warning signs canes weekly

Warning signs: Canes Weekly [02/10/2018]

The Carolina Hurricanes experienced a difficult week from the top down. It seemed as if the Canes had lost their shot at the playoffs within the week’s time.

However, nothing could be further from the truth as the Canes are one point from a playoff position.

Can’t score, can’t win

warning signs canes weekly

(Photo by James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

In three straight games this past week against Detroit, San Jose and Philadelphia, the Canes struggles to score. The team scored just three goals in those three games before scoring four against Vancouver. (one in each since Friday). You cannot win games if you do not score goals (see The “goal” of making the playoffs).

Now the Caniacs are calling for the players’ heads, but honestly, when do they not? Of course the fans want to see goals, but more than goals, they want to see consistency in wins. The Hurricanes have to find ways to put the puck in the net with the players they have.

The team has scored 141 goals in 54 games for a 2.61 goals-per-game average this season. Those stats are good for 25th in the league. Thus, the Canes need someone to step up on the front end.

#Redvolution

warning signs canes weekly

(Photo from nhl.com/hurricanes)

The Hurricanes are known for asking their fans to join the #Redvolution. Yet, there are many fans that are more contaminating than anything else.

Yes, hold the players accountable and give your opinions, but more fans need to be “Caniac Fanatics” than critics. Express some passion and enthusiasm for the team. No one enjoys playing in front of the “haters.” Hence, why home-ice advantage is so important in many cases.

In 2006, the Canes rode the passion of North Carolina to the Cup. When the fan base is present in full, the PNC Arena can be one of the hardest places to play. This team has struggled through a tough week and would love nothing more than a welcoming cheer from their fans.

Has the panic button been pressed?

Coming off three straight wins, the Canes entered the second half of a back-to-back against the Detroit Red Wings. Losing 4 – 1 was tough, but panic set in after a tough loss to the talented San Jose Sharks. Things have unfolded since then, something that may possibly become the turning point in the season.

In reaction to the loss, coach Bill Peters commented, “There are at least three that can go in, and if it’s not those three, there’s a group down in Charlotte, too. You can’t put that group out again after that.”

Not much of a confidence-booster. Of course, Peters might have a right to be upset, but respect the team that has placed you in position for the playoffs.

warning signs canes weekly

(Photo from Getty Images)

Considering the rough start to the season for goalie Scott Darling, this team has played well. That being said, general manager Ron Francis sent fourth line staples, Josh Jooris and Marcus Kruger to their AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers. Thankfully, the two cleared waivers and the Canes will retain their contracts. Both of these players are not goal-scorers, but are solid fourth line guys who can kill penalties and play tough minutes.

Kruger was a part of two Stanley Cup Championships with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015. This is experience that the Hurricanes need down the stretch of the season. Sending down Jooris is more reasonable, but he is still a player that has played hard and well in the few minutes and games he has been given.

Response time

Whether or not Peters and Francis have caused a panic attack, the players must continue to push for the playoffs. How will they react? Will they be a resilient bunch, or will everything come crashing down? The next few games are critical for this team.

 

Featured image from NHL.com/hurricanes.

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warning signs canes weekly

Warning signs: Canes Weekly [02/03/2018]

The Carolina Hurricanes are in quite the usual position at this point in the season. Coming in a few points short of a playoff position, it will be another nail-biter for the “Caniacs.” Year after year since 2009, the Canes have struggled to contend.

Playoff Hopes

It has been nine seasons since the Hurricanes last made it into the playoffs, doing so in the 2008-09 season led by Eric Staal and Cam Ward. With Staal now leading the Minnesota Wild, the Canes look to a familiar face in Ward.

Goaltending Struggles

With general manager Ron Francis signing Scott Darling to a four-year, $16.6 million contract, it looked like the Canes had found their No. 1 goaltender.

However, Darling got off to a rocky start with some weak goals and inconsistent play. This opened the door for Ward, who has performed well enough to take over the starting role.

Still, neither seems to be the kind of No. 1 goaltender a playoff team needs to this point. Darling has a save percentage of .892 and a goals-against average of 3.06. Ward boasts better numbers at .910 and 2.67 respectively. They have two combined shutouts the whole season (both by Ward).

On Thursday night, Ward played well and earned his second shutout of the year. One of these two will need to step up to the challenge in order for the Canes to reach the playoffs.

Don’t hate the TSA

Carolina Hurricanes Canes weekly

(Photo from FoxSports)

If Carolina is going to make their way into the playoffs, TSA will have to lead the offense. Carolina’s top line consists of Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho.

In the month of January, TSA has been involved in 19 of the 33 goals scored. 14 of those 19 goals were scored by Staal, Teravainen or Aho. When one of these three players records a point, the Hurricanes are 5-3-1 to start 2018. Two of those three losses were given by the top teams in the East, the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning. The other was a heartbreaker to the respectable Washington Capitals with two seconds left in the third.

In seven of these nine games, the Canes have scored three or more goals. These two FINs and a CAN have to put up points for Carolina to succeed. TSA put up 29 points through 12 games in January.

Peters’ opportunity to establish himself

Bill Peters’ fourth year as head coach of the Hurricanes presents an opportunity he needs to take advantage of. The Canes don’t have the roster of a serious contender, but they have stuck around.

Peters’ puck-possession system is a great match for the Hurricanes because of their defensive core. However, his often-questionable lineup changes from period to period sometimes make things worse. The players thrive off chemistry, playing together night after night.

Peters has been trying to find the first line, but all the changes might be hurting the team more than helping. Peters committed to his lines for the first two games since the break and the team has won both.

If Peters can coach his team into the playoffs, it will have a lasting impact on his Hurricane legacy. First, he must find a way to deal without a the first line center this team so desperately needs.

Tom Dundon

Carolina Hurricanes Canes weekly

(Photo from NHL.com/hurricanes)

The new owner of the Hurricanes has stepped in and already made some changes. In his short tenure with the Canes, Dundon has made an impression on the fans.

There are many who are excited with what Dundon has already done with fan experience. He has allowed fans to move down to the lower bowl, incorporated the Whalers and improved in-game audio and video.

There are a few season ticket holders who are upset because they are paying more for lower bowl tickets then those who get to move down. Yet, most fans are happy to have changes in the organization.

Recently Dundon offered fans at the Backyard Brawl lower bowl tickets for five dollars, something unheard of in professional sports these days. Dundon is truly trying to change the fan experience and support for the team. He is a welcome change for most Caniacs.

With Dundon taking over new ownership, the roster being young and filled with talent and fans more excited than ever, the Canes might be on their way to becoming an elite team in the NHL. This is an opportunity that needs to be taken as the market may decline should the Canes continue to lose.

 

 

Featured image from NHL.com/hurricanes.

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