Justin Williams named Carolina Hurricanes captain – A jolt and a bridge

Justin Williams named Carolina Hurricanes captain – A jolt and a bridge

For anyone not away from hockey preparing for the arrive of Florence, it should not be new news that Justin Williams has been named the captain of the Carolina Hurricanes. I could and probably will (electricity permitting) over the next few days come at this announcement from about a dozen different angles, but in the aim of not losing the most important points in the details, this article will focus on only a handful of points that I think are most significant.   First…deja vu back to last October My general thinking on this dates back to this article from October 6, 2017 right after Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk were named co-captains where I said: But I still would have preferred Justin Williams But I still would have preferred Williams, and here is why… I just think the team needs a sudden and stark shift in mindset. A significant part of it is simply personality and communication style, but Francis and Peters tone very much strikes a ‘working to get better’, ‘doing it the right way’, ‘in it for the long haul’, ‘not looking for short-term fixes’, etc. type of style. I think a shift in mentality is in order. The Hurricanes are NOT ‘hoping to be in the mix in March.’ They are not ‘getting better’ or ‘on the right path.’ The Carolina Hurricanes need to make a meaningful shift to something along the lines of ‘We will make the playoffs this year.’ Justin Williams is the embodiment of that shift. When a 34-year old veteran with Cup wins and other options chose to come to Raleigh,...
Calling It Now: 10 Premonitions for the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes Season by Cory Fogg

Calling It Now: 10 Premonitions for the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes Season by Cory Fogg

Matt’s quick introduction: This week we will introduce the 2017-18 writing team at Canes and Coffee with a short series of articles that takes a look into the crystal ball and/or previews the 2017-18 Carolina Hurricanes season. Up first is Cory Fogg who I am thrilled to have back for a second season at Canes and Coffee. Cory’s writing will run the gamut, but his specialty is writing feature articles that go in depth on a particular topic. Welcome back Cory!   As we count down to opening night, we all have our thoughts on what’s going to happen. Really the only givens over the past nine years have been that ‘we won’t make the playoffs’ and the opener is better known as “The Game with the Most Hurricanes Fans in Attendance All Season’. Many Caniacs, myself included, believe that this season is the first year in that span with a real chance of getting out of Rebuilding Mode and into Playoff Mode. My roommate and I, both half season-ticket holders, always enjoy going through the season playing Nostradamus over what’s going to happen next. The phrase “Calling it now” is often heard in our domain, usually followed by some ridiculous premonition that we’re only saying so that we can have ‘In-House Hockey Genius’ bragging rights. Or just the sound of hot air expanding in our heads.  In any case, with the Hurricanes season now here, I thought it would be fun to channel my inner hockey clairvoyant for all of you. Because, obviously, the more people who know, the higher the ego boost if I’m right. So without...
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...
Carolina Hurricanes sign Justin Williams – A deeper dive

Carolina Hurricanes sign Justin Williams – A deeper dive

On Saturday, I posted my initial thoughts on the Hurricanes signing free agent Justin Williams.  I recommend reading that article first if you have not already done so, as it has the most important points that I will not reiterate in this part 2.   This deeper dive will start to consider a lineup that includes Justin Williams.   Justin Williams’ skill set In simple terms, Williams is a good all-around forward who can play on any kind of line. He slots at right wing and has spent so little time elsewhere, that I consider this fixed. But he is flexible in that he can be a good complementary player on a high-end scoring line, and at the same time he can be a fixture on a top-end checking line. He drives possession, plays well offensively and defensively in all three zones and just generally makes his line better. That said, he is not the pure version of high-end offense that offers a maximum scoring boost. If you adjust his 48-point scoring total from 2016-17 on a scoring juggernaut for a Hurricanes lineup, I figure a fair estimate is something like 40-44 points. Looking only at offensive production, that is the equivalent of adding another Lee Stempniak to the lineup.   The broader roster and the right side With the addition of Williams, the Hurricanes are now set in the top 9 with Williams, Elias Lindholm and Lee Stempniak. The only wild card is if the Hurricanes do not add another center, Lindholm is one of the candidates to move to the middle. All three right wings are also pretty...
Carolina Hurricanes sign Justin Williams – Initial thoughts

Carolina Hurricanes sign Justin Williams – Initial thoughts

After a massive an much-needed nap after the prospect camp scrimmage, I am catching up on a busy Canes hockey day. For those looking for a recap and notes from the prospect scrimmage, that is in process too and will be up either later tonight or early on Sunday.   After mostly quiet July 1 openings of free agency that often saw the salary cap ceiling Metropolitan Division teams get better and the Hurricanes either stand pat or make minor deals, Ron Francis made a bigger splash today. Timed perfectly to be announced during the intermission of the prospects game at PNC Arena with the Hurricanes faithful on hand, it was announced that the Hurricanes had signed former Hurricane and three-time (once with the Hurricanes obviously) Stanley Cup Champion Justin Williams to a two-year contract. The crowd roared and a feeling of Hurricanes hockey goodness immediately filled the building. The signing was a huge marketing win for a team that has a few times seemed out of touch with its fan base this time of year.   The bullet point assessment of Justin Williams’ signing For those who do not care to dig into all of the details and minutiae that follow… Pros: Leadership, a potential jolt forward in terms of mindset, an ‘any line’ right wing and depth scoring. Cons: Not the pure offensive catalyst desired, paid a premium and spent big chunk of budget on player whose scoring projects similarly to Lee Stempniak’s. At a basic level, I like the deal, but that is partially a function of believing that the better options were just too pricey...