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Did Muller make a rookie mistake playing Cam back-to-back?

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The 'Canes turnaround under Kirk Muller has been terrific - and long overdue. Though the standings may not show it now, a strong start next year and the kind of hard play the team has brought nearly every night for the past two months (except that crap game in Columbus Friday night!) bode very well for next year.

That being said, I'd be interested to know if others agree that starting Cam against the Jackets was a rookie mistake on Muller's part. No doubt Ward has had the hot hand for weeks, but I for one was surprised when he got the start, especially with us playing Big Red the next night. Putting Boucher in net in Columbus would have given Can a well-earned night off after two big division wins, and would have put the D-corps - the whole team, in fact - on high alert; that little shift in attitude can mean a lot. Even a switch to Boucher after the Jackets' second goal - by then it was clear we had lead in our skates - could have made a difference playing against a team that had absolutely nothing to lose.

Not that this thread will make any difference! Just thought it'd be interesting to hear others' thoughts.

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For whatever its worth, I heard John Forslund earlier that day being interviewed on 99.9 and he said the Canes will live and die by Cam, he gives them the best chance to win right now so they'll ride him. Boucher not being 100% likely played into this decision also.

That being said, its interesting that some of the same stuff Mo did like riding Cam are also being done by Muller. Kind of brings us back full circle. No doubt it was time for a new voice behind the bench but Muller is dealing from the same limited deck as Maurice did and it shows.

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Well, I was peeved at the time and said so on this board. Basically called out Muller for being Mo.

But after thinking about it a while, I think I understand. Muller's made it clear that he expects a lot from the #1 guys. So, with the season on the line, and a slim chance for the playoffs still there, he played Cam on Friday. I think I get it. It was a "Here's your last chance boys, show me."

And they didn't. They all finally caved.

Saturday was at the Joe, and I think we had to play Cam. No sense putting in an injured rusty goalie that could end up in severe embarrassment.

OK, now going forward, I think we need to see Boucher and save Cam's groin. Cam loves to play NJ, so my gut would be to put Boucher in Friday against Winnipeg. That probably leaves Cam in tomorrow in Toronto since he's had two days. Then Bouch at Ottawa, Cam back home for the last home day, and toss up in Florida.

That's what I'd like to see so that we get this guy some time before the season ends. Of course, maybe he's still hurting so this may all be BS.

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I think most of us agree we would like to see Cam get more rest, and our backup played more regularly. I'm not sure how Boucher's groin injury played into the teams plans to rest Cam, but you would have to think it did.

I don't think second-guessing Muller after how the back-to-backs went over the weekend really accomplishes anything in the way of a discussion.

I plainly state in my post, coastal, that I thought Boucher would start before the game was played, and while you're entitled to your opinion, I really don't appreciate you trying to dictate what does or doesn't make for valid conversation.

For whatever its worth, I heard John Forslund earlier that day being interviewed on 99.9 and he said the Canes will live and die by Cam, he gives them the best chance to win right now so they'll ride him. Boucher not being 100% likely played into this decision also.

That being said, its interesting that some of the same stuff Mo did like riding Cam are also being done by Muller. Kind of brings us back full circle. No doubt it was time for a new voice behind the bench but Muller is dealing from the same limited deck as Maurice did and it shows.

You think JR told Muller it had to be Cam? If so, interesting...

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Well, I was peeved at the time and said so on this board. Basically called out Muller for being Mo.

But after thinking about it a while, I think I understand. Muller's made it clear that he expects a lot from the #1 guys. So, with the season on the line, and a slim chance for the playoffs still there, he played Cam on Friday. I think I get it. It was a "Here's your last chance boys, show me."

And they didn't. They all finally caved.

Saturday was at the Joe, and I think we had to play Cam. No sense putting in an injured rusty goalie that could end up in severe embarrassment.

OK, now going forward, I think we need to see Boucher and save Cam's groin. Cam loves to play NJ, so my gut would be to put Boucher in Friday against Winnipeg. That probably leaves Cam in tomorrow in Toronto since he's had two days. Then Bouch at Ottawa, Cam back home for the last home day, and toss up in Florida.

That's what I'd like to see so that we get this guy some time before the season ends. Of course, maybe he's still hurting so this may all be BS.

As chippy as the last game with the Jets was, I'm absolutely in favor of this. Wouldn't be surprised if that game turns into cheap-shot central. Save Cam from the possibility of any injuries in this one.

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You think JR told Muller it had to be Cam? If so, interesting...

No, I think Muller likely went with his gut and the odds on this one. I don't question why he started Cam both nights but as soon as the wheels started coming off in Columbus, I might have thought about pulling Cam to both rest him for the next night and send a message to the rest of the team. Hard to believe Muller didn't at least consider it and I wonder what may have made him choose to keep Cam in. It could be as simple as he thought even though the team was playing awful, Cam still gave them the best chance to comeback and make a game of it. Why not, they're pretty good at comebacks.

