11 games. A franchise record since moving to NC. Sadly we’re not talking about wins in this one either. 11 straight without a win, and something significant has to change.
I’d say start making trades with the presence that Sutter and Boychuk have brought in their first few games here, but Samson is the only one left in the AHL that I believe is NHL ready forward wise. Bowman needs the rest of the season, or at least until the deadline. Terry probably a 2nd full season in the A. None of the others (Dodge, Chaput, Blanchard) would have an offensive impact with the team.
But one change I would like to see made, one that I honestly feel could help out, is a move to get a new coach in. The one I’m proposing for now? A familiar face to those around this franchse. A former captain, a Whaler legend, and one of the members of the team upon its move to North Carolina, the original #11 for the Canes: Kevin Dineen.
Before anyone says I’ve lost it, here’s what he’s done as a head coach in the AHL since retiring as a player.
Record: 174-107-16-23, a franchise record winning percentage for the Portland Pirates even over current NHL head coach Barry Trotz.
Two appearances in the AHLs Eastern Conference Finals.
2005-06 Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Trophy winner (AHL Coach of the year)
If Mo Must Go (and I think he must, whether right now or after the season) then could there be any better story then Dineen taking a franchise that he was a key component of for years back from being laughing stock of the league to that team nobody wants to face in the playoffs?
While a lot of things have changed since the lockout, the Washington Capitals team of 2003-04 may be the best example of what to do with a veteran filled roster that is proving to be far less then the sum of its parts.
On paper, the Capitals of 2003-04 should very well have been a playoff team. Names like Robert Lang, Sergei Gonchar, Jeff Halpern, Jaromir Jagr, Peter Bondra, Dainius Zubrus, Mike Grier, Brendan Witt and Olaf Kolzig were the backbone of a team that just the year before had finished 2nd in the division. But the year before they had narrowly missed the playoffs and the team was looking to be at a crossroads.
So what happened? Well, simply put, management decided to “blow it up”.
Peter Bondra: traded on February 18th 2004 to Ottawa for Brooks Laich and Ottawa’s 2nd in 2004.
Robert Lang: traded on February 27th 2004 to Detroit for Tomas Fleischman, Detroit’s 1st in 2004 and a 4th round pick in 2006.
Sergei Gonchar: traded on March 3rd 2004 to Boston for Shaonne Morrisonn, Boston’s 1st in 2004 and 2nd in 2004.
Mike Grier: traded on March 9th 2004 to Buffalo for Jakub Klepis
Brendan Witt: traded on March 9th 2006 to Nashville for Nashville’s 1st in 2006.
what the Caps got as a result of their trades and ineptitude over that 3 year stretch?
Alexander Ovechkin (#1OA in 2004)
Jeff Schultz (#27OA in 2004) via Boston’s 1st
Mike Green (#29OA in 2004) via Detroit’s 1st
Chris Bourque (#33OA in 2004)
Mikhail Yunkov (#62OA in 2004) via Boston’s 2nd
Sami Lepisto (#66OA in 2004)
Nicklas Backstrom (#4OA in 2006)
Semyon Varlamov (#23OA in 2006) via Nashville’s 1st
Michal Neuvirth (#34OA in 2006)
So for two actual seasons of ineptitude they essentially were able to draft the majority of their core that isn’t named Alexander Semin. Bourque has since been picked up on waivers and Yunkov has yet to sniff the NHL, but Ovechkin, Green, Backstrom, Schultz and Varlamov are among their core players. Lepisto and Neuvirth are also both highly touted players and will likely be contributors down the road.
Now why do I bring this up? Because right now we have a Carolina Hurricanes team that is FAR less then the sum of its parts. But we also have some impending UFAs that could bring in some serious return at the deadline over the next year or so. Ray Whitney, Matt Cullen, Scott Walker, Joe Corvo, Aaron Ward and Niclas Wallin are all coming off the books after this season. With the exceptions of Walker and Wallin all are players that could bring significant return at the trade deadline.
