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2013-14 In-Season Canes News, Updates and Talk

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For the Canes the season has come to an end. It has been a disappointing season and we all expect changes before next season.

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Defense has to be our number one priority in the off-season. Depth forwards are also a big problem. I'm not yet sold on Skinner to center. What are we going to do about backup Goal Keeper?

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Thanks OBXer.  Just to get this thing kick-started with some of the questions buzzing around in my head:

 

#2 goalie is a tough task for this team.  I think Ellis is better than we've seen in the playoff stretch.  He started off real well, but once the defense fell back on it's heels he did, too.  If the defense is improved, I think he'd be just fine behind Wardo.  Surprisingly there was a brief controversy on which should have the bulk of game time.  Incredible considering we have two guys who could compete for the starter position with this team.  Obviously injuries popped that balloon, but I want that controversy back (or at least the reason for one).

 

I like Justin Peters the man, always have, but I'm NOT comfortable with him in net against an NHL team.  We've given him many many starts to prove himself, but so far he hasn't really taken over many games or stolen us wins like Ellis and Ward have.  Peters has had more opportunity to do so than Ellis and seems to have done less with more.  I'm going by gut-feeling, so if I'm proven wrong through some kind of statistical numbers, then great.  But I just don't feel Peters is an answer to any of our goal tender questions.

 

I was intrigued by a possible Skinner trade.  I too am worried about the concussion issues.  But I really think it would be best for him to stay here.  I think he needs someone to motivate him, guide him and take him under their wing (Francis or Stillman should do this if not a player).  Work with him, get his head straight, but some more muscle on him and get his head back in the game like it was a couple seasons ago.  Or maybe it would be more accurate to say get his head OUT of the equation.  Avoid obvious dangers, but play with more of the 2010 Skinner we all fell in love with.

 

I think everyone agrees that the defense desperately needs adjustment or total overhaul.  Priority ONE!  I'm interested to hear what people think about MAB, not only his defensive game but the contribution he has made to the PP.  I admit that I didn't see many of the last ten games, so I will bow to someone's witness accounts on his influence on the power play.  But from what little I did see it looked like he made it work better.

 

Bellemore seemed to do well in his stint in Raleigh.  How about Murphy, is it too soon to bring him up?  At one point during the beginning of the season people wanted him to stay instead of go back to Juniors (after his emergency call-up).

 

Move Pitkanen?  He eats up a lot of time and looks good on certain shifts, but then again we have the worst defense in the league, so being the guy who eats up the most minutes on the worst defense isn't really a positive talking point, is it?  Plus, he's injury prone.  We'd save some money, too.  Your thoughts?

 

I think the Jordan Staal will do better once he's had more time with the club.  I'm not freaking out over his slow start, myself.  But, how about Jared?  People seem impressed with his performance this week...

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My 10 wish-list for the off-season:

1. Re-up MAB for as cheap as possible.  He's a good 3rd liner and definitely helped improve our PP. 

2. Trade Joni NOW!!!   We're eating more salary for less production on him than we are on any other player.  Call up the Rags and see what they want for Marc, since we seem to love this Staal marketing angle.

3. Shop Skinner around.  Yes, seriously.  I really think we'll get more of a return on him now than after his next concussion (which, the way he keeps playing and the way other teams keep pounding him, should happen around mid-November).

4. Re-up Rosey for about 700-900K for 3 years.  Tell him it's a hometown discount, that he's been a great asset to the team, but isn't worth the current price he's getting.

5. Fire McLean and Lewis...bring in new assistant coaching blood.  Of course, Rod is immune to this statement simply cause he is the MAN!

6. After we find out where our draft pick is...if it's outside the top 5, see about trading down.  Maybe get a lower 1st rounder and a decent player in return.  Think reverse-JStaal.  This could be a good shot at getting a backup goalie worth something.  How bout Mike Smith out in Phoenix?

7. DO NOT SIGN MATT COOKE...EVER!!!  The guy is a gutless coward, and he should never, ever be in a Canes uniform.

8. Sign another enforcer.  Westgarth and Blanchard are nice. But this team needs bigger-name protection...especially if we want to keep Skinner long-term.

9. Ja Staal definitely deserves a decent look again next season...and Dalpe...and Murph...but STOP THE MUSICAL CHAIRS!

10. Take Jordan's A away and give it to someone more deserving.

 

Last night's game was a microcosm of the season...hold our own for 2/3rds...followed by an epic collapse in the 3rd.  Enjoy the links, boys...you really stuck it to us fans this season.

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-As for Bergeron, I want to see him go. I'm sick of undersized offensive defensemen. I think he was -7 in 14 games with the Canes. He is poor defensively, getting pushed off the puck easily and he loses board battles. I would rather have Murphy take his spot (as a #7 or #8 d-man), as he has more potential. Having Murphy and Bergeron dressed in the same game would be laughable. I think JR's comment about our defense being too easy to play against means the end for Bergeron, Corvo, and hopefully McBain. Also, I have never been a fan of dressing 7 defensemen, it is a band-aid for deficiencies that shouldn't be there to begin with (especially with our roster). I would rather have a real, effective 4th line.

-As for our #2 goalie, I don't think Peters should be up in the NHL, but as others have said he does seem like a good guy so I feel for him. Unfortunately, hockey is a business. As for Ellis I would talk to his agent, see what he is looking for, and then shop around. Honestly I would feel much more comfortable with a proven #2.

