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2016/17 Carolina Hurricanes

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13 hours ago, iamcline said:

I still think we can get in and win a series at the very least.


After seeing Cam over the last, what, 15 consecutive starts? Yeah, I am confident that we will be fine. Cam is showing what I said at the start of the year. He's a guy you have to roll with for longer periods of time. He gets better when he has consecutive games and he finds his groove. A 3-1 split rotation works, but Cam can easily do a 9-2 rotation and be fine. If he's feeling fine tonight, I say go with him again. Stick with him until he is just too tired to take a night, then sit him for 2-3 games and go right back to him.

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So, last night happened. Columbus beat us. It was ugly. Not ugly like that weird looking cousin you see every 3 years when you go to that family reunion that has that side of the family you avoid. No no, this was worse. This was mid-surgery Bruce/Caitlin transition ugly.

OK, maybe I'm overreacting. We did lose in impressive fashion. For those who aren't sadomasochists, the Hurricanes lost 4-1 to the Blue Jackets. Know what's better than a 4 game win streak? A 5 game win streak. Know what we don't have? Consistent power play production. Oh, and a 5 game win streak. We also don't have that.

All is not bad in this effort though. Sebastian Aho managed to beat Bobrovsky once over the glove. It was a pretty slick goal too.


Teravainen throws a beautiful pass from the board to the far post where Aho finishes. The chemistry is there with these two.

So, you're probably wondering, "where did they fall apart?"

Literally right after that goal. From that goal forward, until halfway through the 2nd period, there was nothing to be happy about. Some decent effort by guys like Teravainen and Aho and Skinner, but aside from that....this was a train wreck of a game. We had a 1-0 lead for....11 seconds.

After the tying goal, we were in a tied game for 35 seconds.

Then it kept coming.

Midway through the 2nd period, after letting in 4 goals on 19 shots, Cam Ward is pulled. Now to be fair, some were not his fault entirely. Jordan Staal screened him on a high ripper from the point and it just beat him over his shoulder. Another was a power move directly across the crease where he just couldn't keep up with a faster skater. Another was a tough rebound that was caused by not quite being able to glove the initial shot. The problem is that Cam Ward, over his last 15 games, has lead us to believe that he should be making all of those saves. And he can, as he has shown. I just think he was tired and Bill Peters was sold out on riding Cam until the wheels fell off. And fell off they did.

So, for those not in-the-know, Leighton got sent to Charlotte and Alex Nedeljkovic was called up. Nedeljkovic was an absolute monster in Juniors and showed great promise in the ECHL with the Florida Everblades before cracking the Checkers roster and struggling a little bit while showing flashes of brilliance. The idea was to give Leighton a brief conditioning stint and bring him back up once he's at 100%, while Nedeljkovic just backed Cam up. 

I'm high on Nedeljkovic. Like, really high. I have gone so far as to say that Nedeljkovic is our future in net since I saw him play in Charlotte just before the holidays. Why? Well, first and foremost, his sick set-up.




Now, aside from those beautiful pads, he is a great goaltender. He's young (21) and he positions himself quickly and stays square to shots. He also seems to do well tracking rebounds and moving his head before adjusting his body. Really solid, fundamental goalie who is only going to improve.

Having said all that, for a guy making his NHL debut while down 4-1 while in his home state of Ohio....the kid did well. He faced 17 shots and made 17 saves. Now, I don't think he's ready to take Cam's job or anything, but this kid faced some tough shots and stood his ground on all of them. It wasn't like Columbus backed off when he came in. No, he faced blasters. Unable to link a decent video, but Google it.

Anyway, Nedeljkovic did good stuff and the rest of the team was terri-bad.

Our penalty kill did well. Water is also wet.

So, that was how the night ended. We couldn't establish any offense in the third whatsoever and we just looked flat. After those two back-to-back goals, the Hurricanes were deflated and you could see it watching them skate. Maybe this team is THAT much different on the road. Maybe the last 15 games got the team big-headed and they needed the humility. Maybe Kirk Muller slipped some of his blood into Bill Peters drink and took over his mind for a game. Who knows? All I know is we have a couple of days to prepare for a Penguins team that is looking to stick with Washington and Columbus atop the Metro while the Rangers, Flyers, and Hurricanes are slowly gaining. Depending on how Pittsburgh does in the game tonight, Friday night may well be them fighting to stay in the top 3 of the division. And depending on how Philly does, it could be us fighting to stay in the wild card hunt.


