Behind the scenes work is underway for what should be a fun ‘tap takeover’ week at Canes and Coffee that offers and eclectic and interesting mix of reader submitted articles and also a couple of interesting guest posts.
If you have been on the fence about writing an article, I encourage you to take the plunge. If I end up with an extra article or two, my hope is to do another mini-round sometime in August. Details are HERE.
In the meantime, here are a couple Saturday thoughts…
The Hurricanes potential sale
Things have quieted down on the team sale front. What exactly is happening is speculation, but my best bet is that the quiet is good news. Though it was written early before more news came out, I still stand by the vast majority of the thoughts in the two articles I wrote shortly after the rumor broke. My first article on July 13 on the potential sale offered a few thoughts on the initial rumors, talked about the significance of Chuck Greenberg as fan/marketing-based leadership and (indirectly) pulled Jim Cain’s name into the conversation. My second article on the potential Hurricanes sale on July 14 incorporated the small amount of new information on Friday, and offered my thoughts on the deal itself, the ownership group, etc. Luke DeCock’s article in the News & Observer on July 21 strikes up a similar fan-focused/marketing tone from my July 13 article and interestingly pulls Jim Cain into the situation somewhat more directly with some quotes, and DeCock also confirms that Greenberg is the leader of an ownership group as I suggested in my July 14 article. Not sure if I should call ‘first’ or just be happy that so far things seem to be lining up with my original expectations.
This week has progressed in relative quiet on the Hurricanes sale front which begs the question of what might be going on. At a basic level, my thoughts are as follows…The hope that it was a done deal that leaked out in the process of getting ducks in a row for an announcement has passed. That would have suggested a Monday-Wednesday announcement. But I interpret the lack of any negative news or formal rejections of the basic premise as a strong positive sign that a deal is in fact in process. The fact that a few more small details have emerged (Jeff Gravley from WRAL talking about the letter of intent and Luke DeCock adding a few more bits in his recent article) is also a strong positive sign.
I have no idea what to expect for a timeline, but the fact that what little information is coming out seems to suggest progress forward is very encouraging.
Simple math on the Metropolitan Division and the Hurricanes’ playoff chances
I will surely slice and dice this in much more detail come late September/early October, but sometimes I think putting things in really simple terms is a great starting point for understanding basic odds.
For the Metro Division, I see it like this. Even with some player departures, I think the Pens and Caps are nearly certain to emerge from the regular season in playoff spots. Both teams have room to fall significantly and still do so. I had New Jersey as the only team out of the playoff mix (though a few reader comments in the Thursday Coffee Shop disagreed). That leaves five teams fighting for two or three playoff spots. If you consider all five of those teams roughly equal and average between two or three slots, basically the chance of making the playoffs sits right at 50 percent. I want to say the odds are higher, but at least entering the season, that feels about right.
The risk of optimism
I have zero doubt that the Carolina Hurricanes are moving in the right direction and that the team’s prospects for the future have improved consistently during Ron Francis’ time as general manager. And my sense is that most of the core of the fan base agrees. Based on the trajectory, I feel like the optimism in the core fan base as measured by comments at Canes and Coffee and all varieties of conversations that I have both online and digitally is at a recent high. Optimism can be a double-edged sword. Optimism fuels energy, fan participation, ticket sales and many other good things. But especially for a fan base had an anguishing run over what is approaching a decade now, the volume of disappointment at the end of a bad season is almost directly proportional to the volume of hope at the beginning of the season. As the team gets closer and legitimate hope increases, the stakes become higher and the importance of at least pushing into the playoffs increases.