-I really like Bellemore, hope he makes the team next year if re-signed.

-As for Skinner I would like to give him more time, he is a rare talent. I do understand the concerns though.

-I would love to move Pitkanen for a more consistent defenseman that can stay healthy.

-I want to see the whole coaching staff fired, but being more realistic I want to see all of the assistants replaced. No excuse for consistently horrid special teams and a porous defense with way too many breakdowns. Goalie play was inconsistent all year.

Edited by Kyrule

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Good points above in general.   I'm also of the opinion that MAB needs to go.  Too many small guys on this team.

 

After watching Faulk get another head shot last night, I've changed my mind on having a team full of nice guys and little guys.  It more than just responding to hits to Skinner.

 

It is clear to me that the NHL will not protect their players, and will tolerate season and career ending injuries.  Consequences are minor.   Having players like Cooke, Armstrong, Lucic, Hartnell on your team sends a statement to other teams.  It is working for those guys and those teams. 

 

So, the Canes need a knuckle dragging, low-IQ guy with a lot of height, decent skill, and sharp elbows.  Time for this team to start cutting tendons, giving concussions and taking out kinees.

 

I'm not kidding.  What we have now is not working.  Look who we're going to have to play against next year.  Time to get a guy or two to help take out some of the skill playing against us.

Edited by wxray1

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My 10 wish-list for the off-season:

1. Re-up MAB for as cheap as possible.  He's a good 3rd liner and definitely helped improve our PP. 

2. Trade Joni NOW!!!   We're eating more salary for less production on him than we are on any other player.  Call up the Rags and see what they want for Marc, since we seem to love this Staal marketing angle.

3. Shop Skinner around.  Yes, seriously.  I really think we'll get more of a return on him now than after his next concussion (which, the way he keeps playing and the way other teams keep pounding him, should happen around mid-November).

4. Re-up Rosey for about 700-900K for 3 years.  Tell him it's a hometown discount, that he's been a great asset to the team, but isn't worth the current price he's getting.

5. Fire McLean and Lewis...bring in new assistant coaching blood.  Of course, Rod is immune to this statement simply cause he is the MAN!

6. After we find out where our draft pick is...if it's outside the top 5, see about trading down.  Maybe get a lower 1st rounder and a decent player in return.  Think reverse-JStaal.  This could be a good shot at getting a backup goalie worth something.  How bout Mike Smith out in Phoenix?

7. DO NOT SIGN MATT COOKE...EVER!!!  The guy is a gutless coward, and he should never, ever be in a Canes uniform.

8. Sign another enforcer.  Westgarth and Blanchard are nice. But this team needs bigger-name protection...especially if we want to keep Skinner long-term.

9. Ja Staal definitely deserves a decent look again next season...and Dalpe...and Murph...but STOP THE MUSICAL CHAIRS!

10. Take Jordan's A away and give it to someone more deserving.

 

Last night's game was a microcosm of the season...hold our own for 2/3rds...followed by an epic collapse in the 3rd.  Enjoy the links, boys...you really stuck it to us fans this season.

 

I agree with everything you say except the strike through's

Edited by coastal_caniac

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My last thoughts as a STH. Keep MAB ! Our PP looked much better since he arrived. He brings better passing and has better ability to keep the puck in the zone. He also brings a a powerful, sneaky wrist shot that seems to surprise goalies. As for the size factor, not everyone needs to be a beast, but when the time comes the beast can come out of everyone. Lots of talk about how we should get even  with cheap shot players. Other than so weak booing of Orpik the last 7 seasons nothing has been done by the Canes for his attempt to end Cole's career. Immediate response is more effective than waiting 7 now going on 8 seasons to respond. It's called a Gordie Howe Hat Trick for a reason. He didn't wait to step up.

 

Move Joni! Should have been moved years ago. Spends too much time taking the puck all the way back behind our net to set up a play, just to to a hard around as he skates off the ice. Won;t move to the wall to use his body to stop clearing chances, just waves his stick at the puck going by, and then slowly follows the play into our zone. Too much time trying to be an O-man rather than the D-man we are paying him to be.

 

Inconsistent goal tending and defensive play have been a problem for years now. I thought Glen Wesley got an office job to be our defense guru? How' s that working out?  Now goal tending. Was Stefan hired just to help Ward? After Cam went down our other goalies struggled. Either Stefan can't coach or Ellis and Peters are stupid. I'm betting Stefan can't coach.

 

Keep Jared. His speed will pick up. He wasn't afraid to bang some bodies. And you probably couldn't see on TV when in OT Jared came off the bench and skated straight to the Rangers net. Almost had a puck bounce off his shoulder for a goal. Would have been sweet. He will develop into a NHL player , maybe not a "star" but consistent every night.

 

Nash, Bellemore, Dalpe and Bowman( if he can put on some size) need a good hard look next year.

 

Next season will be make or break for Muller. The excuses will be gone. There is a long line of ex-coaches who have done more with less. No playoffs, no job. 

 

LaRose is done. Lots of high energy guys in AHL at a much cheaper price and much younger.

 

Sanguinetti and McBain both hitting the age when D-men really develop. Keep both and if not working out package them with pick or forward for whatever is  needed.

 

Skinner needs to stop looking down at the puck. Just asking for the bell to be rung again. If not much improvement may need to be packaged to avoid a long term high dollar contract.

