warning signs canes weekly

Warning signs: Canes Weekly [02/17/2018]

A response to Peters was what the Hurricanes needed and it certainly looked as if though they did. However two tough losses to the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders have landed the team one point out of a playoff position. [Both the Devils and the Islanders now hold the Wild Card spots in the East.]  

Good wins and tough losses

The Carolina Hurricanes finished their fifth game in eight days Friday night with a 3-0 loss. Although an expectable outcome for a team playing two back-to-backs in a week, the Canes deserved more. Down 1-0 in the third, Jeff Skinner produced a much-needed goal. Under further review the play was ruled offside and the goal was discredited.

Throughout the game the Canes maintained high energy. Brock McGinn laid a big hit on Matthew Barzal in the first period to get the crowd into it. The Hurricanes held the shot advantage at 45-23. And best of all, Cam Ward once again showed that he wants to be the number one in Carolina.

Thursday night, Carolina took on New Jersey in a critical matchup, one that they wish they could have back. Suffering a 5-2 loss wasn’t what they were looking for. The most disappointing part unfortunately being that of Scott Darling.

In the three other games, the Canes delivered a response that both Peters and all Caniacs were looking for. Producing three or more goals in three straight games alongside very good goaltending play. The Canes even flexed their muscles against one of the best defensive teams in the league as they put up seven goals against the Los Angeles Kings.

Cam delivers and Darling quivers

Canes

(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHL via Getty Images)

A few short weeks ago the goaltending situation in Carolina was still up for grabs. That is no longer the case as Cam Ward has proven to

be the starter. Since the All-Star break Cam has allowed three or fewer goals in every game he has started. He recorded his second shutout of the season on February 1. Ward also posts a .938 save percentage and a 4-2-1 record since.

Meanwhile Darling has once again continued his streak of inconsistent play. Having played three games since the break Darling has allowed four or more goals twice. He posts a .878 save percentage and a 1-2-0 record. However, don’t write him off. Darling has the ability to play, but his confidence is at an all-time low. Given that Ward has earned the starting role, Darling may thrive as he once did with the Chicago Blackhawks.

McGinn for the win

Brock McGinn has been the fire and passion the Hurricanes have needed. He has truly stepped into a role that the Canes have longed for. He brings a physical presence that can rile up any crowd. Not to mention he has been producing points more often this season (10-11-21). McGinn has become a crowd favorite and rightfully so.

The most interesting man in the league

Jeff Skinner has continued to impress. Though he has not stayed with the same line at all this season (due to Bill Peters shake-up style), Skinner continues to make plays out of nothing. Skinner’s somewhat miraculous plays often carry this offense. When he is at his best (being creative) the Canes are usually right there as well. With one of the most interesting styles of hockey, Skinner possesses the ability to score at any moment.Just watch this… [CLICK HERE] 

 

Featured image from NHL.com/hurricanes.

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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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Dark Horses of the 2016 College Football Seasons

Team 1: This team is a pretty obvious pick but a team most people still overlooking. Rocky Top Tennessee Volunteers. They were a really good team in 2015 and is a team that is trending up. Tennessee has a pretty great backfield of Joshua Dobbs and Jalen Hurd. Those two players combined to find the end zone 40 times on offense. Their defense will return pretty much intake if juniors don’t leave early.  This is still the same Tennessee team that almost beat the SEC and National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide and on October 15, 2016 Bama will travel to Knoxville to revisit their rivalry.

Courtesy of, www.sports-logos-screensavers.com

Courtesy of, www.sports-logos-screensavers.com

As far as scheduling goes on paper Tennessee’s only real test is Bama. They play in the weakened SEC East with the departure of former Florida QB Will Grier and former Georgia head coach Mark Richt. But they do have to go to Athens to play the Bulldogs, so that could be a trap game. After the Oct. 15th game against Bama they will have a well deserved bye week and finish the season with Carolina at Williams-Brice, home to Tennessee Tech, Kentucky, and Missouri. They will finish the regular season in Nashville against Vandy on Nov. 29th.