Big game coming up. Cam is getting the start. Start getting excited, folks. Our next 3 weeks will likely tell us if we're truly playoff worthy.

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Gameday 45: 

Carolina (21 - 16 - 7) vs Pittsburgh (28 - 11 - 5) 

PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC 

7:00 FSCR 

Tonight the Hurricanes welcome the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins to Raleighwood in what will be a measuring stick game. The Hurricanes return home for this one after lackluster effort against the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this week before heading back to Columbus tomorrow night. In the last 16 home games, the Canes are 14-1-1 and on a 5 game win streak. This is a totally different team at home vs the road, where their record is a disappointing  6-12-6. Also, something to look for,Ron Hainsey has a chance to get to 200 career assists tonight.


The Penguins roll into this 3rd in the Metro (still the dumbest name for a division) and are currently on a 2 game win streak. They won a wild one against the Caps and soundly beat the Habs this week. The Penguins are pretty banged up on their defensive blue line right now. They will be without the services of Kris Letang tonight, who is one of the most dynamic two way players in the game. 

If the Canes win tonight, they will be tied with Toronto and Philly for the second wild card spot. Tonights game and tomorrows vs Columbus is going to tell us a lot about the Canes. 

Projected Starting Lineups: 


Skinner - Rask - Ryan 

McGinn - Staal - Linds 

Aho - Teravainen - Stemp 

Nordstrom - McClement - Stalberg 

Hainsey - Faulk 

Slavin - Pesce 

Hanifin - Tennyson 




Sheary- Crosby - Hornqvist 

Guentzel - Malkin - Rust 

Hagelin - Bonino - Kessel 

Kunitz - Fehr - Wilson 

Cole - Schultz 

Maatta - Daley 

Gaunce - Ruhwedel 



Players to Watch: 

Cam Ward 


Cam Ward has been very solid this year, despite what a lot of ya'll are saying. It will be interesting to see how he responds to the tough game he had the other night when he was chased out of the crease by Douche Jenner and the Blue Jackets. With the exception of the 09 playoffs (pretty sure Malkin still owns some shares of PNC Arena from that series) he plays pretty well against the Penguins. 


Honorable Mention: Canes young Defense 

They will have their hands full tonight with the Penguins forward lines. Any team that can throw a line with Sidney Crosby, followed by Evgeni Malkin and then followed by Haglan/Bonio/Kessler is going to be very good. Here's to hoping that the young D can hold the fort. 


For the Penguins

Sidney Crosby



Why? Because he's Sidney fuging Crosby. 


Final Thoughts: 

Look for Bill Peters to try and get Skinners line out against Maatta and Daley who have struggled with speed guys all year. If we can get a quick one, it will allow us to develop some confidence and get to our game. Special teams will be interesting to watch as the Canes have the best PK in the league while the Pens have the 3rd best Powerplay. Defense is going to have to provide a better effort than what we saw against Columbus earlier this week, or this will get out of hand quick. 


Let's do this. 




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The TSA line will do fine I think. Stemp can match up physically with the top two lines for Pitt and Teuvo/Aho can match speed. Will be interesting. Probably will be a game of mistakes and bad turnovers. Whoever can play the more complete game. I'm not sure Cam's confidence can carry us if we're giving up good looks to their top 6 all game.

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The Penguins game sold me on Cam not having a resurgence as much as dumb luck behind a defense that limits the type of shots he sees on a nightly basis. He gave up three (at least) five hole goals. No thank you. Take that to the SPHL.

I still believe we can win a Playoff series but it wont be because of Cam, we'll win in spite of him.

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3 hours ago, iamcline said:

The Penguins game sold me on Cam not having a resurgence as much as dumb luck behind a defense that limits the type of shots he sees on a nightly basis. He gave up three (at least) five hole goals. No thank you. Take that to the SPHL.

I still believe we can win a Playoff series but it wont be because of Cam, we'll win in spite of him.

He has been a top 10 goalie this season, and I'm sorry but that isn't just dumb luck. The guy has also started a ton of games and I don't think starting him was the right call last night anyway. Cam had a few saves that were tremendous last night.

Puck luck is a thing. Cam didn't just fail to close his 5 hole. A couple just leaked through. It happens. There were only two goals I can think of that I can honestly say were entirely on his positioning or making the wrong decision on the type of save he was going for. The others were on poor decision making in the zone in front of Cam or dumb luck on the shot. 