 

So after 20 + seasons of hockey in the triangle I'm done being a STH. After this seasons lockout over what I considered the Players greed over how much beer and hot dog money they really deserved, we STH  were jammed into a box. Either use you tickets or lose your Priority. Most games on Tuesday and Thursday., Really convenient. No early games, and since most restaurants are either closed or limited menu, after the games were nothing to look forward to. And the home product? No advantage there. I would have a better chance of seeing the Canes win if I saved my money for an away game. I was really expecting more. I hope the New STH have better luck.

Edited by winger52

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So after 20 + seasons of hockey in the triangle I'm done being a STH. After this seasons lockout over what I considered the Players greed over how much beer and hot dog money they really deserved, we STH  were jammed into a box. Either use you tickets or lose your Priority. Most games on Tuesday and Thursday., Really convenient. No early games, and since most restaurants are either closed or limited menu, after the games were nothing to look forward to. And the home product? No advantage there. I would have a better chance of seeing the Canes win if I saved my money for an away game. I was really expecting more. I hope the New STH have better luck.

 

Hope you reconsider winger!!!  

Would winning the lottery (Seth Jones) Monday change your mind?

How about a landmark trade with 3-5 BIG names trading places?

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We have lots of differing opinions on how to achieve a fix. The one common thread is we know we need a fix. My guess is the same is true with our team brain trust. The evaluation process and exit interviews will be interesting this year.

 

JR has already publicly stated we need a defensive fix. OK thats a Da statement but he made it public. That means he is going to act on it. Who we keep, trade or let go will depend on who we think we can get and at what cost.  I don't think we are going after a big name. I think we will target a veteran D-man who can play stand up defense and move the puck. Not an O-minded Defenseman but somebody who can move the puck. MAB can move a puck but I don't think you could call him a stand up D-man. We also need a D-man who can quarterback the power play. I don't see MAB coming back so I think we are looking to change two defensemen.  Murphy might be one, maybe.

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Lets not be so quick to judge Matt Cooke

 

Its up to the league to hand out the disciple (or not). As a fan, I'm willing to live with that (what choice do we have).

 

Cooke is likely going to become a FA -- and even if you hate the guy, you must admit he's gritty and basically feared around the NHL.

 

Is he (still) a dirty player? Not sure, maybe (maybe not) -- naturally Erik Karlsson fans likely still think so! 

 

But look, its hockey and if one continues to seek out and dish out hits and gritty play, like Cooke does, some are, on occasion, going to end up being "bad" for the opponent.

 

Bottom line -- I'd much rather see Cooke hitting Canes opponents next year, then Cooke bearing down on Skinner, Murhpy, Semin or Eric Staal.

 

At about $1.5-2.2 mil per, for 2 years, he'd be a legit puzzle piece for the Canes. For now, I'll leave judging a player's intent to the NHL league office while I remain a Canes fan.

Edited by Greg-N-Ral

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So after 20 + seasons of hockey in the triangle I'm done being a STH. After this seasons lockout over what I considered the Players greed over how much beer and hot dog money they really deserved, we STH  were jammed into a box. Either use you tickets or lose your Priority. Most games on Tuesday and Thursday., Really convenient. No early games, and since most restaurants are either closed or limited menu, after the games were nothing to look forward to. And the home product? No advantage there. I would have a better chance of seeing the Canes win if I saved my money for an away game. I was really expecting more. I hope the New STH have better luck.

 

The Tuesday/Thursday thing was murder this year.  I'm chalking it up to this short schedule.  This whole thing has just been a disasterous year for us.  Horrible schedule, huge swoon, terrible home record.  And the schedule was just greed on the part of the NHL and players.  Guess what?  We came to the games.  They won.

 

I re-upped next year to give it one more chance in a "normal" year.  Here's hoping for a better schedule, or since we are of the "junior" teams of this division of favorite sons of the NHL, will we get the short stick?

 

The team has to have a winning home record.  Otherwise... well, it is going to be an ugly experience.

Edited by wxray1

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I found it interesting a few games ago when Tripp seemed to be making supportive comments about Matt Cooke and John even through his name out there as the "type" of player the Canes could use. But last night has me in full on conspiracy mode. Tripp could not contain himself and John chipped in as well about Matt Cooke this and Matt Cooke that. The guy is a good player with a very dicey past and very questionable history of cheapness. I guess in one stroke a team could say, "still want to play us so bad?", but it just makes me wonder if they know something. Lord knows we've had dealings with Pittsburgh before. I don't know, we do need one guy "like" that. Just not sure we want THAT much like that.

MAB has helped the PP, but he is holding Murphy's spot. There is a reason he has been passed around like an offering plate and it is exactly the thing we are trying to fix.

Murphy makes the team and his offense makes up for his defense (which isn't terrible). But makes us need the big shut down guy even more.

I don't want to be a hater of anyone, but it just seems to me that defensive softness and breakdowns are THE problem outside of the PP, and just about every time I see a breakdown, #4 is just on the edge of the screen. I think his surprising +/- was the result of being somewhat protected and playing behind the top line. Someone besides Corvo has to go and McBain is my pick.

Skinner isn't going anywhere other than possibly center, and shouldn't go anywhere.

Rosey should be done w/ us. Sorry. But we had a nice run.

