The 'Canes may be the highest-scoring team in the NHL, but they're also earning a bit of a reputation that they'd probably rather not have. As the Miami Herald's George Richards put it:
Personally, I don't know if the Hurricanes are a bunch of divers or not. Do they embellish hits to draw calls sometimes? I would say yes. If not, this is the softest bunch of pro athletes around.Ouch. Maybe they'll update their secondary "flag" logo accordingly.
Whatever Carolina is doing, though, it's working. They've scored six or more goals in three of their last five games (and have already scored five goals in a game five differnt times this season already), and they're an absolute terror five-on-five and on the power play. In other words, the only time they're not kicking ass is when the other team is allowed to play with more players to un-tilt the ice.
And while the 'Canes are scoring in bunches, Cam Ward has seemed to return to his Conn Smythe form in the early going, going 6-2-2, 2.55, .912 in ten games. Then again, in his last two outings, he has given up nine goals on 47 shots against in 80 minutes en route to picking up those two regulation losses, so perhaps he's on his way back to earth. Rod Brind'Amour, however, is very much still in orbit.
Last month the Caps shut out the 'Canes at Verizon Center. It's the only time all season Carolina has been held to fewer than two goals in a game, and the way the Caps offense is producing of late, a similar herculean defensive effort may be the visitor's best chance at victory. Let's see if the Caps can't steal a couple of points in Raleigh to start this road trip off on the right foot.
Why The Hurricanes Will Win:
"Carolina has more depth than Washington, and the coach has been getting really creative with his lines and specialty teams since the last time these two met - and it's working.Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
"Plus, our star center is better looking." - The Sliding Pokecheck
"The Caps are trying to figure out how to win while the 'Canes know how to win."
- Hurricane Season
"Look for the Canes to redeem themselves for their lackluster performance in Washington earlier this year. The 2-0 loss was the only time they have been shut out this year. Since then, the Canes have shown themselves to be the highest scoring team in the east and should light the lamp a few more times tonight. Cam Ward will be in net, Eric Staal will play in his 187th consecutive game, (edging ever closer to a Hurricanes record of 192 set by Ron Francis), and the league leader in assists, Rod Brind'Amour will continue to set up his mates. Canes 3 Caps 2." - Canes Country
"Carolina has been putting the POW! in 'power play'." - red and black hockey
"The Canes will win because Brind'Amour and his nose won't let the Caps take the W." - Carolina on Ice
The Fourth Period says the Caps are supposedly "intrigued" by the possibility of acquiring Montreal third-string goalie Jaroslav Halak. I don't buy it, but thought I'd throw it out there.... Remember all the Mainstream Media love the Caps were getting League-wide after a 3-0-0 start? Their recent slide isn't going unnoticed either.
- Hart: Alexander Radulov (G, A, +1, 3 SOG)
- Ross: Manny Malhotra, Adam Foote, Jason Arnott, Alexander Radulov (2 points each)
- Norris: Adam Foote (2A, +2, 3 blocked shots)
- Vezina: Tim Thomas (34 saves on 35 shots against in shootout loss)
- Richard: 12 players tied with 1G each
- Calder: Patrick Kane (A, +1, 3 SOG)
- Aiken: Nikolai Khabibulin (L, 3 goals allowed on 6 shots against in just one period of work)
The question is on everyone's mind, so I have to ask it. If the Caps lose their next two, which could very easily happen, is Hanlon gone? I get the feeling Ted's patience is running short and McPhee might be feeling the pressure to salvage the season before it's too far gone. I hear Bruce has his car already packed up in Hershey.
This Saturday's home game against TB could be for the Coach's cup if things continue the way they've been going for Torts and Hanlon.
FWIW the Hanlon watch has gone beyond the Caps boards. From the HF Boards, "The Caps next coach"
Leonsis delcared the rebuilding is over but Hanlon talks and behaves as if it's still going on.
There have been/are injuries, but then there are plenty of questionable callups from Hershey as well as how Hanlon composes his lines. We hear that some things were indeed tried during the preseason and didn't work.
The team's play is inconsistent from period to period, at home or on the road. As a team, they don't play 60 minutes. Ovie and Green start doing too much on their own and that doesn't always work. Some games aren't as close as the final score indicates.
As easy as it is to judge from the stands or your couch in front of the computer, I've felt, early on, that we had to trust Hanlon (and his asst coachs') abilities. However, the season's falling apart fast, and we can't attribute that solely to the injuries.
Is it Leonsis messing around too much, the injuries, Hanlon's inability to manage the team's talent and/or adjust to injuries, overall poor character of the team (or just a few people), lack of consistent leadership, etc.?
I say get a new coach (a new GM, too?), sign Ovie, sign some guys from elsewhere in the league. If nothing changes by next week, it may mean another exodus of players by season's end.
Newsflash - the 'Canes are divers!?! I lived outside raleigh for 2 years and i couldn't stand watching the Hurricanes because they play flat out "wussy" hockey. All talk and no action, lots of dives and embellishment, and a 'less hockey educated' crowd(albeit becoming much more every game). I'll never hate them as much as the Pens, Phlyers, and Rags, but in the Southeast division they are as close to a hated rival as any of the teams come for me.
I don't think Hanlon talks and acts like rebuilding is still going on, what I keep hearing him say is that the team has injuries but that's no excuse and the players who are getting more time need to step up and show they contribute.
I don't think Hanlon would be fired after two games because I don't think they'd fire him in the midst of a road trip. If they lose all three on the road he could be gone, but I'd still doubt it. GMGM and other in the front office are watching the game and they have common sense. They has realistic expectations going into the season, i.e. that the Caps were a borderline playoff team and they know that a team of that caliber can't suffer the kinds of injuries the Capitals have and expect to have a great record.
In my opinion it's pretty clear. The coach/system needs changed. If that doesn't work, the GM/players need changed. And FWIW, why not have Alzner up here now?
Japers, I like your site, but I think the Caps are something like 3-8 since you started the "Why the other team will win" segment." I could be wrong. I'm also superstitious. >_<
You're absolutely right, ogre. They are 3-8 during this time. But here's something encouraging: the "WTOTWW" feature debuted on the first Monday of the month, with the Caps winning on the road.
The calendar, schedule, and your superstitions all make a win tonight inevitable.
Everyone needs to take a deep breath and resign themselves to the fact that Hanlon is not going anywhere in the foreseeable future. The Caps organization simply does not operate that way. Hanlon will get a fair shot at taking this team to the playoffs. Fifteen games (i.e., more or less the end of the road trip) is not a fair shot. Remember how long Cassidy got to stick around? Not that I'm comparing Hanlon to Cassidy. I am as frustrated as everone else by the losses. I had to sit in the middle of my section behind the net Saturday and watch the idiot Flyers fans all around me gloat and chant stupid crap like "first place" all night. I am EXTREMELY frustrated by Hanlon's apparent stubborn insistence on NOT playing OV and Nylander together. But Hanlon will not be gone any time soon. Anybody who has been a Caps fan for as long as most of us have should know that. So let's just keep praying good old Glen sees the light sooner rather than later. After all, it only took him nine games to figure out how to put all his best players out on the power play together, rather than putting Joe Motzo on the point and Donald Brashear in front of the net. Ugh.
You couldn't be more right about the Canes being divers. Wow.
It's times like this when we must revel in our comraderie and misery. Never fear, suffering is here. I feel for all the Caps fans wives and husbands tonight, as I'm sure many of us went on rants that would put the Big Lebowski to shame
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