First impressions of Scott Darling

First impressions of Scott Darling

If you are local and up for an informal Canes watch event at Bond Brothers Brewery in Cary for Thursday’s game, please ping me. If we can round up a decent group (8-10?), the hope is to do a first ever Canes and Coffee informal watch party. If we can’t get enough, we will punt on Thursday and aim for a different date in the future.   When Scott Darling was acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes in late April, I had an impression of him already. I had seen him play enough that I had a general idea of his style of play and skill set, but especially for players in the Western Conference who the Hurricanes see at most twice per year (and less for backup goalies), that impression is not the same as seeing a player for an extended stretch game in and game out during ups, downs and all varieties of NHL play. Now 16 games (that is basically 20%) into the 2017-18 season, I will offer my initial impression of Scott Darling.   Important disclaimer on finality Worth noting before I begin is the fact that while 16 games is enough to get a better read on what Scott Darling in a Hurricanes uniform means, it is by no means a final assessment. As I touched on in some detail in Monday’s game recap, there is a significantly different set of challenges being a #1 NHL goalie as compared to being a #2 goalie. No way is Darling fully adjusted in that important regard. That transition is likely to be an all-season process. In addition,...
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...
After the euphoria of adding Scott Darling

After the euphoria of adding Scott Darling

Scott Darling is scheduled to meet with the media at PNC Arena at 4pm on Wednesday. So timing is perfect to fly this article out there on Wednesday morning timed well to be buried by articles on Wednesday night and Thursday morning that include quotes about wanting to win the Stanley Cup and other sound bites of Carolina Hurricanes hockey goodness.   After staring at near league bottom goaltending for the 2015-16 season but still making the decision to re-sign Cam Ward, retain goalie coach David Marcoux and just ride forward on Eddie Lack’s contract, the elation in the Hurricanes hockey community over the trade for Scott Darling was justified. The step in a new direction is in itself reason for optimism.   Scott Darling represents three layers of conceptual goodness As I said in my commentary after the trade and the signing, at the most basic level, the set of transactions represented three things. First, they showed that Francis was going to address the goalie situation this summer after not doing so last summer. Second, it clearly signified that Francis was shifting from “rebuild at all costs” to at least a more balanced approach that aimed for making the 2018 NHL playoffs. And finally, even though Scott Darling cannot assure a different ending to the 2017-18 season, it will at a minimum disperse the angst that has found its way to the same position too often in recent years.   Darling is also one of the higher-end upgrades available During an offseason with unique circumstances around the expansion draft that will make an unprecedented number of viable goalie...
Carolina Hurricanes sign Scott Darling for four years at $4.15 million per year

Carolina Hurricanes sign Scott Darling for four years at $4.15 million per year

In what is becoming pure Ron Francis’ form, today, on Friday around or after dinner time when most people are heading into the weekend, the Carolina Hurricanes made a big announcement. The team signed recently-acquired Scott Darling to a 4-year contract at $4.15 million per season. With the move, the Hurricanes have moved aggressively and early to add one of the best goalies available this summer. And in the process, the move addresses the Hurricanes biggest offseason need on May 5, a full 5 months before the start of the 2017-18 season. As I said on Twitter, there is still work for Francis to do this summer, but acquiring and signing Scott Darling fills the biggest need and very clearly shifts Ron Francis from opportunistically building for some undefined time in the future to playing to win now. And that my Hurricanes friends is an incredibly good thing!   Scott Darling catch up I covered most of the angles on Scott Darling when he was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks for a third-round pick almost exactly one week ago. My first impressions article profiled Scott Darling and discussed a couple interesting angles on the trade itself. I followed up with a part two on the Scott Darling trade that considered flight risk, looked at the broader Hurricanes goalie situation that now includes three goalies and came pretty darn close guessing his contract at either three or four years at $4 million per season. Along the way, the Sunday Canes Chronicle offered four external articles on Scott Darling and the Monday Coffee Shop polls and discussion questions were also dedicated...