I still think Ellis can be a decent back up. Any veteran back up goalie out there will make us their last choice before retirement or the AHL if they have an ounce of sense, so it's not like the best back ups will be lining up to come here. Again, just need the back up to be a good character guy and go .500. Ellis can do this. Peters....probably can..but I prefer Ellis.

I would absolutely move Pits if the right deal was there. But the right deal probably won't be there.

At least McBain and Corvo need to be replaced, but probably one other also. Some will depend out who we pick in the draft also.

If we get Barkov or Nishushkin (and can get him to play) they are both NHL ready and will help right away at least offensively.

JR needs to find at least one quality big stay at home bruiser NHL veteran dman out there somehow. That is going to be the mission and it will likely not be easy.

Trading down a couple slots and getting Nurse or Ristolainen would be ok if the return was big. But it is fairly rare and unlikely that the return would justify it.

Trading down past that would be much riskier unless the Canes scouts had a really unique take on a guy not currently ranked high.

There is a 8% chance that one move will fix most of the defense immediately.

I had thought last year was the year for JR to shine and I thought he had.

Turns out it is last year AND this year. Go do it!

Edited by remkin

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I agree with everything you say except the strike through's

Then we agree on a lot ;)

 

Lets not be so quick to judge Matt Cooke
 
Its up to the league to hand out the disciple (or not). As a fan, I'm willing to live with that (what choice do we have).
 
Cooke is likely going to become a FA -- and even if you hate the guy, you must admit he's gritty and basically feared around the NHL.
 
Is he (still) a dirty player? Not sure, maybe (maybe not) -- naturally Erik Karlsson fans likely still think so! 
 
But look, its hockey and if one continues to seek out and dish out hits and gritty play, like Cooke does, some are, on occasion, going to end up being "bad" for the opponent.
 
Bottom line -- I'd much rather see Cooke hitting Canes opponents next year, then Cooke bearing down on Skinner, Murhpy, Semin or Eric Staal.
 
At about $1.5-2.2 mil per, for 2 years, he'd be a legit puzzle piece for the Canes. For now, I'll leave judging a player's intent to the NHL league office while I remain a Canes fan.

Except the league office has proven time and time again they won't go after the guys on the big-named teams.  As far as Matt Cooke is concerned, here's a few lessons for ya:

The biggest cheap shot of them all:

If Don Cherry thinks you're a worthless POS, then you probably are:

 

Matt Cooke is a gutless coward...and I WOULD say it to his face!

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On MAB, I liked MAB more than I thought I would. But Murphy is coming in essentially to take his 7th dman spot. So no. Plus we need to get bigger.

 

On Joni, I disagree.  Joni has absolutely no value right now. Especially with his heel injury. If we are to deal him, he'd have to come back and we'd showcase him. But even then I doubt we move him. His value is at an all time low so it would be unwise to do so.

 

About Skinner, I Disagree.  Skinner is still young, he's what, 20? 21? That's the age where most kids make the league, he's been here for 3 years now. Not to mention his contract extension now kicks in this coming season. If he continues to struggle in a couple of years then it's more possible.

 

On Re-signing LaRose:

steve-carrell-office.gif Seriously, no. LaRose had 2 points I believe this year. He's small, and it's kind of embarrassing to watch him fight. We need size and strength, not a good smile and a big mouth.

 

About the coaching staff minus Muller, Agree big time. Our special teams were horrible, our system broke down completely when key players got injured. You cannot have a system that your farm team players cannot come up and play well in. And special teams, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH what special teams? And maybe a new defensive coach will make our sad defense actually a decent defense. You can't blame the players completely for our horrible PP and PK.

 

On trading down in the draft, Mike Smith is going nowhere where he'd be backup. He's legitimized himself as a starter in PHX. And I don't think our top 5 pick is worth trading for a goalie, even though our goalie depth is bad. Just draft one or two decent goalies and hope one turns out to be a future starter for us. If we trade that pick it'd be for a defenseman, I think.

 

On Matt Cooke, I sorta Agree. I hate the guy, stomping on a player's achilles who has about ten million times as much skill as you do? Disgusting. However, it's even more disgusting to me seeing a player get head hunted and concussed, and either nothing happens as far as getting back at the other team for it. I think, sadly actually, that Cooke is just about the perfect guy for us. I'm not saying give him tons of icetime, nor am I saying sign him for a long time. Maybe a year or two for that mentality of sticking up for your teammates sinks in.

 

On getting more grit/enforcers, I'll admit I disliked Westgarth at first because he seemed to forget why he was here. He looked improved over the second half of the season, which is ironic because most of the rest of the team did the opposite. But I agree, we need a legit enforcer who isn't just a boxer with skates. Someone who can play on the third line and still score if needed. Not entirely sure who that is, I like Kyle Clifford from LA. Put him and Westy together on a line maybe. Meh, idk.

 

On Jared, I was pretty surprised to see how decent his play was, considering his stats and the coaches in Charlotte seemed to have absolutely no confidence in him. I think he plays well knowing two of his brothers are on the bench with him.

 

On the Alternate Captaincy, I'd say take away Gleason's A and Jordan's A. Have the team vote for who they see deserving of them. No way in hell JR or Muller takes Staal's C.

---

~My wishlist for this off-season includes acquiring a top pairing dman in either free agency, trade, or draft.

~Draft Nichushkin since we won't be getting Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin, or Barkov.