With the strength of this years draft, especially on the wings as that is one area the Canes need the most help, it would be stupidity not to take advantage of the situation. Names such as Taylor Hall, Cam Fowler, John McFarland, Vladimir Tarasenko and Kirill Kabanov are already well know around hockey circles. But there are other excellent prospects in the top 15 such as Tyler Seguin, Brandon Gormley, Mikael Granlund, Erik Gudbranson, John Merrill and Alex Burmistrov that I am very high on this season. That’s not to say that GMs will be willing to overpay to the same extent that they did for the Caps players in 2004. But they also might be willing to pay more then a lot of people think for our impending UFAs for a shot at the cup. Lest we forget the examples from the past of Adam Foote going back to Colorado, Tkachuk to Atlanta and our very own acquisition of Doug Weight. All veteran players with plenty of post season experience and performance history… although Tkachuk is still confusing on that one years later. Here’s how I think our guys could play out value wise:
Ray Whitney: Mid to late first. Possible late 2nd-mid 3rd round pick or prospect as well depending on the team trading for him and the prices at the deadline.
Matt Cullen: 2nd round pick, prospect
Aaron Ward: late 2nd round/early 3rd round pick
Scott Walker: 3rd round pick
Joe Corvo: the real wildcard of our bunch. He could be worth anywhere from a first plus to a 2nd rounder depending on the prices and need for an offensive defenseman at the deadline.
If we go through with this it could suck for a couple years to be a Caniac. Or we could outright do a Philly type turnaround and use the extra cap room this year to bring in a legit first line talent to go with what core we do have. The question is if JR wants to go through with it. But I think even JR realizes that the window for a championship with this core is over and that we have the perfect opportunity to go through an overhaul, due to impending UFAs, that we never have had shy of the post-lockout season. Personally I’d keep the following roster regulars: Eric Staal, Jussi Jokinen, Tuomo Ruutu, Joni Pitkanen, Tim Gleason, Cam Ward, Chad LaRose, Andrew Alberts
I’d be quite happy with a core that looks like this in 2-3 years, even if it does mean the pains of an actual rebuild:
Zac Boychuk-Eric Staal-Tyler Seguin
Drayson Bowman-Maxim Kitsyn-Tuomo Ruutu
Jussi Jokinen-Brandon Sutter-Chad LaRose
Nic Blanchard-Stefan Chaput-Nick Dodge
Joni Pitkanen-Tim Gleason
Jamie McBain-Jarred Tinordi
Brett Carson-Andrew Alberts
ahhh to dream the impossible dream. Faster, younger and most definitely more exciting to watch then what we have out there right now. But of course knowing that, JR would never go for it. Of course, IMO he’s part of the problem, but we’re not getting rid of him until he decides to step down and we all know that.
But Mo Must Go next offseason, plain and simple. We need a REAL coach. Don’t get me wrong, Chairman Mo did a great job of getting a defensive system in place with a team where the forwards probably didn’t know the name of the backup goalie under Lavihockey. But frankly we need someone that actually knows what an offensive zone concept is, yet alone has one. Ted Nolan has crossed my mind, as have some people from the Dub such as Don Hay and Willie Desjardins. If you want a real blast from the past how about former Whalers great Kevin Dineen, who has won the AHLs coach of the year award. Just SOMEONE that knows what they’re doing offensively to go along with a new team.
But that’s probably too much to ask. And knowing my luck now that I’m outright advocating to blow it up they’ll turn it around just in time to get close enough to the playoff picture to keep us from going through with the rebuild just to miss out in the end. And that my friends would be the worst possible outcome for the season.
Yes, it is true, the Acid Queen herself is stepping down. But I will not let this blog die yet. I might not be posting nearly as often as she does but I should be adding some of my usual as we go throughout the season and will in fact be letting some of my opinions on other matters be more well known. I’ll also be live-blogging from the World Junior Championships in Saskatchewan this year, something that should add an interesting dynamic to this blog.
