Chronological Blog List

2018 MIDTERMS: Stelio Mattheos (Brandon, Western Hockey League)

The first western stop for Canes and Coffee’s “Midterms” series featured forward Morgan Geekie with the Tri-City Americans. Today’s stop stays in the Western Hockey League and checks in on Brandon Wheat Kings forward Stelio Mattheos.   Stelio Mattheos Stelio Mattheos is one of two WHL forwards (Morgan Geekie was the other) selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft. Mattheos is a rugged power forward with an offensive tool kit capable of finishing especially around the net. Mattheos projects to be a power forward and capable two-way player at higher levels. In 2016-17, he doubled his previous season point total and finished with 26 goals and 35 assists in 69 games. He returns to the Brandon Wheat Kings for the 2017-18 season.   Interview with Perry Bergson from The Brandon Sun About the interviewee Perry Bergson (Twitter=@PerryBergson) is a sports writer at The Brandon Sun who covers the Brandon Wheat Kings and also baseball. He has covered the Brandon Wheat Kings for Mattheos’ entire junior career. While most of his articles are behind the newspaper’s paywall, you can sometimes find his articles on the team’s website. Perry Bergson’s articles on Stelio Mattheos include an early glimpse into Mattheos’ WHL career back in 2015 and an update just before Mattheos was selected by the Hurricanes in the 2017 NHL Draft.   Interview on Stelio Mattheos Canes and Coffee: Can you please summarize Stelio Mattheos’ 2017-18 season thus far. Perry Bergson: After saying in Chicago following the draft that he was out to prove 30 teams wrong for leaving him into the third round, Mattheos...

Random Hurricanes notes: Patrick Brown recall, Sebastian Aho at center, Justin Faulk and more

With a bunch of games and a personal schedule that has had me chasing it for about two weeks now in terms of just keeping up at Canes and Coffee, I have accumulated another small set of notes that have not found their way into larger articles yet, so today’s Daily Cup of Joe is another round of random notes.   Patrick Brown recalled from the AHL After the Hurricanes 7-3 win on Tuesday, the team announced that it had recalled Patrick Brown from Charlotte. The move will undoubtedly leave some asking why the Hurricanes did not recall one of the higher scoring Checkers. The reason is simple — Patrick Brown is merely an emergency backup slated to be a healthy scratch in the press box. After three consecutive solid wins, I will be shocked if Peters does not roll with the same 12 forwards on Thursday unless someone becomes ill or gets injured. With both the Checkers and Hurricanes in North Carolina for the past three games, Francis had the option of taking a small risk with only 12 forwards knowing that if someone turned up ill or injured at the morning skate on a game day, he could have someone on I-40 by lunchtime and easily on schedule to be at PNC Arena by game time. With a road game on Thursday, that luxury disappears, so Brown’s role is to be there just in case emergency help is needed.   Joakim Nordstrom Yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe did a fairly deep dive on both Francis’ work to get to where the team is now and the path...

Gm57 Vs. LA: Canes surge early and late for overpowering 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings

Facing what on paper looked like a strong challenge against a good goalie and the NHL’s second-ranked defense, the Hurricanes surged early and again late on the way to deluge of goals and an overpowering 7-3 win. The win marked the third straight for which the Hurricanes started strong and built an early cushion on their way to win a game that they had in hand more or less throughout. The fun started early again when Jaccob Slavin made an incredibly skilled play for anyone especially a defenseman. Jordan Staal made the right play to feed Slavin joining the rush but put the pass in his skates. Without giving up much speed, Slavin played the puck from his puck to his stick then shifted the puck to his backhand to shield the puck from a defender and then shoveled it bar down for a goal. Just wow! with the level of skill on that goal. That was just the warm up for the Justin Faulk show that started next. The first goal came on what looked like a harmless shot when Faulk walked the blue line on the power play and flipped a well-timed wrist shot at the net. Jonathan Quick was screened by his own team mate and slow to react, and the puck found the net behind him. That opened the flood gates for Faulk. Again on the power play late in the first period, Faulk fired, this time with a bit more heat, and beat Quick to make it 3-0. When the first period ended Hurricanes had out-shot the Kings 18 to 3 and were up...

