For the loyalists who burned the midnight to watch consecutive lackluster performances and losses, there is plenty of recent ammunition to wake up negative on the Carolina Hurricanes.
My aim is not to deny that there are legitimate negatives right now but rather to show that there are positives too.
1) Decent (not great) playoff positioning
Even with the consecutive losses, the Hurricanes are a game above .500. That is not a playoff pace, but it is not that far off. As measured by games above .500, the Canes are only two points out a playoff spot now one-third of the way through the season. For many teams, the path to the playoffs includes a whole bunch of treading water combined with one big winning streak. The Hurricanes continue to tread water. No doubt, they will need to find a hotter stretch, but there is no reason why that must occur in the first half of the season.
I would not call it final, but I do think that where the Hurricanes are goalie-wise right now is as good as the team has been in many years. Curtis McElhinny has downright stolen games and just been good in general of late. And Petr Mrazek played really well in Sunday’s loss despite the outcome. Sure, the Hurricanes need to figure out scoring, but the perennial struggle with netminding is gone at least for now.
3) The Charlotte Checkers
The Checkers continue to sit atop the entire AHL. AHL success does not guarantee NHL success, but it does help. Building a winning attitude for young players is valuable. In addition, the winning record should suggest that at least some of the players are on the path to being productive players in the NHL.
I am never one to tell people to be patient. Each fan should is entitled to his or her own feelings about the team. But it is important to remember how young this team is at forward. The team’s bottom two lines have two rookies each on them. That bodes well in two first. First, the chances of this team improving out a year or two is high. Maybe more significantly though, there is no reason why that upside could not be realized in the second half of the current season as the rookies get their feet under them and start charting a course upward.
5) The blue line
Even if imperfect, the blue line is solid. A team that can play Brett Pesce on the third pairing is deep. And Faulk’s resurgence the defense is above average or better. More significantly, I also think the group has potential upside scoring-wise which would be a huge benefit if realized.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Do you take exception to any of my five positives?
2) Who has more than can push the total to 10 or at least close?
1. Yes, better than in years past, there’s still hope if the team can turn it around.
2. Not in full agreement. Big Mac has been good in a small sample but he is primarily a backup who may be good for another 2 to 4 years but is on the encore part of his career. Mrazek has shown glimpses of what he could be but has been plagued with inconsistencies in the past. The duo is not the worst in the NHL but there are questions aplenty. Hopefully Ned or Booth can take the next step, though sending Booth to Florida for darling is, in my opinion, not a step in the right direction.
3. The Checkers are a good team this year, though no one player screams instant NHL promotion. It’s been winning by committee. They are essentially a model of what the Canes should be, the trick is to translate that to the nHL. Tampa did a good job of that a few years back, Ottawa not as much, but I need more information on how AHL success has bubbled up to the big club before I can form a stronger opinion.
4. The problem with potential, especially in the Canes organization is that it rarely translates into actual success. Boychuk, Terry, etc. never panned out in Raleigh. Lindholm and Hannifin, two #5 picks didn’t either (though they are doing quite well once they leave carolina, as is skinner)
Why do players do poorly in carolina but start blossoming when they go elsewhere, the answer to that could be the key to returning the team to winning ways, I suspect that the makeup of the roster is to blame but instead of working to fix it we blame individual players and give them up, then draft more of the same.
That being said, I think svech is going to be good, Necas is learning the game and has potential, Foegele can do better if we give him time and patience and don’t dump in on the first team who’s interested.
5. I also disagree slightly here. I think the D is over crowded and far from coming close to its potential, the makeup of the roster again. The positive is that there are options for trading for help at forward, provided the Canes can find a willing dance partner.
We have 7 or 8 capable D men right now, and Fox has the goods to become great but is unlikely to sign in Carolina if he sees no chance for NHL ice.
IN my opinion it comes down to management setting a clearer direction for the team and coaching to follow.
If the team manages a W against the Ducks (which I doubt) there is hope that current roster can avoid total eclipse of the stick.
But if the team returns from california after being ruled by kings, mauled by Sharks and savaged by Ducs I have to see some changes.