~Draft some goalies, decent ones, to start addressing our goaltending depth, and the inevitable departure of Peters, and possibly Ellis.

~Tell Muller he's got 15 games. If we have a losing record in 15 games then you're out, sorry. 

~Don't ruin our Jerseys.

~Don't even try to pass our defense off as underrated, and don't lead us on about pursuing a top defenseman and then sign someone like Komisarek or something.

~Make my pipedream real and get Malkin :D, then after we draft Nichushkin we can have a top 9 of Semin - Malkin - Nichushkin, Staal - Staal - Staal, Tlusty - Nash - Ruutu

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Sucka, just one point.  The team just voted to give Gleason this year's Steve Chaisson award.  Tells me he is a leader and is well respected by his team mates.  It's his second one.

Edited by coastal_caniac

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1. Rid of Joni and McBain. Joni being our minutes eater isn't quite relevant anymore since Faulk has shown that if needed, he can play those same minutes with a much, much better performance at a way lower cost.

2. Bring in a gritty top 2 pairing d-man, preferably someone that makes Gleason look soft. If we end up drafting Jones, then that would likely be it, if not then there seems to be a slew of free agent d-men that could possibly fit that role.

3. Sort of the 2nd line/Skinner situation. If we keep Skinner as a center, then bring in a second line winger (Kennedy anybody?) to put alongside Jordan and Ruu, hammer defense into the mind of Skinner and give him linemates that have scoring potential so our third line can be a defensively responsible scoring threat.

4. Fire McLean, bring in somebody that actually has a clue what they're doing in regards to special teams. If our special teams next year aren't like night and day to how they were this year, put Muller in the hot seat until they are.

5. Rid of Peters. While I think he had a few solid games that provided glimpses of what he can do, he's just too inconsistent to be a NHL backup despite having years to get his act together.

6. Resign Ellis or find a suitable replacement to server as backup. I'd lean moreso towards doing the later since I figure Ellis would want a raise to stay here.

7. Acquire Douglas Murray, period.

 

This is pretty much what I'd like to see next season lineup wise:

 

Tlusty - Eric - Sasha

??? - Jordan - Ruu

??? (blanchard maybe, though that'd be off wing) - Skinner - Dwyer/Jared Staal

Wallace - Nash - Westgarth

 

Faulk - Gleason/Jones/???

Murray - ???/Jones/Gleason

Harrison - Bellemore

 

Ward

Ellis/???

 

Man, Faulk and Jones makes me drool.

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Sucka, just one point.  The team just voted to give Gleason this year's Steve Chaisson award.  Tells me he is a leader and is well respected by his team mates.  It's his second one.

Yeah, I saw that last night. I'd like to see Tlusty one day with an 'A'. He's a great story for us. Have you heard some of the things he's said about our organization? I think he's a career 'Cane. (Minus those handful of Leafs games).

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In time of making the cap smaller, there is no way we can afford a 6 million dollar 3rd line center.  Skinner either needs to play with J Staal and Ruutu or he needs to go.  We dont have the cap luxury for that next season.  Also, if we go get a 2nd line winger then it will be hard to re-sign faulk and tlusty after next season and I just dont see that happening. 

 

Rosie, McBain and Pits needs to go. We need to get Murray or make a trade with Philly for Coburn (the flyers have to trade one of their D men). 

 

If and a big if Skins is traded i would like for him to go Columbus or the Islanders.  Columbus has 3 1st rounders so losing one isnt the end of the world and the have a great D prospect in Murray.  Islanders will have a decent 1st rounder and they have Nino.  Both have a need for offense.  Murray would a great addition to the D corps and Nino could step in and play 2nd line with Staal and Ruutu. 

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Yeah, I saw that last night. I'd like to see Tlusty one day with an 'A'. He's a great story for us. Have you heard some of the things he's said about our organization? I think he's a career 'Cane. (Minus those handful of Leafs games).

 

I'm a big Tlusty fan. Others can vouch for that. :cheers:

 

I'd love to see any links to things he was saying about the organization. 

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I'm a big Tlusty fan. Others can vouch for that. :cheers:

 

I'd love to see any links to things he was saying about the organization. 

Tlusty on last season and his performance halfway through this season:

“Last year was my first kind of breakout year,” Tlusty said Saturday. “I’ve had the chance to play with Eric Staal and it definitely has been a good season for myself this year.”

“I think I proved I can play with Eric on that line and put up the same points as I did last year and maybe even more,” he said. “We missed (Ruutu) a lot. But that gave me the opportunity to play with Eric at the start of the season.” Source

 

Tlusty on his growth with Carolina:

"I spent [parts of four] years there, and I'm such a different player," Tlusty said. "I've learned so many things from the roles that I've been playing over here."

"You have to earn every single chance out there," he said. "You go out there as a fourth-liner, so you have to make sure you don't give up any chances, and that leads to ice time every night. That was the big key. I learned from that. Now I can say I'm a good two-way player."

"The biggest change is getting the chance and having the trust of the people here," Tlusty said. "The more time you play, you trust yourself more. It's a good feeling, knowing you are helping the team win." Source

Staal on Tlusty: "I did," Staal said without hesitation. "I played with a lot of wingers last year, and when Jiri came up with me you could get that feeling right away that in the right situation he could contribute offensively and do a great job defensively."