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm57 Vs. LA: Canes aim to maintain playoff position and run win streak to three against the Kings

After a three-game skid that included two completely lackluster efforts, a Bill Peters’ tirade in a post-game press conference and an all too familiar feeling that the season was ending early, the Hurricanes rebounded this past weekend with a pair of wins. And just like that the Hurricanes are back in playoff position and the outlook for the 2017-18 is at least potentially bright. I would not categorize the two wins as dominant, but they were impressive because of the high level of play pretty much across the board. Both goalies played well. The defense righted the ship and was sound. The compete level returned after a few games off during the previous weekend. And the offense suddenly looked capable even if not dynamic. More significant than ratings on level of play is the simple fact that the team really needed to right the ship and collect points before the season slipped away. So after entering last week with a feeling of despair, the team concluded the week with a solid 2-0-1 record and now enters the current week with a positive vibe and some momentum.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Los Angeles Kings Against that backdrop, here is what I am watching for the Carolina Hurricanes battle against the Kings on Tuesday. 1) Foot still on the gas Even though the Hurricanes lost in overtime on Tuesday, the game did offer a much-needed change in terms of pace, intensity and compete level. That higher gear carried forward into the weekend and resulted in two wins. After a couple days off to digest the wins,...

An early preview of the Carolina Hurricanes future at the forward position

Three years ago when Ron Francis inherited the Carolina Hurricanes general manager duties from Jim Rutherford, the team was woefully short on forward talent across the board — top level NHL players, depth at the NHL level and the prospect pool. The forward crew included Patrick Dwyer, Chris Terry, Andrej Nestrasil, Jay McClement, Jiri Tlusty, Riley Nash, Nathan Gerbe and Riley Nash. Of that group, only Riley Nash is still playing at the NHL level. Atop the team’s depth chart at forward at the time was Zach Boychuk, and there was a dearth of high-end prospects on the way to help. From that group of depth forwards from the 2014-15 season, only Riley Nash is still playing at the NHL level. Entering the 2015-16 season, the Carolina Hurricanes were still struggling just to fill out a top 9 with capable players and by my math were two or three players short. That version of the team also had an old school fourth line that aimed to fill a niche role with penalty kill duty, limited minutes and light scoring. And maybe most significantly, the prospect pool did not seem likely to provide much near-term help.   Restocking via the trade deadline Since inheriting a forward group that was sub-par, Francis has been steadily at work. His first two years at the helm focused heavily on stocking the prospect pool for the future. During the trade deadline for the 2014-15 season, Francis traded Andrej Sekera, Jiri Tlusty and Tim Gleason for defenseman Roland McKeown and four draft picks. During the trade deadline for the 2015-16 season, Francis traded Eric Staal,...

Monday Coffee Shop: #CanesCoaster…Back up!

The up and down 2017-18 season continued last week. After a hard-fought but still not good enough overtime loss to the Flyers to stretch the losing streak to three games, the Hurricanes rebounded with a pair of solid home wins over the weekend. That combined with recent struggles from most of the teams in the Metropolitan Division fray finds the Hurricanes currently sitting in playoff position and trending upward. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe reassesses the playoff chase for the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference. The Monday Coffee Shop will take on a similar theme with polls and discussions on the playoff outlook while we are enjoying sunnier days.   Carolina Hurricanes polls Please remember to click ‘vote’ after each individual poll response.   How about now? Are the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes a playoff team? Yes. The recent rebound is a harbinger of good things to come. No. The current up from the up and down will not ultimately be enough. View Results  Loading ...   If you had to rank the good things from the two weekend wins, which was most significant? Solid goaltending X2 with both Darling and Ward participating. Sound defensive play. A higher compete and intensity level. Timely scoring with Pesce scoring early on Friday and McGinn stepping up twice at the right time on Saturday. More balanced forward lines with Lindholm at center to make the team four lines deep. Other (add in comments) View Results  Loading ...   To make the playoffs, the Hurricanes must beat 3 teams in the Metropolitan Division. Which 3 are most vulnerable? Washington Capitals Pittsburgh Penguins Philadelphia Flyers...

