Carolina Hurricanes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


The Carolina Hurricanes 2014-2015 regular season is now underway.  Already four games in,  the Canes currently hold a 0-2-2 record.  An injury-riddled start has made it tough to analyze the Hurricanes play, but there has been plenty of good, bad, and ugly parts to their game.

The Good

Power Play:  The power play of the Carolina Hurricanes has noticeably improved since Bill Peters took over the head coaching position.  It’s been very encouraging to see fluid puck movement, bodies in front of the net, and quick decision-making on the man advantage.  With a 33.33% conversion percentage, the Canes boast the 2nd best power play in the NHL thus far.

Riley Nash:  If there is one player that has looked good and stepped up to the plate with the amount of injuries on this team, it has to be Riley Nash.  He has looked quicker, stronger, and more responsible from the beginning, and has came up big for the Carolina Hurricanes who are missing their top two centers.  Nash leads the team in face-off percentage and is also tied for the team high in assists with 2.  If Nash can be consistently strong, he could be a solid third line center for the rest of the season.

Tim Gleason:  I must admit I was originally very pessimistic when the Hurricanes decided to bring back veteran defenseman, Tim Gleason, but his play has opened my eyes.  Gleason is once again displaying the physical edge and defensive awareness he had a few years ago when he was on the team’s top defensive pairing.  Gleason is well past his prime and has settled into a bottom four defensive role, but he has provided much needed leadership on the ice and has not made many mistakes so far.

Young Guys:  With the injuries to Jordan Staal, Eric Staal, and Jeff Skinner, a lot of younger guys have gotten the opportunity to step up with the big club and play big minutes.  Players such as Victor Rask, Chris Terry, and Zach Boychuk have taken advantage of this situation with their solid play.  Rask is logging first and second line minutes, being the Canes top center at the moment.  He hasn’t factored in a lot offensively, but he has had great defensive play and is solid in the face-off circle.  Meanwhile, Chris Terry leads the Canes in goals (3) and points (4) in four games.  That’s not a typo.  Chris Terry is putting up points on a team that is missing their top 3 offensive players.  Hopefully this continues when Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner return to the lineup.

The Bad

Defensive Play:  I have not been impressed with the Canes play in their own end thus far.  They don’t seem to be better in regards to turning the puck over and not being able to get the puck out of their zone.  The defensive play has remained pretty sloppy and vulnerable, but hopefully this will get better as the season progresses.

Alexander Semin:  If there was one guy you hoped would step up in the absence of the Staals and Skinner, it was Alex Semin.  Unfortunately, Semin has been pretty awful for the first few games with only 2 assists.  He has turned the puck over repeatedly in all three zones, missed the net on the majority of shots, and really has not been a factor in each game.  Semin continues to show he is a streaky, inconsistent player, but he is capable of getting hot at any moment.

Shootouts:  I don’t know what it is, but the Carolina Hurricanes just don’t win in shootouts.  Even when Cam Ward shuts the door to round 8, the Canes can’t seem to score and get the two points.  I can’t stand watching the Canes “skate in and shoot the puck quickly without any dekes” approach.  I’ll take the point, but losing shootouts is the difference between a playoff spot and an early end to the year.

The Ugly

Cam Ward:  If anyone thought Cam Ward would have a rebound year, they were quickly proved wrong in the first game of the year.  Cam does not look any better than last year and continues to struggle in between the pipes.  He is noticeably slower with his side-to-side movement and can’t help but let up at least one bad goal a game.  The only positive note on this is that Anton Khudobin looked sharp against the Rangers, and hopefully he can take control of the starting goalie slot.  Cam Ward is done.

Penalty Kill:  The Hurricanes have been horrible on the penalty kill so far this year.  It cost them both games against the New York Islanders and will continue to be a major factor in regards to their record.  It has looked way too easy for the opponent when they are on the power play, as the Canes just seem disorganized and uncommitted on the kill.  I’m confident the team will turn this around and become better when down a man.

The Hurricanes are in the midst of a crucial road trip and can hopefully come away with a few wins.  With the expected returns of Andrej Sekera, Jeff Skinner, Nathan Gerbe, and Eric Staal, the Canes will get a much needed boost in their lineup.  Let’s hope for a good rest of October.  Go Canes!