Cam saw the same types of shots last night as he has all season. The Pens did nothing special. Cam saw 41 shots. We got worked as a team, and Cam wasn't able to carry us. As much as I'll sit here and defend his season as being more than just dumb luck, I will say that Cam can't carry us. He hasn't been able to since 08/09. But he can absolutely keep the other team to generally 2 or 3 goals at most on any given night. That makes every game winnable.

Let's think about each of the 7 goals. Two were turnovers in our own end which resulted in a great scoring chance, which is advantage shooter. One was Cam having to reset himself after a save and getting blasted in the middle of his transition because nobody got to the puck before the Pens did, even though we had guys closer to it in the slot then the Pens did. Cam misread the moment, but that's also on his D for not hustling and getting that puck out of there. The 4th goal was legitimately a tremendous play on their part. Puck luck. Whatever you want to call it, but to blame Cam for not making that save on his stick side is expecting perfection from any goalie, which isn't fair. Still, Cam ALMOST got to it, but that play is on the defense. The 6th goal, well, Cam is there. The puck got forced between the boot of Cam's skate and the post. Nobody came in there to clean Malkin up. They just stood there and let it happen. Not. Cam's. Fault.
 The last one is Cam just being aggressive and having 4 guys watching and defending 1 guy. Hanifin doesn't check back door, guy sneaks behind him. 

To say that Cam is to blame for 7 goals is absurd. I'd put 3, maybe 4 on him. The others? Turnovers or flat out bad defensive team play from the 5 in front.

Did I mention in this post that Alex Nedeljkovic is our future in net? No? Well, he is. Look at him again.


Such a majestic creature.

Anyway, we were outplayed as a team. Rough night. Give Cam a week off. He's earned it. Let him recover and shake off these last two games and refocus while Leighton gets the net.

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Game day 45: Uhhh?  - CANES LOSE 

This game was very similar to Christmas. You look forward to the day all year, wake up stoked as hell about the stuff Santa left you, only to find socks and underwear under the tree. No sweet ass transformers, just sweet, sweet disappointment. That feeling is perfect for last nights game. As I said yesterday, this was a measuring stick game for our young Canes, and it boy was it. The Pens just flat out destroyed us last night. Let's get to the recap. 


Period 1 

The first couple of minutes in the first period actually went pretty well. The Canes played the majority of the first couple of minutes in Pittsburgh's end and out shot them 6-1 at one point. Matt Murray was making crucial save after crucial save. If he lets one of those early ones squeak through, we have a totally different game. He didn't though. The Canes get an early power play and do absolutely nothing with it. Like seriously, this power play blows.This is when the game started to get really wide open.  Aho gets a partial breakaway, gets pulled down, no call. Whatever. Literally right after that, Cam makes a big save on Malkin. Keep playing and the Pens hit a post. Little bit later, the Canes get a 2 on 1 chance, Staal shoots and a Murray save. Jordan Staal has no hands. Like at all. 

Jeff Skinner has a good scoring chance on the backhand and Murray shut that poo down like Neegan. This is when the Pens started to impose their will. After what seemed like an eternity playing in our own end, the Pens finally break through. Daley scores with an absolute laser beam of a shot after we suck at getting the puck out. 1-0 them. Pretty much all that happened in the first period. There was a waived off goal for Pit because Hornqvist went hard at the net (or the paint) and knocked the net off it's morins. That took like 10 mins to sort out. 


Period 2 

Canes came out and tried to establish some momentum. Skinns actually drew a tripping penalty. Cue the Mortal Kombat music.




Too bad that that the MK theme was the most exciting thing to happen on the power play. We couldn't even get the puck into our zone. Some time passes, and Haglin scores off a rebound. Pens had goalie screens for days. Teuvo needs to clear the crease there. 2-0 

Time passes, more poo play from the Canes. Sid gets a break away and Cam makes a save and then a follow up by Sheary. Trip was all like "remember those saves." I think everyone knew better. Time passes and Car gets a nifty little play from Staal that almost scores. It didn't. Pens just lived in our end this game. We finally break it out with a nice little loft pass from Slavin to McGinn who was streaking behind the D. 




Puck ends up on Staal's stick and finds a wide open Linds tap dancing to the crease. Pit D makes a nice play to knock it off. Literally right after that sequence, the Pens scores again with a shot from the point and a Sheary rebound.. 3-0

Then like, right after that, (not an exaggeration), we turn the puck over in the defensive zone, Fehr steals, puts a shot on goal and Kunitz knocks home the rebound. 4-0 




After that, Carolina takes a penalty and gives the Pens a power play. After like a minute, the Pens take some penalty and we have 4v4 hockey. Nothing happens. After all that is sorted out, Skinner takes his second penalty of the period and gives the Pens another power play and they score on a beautiful tic-tac toe play. Kessell goes top shelf where the peanut butter is. 5-0 



Just nasty



3rd Period

 Malkin scores on a wrap around because fug us right? 