Reassessing the Eastern Conference playoff chase

With two consecutive wins and some help with other teams’ losses, the Carolina Hurricanes have pushed back up into playoff position in the middle of the pack of Metropolitan Division teams. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a shot at handicapping the current situation.   The Atlantic Division As has been the case for awhile now, it looks like only the three required teams will make the playoffs from the Atlantic Division. The Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings are hanging around .500 and therefore still in range at 4-5 points back, but at this point in the season that gap would require a big winning streak to move up the ladder. For now, I am considering the Eastern Conference wild card race to be a Metropolitan Division event.   The Metropolitan Division In a class of their own (Capitals) Last time I checked in on the playoff standings, I considered the Washington Capitals to be in. As the top team in the division and with a sizable lead, the Caps are still in and not a concern for the Hurricanes.   Trying to join the Capitals (Penguins, Flyers, Devils) Below the Capitals are three teams that currently sit a notch above the collection of teams competing for the last wild card slot. Measured in games above .500, the Pittsburgh Penguins are +9, the Philadelphia Flyers are +9 and the New Jersey Devils are +7. The group is not equal though. I view the Penguins as a team that figured it out and is starting to pull away from the pack. The Pens’ 7-2-1 record in their last 10...

2018 MIDTERMS: Morgan Geekie (Tri-City, Western Hockey League)

After a couple days off amidst the commotion around Hurricanes roster moves late last week, the “Midterms” series continues today with another check in north of the border and the first of five stops in the Western Hockey League for an update on forward Morgan Geekie from the Tri-City Americans. If you have some catching up to do, you can find a clickable menu for the “Midterms” articles HERE.   Morgan Geekie Morgan Geekie is one of the more interesting stories of the Hurricanes 2017 NHL Draft class. He was passed over in his first year eligible in the 2016 NHL Draft and then rose up all the way to the third round in the 2017 draft based on a massive scoring surge from 25 points in 66 games in 2015-16 up to 90 points in 72 games in 2016-17. Geekie is a forward who possesses the skill set of a scoring forward. He is again playing for the Tri-City Americans in the Western Hockey League for the 2017-18 season.   Interview with Aaron Piper from DUBNetwork About the interviewee Aaron Piper (Twitter=@aaronmpiper) is the DUBNetwork beat writer for the Tri-City Americans and owner of Buried Puck Threads. For Aaron, hockey became cool when he watched Wayne’s World. It became passion after his first (of many) Hampton Roads/Norfolk Admirals’ games in the 90’s. It became life when he started doing video and writing work for the Tri-City Americans. Interview on Morgan Geekie Canes and Coffee: Can you please summarize Morgan Geekie’s 2017-18 season thus far. Aaron Piper: Consistency. Morgan has continued to make himself a part of each game he plays in....

Gm56 Vs. Clr: Canes complete weekend sweep with a win over the Colorado Avalanche

Last weekend, things started well enough with a Hurricanes win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, but when pressured by a Detroit Red Wings team that came to skate, the Hurricanes had absolutely no answer on Friday. The result was a lackluster loss that was never close and the beginning of a three-game skid. Fast forward one week, and the Hurricanes won soundly on Friday night against the Vancouver Canucks and again faced the prospect of trying to follow it up a day later against a rested team and somehow find a way to win and in the process do better than treading water. And this time around, the Hurricanes did exactly that. The game was fast-paced early and almost completely without stoppages with the puck moving rapidly in both directions. Though that was a recipe for trouble only a week earlier, this time the Hurricanes found their skating legs and were able to match pace and counter punch. Despite the pace in the first period, both teams defended reasonably well such that shot volumes grew but grade A chances not as quickly. Colorado struck first when a turnover during 4-on-4 play saw the Avalanche go quickly from defense to offense and finish when a defenseman stepped up and fired past Cam Ward. But Brock McGinn responded almost instantly with an answer goal when Elias Lindholm fed him from behind the net to right in front for a point blank chance. The goal was one of three good chances for McGinn in the first period alone. And past the goal, the Hurricanes skated well pretty much to a man...