 

I had this one article in my mind where Tlusty said someting around the lines of "They believed in me, and that makes you begin to believe in yourself and get results" But I can't find the friggin' article ANYWHERE :[

Edited by SuckaPunchd

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Sorry about this double post but I didn't want to make a giant one, so. This article belongs here and will spark some discussions so here we go:

 

RALEIGH — With their season at an end, the Carolina Hurricanes will begin to scatter in the next few days.

Seven are headed to the IIHF World Championship in Sweden. Eric and Jordan Staal, Jay Harrison and Jeff Skinner will play for Canada. Defensemen Justin Faulk and Jamie McBain will be on Team USA and forward Jiri Tlusty will compete for the Czech Republic.

Others will head to offseason homes for a long summer. Forward Tuomo Ruutu will undergo hip surgery and others have injuries that need to heal.

How many will return to Carolina in September for preseason training camp remains to be seen.

The Hurricanes, after missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season, have some tough decisions to make. General manager Jim Rutherford and Canes coach Kirk Muller say they like the “core group” of the team, but there should be a number of new faces next season.

“This is honestly one of first times I’ve been involved with a team not making the playoffs where you feel really optimistic about it,” Muller said Saturday. “Some teams are in situations where they have to disrupt the whole nucleus. Our nucleus is good. We just have to make the right decisions in the summer.”

The Canes have six players due to become unrestricted free agent — forwards Chad LaRose and Tim Brent; defensemen Joe Corvo, Bobby Sanguinetti and Marc-Andre Bergeron; and goaltender Dan Ellis. It’s hard to say how many will be re-signed.

LaRose won the Stanley Cup with the Canes in 2006 and has played more than 500 games with the franchise. But has he played his last game with Carolina?

The Hurricanes’ new eight-team division next season includes the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. That will factor into personnel moves.

“There will be physical games. They’re big teams,” Muller said. “I think it’s important for us as an organization and looking at the opponents we will face, to make decisions based on how we feel we can improve to play against them.”

Rutherford said restructuring the defensive corps will be a priority. The Canes scored 2.65 goals a game this season, 14th in the NHL. But they allowed 3.31 goals, 29th in the league, after the 8-3 beating by the Penguins in the final game Saturday.

“We put some defensemen in roles they couldn’t handle,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford is confident defenseman Joni Pitkanen will be able to return from a broken heel bone. But his spot may not be secure.

Backup goalie Justin Peters, who had the unpleasant task Saturday of facing the Pens, has a one-way contract next season. So do forwards Drayson Bowman and Jeremy Welsh.

“But we’re not keeping anyone just because they have a one-way contract,” Rutherford said. “They clearly have to make the team.”

As for this season, the Hurricanes finished 13th in the Eastern Conference after a 15-9-1 start. They lost No. 1 goalie Cam Ward to a knee injury March 3 and never really recovered, although Ellis and Peters did their best.

“You can’t replace a No. 1 guy,” Muller said Saturday. “As hard as the other two guys played, it’s a different role. It’s like a No. 2 center saying ‘I can be a No. 1 guy’ and all of the sudden you’re playing against tougher defensive guys.

“It takes a certain mental toughness for a goaltender. It’s like a starting quarterback or pitcher. Lose one, then it would hurt pretty much every team. It was a big blow to us when Cam went down.”

There were other injuries. Faulk sprained a knee and Tim Gleason played with a broken foot. Skinner had a concussion and Alexander Semin a shoulder problem.

“It’s like we were going up the mountain one side, and then came right down the other,’ Muller said. “Once we hit our injuries we just were not able to get points in games where we actually played better than our opponents. It’s not excuses. It’s reality.”

The NHL draft lottery will be held Monday in Toronto and all 14 non-playoff teams now have a shot at the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Carolina, in the fifth spot, has an 8.1-percent chance of winning the first overall pick, but the draft pool is believed to be a deep one this year.

Rutherford believes the Canes’ top pick should be able to play and help the team next season. But uncertainty surrounds the Hurricanes’ offseason.

Edited by SuckaPunchd

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So I guess I will go ahead and apologize for the giant post, then. ;)

And apologies for the formatting as well. But hopefully some of this will provide some food for thought.

 

Now that the season is complete, and knowing that there are issues with the defese that need to be addressed in the off-season, I thought it would be interesting in taking a stats-heavy look at the defense corps.

While I find all this interesting, I am far from an expert, so anyone who wants to pitch in with corrections on my interpretations please feel free.

I have limited this to the 8 defensemen that played at least 20 games. Less than that is a pretty small sample size, and it seemed reasonable to view these eight as the primary defensemen this season. (Keeping in mind, though, that Bergeron did not play all his games for the Hurricanes.)

The eight, and their basic stats, are:
Bergeron    (25g 1-8-9 -4)
Corvo         (40g 6-11-17 -3)
Faulk         (38g 5-10-15 +1)
Gleason     (42g 0-9-9 -3)
Harrison     (47g 3-7-10 -10)
McBain      (40g 1-7-8 +0)
Pitkanen    (22g 1-8-9 +2)
Sanguinetti (37g 2-4-6 -6)

 

I have also limited this review to even strength only. Given the problems with special teams, that may be worth a look as well, down the road.

To evaluate each player, it is important to conside that each player was not asked to perform the same tasks. Ideally, each would be placed in a position to best use his strengths and minimize his weaknesses, but as Rutherford mentioned recently, some players were asked to play above their abilities. Some of this was due to injuries (Pitkanen alone missed 26 games.) and some was due to a lack of quality depth.

