Key 1: Adapt First
The Carolina Hurricanes need to adapt to the new rink first
Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. When the Carolina Hurricanes play against the Washington Capitals later today it will be a whole new world. No fans in the seats. Massive displayers hugging one side of the rink. Noone banging on the glass. Noone screaming “SHOOT” from the stands. Generic crowd noise piped in from the speakers that may or may not feel authentic or familiar.
A whole new world.
The first team to adapt to it and get over the change will get a somewhat interesting, if seemingly insignificant, advantage on the ice. Without the fans or the chanting and glass banging will it feel like a real game or another practice skirmish?
What if the Capitals and Hurricanes have to wait for the Panthers and Lightning to come off the ice due to overtime? Sounds strange and very Minor Hockey Tournament like, but it has already happened yesterday thanks to the keen eyes of Jeff Veillette:
All this is very new to the NHL. At least this generation of players who will be on the ice today. The team that adapts to this first and focuses on the game instead of the flashing lights and eerie crowd noises minus the actual crowd will be in a much better place, not only for today’s game but the entire Stanley Cup tournament as a whole.
The much younger Carolina Hurricanes need to be the ones that adapt to it first and most likely will considering that many of the players are not that far removed from actually playing minor hockey themselves in comparison to the much older Washington Capitals roster.