Today’s Daily Cup of Joe offers a short burst of random Canes notes that have not made it into other articles yet or deserve a bit more attention.
The team really misses him in games like Saturday’s where they are under attack more so than attacking. In my opinion, he is the steadiest of the defensemen and usually offers some stability when things get ‘scrambly’ defensively.
Increasingly, the team seems to trot out its worst efforts when Darling is in net. I do not think that was the case last season when quite often the team played well and Darling just did not. By no means is this a defense of Darling’s play. As I noted in my recap from Saturday’s loss, poor play is not necessarily and either/or for goaltending or defense. In some cases, both are bad.
I think the team plays differently in front of Darling in trying to do too much which actually makes things worse in three different ways. First, it takes the team away from the attacking style that is its strength. Second, the team goes overboard trying to suppress shots when I think Darling actually looks better when he is seeing the puck a decent amount and can find a rhythm. Third is that in trying to hard to stop scoring, the Hurricanes actually tend to be worse defensively.
The question is what can be done to rectify the situation. I think it is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Can the Hurricanes skaters dial up their level of trust for Darling such that they are better in front of him? Or can Darling put up a couple of consecutive starts that generate the trust needed? For Darling to regain his status as a going concern for the Hurricanes, I think one of those two things must happen.
In case you missed it, Brandon Stanley wrote what is now a well-time short profile for Jake Bean. For those who were busy wrapping up the holiday weekend, the Hurricanes returned Trevor Carrick to the AHL and recalled Jake Bean (along with Valentin Zykov). Bean now seems on track to make his NHL debut on Tuesday in Montreal.
The key for Bean is to play to his strength as an offensive defenseman who an generate offense. The Hurricanes could use another offensive catalyst right now, so the opportunity is there for Bean. At the same time, he needs to be adequate (not necessarily great) defensively. That is the part of his game/development that has lagged a bit and is why I have historically not been as high on him as the consensus.
Recent step-wise progress
Because both weeks were imperfect and featured an ugly loss during it, the past couple weeks have a ‘meh’ feeling to them. But the Hurricanes were a positive 2-1 in both of the past two weeks. At some point, the team will need to find a higher gear for at least a stretch if it intends to make the playoffs. But chugging forward and making even small strides in the climb above .500 is valuable. In years past, the Hurricanes were always looking for that one big winning streak just to climb out of the hole dug. If the team can keep pushing gradually up above .500, the situation will be set up such that if the Hurricanes can find that one big winning streak, they will be in position to have it vault them up the standings.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Do you similarly think Brett Pesce could help on some of the tough nights defensively? Or do you think those nights are mostly just bad regardless of who is in the lineup?
2) What do you make of the odd interplay between the skaters and Scott Darling?
3) What are your hopes for Jake Bean as he possibly makes his debut on Tuesday in Montreal?
4) What do you make of the Hurricanes consecutive 2-1 weeks? Are they a positive or just more treading water in a bad way?