Limited deck meaning lack of talent depth. ;)

Edited by TSA

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It's awfully easy to second guess after the games have been played. If Boucher starts against Columbus and they lose, fans say "Muller should have put Cam in for that one to get the "sure win" against he bottom feeder and take his chances with Detroit and Boucher".

The organization was hanging onto the slim hopes of making the playoffs. Cam in goal gives the best chance for that. That was what happened. Cam and the team had a bad night and I don't think they could have hog tied him and kept him off the ice on Saturday. The problem Saturday was the Canes couldn't keep the puck on the other side of that blue line in front of Cam.

Again, superdave, I'm not second-guessing. See original post. I thought Boucher was the right choice for Friday before trhe puck ever dropped, because (1) he won an important game one week earlier (his first as a 'Cane), and (2) wanting to have your #1 keeper fresh for one of the best teams in the league the following evening. That's what I'm trying to discuss here.

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I understand the topic and have no problem with it being it's own thread. The point was more about the coach and his decision over the whole weekend rather than a game by game approach. Its a good discussion and quite frankly, the clock is ticking on this season and there will be little hockey to talk about for a long while. :(

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I plainly state in my post, coastal, that I thought Boucher would start before the game was played, and while you're entitled to your opinion, I really don't appreciate you trying to dictate what does or doesn't make for valid conversation.

You think JR told Muller it had to be Cam? If so, interesting...

I myself wonder about that myself, the Canes have been riding Cam ever since 06 & 07 (07- think thats when Cam got his new contract) and since that year things haven't been very good. I myself am not big fan/ or a Cam believer, but with what they pay him it seems (to me) that they are hoping/trying to get their moneys worth out of Cam!

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I myself wonder about that myself, the Canes have been riding Cam ever since 06 & 07 (07- think thats when Cam got his new contract) and since that year things haven't been very good. I myself am not big fan/ or a Cam believer, but with what they pay him it seems (to me) that they are hoping/trying to get their moneys worth out of Cam!

Thanks DJ. I don't really think they've been riding him too hard, just thought under the circumstances that putting Boucher in net against Columbus might help the rest of the team focus, and not go in overconfident, which I think they did because of the Jackets' record. Starting Bouch would have made them hungrier for an early goal to give him a lead, I think, and his confidence level was good coming off his first win a week before.

Cam is without question (to me) a top-rate NHL keeper who is still only getting better. 15 years from now I expect we'll be comparing his record to Marty Broudeur's.

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I doubt it was his first rookie mistake, and no need to get specific. I don't even think it was a mistake.

However, when the 2nd goal went soaring over his glove from the blue line he should have been yanked. THAT was a mistake as I stated in the GDT. IMO he was too "nice" as a coach and should have trusted (challenged?) the team to respond, and then Cam the next night.

Somewhere I recall a Florida game last year where two early softies allowed by Cam were followed by a yanking and then an unexpected comeback by the team with Peters in goal.

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Now that we are going for the draft pick, go every other game from here on. We need Cam to stop saving points.

Except for Friday vs. Washington because I'll be there, and I prefer a win when I'm there.

But in seriousness, the only thing is that a serious playoff contender must not ride their goalie during the regular season. Since that will be us next year, it will really matter..next year.

Edited by remkin

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If we had our feet firmly set in missing the playoffs or had 5th-7th place in the playoffs then I agree Boucher shoulda played one of those two games. However at the time we had a real outside all hands on deck chance to try to make the playoffs a reality. You play your starters in that situation and after how bad Columbus was I think it was a smart choice given how Cam does in bounce back games. Also imo Cam played his butt off in Detroit and it wasn't for his defensemen's own goals we would have won.

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I am not sure we can second guess Muller's playing of Cam as long as the team was playing well

and were trying to make a last push to see if they could squeak into the playoffs.

The real test will be next year when we see if he works Booch in as relief on some schedule, in the

earlier part of the season------------

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If the Canes were still playing for a playoff spot, Cam HAD to play vs. the Jackets. At such a critical time,Muller has to play the guys that give them the best chance to win. To me, the game Friday was more important than the game Saturday because it came first. You have to win the first game to keep playoff hopes alive. If the Canes won both games,this thread wouldn't exist.

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If the Canes won both games,this thread wouldn't exist.

That's like saying, "If the Germans hadn't bombed London, we wouldn't have had to help them rebuild." Guess what? The Germans did bomb London.

And we didn't win both games.

And this thread exists.

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That's like saying, "If the Germans hadn't bombed London, we wouldn't have had to help them rebuild." Guess what? The Germans did bomb London.

And we didn't win both games.

And this thread exists.

That over dramatic example aside, Muller did what he thought he had to do in order to win and keep the teams slim playoff hopes alive. If Boucher had played and lost, then people would be asking if he made a mistake by not playing Cam. It is easy to second guess after seeing the results, but the way Cam had played recently gave no indication that he wasn't going to play well. If I were coaching down the stretch,Cam would be in net as long as our playoff hopes were alive,unless he told me he couldn't go. After April 7, he can rest until training camp.

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