Canes and Coffee coffee cups for sale and/or pick up at the Caniac Carnival
For those considering picking up a Canes and Coffee coffee cup, it is now possible to just pay for an pick up a cup at the Caniac Carnival at the Tenco Coffee food truck. The deal/price is the same. The cost for a Canes and Coffee coffee cup plus a coffee (in a regular cup, so you don’t have tote a dirty coffee cup home) is about $17.50 out the door after sales tax. You can also order one HERE either for prepaid pick up at the Caniac Carnival or for shipment. Sales obviously go to support the Canes and Coffee website as we prepare for the significant endeavor of covering 87 (hopefully plus) Hurricanes and everything in between on a daily basis. Your purchase with pick up also helps Tenco which is a small local business that also uses Counter Culture coffee which is also a local business.
Canes and Coffee impromptu ‘hello’ at the Caniac Carnival until 10:30am
To drop off a box of coffee cups, I will be at PNC Arena around 9:30am. The Caniac Carnival does not technically start until 10am, but if there are any early birds chomping at the bit to talk Hurricanes hockey, I should be in the general vicinity of the Tenco Coffee truck until 10:30am when the first practice starts. Tenco hopes to open early, so the potential is there for a first ever”Canes and Coffee Live.”
Whether you are picking up a coffee cup or not, please stop by to help me put a name to a face , CandC screen name or Twitter handle.
If you are a foodie or just having lunch at the Caniac Carnival on Sunday, check out the poll and possibly comments for recommended ‘eats’ from the 15 food trucks at Sunday’s event.
Back on the ice, here is a quick list of what I will be watching for in the two practice sessions on Sunday.
‘What I’m watching’ for two practice sessions
The line combinations
Especially with a run of three games in three days starting on Monday, Peters’ line combinations offer some clues as to where his thought process is at in terms of building the opening day lineup. If he is still running with the Friday combinations on Sunday, that is a decent indication that he wants to see more of these and represents as much of a commitment as one can get at this early stage of the process. If instead, the forward lines and defense pairings look completely different, that suggests that he is still very much in ‘tinkering and trying things’ mode.
Rookies settling in and rising up
The Hurricanes have a number of high draft pedigree players who figure to be NHLers at some point, but are currently penciled into slots either in the AHL or a lower level. After a couple days to settle into training camp, the time is now for them to catch the coaches’ eyes if they are going to be an NHLer ahead of schedule. A short list of players in this category could include the top draft picks from the past two drafts (Jake Bean, Julien Gauthier, Janne Kuokkanen and Martin Necas). All are long shots to start the season at the NHL level, but Bean theoretically sits in the spot occupied by Haydn Fleury as a left shot third pairing defenseman. Gauthier has the power forward skill set that the Hurricanes are light on. Necas has speed and scoring ability. Kuokkane’s skill set is that of the playmaking center that Francis was unable to obtain this summer though probably a few years out. If one of them or any of the the other players off the depth chart want to stay long into training camp and be considered as a dark horse for the NHL, the time is now to rise above the prospect fray and look like an NHL-capable player now.
Chemistry on defense
If Peters goes with Slavin/Pesce for his first pairing as he did in Friday’s practice, that starts the team from where it was last season which is trying to build two capable defense pairings below that. This was a significant Achilles’ heel last season especially during the tough stretch at the end of the first half of the season where it was mostly lost.
Hanifin/Faulk had a reasonably strong run of hockey together for about 25 games after the Ron Hainsey trade. Building on that, especially on the road where opposing coaches will dodge Slavin/Pesce with their scoring lines, will be critical to the team’s defense. In my estimation from watching both in 2016-17, I see two potential weaknesses. First is that both can have a tendency to defend passively. Playing against elite NHL scorers, allowing time and space is a recipe for disaster. Second is that both had too many lapses of attention to detail and assignments such that they were mostly in the right place and/or doing mostly the right thing, but just did not quickly enough figure and take the right action. I will be watching them closely to see if they can find the ‘one up, one back’ type of cohesiveness that Slavin and Pesce have such that they challenge the puck a bit more without leaving holes behind them.
Fleury/van Riemsdyk is almost as important as Hanifin/Faulk. As the third pairing, they will have some benefit of being shielded from certain match ups, but the 2016-17 shows that even in a lesser role, a weak third pairing can be a major problem. van Riemsdyk is the veteran of the duo and also a capable puck mover. Fleury who I have started to call “vanilla” because of his reasonably steady but mostly unspectacular style of play could fit well with van Riemsdyk. I see Fleury’s role as being sound defensively with decent read, react and puck support responsibilities with van Riemsdyk doing the heavy lifting advancing the puck and generating some offense, especially off the rush. The burning question is how well and how quickly Fleury will transition to NHL speed.
I was not able to attend Saturday’s practice, and I have not had time to hunt down any report, but I would think that either Saturday or Sunday will see some special teams work. Steve Smith is underrated in his ability to build a strong penalty kill unit year in and year out with significant changeover in personnel. Gone from the core of last year’s strong penalty kill are Jay McClement and Viktor Stalberg at forward and Ron Hainsey on defense. Smith has good replacements in Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris at forward. The defense will be more interesting. Slavin and Pesce will take two slots. It will be interesting to see who takes the other two.
As posted in the comments (many days the best read at Canes and Coffee) from yesterday’s recap was Bill Peters’ comments on Trevor Carrick. As an experienced AHL defenseman and a left shot, he fits neatly into Fleury’s slot if he is not ready though Klas Dahlbeck would be the front runner.
I also continue to be much higher on Phil Di Giuseppe’s potential to bring a different element to the Hurricanes third or fourth line. He has gradually developed into a strong player physically and a reasonably competent one defensively, but somewhere along the way his ability to finish or generate offense seemed to evaporate. If he could find a scoring touch to go with the physical edge, I think he could play his way back into the mix at the NHL level.
As shiny, new and high-potential as Fleury is, Klas Dahlbeck has a huge edge in terms of NHL experience. If Fleury falters, Dahlbeck waits in the wings to start the 2017-18 on his natural left side with a year of experience in the Hurricanes’ system and with a partner also with a decent amount of NHL experience in Trevor van Riemsdyk.
The food trucks!
I am clearly in the group that goes for the hockey, but a nice side benefit of the Caniac Carnival is the great variety of food options from the mini-food truck rodeo.
For those who arrive early to get autograph wrist bands and still working on morning time, don’t forget Tenco Coffee for your caffeine needs. They serve locally-roaster Counter Culture coffee, so it should be good stuff.
For lunch, who has recommendations? Feel free to use the comments to recommend specific menu items.