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After a couple of great weeks of hockey in mid-November, the Hurricanes have taken a small step back the past two weeks. The team’s 1-2 mark in three home games during Thanksgiving week was obviously sub-par. The team’s 1-1-1 mark last week was more of the treading water variety. Before the start of the Thanksgiving week home stand, I wrote about the importance of the next two legs of the 2017-18 season in terms of deciding the Hurricanes’ level of success. As noted above, the first leg, the short home stand, was a downer with a 1-2 record. The second leg was defined as the long stretch of mostly road hockey between the November and December holiday weeks. The first three games of that stretch did feature two of three games on the road, but the travel did not start in earnest yet. The Hurricanes basically took a quick trip to Columbus and then returned home before another quick trip to New York followed by a home game. But yesterday the team departed Raleigh and is scheduled to be away for 12 days and six games with some long flights touring the Western Conference.

I continue to think that this stretch of schedule could play a large role in deciding the 2017-18 season, and that is the primary subject of the Monday Coffee Shop.


Carolina Hurricanes polls

Please remember to click ‘vote’ after each individual poll response.


What do you make of Saturday's hard-fought, rousing and spirited win over the Florida Panthers?

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What do the Hurricanes need to do in the upcoming stretch of 8 out of 9 games on the road to stay relevant?

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What do you see as the most critical element of the upcoming road stretch?

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Discussion questions


1) What do you make of the combination of Justin Williams’ salty post-game interview after the loss to the Rangers and the follow up with a spirited and physical win on Saturday that uncharacteristically saw two fights, Jeff Skinner mixing it up after the whistle and more?


2) After pushing 25 games into the 2017-18 season using Cam Ward only in slots that seemed likely/reasonable for “the backup”, do you think his somewhat better play on Saturday should earn him at least one “starter’s start” on Tuesday to see if/where that goes? If yes, do you think there is risk in not 100 percent committing to Darling as starter and riding through the storm?


3) What are you more general thoughts on the road trip? Do you think it has the potential to be a defining stretch for the entire season, or do you view it as just another stretch of hockey that the team needs to grind through and stay close to the pace of the pack?


Go Canes!


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