Cam punches Hornqvist in the face because he's bad at hockey right now and gives the Pens another power play. Stalberg scores a shorty to break up the shut out. This turned out to the be lone bright spot for the Canes tonight. All 6 fans that were still there lost their poo. Crosby has a nasty assist. That's really about it. 


Hurricanes 1 - Penguins 7 


We have an early Saturday night game with the Blue Jackets.Time to right the ship.  

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Gameday 46 

Carolina Hurricanes (21-17-7) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (30-10-4) 

Back to backs are always tricky in the NHL. You never really know what team is going to show up and how that team is going to respond. Last night was bad. Scratch that. This week has not been very kind to the Hurricanes. After getting blown out by Columbus earlier this week and then Pittsburgh last night, the Canes find themselves back in Columbus looking for some answers. This Canes team has struggled on the road this season but has been very solid at home, until last night. Thanks Obama. Anyway, even dropping the last two games, the Canes are still in decent shape for a playoff birth. We are 1 point out of tying for a playoff spot with both Toronto and Philly in action tonight. 

Projected Starting Lineups: 


Skinner - Rask - Ryan 

McGinn - Staal - Linds 

Aho - Teravainen - Stemp 

Nordstrom - McClement - Stalberg 

Hainsey - Faulk 

Slavin - Pesce 

Hanifin - Tennyson 

Ward (Hasn't been confirmed. I would not be surprised to see Leighton in net tonight)


Saad - Wennberg - Foligno 

Jenner - Dubinsky - Atkinson 

Hannikainen - Karlsson - Anderson 

Hartnell - Sediak - Gagner 

Werenski - Jones 

Johnson - Prout 

Murray - Harrington 


Players to Watch: 


Justin Faulk 

The young defense has been struggling as of late. Faulk needs to have a solid two way game tonight to help the younger guys settle down. There is no doubt that Faulk is the best defensemen on this team, and we need our best players to lead the way tonight 



Sergi Bobrovsky 

He played very well against us earlier this week and is having a very solid season this year. The Canes are going to have to get bodies in front of him tonight and get some dirty goals going. We cannot get down early again and let Bob play with a lead. 

Let's do this



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Game 46 - Well...damn.

Alright, that sucked. The Hurricanes went to Columbus looking for redemption. And while that was not had, we showed a lot more bite to our game and didn't look nearly as flat. However, a wise man once said that moral victories are for children and Hilary Clinton.


So the first period goes OK enough. Leighton chained together some big saves early. He was on his posts a lot, which prevented several chances. Leighton keeps proving his worth as a very viable backup for us.



Columbus eventually squeaks one by Leighton. It was hard fought by Leighton, but just too many chances within a 4 second window. A little later, Hartnell rips a bomb from the blue line coming in and Leighton just couldn't do anything with it. Perfect shot. We didn't look as tough on D at times because Ryan Murphy and Dhalback left their spines in Charlotte and refuse to be physical unless they accidentally come in with too much speed. What exactly does Ryan Murphy do again? I feel like we can put a bantam league kid out there and get at least the same play.

Can we address Tripp Tracy for a second? This game, he talked about being tired. A lot. Not tired as you may think. No no, not physically tired. Mentally tired. As if Slavin is taking a standardized test, he comments at one point that Slavin's body was tired, but not his mind......ok, Tripp. Sure. Then he says something in the intermission to Slavin about how baseball helps him in hockey and blah blah blah. Tripp Tracy is bad at his job and he should feel bad.

I found the following on Change.org in a petition to fire Tripp Tracy from 5 years ago. It's fitting.



Firing Tripp Tracy is important because he makes watching Carolina Hurricanes games painful. Between his terrible analogies, absolutely cringe-worthy television voice, constant need to over-analyze things, and atrocious word choice, he is an incurable disease on the game of hockey and he's just gotta go. Tripp Tracy talks about himself constantly, often forcing totally unrelated personal stories about his relationships with Hurricanes players (who in reality surely must hate him) into his commentating. His comments distract from great hockey games, and make bad hockey games even worse. He is a complete homer who is unable to see reason or think clearly. He is a detriment to an otherwise great broadcast team; John Forslund is undoubtedly dragged down by Tripp's incompetence. Please, from all true, passionate Carolina Hurricanes fans: remove Tripp Tracy from the broadcast booth so that he cannot rape and ravage the sport we love any more.