And I’ll go ahead an give a bit of a warning right now, my first blog post for this weekend is NOT going to be pretty. It will likely ruffle a few feathers of the eternal optimists out there. But it’s an opinion that I feel needs to be brought to the foray, which is frankly: this is worse then 2002-03 and it’s time, we’re going nowhere with this core.
You’ll see what I mean when I post it. And odds are if you’re a fan of this team with any hopes for this season, you’re not going to like it.
OK, so the TV schedule is out–and guess who’s NOT on it?
Personally, I don’t care. I’m sure that some Hurricanes fans somewhere are crying the butthurt fantastic, but honestly? We seem to do better when nobody is paying attention to us, so eff ‘em.
I mean, I’m just sayin’.
And the Hurricanes also agreed to terms on a 1-year contract with Stephane Yelle. I can live with it. He can’t score fer beans, but we need a fourth-line center. He’ll work fine for our purposes.
Of ALL the guys we could have drafted in the first round:
16) C/RW Landon Ferraro
17) RW Zach Budish
20) LW Carl Klingberg
21) C Drew Shore
23) LW Jeremy Morin
27) D Stefan Elliott
34) RW Alex Chiasson (no relation to Steve)
35) D Ryan Button
37) C Joonas Nattinen
38) D Charles-Olivier Roussel
39) C Ryan O’Reilly
40) RW Richard Panik
41) C Ethan Werek
42) D Dmitri Orlov
43) C Tomas Tatar
44) RW Toni Rajala
45) D Eric Gelinas
46) D Brayden McNabb
47) RW Josh Birkholz
48) C Alex Hutchings
49) C Jakob Silfverberg
50) D Seth Helgeson
We pick this dude:
WTF was the scouting staff smoking when they made that pick?? Did all 4 of them decide to gather ’round, light up a big blunt, and come to the collective conclusion that the solution to all of our size woes was some dude that everyone else figured was a second-rounder at best?? What are they going to do with this dude, give him a wand and tell him to go fight Voldemort? Maybe they got so stoned that they thought they were drafting for a Quidditch team instead of an NHL team.
The only team that was made of more fail than the Hurricanes on Day 1 of the Draft were the Hartfordelphia Whaleflyers. When that trade got announced, I had to ask myself if Homer was hitting the sauce again–all that for My Golden Bitch?? Really?? Really?? 2 first-rounders, a conditional 3rd-rounder, AND two good young players?? For Pronger?? If I’m a Pflyers fan, I’m getting out the cans of gas and the matches and preparing to immolate myself in front of the Walk-Over-Ya Center because…damn.
p.s. TSN’s trio of commentators can blow me for deciding to cut away from/talk over Ron Francis when he announced our pick. I mean, I get that they figured “eh, it’s the Hurricanes, they’ll just blow it anyway”–but really. You asshats could have STFU and let Ronnie announce the pick.? I mean, I’m just sayin’.
Can’t wait to see how they blow it on Day 2. Somebody pass me a Mojito…or ten.
10 years ago yesterday, I got in to my job in one of the function-test labs at IBM. I had sat down and was getting ready to go grab a drink before settling in to writing down some thoughts about the playoff series that had just ended for the ‘Canes, when one of my co-workers came over and said “Did you hear the news?”
No, I said. What happened?
“Steve Chiasson died last night.”
I sat there gobsmacked. WHAT?!
“Yeah”, she said. “Go read The Penalty Box.”
I went and pulled up the board (at that time the most highly-trafficked Canes board on the Net)–first thing I saw was “Chiasson dead in single-vehicle accident”.
On our lunch break, my co-worker and I tried to find a place near IBM that was showing the press conference–no luck. So we had to settle for posts from other TPB readers filling us in on the presser and what was said, and what little was printed by the N&O about the accident and what was being discussed on 850 the Buzz–then the only sports radio station in town.
