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2015 Training Camp and Pre-Season

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We're unstoppable. Apparently never won 4 preseason games in a row in Hurricane history. Nice.

 

Cam must have been pretty darned good.

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Watched it on the stream.  

 

Cam was really good tonight.  He should've had the shutout, but Hanifin got shoved into Cam as the Penguins player was shooting.

 

Speaking of Hanifin, he looked much much better tonight.  Near flawless game, he was on the ice for the goal allowed, but that wasn't his side of the ice (Murphy's), and he was out with the 4th line.  He should be penciled in the roster.

 

Jordan looked really good as well.  He and Faulk really held down the fort against Pitt's top lines and power plays.

 

Skinner didn't have much offense going, but played a pretty good defensive game.

 

The body language with this group of guys look completely different from last year.  We may be in for an interesting season.

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I think we have a good pair of goalies.... again.

Team looks focused and determined, playing with a chip on their shoulder, which is good.

Let everyone say the Canes are a horrible team. All that fodder is great modivation.

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I know it's only the preseason, but hopefully we can carry this momentum into a solid start to the season. I didn't see the game, but from comments and box score I think Cam did earn that opening night start.

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Apparently, HCBP has gotten his message through quite clearly.

 

This team is a scrappy bunch, and I'm liking what I'm seeing.  I don't know how many games this team will win, but they come to play, and the Pens found that out last night. 

 

On Cam, wow.  He was never moving, always square to the shooter and the puck.  Solid effort.

 

Didn't care for that bush league move by Lindholm, that's not his game.

 

What the heck is that goal song?

Edited by coastal_caniac

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If we know nothing else about Cam Ward, it is that, with few exceptions, the more pressure, the better he plays. He did it again last night. After a dismal performance against this same team 10 days ago, he owned them. That's saying something.

 

On Lindy's "kneeing," did anybody see it on video? Both Chuck and Maniscalco thought he led with the shoulder and that the knee contact was incidental. Coastal is right, it's not his game, and if Chuck and Mike are correct, we can write off the call to pre-season officiating.

 

Jordan getting the marker is perfect, and following up on PK17, I have to think Skinner on the 3rd line is BP's effort to make him better defensively (the third typically is charged with shutting down the opposition's first). It's a line where if you work hard in your own end you'll get odd-man opportunities in the other.

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If we know nothing else about Cam Ward, it is that, with few exceptions, the more pressure, the better he plays. He did it again last night. After a dismal performance against this same team 10 days ago, he owned them. That's saying something.

 

 

To kind of expand on TS comment about Cam. These past 2-3 seasons, Cam has actually had competition for the #1 spot in between the pipes. With that lack of someone pushing him, he MAY have gotten a little complacent. He was pretty much our only option for many seasons and was probably pushed to his limit, resulting in his injury issues. I really would like to see a work load for both netminders around 60/40.

We are in year 2 of BP's system. Everyone now has a role and from the looks of it, have accepted it.

Edited by hopper915

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From my seat, I thought Lindholm led with his shoulder, but he was clearly going for a big hit, and his knee was in a dangerous leading position.  Luckily, the contact wasn't knee on knee - it was on Sprong's outer thigh area.  He came back to the bench a few minutes after going off the ice.

 

My point was he needs to clean that up, he can be physical, but that's not his style.

 

https://pbs.twimg.com/tweet_video/CQWgT6WXAAAO7-p.mp4

Edited by coastal_caniac

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So, with the pre-season over, a few thoughts:

 

While preseason is preseason, it is more important to get "that winning feeling" now, than real games at the end of meaningless year. Considering that the first couple of games are split squad, it is at least nice that we went 4-0 after that against pretty good teams. Will it carry over? Who knows, but for a historically fragile team used to losing, it can't hurt.

 

Skinner survived preseason with his noggin in tact and some goals to boot.

 

Hanifin. Many here and across the country said he was for real, but a vocal minority out there said no (Craig Button). It is really great to see signs that he is very much the real deal.

 

The defensive pipeline. Guys like Fleury and McKeown capture us due to their draft order and due to trades, but we also have a solid line up of slighly older, later picks just coming into range: Slavin, Pesce, etc.

 

Versteeg. The guy will not be an All Star, but we really needed a guy that can consistently make the offense go.

 

But here's the thing I want to focus on. Goaltending.

 

 

Since my posts get a little long, I'll put it in a new one.

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Why Goaltending Could be Why We Do Better than Everyone Thinks:

 

Just read the NHL preview in Sports Illustrated. The lowly Hurricanes at least get picked for 13th in the conference, which is higher than most,  but here's pretty much all of the print we got:

 

"But until the Canes' poor goaltending (a conference worst .902 save %) improves, the team isn't going anywhere."

 

But here's the thing: We will be improved in goal, quite possibly dramatically, and it is burried in the bad season and especially the bad October of last year.

