Carolina Hurricanes: Cardiac Mailbag: Playoffs in Carolina

RALEIGH, NC - APRIL 15:The Carolina Hurricanes skate back to the bench after a goal by Carolina Hurricanes left wing Warren Foegele (13) during the second period of the third game of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, April 15, 2019. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - APRIL 15:The Carolina Hurricanes skate back to the bench after a goal by Carolina Hurricanes left wing Warren Foegele (13) during the second period of the third game of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, April 15, 2019. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes have made it a series defeating the Washington Capitals 5-0 in game 3 and looking to even things up in game 4. This week we look at what the team needs to do responding to the events of game 3.

The 5-0 victory in Carolina came at a heavy toll, The Carolina Hurricanes lost two excellent forwards in the shape of Andrei Svechnikov and Micheal Ferland. While ferland re-aggravated an old injury, Svechnikov’s injury was a bit more dramatic as we was knocked out by Alex Ovechkin in a huge fight.

We will get to the implications of all that later down the article. before we get to that lets take a moment to discuss the crowd at PNC Arena that night. For a team in a 0-2 hole in a best of seven series, experiencing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in little under a decade, the crowd showed up in the biggest form possible.

While the inside of PNC Arena was thundering with each of the five goals that the Carolina Hurricanes poured onto the Washington Capitals, the party started well before that. Nikos asks the question of what exactly is the atmosphere like in sunny North Carolina before a playoff game in April:

Tailgating is a staple of Carolina Sports. I’ve seen it everywhere, from the parking lots of PNC Arena in Raleigh, to the parking lots of Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, to the much smaller parking lots of Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville. As much as the folks here in the Carolinas love their sports team, they love the rituals that comes with watching them.

That includes chants in the parking lot, kids playing street hockey between the parked cars, massive flags waving everywhere, and the smell of delicious BBQ and other grilled foods floating through the air. If you have never experienced a Carolina Tailgate, do yourself a favor and come down to one.

If you are worried you aren’t invited, let me tell you right now, that you absolutely are. Tailgates such as the Section 328 Tailgate, which can be located in the east lot, will be more than welcoming to anyone who wishes to join. Bring a box of boberry biscuits or fried chicken and you just might make some new friends for life.

Now onto a more pressing and concerning question from Nikos about the state of Andrei Svechnikov and his budding unnecessary rivalry with Alex Ovechkin:

Absolutely not. If I am Andrei Svechnikov, I am training hard to get back on the ice and score some more goals for my team. I am steering clear and away from Ovechkin. I am going to let my scoresheet do all the talking. Think about it. What is more impressive? Getting into another fight or beating the Washington Capitals and finishing the series as the better Russian on the scoresheet?

Andrei Svechnikov learned a lot on Monday. He learned that he can’t score if he isn’t on the ice. He learned that being a good player puts a target on his back. He learned that he can’t be egged into a fight that can have him being helped into the locker room. The biggest lesson perhaps that he learned is that he shouldn’t meet his heros.

When Svechnikov returns in this series, something that looks hopeful, he will be a changed player. There is no doubt about it. What that change looks like can be for the better or the worse. He can either let this get to his head, no pun intended, and consume his thoughts for revenge, or he can return more mature, taking the lessons learned and applying himself to what he is good at: goal scoring.

Until then, the Carolina Hurricanes have turned to Patrick Brown, the Charlotte Checkers captain, to fill in a roster role for the injured forwards as he and Saku Maenalanen will most likely draw into the lineup tonight. Tony asks if there are any other forwards the team might call up from the AHL affiliate:

I know the answer that people want to get is Martin Necas. Unfortunately, the 20 year old Czech center will not be joining the Hurricanes until next season. While he is absolutely crushing it with the Checkers, Don Waddell has been playing the long game and ensuring he stays protected from the upcoming Seattle Expansion Draft.

So other than Patrick Brown, who has had several years going up and down between the Checkers and Hurricanes filling in limited roles, who else can help plug in offensive needs? Julien Gauthier has been a name that has been on my radar for a long time. The first round pick of the 2016 draft class for the Carolina Hurricanes has been developing well in Charlotte.

Gauthier has, in the two seasons with the Checkers, racked up 43 goals and 23 assists helping the Checkers to a playoff berth in both those seasons. This year he has only missed a single game for the Checkers and continues to provide a huge net  front presence.

His explosive power and strong work ethic makes him a shoe in for the next in line to come up from the forwards after Patrick Brown. While not as old as Brown, he has a very similar maturity and ability to learn and be coached. That is something that Rod Brind’amour is looking for in called up talent.

Hopefully that will not be necessary as both Svechnikov and Ferland heal up and become ready to play for perhaps game five on saturday, and if not, game six on monday. A good team can lean into its depth for a playoff run, but only when needed, these kids are better off getting the ice time and experience down in Charlotte as they make a run for the Calder Cup.

Now for what is perhaps the most fun questions in today’s slate:

Let’s start with a little known fact about Taylor Swift. She has a signed Jeff Skinner jersey given to her by Jeff Skinner back in 2013. That said, I doubt she remember getting it, or where it is. Some say that is where the actual curse that has led to the Carolina Hurricanes missing the playoffs for almost a decade years comes from. It’s why the team, now without Jeff Skinner, have finally returned to the postseason.

Is there any truth to this curse? Maybe. The 2009 Stanley Cup champions Penguins presented Taylor with a Jersey as well, specifically, Max Talbot, Alex Goligoski, Tyler Kennedy and Jordan Staal. Only two of them still have NHL careers. She also once wore a leafs jersey. I will let that one sit on its own.

If I absolutely had to pick a song that personifies this team, the easy answer is “Shake it off”. They have shaken off a lot this season. Their players have been playing and their haters have been hating. It’s the story of their season, a team that has been playing well and creating controversy. Let hope the analogy end there. No need to get into heartbreaking just yet.

Must Read. Top Ten Playoff Moments in Hurricanes History. light

A big thanks to everyone who asked us questions this week. Do you want your Question answered in the next Mailbag? Simply use the Hashtag #CardiacMail on Twitter or post the question to our facebook page using the same Hashtag! Let’s go Canes!