The Carolina Hurricanes goal crease has been an issue all season on the ice, but right now its cause for concern off of it.
Cam Ward and Eddie Lack have both had their struggles this season. Both have abysmal save percentages and are arguably responsible for the Carolina Hurricanes missing out on the postseason. However, the fact that their Head Coach Bill Peters is playing favorites undermines both goaltenders and the entire team as well.
This whole debacle started earlier this month when Bill Peters let loose some choice words about Eddie Lack to the media. It was an uncharacteristic move by a coach who, up until then, was considered classy and stoic.
In response, Eddie Lack turned the corner. His season has completely changed course as he posted a .945 save percentage in his last 4 starts. Three of those starts resulted in wins. We have documented Lack’s return to form in an earlier article.
More from Editorials
- The Next Captain in Carolina
- I Have But Three Questions About This Season, And No Answers
- After a Career Year, Jesperi Kotkaniemi Will Need to be Even Better This Season
- Michael Bunting Will Bring the Right Balance of Scoring and Grit to Raleigh
- BBQ And Hockey. A Match Made Only In North Carolina
Ward Doesn’t Cut It
Over that same stretch, Cam Ward has started 6 games. He has also led his team to 3 wins, and has secured a point in every start he’s made. Pretty good all things considered. However, the issue lies here. Ward’s save percentage .905 in those 6 games, which is equitable to his season average.
Tied into this is the hard to quantify idea of ‘timely saves’, which I will now attempt to somewhat quantify. In those 3 overtime loses Ward has, he has faced only 4 total shots. Meaning he has 1 save in the last three overtimes he has been a part of. Sure its 3v3 and its quite possible Lack wouldn’t have made the save either, but a .250 in 3 overtime periods this month is straight up bad.
Ward might have helped the Carolina Hurricanes collect 9 points from his 6 starts, but that wasn’t really on him. In the 3 games he did win, he got loads of help from his offense. Carolina scored 16 goals in those Ward wins, including putting 8 past the Islanders. With that type of run support, its easy to get wins in net. Compare that to Eddie Lack who has had to put the team on his back more often. In his 4 starts since Peters’ motivating speech, Lack has only received 10 goals from his team.
Even though the Canes are winning with Ward between the pipes, Ward is being helped significantly by his offense. That simply won’t last. Once the anomaly goes away, Ward’s numbers simply do not justify him as the starter. Eddie Lack’s do however. All of this begs the question, why does Bill Peters insist on starting Ward over Lack? Well, based off his recent comments, it seems that Peters is displaying some favoritism towards Ward.
Now this is a problem. Either Bill Peters can’t read numbers or he is ignoring them. But, we all know he can read numbers since his whole system is built on analytics. So, clearly he is playing favorites. This simply cannot fly.
When Bill Peters took the job in 2014, his biggest challenge was to combat effort level and performance. His solution was slashing ice time. Up until now, he has followed through. Even this season, he limited Lack’s ice time to due to poor performances. The difference now is that Peters actually called out his player on it rather than just keeping him out of the lineup.
More from Cardiac Cane
- 2023 Southeast Rookie Showcase: Takeaways from the Canes’ Strong Showing in Florida
- Week Two Coverage Of College Hockey In NC
- Derek Stepan Ends His On Ice Career As A Hurricane
- The Southeast Rookie Showcase Will Be a Good Look at Carolina’s Future
- Noesen Ready To Provide Depth For Canes
Instead of Lack lying down though, he worked incredibly hard. So much so that now not only is he good enough to play again, but, in all statistically measures, he has surpassed his competition. Based on coach Peters’ past claims and actions, Lack should be getting the looks over Ward. That has not happened.
Peters should be starting Lack based off any of his comments or actions as a coach before this month. Yet, for whatever reason, it seems that Bill Peters has abandoned this part of his coaching philosophy. That is unfair to Eddie Lack and that is unfair to the rest of the team. You cannot preach on thing and then act differently.
I am not saying that coach’s can’t have favorite players. It’s illogical to think that they don’t. However you can’t use favoritism as a metric to win games. It has worked for Peters this month, but it might not the next. It is detrimental to the team dynamic to have a certain philosophy and then ignore it for a certain player. You just can’t have it both ways.