 

For a long stretch: November through the end of February at least, Cam was way way better than that. I cannot find the actual stats, but Cam's October was so horrid that it pulled his yearly numbers down, then at the end w/ Sekera gone, maybe it crept a little. But the other thing is that Khudoben had a bad year all year. He played 34 gamed posting a .900 save %.

 

Yes, in the end you have to count Cam's October and Khudobin's year when assesing last year. But it is very reasonable to discount both when looking at projecting this year.

 

Cam: Cam burst on the scene in 06 with a very prematurely outstanding playoff run that ended in glory. But he was not really ready to be a season long #1 goalie. The next year he put up an abysmal sub .900 save %. BUT every year from that point forward, he improved his save % until 2010 when he put up a top tier, legit All Star .923 while being hung out to dry regularly.

 

If only he had maintained. But the next year there were struggles, then the injuries kicked in culminating in the disaster that was two years ago. That ended with him as a guy we literally could not give away (proported trade offer was OUR first and Cam for... nothing, just to get the contract off the books).

 

So, Cam had shown steady improvement all the way to All Star level in 2010, but then lost it. It is worth noting because it was always posible he could find it again. (Which he did, at least partly, last year). I have seen it quoted, "lets face it Cam Ward has never been a good #1 goalie." But he was once. And last year after October was better than he'd ever been post 2010.

 

But the "lost it" Cam came into camp last year still a bit shaken. He had a subpar camp and it spread into a dismal October behind a dismal team. But here's the (Cam only) part that SI and others seem to be missing (since the team struggled all year). Cam did NOT keep struggling. Buried in all those 1 goal losses was the fact that Cam quietly put together a very nice year post-October. The team faded in March due to being out of it and losing Sekera, but even then Cam was not awful.

 

So as we look to this year, and after two very strong preseason outings vs mostly NHL talent, why would we assume that Cam could not at least return to his Nov-Feb form of last year? Since he finished .910 even with October factored in, that would not be the .902% that SI is projecting for us. (I have tried, but cannot find Cams save % by month. But if Nov-Feb was around .915 it would not surprise me).

 

But I have not yet even addressed last year's real Save % sink: Anton Khudobin. The guy played 34 games and put up a 8-17-7 (8-24) record on a save % of .900. So we have to hope he plays better...oh wait, no, we switched him out for Eddie Lack.

 

How did Eddie Lack's save % last year look? How does .921 over 41 games grab you? Well it should grab you firmly. If you look at all goalies w/ at least 30 starts last year, Lack was #12 (tie). He was .001 below Lundquist.

 

So we have a Cam Ward, at least inititally looking like at least Nov-Feb Cam of last year compared with the Cam of all of last year (October factored in). And we have .921 Lack compared with .900 Khudobin.

 

So how do I tie this up? Lets say that Cam hits .915. (Probably his Nov-Feb number, and his basic level all around his .923 break out: .916, .916, .915). That is very reasonable. In fact this team's ability to play tighter defense could make that a low estimate.

 

Let's say Lack steps back and does an average of his two years: and put up .917.

 

If they split the starts, that gives us a Save % of .916 for the year.

 

Last year we were tied for 28th at .902.

 

BUT .916 last year would have put our goaltending at #......#8.

 

 

This team was in the top tier in shots for, shots against, PP, and PK. Goaltending at #28 and shooting % was what killed us. SI has honed in on goaltending. I think that could already be fixed.

 

If true, all we need is better scoring on our chances and....whoa.

 

If E, J and Skinner find some of their historical game and Lindy and Rask step up.....

 

 

I'm not predicting it will happen, those guys have a couple of years of not stepping up. But if I'm right about the goaltending already being instantly majorly upgraded, then it will come down to offensive exectution. If we get it we will surprise a lot of people.

 

Now I've really got to board my plane for Vegas because we are winning more than the 30 games they have us on. That much I will predict.

Edited by remkin

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McGinn, Ryan, Pesce, and Slavin on their way to Charlotte.

Fleury returning to the Red Deer Rebels.

Looks like Hanifin and Nordstrom made it.

No real surprises I guess.

Our roster stands at 22 (you can submit a 23 man roster).

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Yeah a real premium on NHL experience (and Hanifin). But not surprising. Hanifin is the story. Fleury will get there. OK Murphy, now show us something.

Edited by remkin

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Eddie Lack extended two years with an AAV of 2.75 million (2.5 million next year, and 3 million the following year).

Now that is interesting.

.

Edited by Kyrule

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That is interesting indeed. So we have Lack locked down for 3 years, which I think is great. Another solid move by GMRF. But does it mean more? It certainly could create room to move Cam at some point....

Edited by remkin

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I really like GMRFs move to sign Lack. Obviously he's seen enough of Lack to feel comfortable with getting ahead of the curve, even though most of it was in Vancouver.  But GMRF is doing it intelligently imo, not like when JR tried to do it. 

