My Puck: A Story of the Carolina Hurricanes New Identity

My Puck: A Story of the Carolina Hurricanes New Identity

Matt’s editorial note: With the buzz and optimism around Canes hockey this summer, Cory could not help but return from his summer break way early. There are no guarantees in professional sports (Canes fans know that too well lately), but I hope you share his optimism and energy. I do.   A storm is coming. Can you feel it? Disclaimer: Author is 100% allowed to use cheesy clichés in his ridiculous excitement for the coming of hockey season The Carolina Hurricanes have had one of the best offseasons in recent memory this summer. The problem is, the offseason means nothing and we all are just bouncing in our seats in anticipation of seeing if the 2017-18 Canes can deliver on the ice. But seeing as that’s two months off, let’s just keep distracting ourselves with the bright situation, shall we?   Yay, Our First Real Post-Cup Identity! Let’s embrace the fact that, for the first time in years, the Carolina Hurricanes have an identity. For years, it seemed like the team had none, or at the very least, was something like “They Whom Are Beholden to Family Staal.” (There are worse identities.)  The truth as we’ve all come to painfully know, is that we coasted on our Cup win for about 8 years. As names like Brind’Amour, Whitney, Cole, and Williams disappeared, so did the identity. For years it was just sitting there hoping Eric Staal and Cam Ward could turn it back to their Cup days and bring us a taste of the playoffs. Then for several more years, it was the painful process of rebuild, a gigantic...
Jeff Skinner: 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes report card

Jeff Skinner: 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes report card

For anyone catching up, a menu of previous player (and also coaching and GM) report cards can be found at the bottom of the article. Jeff Skinner’s starting point for the 2016-17 season Jeff Skinner entered the 2016-17 season on an upward trajectory coming out of the 2015-16 season. After a sub-par 2014-15 season that saw Skinner’s scoring plummet to only 31 points in 77 games, he rebounded strongly. On a Hurricanes team that finished 27th out of 30 teams in goal scoring, Jeff Skinner boosted his goal scoring from 18 to 28 and his point total from 31 to 51. The totals were not overly impressive as measured against the league’s elite scorers, but they were a big step up for Skinner, the best on a team that struggled to score and a simultaneous resurgence and step back in the right direction. Also impressive was Skinner’s reaction after the trade of long-time captain Eric Staal in late February. Skinner was the player who most notably lifted his game down the stretch. He was rewarded for his season and also post-Staal uprising by being named an alternate captain just before the start of the 2016-17 season.   Jeff Skinner’s 2016-17 season with the Carolina Hurricanes Jeff Skinner entered the 2016-17 season with a greater role and more responsibility. As mentioned above, the 24-year old wily veteran on a young team had a new leadership role. In addition, with the departure of two-thirds (Eric Staal and Kris Versteeg) of previous season’s top scoring line, the duo of Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask was suddenly the core of the Hurricanes’ top...
The maturation of Jeff Skinner

The maturation of Jeff Skinner

In listening to some reader requests for a departure at least occasionally from the nuts and bolts Canes hockey analysis, yesterday featured an “off the ice” and “different Cup of Joe” article with a Hurricanes hockey/PNC Arena beer guide. The companion pieces are: NC Beer Guys video tour highlighting the variety of North Carolina craft beer options available at PNC Arena. My Daily Cup of Joe featuring North Carolina craft beer selections, again by NC Beer Guys, for various Canes hockey situations both inside and outside of PNC Arena. ————————————————– Today’s Daily Cup of Joe goes back on the ice so to speak with a detailed read on the history and maturation of Jeff Skinner   Surging since departure of long-time captain Eric Staal At the point when long-time leader and captain Eric Staal was traded to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline last winter, the obvious and fairly unanimous front-runners to next wear the ‘C’ in Raleigh were Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk. More recently, the banter in the Canes community and Twittersphere is that Jeff Skinner should be the next captain of the Carolina Hurricanes. The Carolina Hurricanes’ podcast legends at Section 328 recently conducted an informal poll on Twitter. This wasn’t close. At all. pic.twitter.com/v24jseRwhu — Section 328 (@Section_328) December 14, 2016 This is not a post about who should be captain. I also think it is important to note that I am not down on Justin Faulk or Jordan Staal in this regard. But Skinner’s name going from being mostly out of the picture in terms of captaincy to included in the conversation...
Deeper analysis of Jeff Skinner fracas in Tuesday’s game against Buffalo

Deeper analysis of Jeff Skinner fracas in Tuesday’s game against Buffalo

After watching the game late on the DVR because of kids’ hockey stuff at game time and writing brief comments on the Skinner event(s) yesterday, here is a deeper dive into that situation on many levels:   The referees They handled the situation poorly. The chippiness was in full force by the beginning of the second period with Jeff Skinner agitated and people looking for him after (and sometimes before) every whistle. There were a couple instances where the referees could have handed out modest 2-minute roughing or unsportsmanlike penalties to Skinner plus a meaningful Sabres’ player to cool things down and make it clear that they were not having all of the extra stuff. At a basic level, the referees failure to calm down a small situation played a significant role in it becoming a bigger situation. As for the bigger situation, while I think you could make a case for Buffalo getting an extra penalty when things boiled over in the second period, I was mostly fine with offsetting penalties in terms of players on the ice. Multiple players took liberties. There was no dangerous boarding, high sticking or other penalties. As for Skinner’s 10-minute misconduct, it is impossible to evaluate that without knowing the full circumstances. If it was just an extra for him being in the center of the fracas, then that is uncalled for. Best guess is that he used 1 or more of a few magic words when yapping at the referees in which case it is a non-negotiable punishment. The double minor for Brad Malone in the third period was also poorly...
Jeff Skinner is the white hottest ever in his career

Jeff Skinner is the white hottest ever in his career

I was maybe a bit early but asked in this post on November 16 – “Is Jeff Skinner on the path the break out season?” Jeff Skinner has now scored 9 goals in the past 6 games. Let me say that again – he has scored 9 goals in only 6 games. In an NHL where it is a stretch even for good goal scorers to average a goal every other game (that’s 40 in 80), his run is utterly astounding. I started in my game recap today to say that this is the hottest that I can remember Jeff Skinner being. But with near-term memory much greater than long-term memory and Jeff Skinner having some incredibly hot streaks, I decided to check it out. I looked only at goals, so it is possible that there are more assist-heavy stretches that are equally impressive, but in terms of raw goal scoring it is correct that Jeff Skinner has never been hotter. His best runs from recent years are: 2014-15 — His best run was 6 goals in 8 games. 2013-14 — Jeff Skinner came closest maybe with 9 goals in 9 games. 2012-13 — He had 5 goals in 4 goals but nothing much around that hot stretch. 2011-12 — Jeff Skinner had 3 goals in 5 games 3 different times but nothing close to the current run. 2010-11 — Even in his magical rookie season, he mustered runs of only 5 goals in 5 games and 5 goals in 7 games. Disclaimer: I tallied these runs after a long day by working through game logs manually for each...