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm56 Vs. Clr: Canes take on Avs seeking to build on Friday’s win

The Hurricanes picked up a much-needed win on Friday night against the Vancouver Canucks. The victory stopped a tough losing streak at three games. But what it did not do, by itself anyway, was generate any meaningful success. What it did was put the ball on the tee for that to be accomplished on Saturday night. With a win, the Hurricanes have a perfect 2-0 weekend. With a loss, Friday’s win is quickly converted to another treading water 1-1 weekend which just is not good enough during the current stretch with the team working through a run of home games. Justin Williams succinctly said: Justin Williams: "The game means nothing tonight if you don't win tomorrow. You've gotta follow up stuff and we need to string some wins together." — Cory Lavalette (@corylav) February 10, 2018 The game represents a sizable challenge in two respects: 1) A back-to-back against a rested team. Last week, the Hurricanes faced a rested Detroit Red Wings team at home as the second half of a back-to-back set. The Wings skated circles around a sluggish Hurricanes squad and the game was never even close. The situation is the same tomorrow with Colorado coming into the game rested. 2) A match up against a good hockey team. In their last dozen games, the Hurricanes are 0-5-1 against teams with better than .500 records, and 5-1-0 in games against teams with less than .500 records. The Avalanche sit in sixth place in the lights out Central Division but are a good hockey team that has three more points than the Hurricanes with two games in hand....

Gm55 Vs. Van: Scott Darling and Canes rebound with solid 4-1 win over the Canucks

After three consecutive losses, the Hurricanes entered Friday’s game desperately needing to leverage a favorable match up against a non-playoff team on home ice to get the train back on the tracks with a win. With Scott Darling in net, the game also presented the chance for him to get back on track. And Friday night was a success on both accounts. The game started fortuitously when an early rush saw Brett Pesce push up more aggressively than usual, receive a cross ice pass and go bar in for the fastest goal by a defenseman in Carolina Hurricanes history. The early tally relieved tension early and also staked starting goalie Scott Darling to a rare lead. Steady played followed and unlike recent games where the Hurricanes just seemed unable to finish even good scoring chances, Pesce’s goal seemed to unchain the team’s finishing ability. The first period was not overly eventful, but the Hurricanes capitalized when given the chance. Phil Di Giuseppe squeaked one home from the side of the net on an Elias Lindholm centering pass from behind the end line late in the first period. And just inside the final minute of the first period, Sebastian Aho finished a breakaway after receiving a pretty stretch pass from Jaccob Slavin. When the dust settled on the first period, the Hurricanes had run out to a 3-0 lead mostly courtesy of a burst of finishing, and Scott Darling had the chance to ease into the game with an early lead and only six shots on net for the period. Basically, the period could not have been better. The Canucks...

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm55 Vs. Van: v3.0…Canes try to right the ship against the Vancouver Canucks

After consecutive home wins coming out of the All-Star break, the Hurricanes laid an egg in game three against the Detroit Red Wings. Since then the Hurricanes have tried and failed twice to right the ship. On Sunday, another lackluster effort met the losing fate that it deserved and also a post-game tirade from Coach Bill Peters. Tuesday offered a bunch of talk about changes after the weekend losses but only minor shuffling of bottom lineup spots and another loss (at least in overtime for a consolation point). So Friday sets up as try #3 at turning things back around. This time, more significant changes seem imminent. Peters has already stated that Scott Darling will start in net, and by midday Friday, the team should have one if not two AHL recalls in tow to replace Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris who were put on waivers on Thursday. With the fun of losses and the precious stretch of home hockey slipping away without much progress, Friday’s game again offers a high degree of urgency.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Vancouver Canucks 1) Scott Darling With Scott Darling back in net, goaltending jumps from its usual #2 slot up to #1. With the team sputtering and Cam Ward seemingly coming down from his hot streak, the timing is ripe for Darling to find his game, take the reins and become the goalie that the Hurricanes thought they had acquired in April. It is hard to know what to expect from Darling at this point. His last outing which was the 4-1 loss to Detroit was...