As of January 13th, ESPN has the Vols ranked as the 17th ranked recruiting class for 2016.

The 2016 Vols are posed for great things, most likely a 11-1 regular season. It is very possible that the Vols could end the regular season undefeated. Because after the National Championship, Clemson, in a losing effort, showed the nation Nick Saban can not stop a good spread offense from scoring a bunch a points on his defenses. And with Dobbs and Hurd in the backfield they qualify as a good spread offense.

Team 2: This team was 8-5 in the 2015 season, but they are only remembered for a hellacious beating they took to the hands of Clemson. The 2015 Miami Hurricanes were actually a good team. They have one of the nation’s best signal callers in Brad Kaaya. He threw for 3238 yards, 15 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions. Miami also brings back their top rusher, Joseph Yearby, who ran for 1002 yards. Also Stacy Coley, their top receiving threat, just announced he is staying in school. Miami’s 2016 defense will be anchored by the linebacker crew that was blessed by fire in 2015. So Miami is returning their top three offensive weapons, all of their linebackers, and bring in new head coach Mark Richt. All Mark Richt needs is a good backfield and a weapon on the edge and he has that here in Miami

Courtesy of, www.sports-logos-screensavers.com

Courtesy of, www.sports-logos-screensavers.com

And as far as scheduling goes they have their toughest ACC game is at home against bitter rival Florida State. And they draw the short end of the straw having to go to Notre Dame on Oct. 29th, but they might have a bye week the week before that game since it looks like the school’s fall break is on the week of the 22nd. Just like Tennessee, Miami is trending up in the ACC Coastal, a division that is slowly trending down. They play the ACC’s three traditional road trap teams NC State, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech, but I really think this Miami team and this Miami coach wants to bring Miami back. And if he does not Warren Sapp will blast him on twitter. Here are some the tweets.

As of January 13th, ESPN has the Canes ranked as the 16th ranked recruiting class for 2016. And they are always on the radar to shake up National Signing Day.

This 2016 Miami seems different. It is very likely Miami can go through the regular season 11-1 or 10-2 but both records resulting in a trip to Charlotte for the ACC Championship against either Clemson or rival, Florida State.

Team 3: This team is really really a dark horse. Now unlike the other two teams this team is not championship ready, but this team will definitely get a great bowl game in 2016. They had a losing record but went out with a bang with a win over a rival on the road. The Texas Longhorns were a sub .500 team in 2016; they went 5-7. At one point in the season, Charlie Strong was on the verge of losing his job but with a season-ending win over Baylor he got to keep his job as HC. They return their dual-QB system of Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes. D’Onta Freeman, their top back is going to be in the backfield for them. On the outside, they are returning freshman John Hurt, their top receiver. The Texas defense is expected to bring back 8 starters on defense and will be lead by their strong defensive line.

Courtesy of, www.sports-logos-screensavers.com

Courtesy of, www.sports-logos-screensavers.com

The schedule is pack with some tough opponents like opening week against Notre Dame. Their notable home games are Notre Dame, TCU, and Baylor. Week 2 they have a game against UTEP, which to most is a tune-up before their trip to the West. They go to California to play the Golden Bears in week 3, have a week 4 bye, and then play Oklahoma State in Stillwater. They also have the pleasure of playing Texas Tech and Kansas State on the road. And don’t think I forgot about the Red River Rivalry against Oklahoma on October 8th. We all know Oklahoma didn’t forget the 2015 game.

As of January 13th, ESPN has the Longhorns ranked as the 33rd ranked recruiting class for 2016. And don’t expect Texas to finish outside the top 30 maybe even in the top 20.

Now I know I’m probably on a stranded island with the Texas love, but history tells us Texas can’t be down for long. Charlie Strong isn’t a loser, it is not Strong’s blood to be a loser for long. I might be a year too early on this train but I have feeling that Texas will be a team that can win 9 or 10 games.

Stats Courtesy: ESPN

*Team Schedules from FBSchedules.com