Using the "player usage charts" (I like the ones here: http://somekindofninja.com since they are easy to play with - if you want to see the pretty diagrams, head that way) we can see the folowing.

One defenseman was tasked with playing the hardest minutes,  both in terms of playing against the best players, and starting least often in the offensive zone. Not surprisingly, this was Gleason.

He started in the offensive zone only 43.1% of the time and played against the highest quality of competition (+.435).

Faulk was the only other defenseman who started in the offensive zone less thasn 50% of the time (44.9%). However, the competition he was facing was significantly lower (-.498). (Above only Sanguinetti and Corvo.) These two (Gleason and Faulk, not Sanguinetti and Corvo, if there was any confusion) formed the bulk of the "shut down" defense.

McBain, Pitkanen, Harrison, and Corvo all started in the offensive zone between 54% of the time (Pitkanen) and 55.6 % (McBain). Harrison was at 55% and Corvo was at 55.1%. Of those four, McBain was tasked with playing against the highest quality of opponents (+.138), which was second only to Gleason. The other three followed with Pitkanen (-.168), Harrison (-.320), and Corvo (-.650). These four were given more offensive responsibilities than Gleason and Faulk, with McBain and Pitkanen taking on the harder minutes in this role.

Sanguinetti and Bergeron were given the most offensive zone starts, with Sanguinetti getting 62% and Bergeron getting the team high 75.6%. Sanguinetti played against the team low for level of competition (-.774), while Bergeron played against a level rated at -.362. These two played the most sheltered minutes, with Bergeron's role as a PP specialist probably playing a part in his numbers.

So with the roles each played better understood, we can put the other numbers in perspective.

The obviious number to look at, with the Player Usage Chart still in mind, is Corsi. This is basically a +/- for shots instead of goals. One would expect that the players playing against the harder competition and with the fewest offensive zone starts would have the worst numbers, and that is what we see, for the most part.

Gleason, wirh a Corsi rating of -2.9, sits at the bottom of the group. (Almost 3 more shot against than shots for per 60 minutes of ice time.) Faulk was the only other one in the group with a negative rating, with -0.74. Every other defender in the group had a positive Corsi number, with Bergeron (+17.01) and Sanguinetti (+16.63) leading the pack, which shouldn't be a surprise given their roles.

Of the four in the "middle of the pack", McBain had the highest Corsi rating, at +5.57, followed by Pitkanen (+4.62), Corvo (+2.25) and Harrison (+1.14). Oddly enough, except for swapping Corvo and Harrison, this follows in the reverse order one would expect given the quality of competition they faced - with McBain having both the hardest competition and best Corsi of this middle group, and Pitkanen being second in both categories.

Of course, while shots on goal is an indicator of offensive pressure, the team often put up a lot of shots to little avail. (And occasionally allowed a lot of shots to little avail as well.) So it is probably a good idea to also take into account that much maligned "simple" stat of +/-. When combined with Corsi, it can better explain away generating/allowing a large quantity of shots, but generating/allowing little in the way of quality shots - the ones actally likely to go in the net.

Reviewing the beginning stats, with Corsi added:

Pitkanen    (22g 1-8-9 +2)   +4.62
Faulk         (38g 5-10-15 +1)   -0.74
McBain      (40g 1-7-8 +0)   +5.57
Gleason     (42g 0-9-9 -3)   -2.9
Corvo         (40g 6-11-17 -3)   +2.25
Bergeron    (25g 1-8-9 -4)   +17.1
Sanguinetti (37g 2-4-6 -6)   +16.63
Harrison     (47g 3-7-10 -10)   +1.14

What does that tell us? Well, heck if I know, but it probably tells us something. What I see is that Bergeron's and Sanguinetti's great Corsi ratings seemed to have very little affect on their goals for and against, so even their sheltered minutes did only so much good. With less sheltered minutes, this was also true for Harrison and Corvo, though to a much lesser extent. Pitkanen's  and McBain's +/- are probably not flukes, as they are backed up by their Corsi numbers. The same was also true for Gleason and Faulk. The two shut downdefenders were the only two whose Corsi and +/- numbers were close.

Closely tied to this, and also closely tied to the epitomy of playing defense, is how often goals are scored against a player - defense uncomplicated by adding in offensive numbers: Goals against per 60 minutes on ice. (I used the advanced stats going forward from http://www.behindthenet.ca, which includes much more in the way of stats than I have mentioned here, for those interested in digging further.)

Leading this stat (in a good way - I am starting with the lowest goals against) was Pitkanen, with 2.23. McBain was next (2.45), followed by Bergeron (2.73), Corvo (2.74), Faulk (2.85), Gleason (2.90), Sanguinetti (2.94) and Harrison (3.04). Of course, this is still affected by the roles they played - those playing against the toughest competition and starting least often in the offensive zone would have the hardest time preventing goals against.

This allows for a few comparisons, though. Gleason, playing the hardest minutes, does not give up the most goals. He is ahead of both Harrison and Sanguinetti - who was not helped at all by his much easier minutes. Pitkanen and McBain, the two from the middle of the pack in the zone starts group, finished one and two here - while playing against the stiffest competition of that group. (And second and third behind Gleason.)