Comparison of current Canes players to past Canes players

The big news swirling around the Caniac Nation right now is Thursday’s announcement that the team had waived veteran fourth-liners Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris. On Thursday evening, I posted an article that looked at the Kruger and Jooris’ moves on multiple levels. Since the second shoe has yet to drop, you can also vote and see who other readers predict for AHL call ups on Friday to fill the slots in the Thursday Coffee Shop. While we wait for the other shoe to drop with the announcement of AHL call ups for Friday’s game, today’s Daily Cup of Joe goes a completely different direction with a quick list of current Canes players who have at least part of their skill sets that resemble past Canes players.   Joakim Nordstrom as Kevyn Adams My comparison of Joakim Nordstrom to Kevyn Adams in an article earlier in the week is actually the genesis of this article, so I will start there. The two actually play different positions, but what is eerily similar to me is both players’ dogged determination and even more so each’s uncanny ability to anticipate and steal passes at the blue line and then get 2-3 really quick strides to create the separation needed to fairly often generate shorthanded breakaways. As I noted previously, the unfortunate thing is that the similarities end when we get to finishing ability. Whereas Nordstrom just does not seem to capitalize by scoring as often as would be ideal, Adams had a single patented move where delayed as long as he could to hold the goalie and then quickly went forehand to...

Carolina Hurricanes place Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris on waivers — On multiple levels

Today the Carolina Hurricanes announced that the team had placed veteran fourth-line forwards Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris on waivers with the intent of sending them to join the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL. Covering two completely different ends of the spectrum, I am both surprised that it took this long and at the same time surprised that it happened at all. Short version The starting point for the season seemed to be building a veteran air tight defensive fourth line. That could work in a scenario where the Hurricanes find enough offense/scoring elsewhere. But there are two problems. First is that the Hurricanes are still struggling offensively and need to find goals wherever they can. Second is that the fourth line really has not proven to be a net positive defensively either. Virtually no scoring puts the ceiling at 0 for plus/minus, and the penalty kill that utilizes the fourth-liners has also been sub-par. The reaction is a bit delayed, but the move aims to put more offense in the lineup at the expense of the offense-lite veterans.     Best laid plans… The move seems to finally scrap plans and strategy laid out and acted upon during the offseason. In the press conference at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, one of the overriding themes from Bill Peters’ comments was the need to add more NHL caliber players. He talked about this in the vein of higher-end players but was actually equally emphatic when talking about depth slots as well. Peters said, “The pieces need to come in to close that gap. If we think guys from the...

Thursday Coffee Shop: Seeking positives but also discussing reality

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe aims to strike a tricky balance between seeking positives but also not denying the here and now of another dip downward on the #CanesCoaster that is the Carolina Hurricanes 2017-18 season.   Carolina Hurricanes polls Please remember to click ‘vote’ after each poll response.   Is it over? Yes. Time to start looking forward to 2018-19. No. But the 2017-18 season is headed rapidly in that direction unless something changes drastically. No. It has been a bumpy ride, but this team will rebound and ultimately claw its way into the playoffs. View Results  Loading ...   If you need to catch up on any player updates, the Menu is HERE. Of the nine updates for Canes prospects below the AHL level, which jump out as most positive so far? (Select up to 2.) Noah Carroll David Cotton Matt Filipe Jack LaFontaine Eetu Luostarinen Eetu Makiniemi Luke Martin Luke Stevens Max Zimmer View Results  Loading ...   Aside from a possible rebound and playoff appearance, what do you see as the biggest positive in 2017-18 right now? Another rookie in Haydn Fleury making the transition to the NHL level. The ownership transition finally being completed. Indications that the game, fan experience and marketing are finally moving forward. Sebastian Aho taking another step forward as an offensive leader. Other (add in comments) View Results  Loading ...   What is your biggest disappointment/concern right now? Jeff Skinner's inability to find another scoring burst. The young blue line still maybe being a step away from being a driver in reaching the next level. Continued goaltending woes. That Bill...
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