After yesterday’s Daily Cup of Joe that summarized the Hurricanes 2017-18 season in bullet points and then had the top two points feature prominently in the 8-2 drubbing from the Maple Leafs only hours later, I will try to refrain from jinxing anything else.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe will offer a collection of player notes.
I hope his trial at the center position extends and finds its way into ice time when games are still on the line. I voted loudly and regularly to at least give Aho a trial at center all the way back on ____. The reason is simple — This team could greatly benefit from having an offensive catalyst type at the center position who could help boost scoring for an entire line. There is no guarantee that he is ready, but of the players currently on the roster, Aho represents the greatest chance to fill this need internally.
To be clear, I have no inside information or reported basis for this, but I am starting to think that Jaccob Slavin is playing hurt right now. He hit a rough patch a few weeks back that looked and very could just be a dip in his level of play. But in watching him closely since the dip, he seems to be less aggressive defending the puck. He had a play in the Maple Leafs game that looked like a patented situation to step up and challenge the puck and instead he seemed to sit back. While it is possible that he is just not playing as well right not and is maybe just a tad bit more indecisive than usual, I think the other possible explanation is that he just does not have his normal 1-3 stride quickness because he is ailing.
The time is now for Jeff Skinner to find his hot streak. In 2016-17, he started fast with 11 points in October which was only seven games. He then put up modest 8, 8, 9 and 4 point months in November, December, January and February while the Hurricanes were playing their way out of the playoff chase. Skinner then surged during the ‘too little too late’ phase of the 2016-17 season scoring 17 of his 37 goals in the final quarter of the season. Right now, the Hurricanes are trending toward playing more ‘too little too late’ hockey in March, and the team desperately needs Jeff Skinner to find his run before it it too late.
I voted last week to just give him a full week off to try to generate a complete reset and then let him start fresh. After Tuesday’s tough outing, the team might now be only a single solid Cam Ward start away from this happening maybe not so much out of design but instead out of necessity. Though he did play incredibly well in Saturday’s win, he just looks to be fighting the puck, the game and everything else right now. Perhaps a break can enable him to put the start behind him and start anew.
At roughly this time last year, I started harping on Justin Faulk’ growing issues defensively. At the team, he was still the glowing leader of a young blue line, and the bias clouded some people’s judgement of his play. Now a year later, there is nearly consensus that Faulk just is not getting it done defensively. What concerns me most is that I do not see this problem is something that will or could be corrected by Faulk just finding a higher gear in terms of his level of play. Rather, I think he is destined to play at pretty close to the same level until he can find another step or two of quickness and acceleration. His biggest problem right now is his lack of mobility in small spaces such that speedy or even crafty forwards are too regularly beating him right now. My hunch is that he needs to trade some amount of strength and size for acceleration and quickness to be a solid top 4 defenseman in today’s NHL.
This might sound strange, but I think right now he is the player with the greatest ability to boost the fortunes of the team. Ward did have a rough outing during Thanksgiving week against the Maple Leafs, but he has generally been pretty solid and easily the better of the two goalies. And having played in only 10 of 33 games, he should be fresh and capable of taking on a heavier workload at least for a period of time. Through 33 games in 2016-17, Ward had already played in 25 games. He should be fresh, and right now he represents the greatest possibility for providing the steady goaltending that the team needs to avoid slipping into irrelevancy.
Trevor van Riemsdyk
I have credited him a few times recently, and he is starting to get the attention he deserves more broadly, but I still think van Riemsdyk’s play thus far an be underappreciated. The only player who might rank higher than him in terms of consistency and defensive soundness is Brett Pesce. The match ups that van Riemsdyk sees in the third pairing does play a role, but it is also worth noting that he has done it all with young and still learning defense partners in Haydn Fleury and Noah Hanifin.
What say you Hurricanes fans?
1) Who else has player notes and/or observations that hopefully are not too negative after Tuesday’s bad loss?
2) Will Jeff Skinner find his next scoring binge soon enough and while the Hurricanes are still in the playoff hunt?
3) Am I nuts to believe that Cam Ward could be player with the greatest chance to boost the team’s fortunes right now?
I think like most Canes fans I am just sick of losing. Hope is a dangerous thing sometimes. All the bad goals we give up are a reminder of past failures. I NEED TO STOP. If we judge the team on just this year we have some negatives but we also have a lot of positives. The roster is more talented than we have seen in a long time. We are playing a lot of kids who will make mistakes. We have more talent in our system than ever before. Once we break through to the playoffs I think we will stay a playoff team for a while. I am fighting through my own negativity with the Canes. I have a hard time stomaching these bad goals we give away nightly. But we are inching closer to where we need to be. I am going to try my hardest to stay in the moment.
Faulk has a strange delay in his game. Every time he is in a spot to make a decision, his game stops for a split second. You just can’t have that in the NHL today. The delay was there already last season but is getting worse all the time.
Aho seems to carry the puck to the offensive zone with huge speed much more than he did last season. That is fun to watch but I think those plays rarely lead to any real scoring chances. Most of the time he ends up shooting from a bad spot or just battling with a defender or two in the corner. His linemates can’t read what he is about to do and Aho’s line can’t keep the puck in the offensive zone.