 

And if we're interested in re-signing Ward, doesn't this improve our negotiating position? It sure sends a message to Ward's agent (who also happens to be Staal's)

Edited by LakeLivin

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I'm a bit surprised but happy with the terms.  That deal could be a steal if he takes the #1 job and in line with the market value for a higher end backup.

 

Agree GMRF holds all the cards on Ward now.  It will be interesting to see how Ward handles this.

 

Another shrewd move by GMRF. 

Edited by coastal_caniac

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Agree a another solid move by RF. You don't want to go deep in the season with both your goalies holding expiring contracts. I didn't expect it this soon but RF doesn't let the ice melt beneath his feet.  I would think it puts a little more pressure on Ward and his agent.

 

You never know how things will turn out but at this moment in time it is a solid move.

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Funny I was just manifestoing about how our goalie play this year could indeed be a big part of a surprise year.

 

I think Francis knows that no matter what, we have either a bargain #1 or a very good back up for the next 3 years. I don't think that this means Ward is done here, but it really helps us either let him go or get the deal that makes sense. It also gives us some time to see what each of these guys has to offer. And if Lack kicks things up, Ward would almost certainly accept a trade rather than become the back up. If Ward is ready to take a pay cut and lose the NTC and plays well this year, we'd have a very nice 1-2 punch in goal for a few years.

 

The Ward situation is in a much better place at the moment than the Staal situation.

Edited by remkin

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Great move, and when I ask myself which of Staal or Ward is more serious about wanting to be part of the solution here based on their recent play and success at adapting their play to their ages, it's a pretty easy answer.

 

I can see Cam taking something like 3.5 to 4 million per year in the first two years, dropping to 3 after that - and if he continues to show he can still play, I can see the team locking him down at those terms for up to five more years. But any/all of that is totally dependent on him being consistently good this year, with flashes of brilliance like we saw last night.  

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I see this move as something similar to what they did with Dobby. Not a big risk / high rewards possibility.

 

IF Cam does re-sign and Lack is very productive, we have two pieces other team's maybe interested in at some point and their contracts would not hinder any type of movement if we decided to move one of them at trade deadline and we are out of contention.

 

IF Cam does not re-sign, Lack is locked in for 2 more seasons and Cam's contract at trade deadline would not hinder any type of movement if we decided to move him and are out of playoff contention.

 

IF Cam does not re-sign, we could also loan him out at trade deadline to a playoff contender if we are out of contention, with the express condition of bringing him back for 2-3 more seasons.

Edited by hopper915

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So as we look to this year, and after two very strong preseason outings vs mostly NHL talent, why would we assume that Cam could not at least return to his Nov-Feb form of last year? Since he finished .910 even with October factored in, that would not be the .902% that SI is projecting for us. (I have tried, but cannot find Cams save % by month. But if Nov-Feb was around .915 it would not surprise me).

 

But I have not yet even addressed last year's real Save % sink: Anton Khudobin. The guy played 34 games and put up a 8-17-7 (8-24) record on a save % of .900. So we have to hope he plays better...oh wait, no, we switched him out for Eddie Lack.

 

How did Eddie Lack's save % last year look? How does .921 over 41 games grab you? Well it should grab you firmly. If you look at all goalies w/ at least 30 starts last year, Lack was #12 (tie). He was .001 below Lundquist.

 

So we have a Cam Ward, at least inititally looking like at least Nov-Feb Cam of last year compared with the Cam of all of last year (October factored in). And we have .921 Lack compared with .900 Khudobin.

 

So how do I tie this up? Lets say that Cam hits .915. (Probably his Nov-Feb number, and his basic level all around his .923 break out: .916, .916, .915). That is very reasonable. In fact this team's ability to play tighter defense could make that a low estimate.

 

Let's say Lack steps back and does an average of his two years: and put up .917.

 

If they split the starts, that gives us a Save % of .916 for the year.

 

Last year we were tied for 28th at .902.

 

BUT .916 last year would have put our goaltending at #......#8.

 

Rem, I trimmed your post a bit, but to address the above...

 

Ward's save percentages last season, broken down:

 

By month:
Oct (4 games) .840
Nov (12 games) .927
Dec (10 games) .926
Jan (7 games) .908
Feb (7 games) .915
Mar (7 games) .883
Apr (4 games) .923
 
Season total (51 games) .910
 
From Nov-Feb (36 games) .921

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Thanks Invisible! That is exactly what I was looking for.

 

Nice to see the actual numbers. .840 is just abysmal. .883, pretty bad, but he was very good otherwise.

 

I know is it cherry picking, but that Nov-Feb stretch he was ironically exactly what Lack put up for the year.

 

If the two of them can get anywhere close to .920 as a pair, that would be #5 in the NHL last year.

Edited by remkin

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