Another stat I find intereasting, especially on a team with so many puck moving defensmen, is zone starts and finishes. Offensive zone starts have already been brought up, and here they are compared with offensive zone finishes. Of course, it would seem that with zone starts/finishes, the tendency would be that those with greater offensive zone starts would have more offensive zone finishes, and that there would also be a trend towards 50%. Meaning that a player with more than 50% offensive zone starts would likely end up with fewer offensive finishes than starts, and a player with less than 50% offensive zone starts would likely end up with more offensive finishes than starts.

What the numbers show (offensive starts to finishes):

Gleason    43.4 to 49.0
Faulk        45.5 to 51.0

Both Gleason and Faulk, the only players with below 50% offensive zone starts, had improved zone finishes. Both trended towards 50%, as expected, although Faulk managed to go beyond that and actually ended up above 50%.

Pitkanen    54.6 to 56.1
Harrison    55.0 to 50.7
Corvo        55.1 to 55.9
McBain     55.8 to 53.7

Pitkanen and Corvo were the only two that managed to overcome the trend towards 50% - both ending in the offfensiive zone even more than the above 50% they started with. Perhaps this is a testament to their actual puck moving abilities.

McBain and Harrison both trended to 50%, with Harrison dropping a bit more of the two.

Sanguinetti    62.1 to 55.0
Bergeron       74.4 to 58.3

Both Sanguinetti and Bergeron trended (rather significantly) towards 50%.

Now there is more than this brought to the game, so I will also list a few of the other intersting and (perhaps) meaningful stats here:

Hits:
Gleason        90 (2.14/g)
Harrison        83 (1.77/g)
Faulk            63 (1.66/g)
Sanguinetti    50 (1.35/g)
Corvo            27 (0.68/g)
McBain         22 (0.55/g)
Bergeron       16 (0.64/g)
Pitkanen       16 (0.73/g)

Blocked Shots:
Harrison        110 (2.34/g)
Gleason        64 (1.52/g)
McBain         63 (1.57/g)
Faulk            47 (0.81/g)
Sanguinetti    40  (1.08/g)
Corvo            38 (0.95/g)
Pitkanen       34 (1.55/g)
Bergeron      19 (0.76/g)

Give Aways/Take Aways
Faulk           26/24
Harrison       24/12
Corvo           20/15
McBain        18/8
Pitkanen       12/11
Sanguinetti   12/12
Bergeron      11/7
Gleason       11/10

Penalties taken per 60 minnutes:
Harrison        1.0
Pitkanen       0.8
Corvo            0.5
Bergeron       0.5
Faulk            0.3
McBain         0.3
Gleason        0.2
Sanguinetti    0.1

Penalties drawn per 60 minnutes:
Sanguinetti    0.9
McBain         0.6
Pitkanen       0.5
Faulk            0.4
Gleason        0.4
Corvo            0.4
Bergeron       0.2
Harrison        0.2
 

So, just a "brief" overview of what I see in the stats. I will refrain from any conclusions at this point. I think this is probablly more than enough words from me for one post.

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Now there is more than this brought to the game, so I will also list a few of the other intersting and (perhaps) meaningful stats here:

Hits:

Gleason        90 (2.14/g)

Harrison        83 (1.77/g)

Faulk            63 (1.66/g)

Sanguinetti    50 (1.35/g)

Corvo            27 (0.68/g)

McBain         22 (0.55/g)

Bergeron       16 (0.64/g)

Pitkanen       16 (0.73/g)

Blocked Shots:

Harrison        110 (2.34/g)

Gleason        64 (1.52/g)

McBain         63 (1.57/g)

Faulk            47 (0.81/g)

Sanguinetti    40  (1.08/g)

Corvo            38 (0.95/g)

Pitkanen       34 (1.55/g)

Bergeron      19 (0.76/g)

Give Aways/Take Aways

Faulk           26/24

Harrison       24/12

Corvo           20/15

McBain        18/8

Pitkanen       12/11

Sanguinetti   12/12

Bergeron      11/7

Gleason       11/10

 

Wow, great job!  :notworthy:

 

The quoted stats scare the crap out of me. Wow. Glaringly shows how non-physical we are and how unwilling we are to put ourselves in front of the shot. The fact our 'most physical defenseman' averages less than two and a half, much less three, hits per game is terrifying. This is horrendous. For a team trying to become more physical, we need actual physical players.  90 Hits leads our defense, but lands about 84th among NHL players this season, 30th among defensemen. Our biggest hitter was Jordan Staal with 105, good for 55th leaguewide.  :tsktsk:

 

Harrison's 110 blocked shots lands him 11th among the league, which is not bad at all. Our next best shot blocker, Gleason, is tied for 76th in the league in shot blocking. 

 

The 8 dmen you listed are collectively 134/99 on Giveaways/Takeaways.  :thumbdown:

 

:twilight-zone:

 

I'd like to see how our blueline point production stacks up with the rest of the league.

Edited by SuckaPunchd

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While all the Marc Staal becoming a Cane talk is fun for a casual chat, the Ranger D-man that makes much more sense for the Canes is Ryan McDonagh. He's 23 and coming into his own and a RFA so we could make a play for him and his salary would be more cap friendly.
 
But lets face it, it would be awkward if the Canes land Matt Cooke too -- image McDonagh and Cooke as teammates???  :>  But I guess McDonagh could forgive/forget, eh?

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