I’m not saying Aho is making bad plays but I think he will soon figure out how to use his speed in more effective way to maintain puck possession in the offensive zone.
I would like to see the line Aho-Lindholm-TT again. They played as a line in the beginning of last season and didn’t succeed. But Aho was just getting used to the NHL. I think that would be worth a shot. Then Skinner-Staal-Williams could be another scoring line leaving McGinn-Rask-Ryan as a 3rd line.
Only thing I can say, Peters and Francis should be fired.
Peters is clueless, he has no idea how to put lines ave talent together. Ryan is a waste!!!
Enough waiting: Aho first line center with Lindhom and TT; Williams, Skinner and Stall 2nd line (MCGINN AND RYAN ARE NIR ABD WILL NEVER BE MORE THAN 3rd line players, Peters is an idiot and obvious how he favors average players)
Francis!!!!!: are you kidding, get rid of Faulk and Rask, for anything at this point, even if you have to take less to unload those stupid contracts for average players!!!!
1. I’ve been thinking the same thing about Slavin nursing a nagging injury – he’s just not accelerating like he used to. That’s always been his biggest strength, his initial start-up speed. And that seems to be missing right now. A word about Aho – this young player has all the tools to be a superstar, we just need to be patient as he slowly but surely figures things out. And he’s doing it. He’s an extremely smart young man, who appears to know himself and his capabilities, which means he’s not going to rush into attempts to make plays he’s not ready to try. It’s been one of the few joys to watch with this team so far this year.
2. Skinner going on a hot streak would sure be nice right now. But as with any hot streak, you can’t predict them. Let’s just hope yesterday’s goal opens things up for him. We need it. Desperately.
3. You’re definitely not nuts to think Cam gives us the best chance at winning right now. To me, that’s a no-brainer decision. Let’s just hope that decision is made for Thursday’s game. If Cam plays strong and we get an upset win, he should be our starter for the foreseeable future. No doubt about it. Now if that actually happens… who knows?
1. Best thing we can hope for is, that the team can reset and rattle off some wins in a row. Then we can never speak of this again.
2. I think so.
3. I think Cam still has enough left in the tank to give darling a couple of games off to get it together. He’s been outstanding as a backup.
The new boss must have been REALLY IMPRESSED with that minor league effort…and that’s being really unfair to the minor league!
I don’t know what’s worse…the no-comments from MGMT, or the NO-ACTION!!! …indifference? If I was in charge more than one person would be OUT-OF-HERE!
What a cluster-fu**…
…not acceptable in any way…ugh
A bunch of random thoughts.
I understand, not sure I agree, but understand why Darling was left in. The power play at end of first period was close to scoring. If the game becomes 4-2 in first 45 seconds of second period then there is hope. On the small chance a comeback happens, it would have been better for Darling. The second period the team and Darling played much better so at that point the disaster that was the third period wasn’t predictable. Again not sure I agree with sticking with Darling but I see the hopeful logic.
Special teams need a jolt. I have offered what if’s regarding trades but there’s currently a freeze. So the options within need to be activated.
Bring up Zykov and Foegele. Foegele can play with Staal and Williams. He can join PK. Zykov can play RW with Aho and TT. Put Ryan on fourth line to add some scoring. PDG and Jooris go down and McGinn becomes 13th forward. Foegele is as aggressive as McGinn but fast and maybe a better scorer.
Zykov is great on PP in AHL. See if it translates.
A little special teams success could make a huge difference.
Of course nothing needs to be done if Canes have another 3 straight wins.
Special teams are just killing us right now. Both the PP and the PK just seem to have lost their confidence. If I could just snap my fingers and change one thing, it’d be to tighten up the special teams play. They create huge swings in momentum and none of it is going our way right now. Not scoring on the PP and going short-handed also dramatically ratchet up the pressure on our goaltending; maybe Darling and Ward haven’t been fantastic, but the team sure hasn’t done them any favors with their play in front of them, especially on special teams. The goaltending can and needs to be better – we can all agree with that – but there is plenty of blame to spread across the entire team.
I’m being whipsawed: one week I feel like I’m ready to stop watching entirely and the next week I’m full of hope and optimism, which is where I was when yesterday’s game started. By this theory, I’ll be back to hopeful again after BUF game.
We may be the first team in the history of the NHL that gets a PP and we ask the Refs do we have to take it. Can we just play 5 on 5 ???
dmiller, welcome to Hurricanes hockey the last 20 years! 🙂 Even before this, many Boston fans would call the Hartford Whalers the “Forever .500s”.
This team is a hot mess right now. Some great young components, but needing more to make the chemistry work.
Speaking of Hartford, I’m curious if GMRF has had conversations with former teammate Dave Tippett. He’s more old school than a young players coach, but being a young players coach hasn’t exactly netted Peters a winning strategy nor consistently either. Tippett was pretty darn successful when you morph his time in Dallas and Arizona. He might be the right fit to take this team to the next level.
Francis IS THE PROBLEM…HE IS THE ARCHITECT OF THIS…
…FIRE HIS ASS!