Mike Solarte was in tears on his morning show. He knew all the guys on the team, so to him it was like losing a member of the family. He was doing all he could to keep from breaking down sobbing on the air, and he even mentioned that alcohol may have been a factor. In the lab, the mode was very somber; all the other testers came around to offer their condolences. We were crushed and a little numb.
And we got to listen to Adam Gold blasting Chiasson as a worthless drunk because Chaser made the awful decision to duck his teammates (who were trying to call him a cab), steal his keys back, and drive home before anyone could stop him. Gold denies it now, but no ‘Canes fan who heard his nastiness back then (when the Buzz gave the Hurricanes short shrift and only Solarte spoke well of them on a regular basis) will forget it. Any fan that took issue with Gold’s remarks were insulted on-air and hung up on. Anyone that sent him an e-mail received a patronizing reply that amounted to “he deserved what he got”.
It was a nightmare; we were all angry that Chaser had decided to drive while intoxicated, but at the same time we were sad that he was gone and grateful that nobody else was hurt or injured. There are still some that refuse to hear anything good about Steve Chiasson, and continue to deride his memory and cry about the Hurricanes’ Steve Chiasson Award as somehow “glorifying” irresponsible behaviour; the rest of us–and the Hurricanes–choose to remember the whole man and honour his memory while reminding others of the final lessons Steve taught us:
Whether you are celebrating or drowning your sorrows, be responsible: take a cab or have a designated driver, and always wear your seat belt.
Hail, Steve. We miss you.
Game 1, 2nd round is tonight. If I said I wasn’t at least a little worried about this game, I’d be lying my ass off.
A Liveblog will be up for Game 2 on Sunday. Feel free to come and join the fun, and I’ll have some Versus schwag for a few lucky peeps.
….this slightly mopey and sad post all set to go, when The One Who Will Be scored the series-winner.
I’m still kind of speechless right now, so I’m just going to leave you with the immortal Svend Karlsen:
I finally manage to have some time (new job has been exciting so far, but it takes all my time)…and the Hurricanes decide to bring a huge step BACKWARD and bring back Paul bloody Maurice.
And I’ve started smoking again. Don’t tell my doctor.
The Canes came out with vengance on their mind after the season ending loss only months before. Instead they fell into a 2-0 hole to start the first thanks to an old friend. But the Canes were resiliant and kept at it. After a powerplay goal by Ruutu and a dazzling move by Whitney near the end of the first the Canes have all the momentum. Brindy would put them up 3-2 but would be answered a few minutes later by Dvorak. Joni was being Joni again tonight and put the home team up to stay with just over 5 to play in the 2nd. Despite a late comeback attempt and some, shall I say “questionable” calls, the Canes stood solid and emerged victorious 6 to 4.
So here’s some thoughts on the game. Defense:
Pitkanen – Gleason was solid, real solid. They compliment eachother extremely well and very well might be the best top pairing in the southeast. Dare I say it they could very well be among the top 2 or 3 #1 pairings in the east when all is said and done if they can carry this play over to future games. But they weren’t the only ones doing their part from the blueline. Frank Kaberle was back in fashion tonight and after doing the matador routine on the Panthers first goal had an otherwise solid night. Corvo didn’t produce but he didn’t look bad by any meens either despite his -2 so that’s a wash to me, he should put up the numbers this year regardless. Seidenberg impressed looking like he really wants to be a part of the Canes long-term plans and he deserved the 21+ minutes of ice time he got. Fantastic feed by him on the powerplay to Ruutu. Wallin was also a very pleasant surprise making the nicest play I’ve seen him make since the 05-06 playoffs to set up Lacouture for his first Hurricanes goal.
