Where is the light at the end of this tunnel? If the Carolina Hurricanes look hard enough, they will find it.
There have been better weeks to be a Carolina Hurricanes fan. Just a few weeks removed from being a legitimate playoff contender, all hopes of the postseason seem to be lost. But fear not Caniac Nation, there may just be some help on the way.
The first wave of relief comes in the form of this weekend. The 2017 NHL All-Star Game is in Los Angeles this weekend and it could not have come at a better time for the Canes. While Justin Faulk enjoys himself in Hollywood (whether or not he deserves that is a whole other question), the rest of the team will be taking time off to regroup.
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The inclusion of Faulk in the All-Star Game might be a blessing in disguise. The now 3 time all-star was a controversial pick as he has not been the team’s best player this season. However, with him going this weekend, it gives guys like Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, and Jaccob Slavin the chance to refocus and return to form.
It isn’t just the players who will use this time to relax and recuperate. One would also hope the coaching staff uses this weekend to draw up a new game plan for this team. The power play has been stagnant and the defense has been capitulating at very inopportune times. The All-Star should give the Canes some time to fix these pressing issues.
Secondly, the schedule for the Canes gets easier out the all-star break. First is a pivotal home game against the Flyers. Originally thought as a deciding game for the 8th seed in the East, now this game has become a must win for the Hurricanes. A win would give the Canes both confidence and allow them to gain on Philly.
That game is followed by a stretch that is includes Edmonton, Washington, Colorado, and the Islanders. The Oilers and the Caps present challenges, but the Avalanche and the Isles present the Canes with a great chance to rebound in February. It isn’t a super easy schedule, but it’s better than the back half of January.
Lastly, the Hurricanes can receive more long term help in the form of moves made before the trade deadline. As February approaches, talk of trades is only going to heat up. Given Carolina’s particular standing, it is going to be fascinating what types of moves Ron Francis might make. Will he pull the trigger on a massive name like Matt Duchene or will be make a few minor moves to add depth. Only time will tell.
The point is that this season is not lost just yet. With some work put in by the coaching staff this weekend, refocused players on the ice, and an easier schedule, the Hurricanes stand a chance of climbing out of the hole they’ve dug themselves into. We will find out on Tuesday against the Flyers.