                                               If only this included Tripp's stupid hair being a detriment to mankind

So, down 2-0 going into the 2nd. What happens? Aho happens. Sebastian Aho gets a power play goal, in fact. That's right, our power play did something for a change. It looked much like the last game against the Jackets. Aho gets the puck on the right side of the net and throws it in, this time off a rebound. Faulk then nets one and we're tied. All the momentum and this feels like it's going to be a win.

                                   And luckily, nobody was called the N-word

And then the third period happens. You know that feeling in your stomach when you get told "you may want to get tested?" No? Just me? OK, well, imagine how that feels then. That is the feeling the third period had. We looked fine. The problem was all the power play opportunities with no shots.

                                      Live look-in to my living room


Then we decide, screw playing D about halfway through the third and Hartnell makes everybody in a red and white sweater look very, very bad at hockey (but very, very good at standing and flailing sticks). 

So that's the way this ends. We do nothing the back-half of the third, but were playing hard. Sure, we're not going to make the wildcard race if we keep falling short in these, but Bobrovsky is arguably the hottest goalie in the league right now. If the power play doesn't get fixed and become something more than a 2 minute sprint to go back and retrieve the puck after it's thrown from their blue line, then it doesn't matter. Luckily, our PK units are keeping us in these games lately.

We have the Washington Capitals tomorrow because fug us, right? They've not lost a game in regulation in something like a month and on a two game win streak after a tough OT loss last week. We're 5-5 in our last 10 and on a 3 game skid going into Washington. 


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Gameday 47

Carolina Hurricanes (21-18-7) vs Washington Capitals (31-9-6)


We are in the back half of the hardest 2 week stretch on our schedule. After showing signs of life in the first 2 weeks of the new year, the Hurricanes are on a 3 game losing streak after playing Columbus twice as well as Pittsburgh. One would think the hockey gods would put Colorado on this day in the schedule for us. Hell, even Minnesota. Nope. We get to stay in the conference, in the metro, and in our own personal hell for another game as we desperately try to squeak out at least 1 point somewhere in this stretch. So where are the Canes at this point in the standings? 3 points back of the Flyers who sit in the 8th spot, and 2 points back of Toronto. Barring the Rangers imploding, they're looking like a lock for at least one wildcard spot, so if the Canes don't get hungry now, they may see the window close rapidly. This is especially big over the next 3 games, as the Canes will play Philadelphia in just one week. With a chance to have a point swing, keeping pace is important.

Projected Starting Lineups:



Hanifin-Tennyson (because Ryan Murphy can't make it to the rink due to losing his purse)

Ward (this will be his 21st start in 23 games, so it'll be interesting to see how he rebounds from that last outing against Columbus)





Players to watch:

Sebastian Aho

Sebastian Aho has been nothing short of solid the past several games. It appears he will move up to the 2nd line alongside Staal and Lindholm, which relegates McGinn (who has 4 goals in 7 games) to the third line. Aho's ability to move the puck well in the zone and his knack for scoring will be key, as well as his speed in transition against the Capitals.


Alexander Ovechkin

Ovechkin has done nothing but terrorize the Canes since he has been in the league. He has 77 career points (32g, 45a)  against Carolina, and ranks 3rd in the NHL for points against the Canes. If AO can get the offense rolling against our young defensemen, the Canes could be in trouble. Back checking from the forwards against this top 6 of Washington will be key to stopping the quick transition game that AO loves to play with to get space for creativity.

Statement time!



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On 1/21/2017 at 10:27 AM, lightsout said:

He has been a top 10 goalie this season, and I'm sorry but that isn't just dumb luck. The guy has also started a ton of games and I don't think starting him was the right call last night anyway. Cam had a few saves that were tremendous last night.

Top 10 goalie? No freakin' way. His save percentage is 34th in the league. That is terrible for someone who sees the type of shots he sees thanks to this defense.  27th in GAA, again...bad. Second in goals against only to Cam Talbot (by one).

Now you can make the argument that due to the number of starts his stats are skewed but save percentage doesn't lie. Now no one expected Cam to be a winning goalie (and I still don't think he is) but he can't be depended on like someone would hope. Time to move on from him. Even if that means keeping Eddie Lack around.

As for Alex, he's still two or three years away. His quickness is undeniable but he lets in the same soft goals that Cam does.

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