Greeting Caniacs! It is great to be back from a long restful vacation. A lot has happened in the past few weeks in the Canes organization. The Biggest news to come out of Raleigh, in my opinion, has to be the contract extension (six years at more than $34 million dollars) that was given to Jeff Skinner. He is clearly the future of the organization. Having Skinner keeps most female hockey fans at ease for at least the next six years or so too. Let’s face it, the kid is not only a tremendous hockey player but he is also a heart throb to a lot of hockey fans young and old. The contract extension given to Skinner, as well as Jay Harrison getting a new deal and the one year contract that Alexander Semin received, proves that the Canes front office is committed to winning and winning now.
So is there anything else Jim Rutherford and the boys need to address? I still feel we need to get a little grittier, specifically on the blue line. Offensively Jordan Staal will bring his gritty game every day to the rink but the grit I feel we need is on the other side of the blue line. Although I like the chemistry of the defense, I sure would like to see a guy with a little orneriness to his game. Truth be told, in the past couple of years a majority of teams have had their way with the Canes especially offensively. Things could have been a lot worse had it not been for Cam Ward’s solid performance day in and day out. Now the Canes do have physical defensemen in Jay Harrison and Tim Gleason, as well as last year’s rookie defensemen Justin Faulk. Something still tells me that with all that offensive fire power that the Canes suddenly have at their disposal, other teams are going to be playing a little more aggressive against the Canes. I am not saying that the Canes need to go get a player that will just go out there and drop their gloves every night if the need be but somebody will have to step up in that role from time to time when the Canes offense starts rolling.
It is hard to believe that there are only 48 days until the Hurricanes first preseason game in Columbus on September 26th. The only thing in the way now is the dreadful Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations between the NHLPA and the owners that are still ongoing. I am sure the negotiations will continue to slowly drag along throughout the dog days of summer. There has been a lot to talk about around the water cooler, if you are a Canes fan, between the trade that occurred as well as the free agent signings along with the contract extensions that have been given to a couple of key players to the Canes franchise. All of this in my opinion gives Caniacs a lot of hope this season…in a season of Redemption!!!
On Monday I will attempt to begin to break down the CBA and the effects it may have on the Hurricanes for the up and coming season. Until then Caniacs, enjoy another beautiful North Carolina weekend. Don’t forget to check back next week to get my latest analysis regarding our Canes.