My personal opinion is that the team should delliberately tank one more time, try to get Jack Hughes (though chances aren’t great), and see tD loosen his purse strings and get involved in upgrading the roster over the summer (there are options out there), and play to win next season, seriously play to win, not to hope to win or to find excuses or to have more 2006 flashbacks and family stories. These are all good but I watch hockey to feell thrills, pride and occasional delight. We saw some of that earlier in the season, I have thoroughly enjoyed about 5 or 6 games and that was the biggest positive for me, but now I am just getting tired and bored of the lacklaster performances, missesd point blank chances and excuses. Life’s too short for that.
Let’s go to the land of Hurricanes’ positivity – where unicorns frolic and there is a rainbow around every corner! LOL!
4 games losing streaks are not “treading water”. Instead of “treading water” – it’s water trending down, which water tends to do on it’s own.
Young players from a winning culture come up and catch the cancer of losing.
You can see the frustration in the players’ face – from Mac to Aho to others. And frustration can easily enough lead to resignation.
Where is Williams’ leadership? – isn’t this the time that it is needed most?
Some (stunning???) quotes from RBA after the game:
“[The game] could have gone either way…”
“I feel like we’re pretty much doing everything we can…”
“we [sic] played good enough to win and we don’t get any results…”
“..you think ‘It’s a terrible game’ but I didn’t see it that way at all.”
“..we’re going to have to…stick with the game plan.”
A team motto of “process over results” apparently doesn’t mesh well (yet, at least) with playing winning hockey.
But we can be comforted by knowing we are only a third of the way into the season, I suppose.
“Young players from a winning culture come up and catch the cancer of losing.” This is the scariest thing about this year’s Canes. You can see the “here we go again” look in their faces. Changing a long-term losing culture in a sports franchise is difficult. I wish I knew how to do it without hitting the lottery with a generational player.
“Where is Williams’ leadership? – isn’t this the time that it is needed most?” Hard to lead when you can’t play. It’s sad watching Williams struggle. If he could just play at last season’s level he could make some impact. As it is now he is the poster child for the Canes ineptness. Just can’t get it done.
“Some (stunning???) quotes from RBA after the game:” Dude is just saying stuff because he has to say something. Brind’Amour isn’t going to go negative and rip players. Not his style. Frankly, I don’t think the guys are withholding effort, they are just shell shocked. No confidence. Going negative would be Bill Peters v2.0. It didn’t work and was why the players pretty much hated the guy.
“Ouch”, damn unicorn just stuck in the S@@# 🙂 Thanks for the positive. In those lines, I am most pleased with Faulk. He has really stepped up and has been much improved for the most part of this season.
That means Faulk is about to be traded. My guess is he’ll be traded to Chicago along with Mac in return for Cam Ward and Chicago’s 6th round pick in 2028.
Seriously, we just saw the Ducks pick up Daniel Spron, a guy misused in Pit, with a hard and accurate shot, started out lights out and scored in his first game as a Duck, for a defense prospect/AHL er. That is the type of trade the Canes should have made or should be making.
Sprong thing not going to happen inside the division. Lots of opportunity to deal with teams in our division …if only we weren’t in our division.
One thing we can all probably agree on, some change is needed.
I was all for Rod taking over as coach and for the first stretch you could see that change in team chemistry. A lot has deflated out of the honeymoon balloons. We cannot capitalize on our chances because we are asking team ‘grit and grind’ to also be team ‘save and score'(there was a reason our preseason groups were named this, and probably not because of our shooting prowess).
As a top performer myself who became a manager in the business operations world, I would find myself frustrated when you’ve proven yourself doing the same job, teaching how to succeed, yet the team just can’t put it all together…whether killer instinct, mindless errors or lack of effort. I’m sure Rod is frustrated as to why our guys can’t put a few more home.
But right now I cannot blame Rod. Right now it’s more personnel related. We’ve given the last 4 coaches team ‘grit/grind’ and asked them to win. If you’re Canes management, might as well name your training camp teams ’round peg/square hole’. Or unicorns.
Points for whoever suggested that Maenalanen would be the next CLT callup (was that ct??).
