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...
The relationship between Marcus Kruger and Jordan Staal

The relationship between Marcus Kruger and Jordan Staal

The biggest news on the Hurricane 2017-18 roster-building front in the past few days and since the Justin Williams signing was the acquisition of center Marcus Kruger from the Las Vegas Golden Knights for a fifth-round draft pick in 2017. I wrote about Marcus Kruger, the trade and where I think he fits in the Hurricanes lineup shortly after the trade was announced. Then on Wednesday, Jordan Staal’s name popped up in a few places as a trade target for the Penguins. Like it or not, this debate is a harbinger of things to come in the next 4-6 weeks as real hockey news grinds to a halt and ‘we should trade ___ for ____’ speculation ratchets up and increasingly reaches new highs for lack of logic. In the next 4-5 weeks, alleged Hurricanes trades will certainly include all four of the team’s top 4 defensemen and at least four or five of the team’s best forwards. On Wednesday, I threw some cold water on the Jordan Staal rumblings that represent the first wave of what will likely be a busy next 4-6 weeks fending off unreasonable claims on all of the Hurricanes best players. And if you missed it, the Thursday Coffee Shop sorting out the depth forwards was a lively one. Amidst all of the great analysis and opinions on the various roster options an absolutely tremendous combination of Hurricanes grocery store analogies buried in the middle caused me to blow beverage all over my computer screen.   Today’s Daily Cup of Joe looks at both of the two players featured in recent articles in looking at...
Carolina Hurricanes acquire center Marcus Kruger from Las Vegas – Initial thoughts

Carolina Hurricanes acquire center Marcus Kruger from Las Vegas – Initial thoughts

As rumored yesterday, today it was announced that the Carolina Hurricanes had acquired center Marcus Kruger from the Las Vegas Golden Knights in return for a fifth-round draft pick. The move adds yet another former-Blackhawk to the Hurricanes roster. I have mixed feelings on the acquisition partly dependent on where Francis/Peters see him slotting, partly based on Kruger himself partly based on the statement it makes about how the Hurricanes plan to build their 2017-18 forward group.   Marcus Kruger profile At his core, Marcus Kruger is a very good checking line center. On some very good Blackhawks teams, he centered a third line in a top-heavy system that generated the bulk of its scoring from a lineup that featured two lines stocked with a bunch of offense and had Kruger centering a third line often tasked with taking the hard match ups and trying to hold its own. Despite being a lesser-known name, Kruger’s skill set and role are not that different than Nick Bonino and Martin Hanzal except that his offensive production is lighter. But that is important to note. Kruger peaked at a modest 28 points in 81 games in 2013-14. He has mustered only 17 scoring points in 70 games in 2016-17 which is actually higher than what he averaged over the previous two seasons. In short, I view Kruger as being a very good fourth line center who is not in over his head defensively on a higher line, but I do not view him as help in the scoring department especially if he displaces a young player with higher-end offensive ability.   Marcus...