The Staal line was dominant despite Eric not ending up on the scoresheet. He was dangerous all night, Whitney is still the Wizzard and Eaves looks like he could easily have a breakout season alongside those two. The Brind’Amour line was not at its strongest even strength but they more then made up for that on the powerplay contributing both goals. Ruutu showed some glimpses of why he was considered the best prospect in hockey a few times tonight. The Cullen line was alright, shut down the Panthers forwards and pestered their D all night but didn’t produce until an empty netter at the end. The line that impressed me the most was actually Brookbank-Sutter-Lacouture. Generated a lot of action in front of Vokoun and the end result was a goal for Lacouture and Brandon’s first NHL point.
This powerplay is lethal, period. The Pitkanen-Corvo setup on the point will generate more then it won’t and having the Brind’Amour setup with what looked like a resurgent Kaberle on the 2nd unit ensured that if the Panthers focused on stopping the 1st unit they would get burnt in the end. It happened, twice.
The PK… I’m still not sold on. It should improve over last season by simple law of averages, but there were only 3 players iced tonight that I would consider putting on a PK with Gleason, Wallin and Seidenberg. That said, the Canes new attacking attitude with the forwards will pay off and ensure that the PK improves. Sutter especially was impressive there, this kid has Selke written all over him, just such a cerebral defensive player at such a young age.
Dave’s 3 stars:
3 – Ray Whitney
2 – The Pitkanen-Gleason pairing… yeah I know it’s a copout, so sue me
1 – Brandon Sutter
In a previous post, I questioned (in a roundabout manner) the wisdom of the Hurricanes’ training staff in being so super-aggressive when it comes to rehab.
IF–and this is a large if, of course–TSN’s Darren Dreger is to be believed, Jim Rutherford has asked Pete Friesen and his crew to go in pretty much the opposite direction.
Actually, check that. He’s asked for a different direction, rather than a full-on reverse:
Rutherford’s frustration with injury peaked last month when Hurricanes forward Justin Williams suffered a ruptured achilles tendon while participating in a run.
Williams, who sat out much of last season with a serious knee injury could miss six months with his latest setback.
Rutherford has seen enough and has challenged Pete Friesen, his longtime trainer and strength and conditioning coach to research a training program that is designed for individual athletes and not the team as a larger group.
(boldface courtesy of a poster on hfboards’ Hurricanes forum–where you can still take issue at Dwayne-o and get away with it)
The Anti-Luke quotes the following from JimR:
“I’ve given my opinion cautiously the last few years, because it’s a long way from my expertise,” Rutherford said. “But with the amount of injuries we’ve had, we have to do something different. There’s some reason we’ve had so many and it’s not coincidence.
“I’m not saying don’t train. But in my opinion, athletes today may over-train. There have been a lot more injuries in the past decade, especially in hockey.”
Of course he’s not saying “don’t train”. He’d be foolish to say that. But it’ll be interesting to see how Pete responds to the challenge.
Powered by ScribeFire.
I apologize for the paucity of entries in this space. My current job is entering its final month, and I’ve been focusing on getting all the loose ends tied up. I’ve also been mourning Merlin, who died two weeks ago after a hard fight with intestinal cancer. So I haven’t really felt like doing much of anything here.
But today, I do have a couple things that I want to rap about–we’ll start with Jeff O’Neill, who came to the conclusion on Sunday that his heart just wasn’t in it anymore and ended his comeback try with the Hurricanes. That he took the initiative and went to management spoke volumes about how much he’s matured since he got semi-quietly shuffled out of town back in 2005. It surprised even me that he was the one who decided that it was over.
That wasn’t the Jeff O’Neill I once knew, the arrogant and underachieving bon vivant who was all full of braggadocio and (when Chairman Mo pissed him off or a fan pestered him while he was out on the town with his buddies) bile, who gave his best years and most dazzling performances to the Hurricanes (and for that, he has my undying gratitude–I admit, I was one of the nuts that wore shiner makeup during the 02 ECF).
