Carolina Hurricanes: Cardiac Mail- Postseason Action

RALEIGH, NC - MAY 26: Eric Staal #12 and Erik Cole #26 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrate against the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Championship Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at RBC Center on May 26, 2009 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - MAY 26: Eric Staal #12 and Erik Cole #26 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrate against the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Championship Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at RBC Center on May 26, 2009 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

I got many good questions in this week’s Cardiac Mail. Many of you had very good questions when it comes to the postseason.

Now I know what a lot of you are going to say. “You can’t talk about the postseason! You might jinx it!” That is true. As I write this article I am surrounding myself with as many planks of 2x4s as I can find as well as more good luck charms than you can shake a rabbit’s foot at. I am also laying down some ground rules for myself.

While there are only ten days left in the NHL season, not a single team in the Metro division has successfully clinched a postseason berth. That includes the Carolina Hurricanes who are sitting at 91 points with six games to go. While many analysts and publications have the team at a very high chance of ending it’s nearly decade long postseason drought, I refuse to use the other “P” word in this article.

Now if you, the question asker, use it, I cannot be held responsible. But just to make sure we are covering all our bases, I am going to start with this excellent question from John about if things do not go our way in the last six games:

If the Carolina Hurricanes completely fall apart and fail to end the drought, this season will not be a total failure. It won’t even be a partial failure. In fact, I would go as far as to say this season has been a resounding success regardless of the outcomes of these final six games. There are more than a few reasons for that.

For one, this team has dragged itself back into relevancy. The battle cry has been “Take Warning” and by Jupiter this team has forced the entire league to do so. Noone wants to lose to this Carolina Hurricanes team, especially in PNC. Where they will hear it from their fans about how they allowed this team to perform yet another spotlight stealing Storm Surge.

While the Don Cherry fan club continue to whine about the Surge, the team has learned a lot about itself for the years to come. We have learned that Rod Brind’amour is an effective and respected NHL coach. We have learned that Andrei Svechnikov’s ceiling is almost limitless. Most of all we learned that the number one center we have been looking for has been under our noses the whole time.

It doesn’t end there, we figured out how to fix our goaltending curse thanks to some wizardry by Don Waddell. While the Scott Darling situation is something we still have to deal with, I discussed the possible courses of action in the last Cardiac Mail article. For now we learned that Don Waddell is a good GM.

So, regardless of what happens, this team is set to be competitive and successful for a long period of time. Now that I got the easy question out of the way, time to tackle a more difficult and jinxing one from Dan:

The short answer is “yes”. This is a team that has been crying out to the heavens to get into the postseason. For the last nine years the hockey gods have been scornful and simply whispered “no” down at us. If we can finally catch them napping or staring stunned at the outstanding record Tampa Bay has set and slip past them into a postseason berth, expect more than a few players to step up.

The first name that come to mind is Sebastian Aho. He has already proved himself as a center and a superstar in this league, the only thing that separates him from elite status is some postseason heroics. Expect him to hunger for some action this postseason as he slowly climbs the ranks of relevance and drags the rest of the team up with him.

Justin Williams is another man that comes to mind. This is a man that lives to step up in the big moments. You don’t get a nicknamed “Mr. Game Seven” without proving that you can step up in the big stage. The captain of the Carolina Hurricanes is exactly the person that will lead this team through thick and thin.

I can talk about every single team member on this team, because as I see it, there are no weak links in this armor. This is a team that can clash with the best of them. I will add one last player to the list. Calvin deHaan, although only signed this last summer, bleeds Carolina Red. “Mr. Social Media” has made it clear that he wants to win, and he wants to do it in Raleigh. And no, I am not just saying that because he follows us on twitter.

Now that I have stated that practically everyone who will suit up for any game for the Carolina Hurricanes past April 6th and before July 1st will step up big for the club, time to discuss what is possibly the most jinxing question today. Excuse me while I go knock on wood:

How far? As far as the offense can take them. In today’s NHL, it’s all about scoring goals. After all, all you have to do to win a game is to score more than the other set of guys. In all seriousness, this team is built for a deep run. No matter who we face, this is not a team that will lose four in a row. If this team is sitting in the right spot come the end of April 6th, There will be at least three games played at PNC Arena before it is all said and done.

Blown out eight to one in a game? No problem, come back the very next day on the road and beat good team five to three. Shutout by a hot goaltender? No qualms, again come back the very next day and manhandle a team that once managed to win ten games in a row. Defeated by the best team in the league that put  four goals on you in a single period? Easy peasy, go into a back to back weekend and come away with all four points.

This all happened this month. This is a team that does not give up. The Captain Marvel of teams, when it gets knocked down, it stands right back up and is somehow even stronger. This is a team that was just about down and out heading into a new years eve game. They have not looked back since. Why should it change in April?

I am going to answer one more question, this one not fully pertaining to the topic, just to take the jinxing powers down a notch. I like this question and want to bring it up as a good way to end this article:

I myself am an implant to NC. I haven’t discovered hockey until I moved down to NC, never having been interested in it when living in the big city of New York. There was something magical about it. Mind you, I have not seen a postseason game here in Carolina, so it wasn’t winning or any other tangible commodity that drew me to the Carolina Hurricanes. It was the fanbase.

The best thing about the Carolina Hurricanes is you, the fans. No matter how bad it got, no matter how long you have to wait, you are still here. Reading my articles, going to games, tailgating your hearts out, and creating a culture in PNC long before the surge was a twinkle in Justin Williams’s eye.

No matter how many times PNC Arena is invaded by fans of other teams who fill the arena and act obnoxious as their favorite team filled with brand name superstars but a beating on our beloved Carolina Hurricanes, you still stick to your well natured hospitality and culture. That’s why I knew that being a Carolina Hurricanes fan was right for me.

And slowly as that culture is resonated out to the rest of the league thanks to a good team and a good locker room culture that includes fun, there will be more implants out and around Carolina, who either never had an NHL team growing up, or never associated with it, who will come out and also fall in love with this team and their fans.

Carolina native or not, this team is the most welcoming in the league. So let’s fill up the bandwagons and head down the road. There could very well be more games waiting for us past he first week of April.

light. Related Story. What we learned from the loss to the Capitals

Question for CC readers: Who would you label as the MVP of this season?