The Carolina Hurricanes are a win away from going to the ECF in the first season back from their nine year hiatus from the playoffs. We answer your questions about the latest goings with the team.
When the Carolina Hurricanes don’t always make it to the playoffs, but when they do, they make it a deep run. The last time they did not make it to the conference finals when making the playoffs, the year was 2001. That was almost two decades ago. This season looks to continue that trend with the team only a single win from being one of four teams left that can lift the cup.
Should we be surprised? is this team a team of destiny like the one led by Rod Brind’amour in 2006? Just how far will this team chemistry and unorthodox yet effective management take this team?
The answers to all these questions will probably be found in the next 5-6 weeks as the rest of the playoffs play themselves out. For now I can answer some other questions that have popped up on our twitter using the #CardiacMail.
The first question comes from @fanofthecakes, who seems to enjoy having their cake and eating it too. And naturally its about the officiating around the second series:
This is the playoffs. Yes, that is not an acceptable answer. Yes, there perhaps should have been a boarding call on the play that has removed Trevor Van Riemsdyk from the game and out for the rest of the series and possibly more. But this is the playoffs and sometimes the officials have a habit of swallowing their whistles.
Is it the right answer? Absolutely not. A player got seriously hurt on that play and will need time to recover. Time he could be playing. But it was the answer we got. At the end it was all okay, because we are sitting on a nice comfy three game lead.
That is because the mentality of “next man up” has ridden well with this team. Rod Brind’amour has earned the loyalty and trust of the team. His confidence has become their confidence. No matter how many injuries the Carolina Hurricanes sustain they will still play a high level of hockey. So high that Rod is not rushing anyone back from injuries and giving them maximum time to heal.
Even Petr Mrazek, who will not dress tonight even after taking a couple of practices, will be given the time to return to 100%. Rod is a coach of the players, he will take care of them and they in turn will take care of him. At this point he can probably win this series with the Everblades roster.
When the players do come back from injuries, they return at full speed and full health, which allows them to play at full power. Which brings us to our next question from @MetalCaniacFan:
Both Andrei Svechnikov and Jordan Martinook came back into game 3 for their first ice time in the second round. Their impact was immediately felt. While they were both kept off the scoreboard, they were instrumental in shutting down the Islanders when they needed to be shutdown. That allowed them to keep the momentum and the lead.
Svechnikov admitted after the game that he was a little hesitant to take contact early in the game, but after a few hits, he realized that the extra time given to him by Rod allowed him to play the type of hard hitting game that he has grown into. That has lead to critical hits and closing of gaps that made it easier to sneak into North Korea than the Carolina zone.
Martinook also had some critical hits that helped separate the puck from the Islander offense and back into their defensive zone to keep the fore-check going. Without their contributions the final score of the game would have been different.
The defense also deserves a lot of credit. Even without TVR they managed to keep up the defensive tempo. With all the amazing right handed shots on the roster and in the pipeline, was it any wonder the Carolina Hurricanes managed to quickly rid themselves of Adam Fox‘s rights?
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Everyone. Each team is better off thanks to this trade. The Rangers will get an excellent prospect defender who will immediately fill in a serious gap in their blue line. With the second overall pick in upcoming draft, they are now only a few free agent moves away from being a real contender. Which drastically cuts down their rebuild time. This all relies on Fox being as advertised of course.
The Carolina Hurricanes add two more draft picks over the next two years. If Fox plays more than 30 games next season, and the fact that he just signed with the Rangers makes it look very possible, they will both be second rounders. Matched with the draft picks gained from the Jeff Skinner trade, Don Waddell has a lot of options to keep improving this team.
But how much more improvement can this team, with its excellent pipeline get? Marcel Tracy thinks we should just keep this roster forever:
As much as I wish we can keep this team frozen on ice and sent to the future to play every Carolina Hurricanes season for the rest of time, things will change. But we can always change them for the better. Waddell will continue to improve the roster. But unlike many other GMs he will do so working alongside Rod Brind’Amour to ensure that any new players fit the system and culture.
But a lot of the core players and staff will remain for as long as possible. Justin Williams seems to have found the fountain of youth and looks good enough to play for another season or thirty. He will be a pillar of the team for as long as he wants. The Hurricanes living legend will probably remain on the team in one way or another long after his playing days are over.
The Carolina Hurricanes will be a good team again for a long time with the current leadership at all levels. The magic is back. The goal of being relevant, set by said leadership at the top of the season, has been reached. This is a team Caniacs will be proud to have been patient for for all those years of pain. Welcome back.
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!