He’d become a new Jeff O’Neill during his time away from the game. Older, of course; but, as Sunday’s post-game events showed, wiser and more self-aware. It even surprised me. He came to the conclusion that he wasn’t ready to come back to The Show. Not now, of course–maybe never again. But he’s got my respect for being able to say “Enough” and walk away with his dignity intact, and I wish him well whether he plays hockey again or not. Thanks for the memories, O.
Next, I want to address Don Cherry’s harping (once again) on European players. Grapes said, in a conference call, that he wanted to see the NHL expand to Europe so that all the European players would just stay there. A caller to NHL Live today called it racism–which in my opinion is being a little overly dramatic. Don Cherry’s moronic ranting that European players are “soft” and “useless” is like when Rush Limbaugh said that Donovan McNabb was massively hyped only because the media wanted a successful black quarterback: it’s just plain stupid and grossly uninformed.
So, this begs the question: What differentiates European players from North American players? What makes Europeans somehow “worse” than North Americans? Their birthplace? Their parentage (or, more specifically, whether or not those parents are second-or-third-generation citizens of the US or Canada)? What? Could somebody please explain it to me?
Here’s a quiz:
A player gets massive hype before the draft in which he’s taken. His scouting report read in part:
“He is a superb skater with excellent acceleration and he’s creative with the puck. He has an outstanding touch around the net and I’d say he has excellent overall skill level and excellent hockey sense. He has a superb attitude. He’s a finesse player, but does not mind playing physical. He can hit and take a hit. And he’s a leader on and off the ice and a gentleman in private. He has all the tools needed to become a superstar.”
Is he European, or North American?
Another player’s pro scouting report reads in part:
“His combination of speed, skill and size makes him very hard to contain. Knows how to find the back of the net and also possesses outstanding defensive skills. Is vulnerable in highly physical contests.”
Is he European, or North American?
A third player, when asked what he had to do to stay in shape for hockey, said:
“A month before the season I stop putting ketchup on my french fries.”
Is he European, or North American?
And then there’s the guy who was so amazingly talented and so fawned over by the scouts that an NHL team deliberately tanked their season just so they could draft him with the first overall pick…and wound up looking holding the bag when their prize decided that all he had to do was just sit back and collect his fat paycheck. Clearly that kid must have been a Euro, because only a Euro would be such a slackard amirite?
Do you see what I’m getting at, folks?
Grapes is entertaining, sure–but he’s also living in the past and has enormous blinders on when he continually makes the claim that all European players are soft and refuse to hit while lauding North Americans (especially Canadians) as tough and skilled players; kinda like when Rush Limbaugh blithely ignored the accomplishments of Doug Williams and Steve McNair (both black QBs who fared pretty well in the NFL, especially Doug “Super Bowl Champ” Williams) when taking a potshot at Donovan McNabb. It’s all just one man trying to take his warped (and selective) perception and treat it as reality even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
(By the way, the players in question are Alex Ovechkin, Mike Modano, Mario Lemieux, and Alexandre Daigle.)
Powered by ScribeFire.
That thump-thump-thump sound you hear is me beating my head on the desk. The Warchief’s surgery I dig–he’s just getting the knee cleaned up.
Now, I can dig that we’re one of the best-conditioned teams in the NHL. It’s cool, it’s a badge of honour and all (I guess), but there comes a time when you have to go to the training staff and ask them “Dude, WTF?” Setting aside the flu that tore through the locker room last season, the ‘Canes are in injury trouble. Look at the man-games lost to serious injury in the last two seasons (608–not the ridonkulous amount that teams like the Islanders had, but still significant when you consider that it’s spread out over several guys rather than one or two), and you’re forced to wonder:
1) what the hell the training staff is huffing
2) whether or not Pete Friesen’s balls-out approach to conditioning is a good thing anymore.
The Hurricanes should look long and hard at Pete and his gang, and ask themselves if dudeman is still worth it.