Jersey. Especially during the tough stretch of hockey that mostly doomed the 2016-17 season by end of December, the Hurricanes struggled away from home. When the calendar flipped to the new year, the Hurricanes were 5-10-6 on the road. Multiple factors play into the struggles, but at the most basic level I do not think the Hurricanes roster was deep enough to be balanced. Whereas at home Bill Peters could selectively choose match ups, on the road opposing coaches preyed on the team’s weaknesses on the blue line and with forward depth. With a team that is becoming gradually deeper, the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes will embark on their first road trip of the season. Thanks to a regularly scheduled start to the season with no World Cup this year, the Hurricanes managed two games at home before the North Carolina State Fair road trip which is also only a modest four games. Even with the smaller challenge, the next set of four games will offer an early read on the team’s ability to fare better...
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