Now I suggest that an all-Finnish line energizes the Canes and starts to reverse the scoring woes. Maenalanen and Teravainen had some of the same chemistry at the under-20 tournament that Aho, Laine, and Puljajarvi had.
Whatever the problem is it’s obvious to me that RBA’s approach of there’s nothing we need to do except keep playing the way we are playing is not the answer. No need going any further with any analysis. Step One is change the coach before you take any other action.
No one goes to the front of the net and when they do they don’t stay there or the do a fly by. Look at the tape. Watch Martinook skate right past the net when a rebound came right out to where he just was. Look at where San Jose players were when they scored (and even when they didn’t). If the coach can’t see even this obvious problem, there is no solution until the coach goes.
Do you really think Brind’Amour doesn’t see that? Do you think he doesn’t point it out? The Canes haven’t gone to the net and stayed there in the past decade. A lot of which is because of the kind of players they have drafted and traded for. While it has started to change, the Canes aren’t very big up front. The Ducks looked way bigger.
Brind’Amour may go eventually…he will go eventually, they all do, but how many coaches do the Canes need to fire to figure out that isn’t the issue?
I’ve never been a fan of RBA as coach, and I’ve always claimed he has been part of the problem in Carolina, including the special teams.
Full respect, kudos, whatever you call it, to him as a player, as a person, as one of the great legends of hockey, but that does not automatically qualify him as a great head coach, neither does his trac record in Clt or as a special teams coach with the Canes.
This team does not have the right pieces, that’s on owner/management. The head coach is not getting enough out of the current roster, that’s on the head coach.
We’ve seen the Canes being outcoached regularly this season and if RBA cannot admit there are issues with his team’ play, we might as well hire Stevie Wonder as head coach. You can feel it all over.
When in the world was this team outcoached? Brind’Amour’s line matching has been strong. Won a game in overtime vs. Chicago in spite of what talking heads like Luke DeCock say.
Just because Brind’Amour doesn’t admit there are issues with his team’s play in public doesn’t mean he doesn’t see it or address it in private. I’ve been around several AHL and NHL head and assistant coaches. They know what is going on even if they don’t blather it in public. Now, can they find a way to fix it? That’s a different thing.
We are going to see if Brind’Amour can find a way to fix his team, or at least make them better. The Canes have significant personnel issues, but they aren’t as weak as they have looked lately. Brind’Amour has to find a way to rebuild their confidence or it could get ugly for the Canes and for Brind’Amour.
Wow! What a bunch of negative Nellies! According to you guys, we will solve all of our problems by just taking Roddy out behind the shed and shooting him in the head.
Probably the same bunch that thinks we can obtain a magic scoring catalyst savior without sending anyone of value in return.
Less than… is trying to inject some common sense to the situation, but in vain.
Roddy will turn these guys around. He knows how to do that. He knows that we are dealing with human beings, not robots.
I am generally with Red and breezy on the assessment. At the very least I am still from Missouri and I am not seeing much.
Ultimately I think the only reaction that matters is Dundon’s reaction. I doubt TD views Matt’s list and sees a positive light. TD hates to lose and he is hypercompetitive. Who is he going to hold accountable? At what level does the iron strike? Who has his ear? Does his bromance with RBA have legs? Do heads start rolling this weekend? If not, then when? TD does not have the patience to ice a losing team.
On a short-term basis, I like ct’s thought that uniting Saku with Sepe and Teukka on the “Finnish Line” brings a spark. If that line performs well, it would be tough to return Saku to CLT even when Ferland and Staal return. And that may be a literal gamechanger – but I get ahead of myself in suggesting that.
The Canes have been out coached in every game against the Islanders.
Who said anything a bout shooting RBA?
I like the all Finnish line idea. Shake it up.
I really have no idea where you are coming from. When a team pounds a goalie with shots, has the advantage in scoring opportunities and still loses it’s being out coached? Ok…. The Islanders are a big strong team. If you haven’t noticed that’s been a problem for the Canes and will likely be a problem tomorrow night. How do you think Aho and or Wallmark are going to do checking Getzlaf? Even though Staal can’t bury a bone, who else is setting up in the slot and not getting moved out?