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2015/16 In-Season Talk

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Something is seriously wrong with Eric right now.  I think the negotiation/trade talk is really starting to get to him, and it's starting to show on the ice.  He's looked like a complete pedestrian for quite some time.  He's not making plays, not skating fast, looking lifeless out there.  The most hustle I saw from him tonight was back-checking the last couple seconds of the game looking for an empty net goal.

 

Something has to give with him sooner than later.  If he plays at this pace, we can't keep him til the deadline, let alone the rest of the season.  He's having no impact on the game.

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2 points out of both wildcards and also 3rd in the Metro.  Looks good.

 

10 games in hand for the teams in those spots and ahead of the Canes.  Ouch.

 

Effective points back is about 4 or 5.  I am still a nay-sayer because I think RF will be forced into making trades mid month when the team is still on the outside looking in.  It is his first chance to really put his stamp on this team.

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2 points out of both wildcards and also 3rd in the Metro.  Looks good.

 

10 games in hand for the teams in those spots and ahead of the Canes.  Ouch.

 

Effective points back is about 4 or 5.  I am still a nay-sayer because I think RF will be forced into making trades mid month when the team is still on the outside looking in.  It is his first chance to really put his stamp on this team.

 

I've still got us as 6th in the Metro, but it's getting pretty tightly packed together (except for the Caps at the top and BJs at the bottom.)  Never mind, you're saying 2 pts out of third place in the Metro, not that we're in 3rd place.

 

I think things will be a lot clearer next Fri the 12th (before that nights games) as the schedule will have evened out quite a bit.  Regarding # of games played, Philly and Pitt will have just 1 game in hand on us, we'll be even with Detroit, we'll have a game in hand on Jersey, and 2 in hand on the Isles.

 

If RF is sitting on a deal or two I suspect it will be easier politically for him to pull the trigger if the standings actually reflect us being, say, 4 or 5 out as compared to the misleading 2 out they now show.  The Montreal game is big.  The Canes need 2 points to keep the optics favorable as the other contenders catch up on games.    

Edited by LakeLivin

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I've still got us as 6th in the Metro, but it's getting pretty tightly packed together (except for the Caps at the top and BJs at the bottom.)  Never mind, you're saying 2 pts out of third place in the Metro, not that we're in 3rd place.

 

I think things will be a lot clearer next Fri the 12th (before that nights games) as the schedule will have evened out quite a bit.  Regarding # of games played, Philly and Pitt will have just 1 game in hand on us, we'll be even with Detroit, we'll have a game in hand on Jersey, and 2 in hand on the Isles.

 

If RF is sitting on a deal or two I suspect it will be easier politically for him to pull the trigger if the standings actually reflect us being, say, 4 or 5 out as compared to the misleading 2 out they now show.  The Montreal game is big.  The Canes need 2 points to keep the optics favorable as the other contenders catch up on games.    

The 12th is a huge game! Got my tkts for that one. At least I'll get to see the CUP again. Been 10 long years.

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IMO the next 24 hours are very important. I've felt all along the current road trip needs 3 or 4 points before the load of home games later this month.

 

Starting at 1PM today there are so many significant games that can help if they fall the right way, but really hurt if they don't going into tomorrow.

 

With nearly a week off after Sunday, and then a big home game on Friday, the team needs to completely empty the tank and do "whatever it takes" to win.  We'll see if they have it.

 

Last night was very pivotal for the near term outlook.

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17-9-3 is not an insane run, but it is almost certainly going to require a nice winning streak. Not necessarily, but most likely.

 

17-9-3 is 1.28 ppg.

 

Only Washington, Florida, Dallas, and Chicago are higher (LA is basically right there). So to do this straight up over 29 games we really legitimately have to be the 5th or 6th best team in the entire league.

 

So I'm with SuperDave that this is still less likely than not.

 

However, if we rip off a tasty wining streak. Say 5-0. Then we leave ourselves with a more manageable need: 1.12 ppg. This means we need a middle of the pack record the rest of the way (Detroit/NJ) rather than equaling LA. Far Far more doable.

 

We have 11 games before the deadline. Ideally Francis has a magic number of sorts. A rough guide as to where the team needs to be somewhere around then to decide whether or not to sell. He should not rent unless the price is very low. He should not buy unless it is for a long term piece. But should he, can he, sell?

 

I think needing 1.28 ppg is far too much to bet on. (Again that is betting that we are the 5th or 6th best team in the NHL). Therefore this team needs a serious run in the next 11 games.

 

We have 11 games on the road vs. 7 at home after the deadline, but the games are well spaced (only one back to back (home)), and the travel almost all East (one game vs. Minnesota the only "west" trip. But we have 8/11 at home before the deadline, and 8/10 after tomorrow. 

 

The team needs to define itself now. And that means a win streak during this home stand.

 

If I'm Francis I want the team to need 1.13 ppg or less at the deadline, for the remaining games, or I want to be a seller. Not sure he'll be able to sell if we're short, but it's close, but the farther above that we need, the lower the chance of getting in.

 

The other piece is this, is this a legit team for a cup run? Yes I know, get in and anything can happen. Except it can't. A team can go a round, maybe even two that it shouldn't but coming from the 7-8 slot is very hard, and on top of that, every cup finalist team in recent history has been a legit top tier team. Even the Oilers were fairly loaded with scoring, and of course we all know about LA coming from low seeds, but being a widely accepted elite team built for playoffs. But are we?

 

I know, the area needs playoffs, the guys could use a taste. But I still maintain that getting a haul of picks and prospects for our UFA's, and a much higher pick ourselves, is better than a first round exit. (I am on the fence on this though since it has been soooo long...).

 

Anyway, to get to the point that we need 1.13 ppg after the deadline, we need 16 points in the next 11 games pre deadline. This means a record around 7-2-2 in the next 11. This is clearly going to require a run. 4-0 could do it. Leaving 3-2-2.

 

If this team goes 7-2-2 or equivalent, we just need an average NHL record the rest of the way after having posted a decidedly top 6 record to that point. That is a time to clearly go for it. Even 6-2-3 or probably 6-3-1 will leave us having to go for it.

 

As always the worst thing would be in between. If we go 5-3-3 for instance. We fall 3 points short, leave ourselves needing a continued big run, but still in it. That would be 13 points in the next 11 games.

 

I personally think anything under 13 points in the next 11 is a sell signal. Anything over 15 in the next 11 is a GO signal.

 

But the best thing would be one or the other. Define thyself. One way or the other. Either put up 16-17 points or just collapse and get under 10. Then the decision would make itself.

Edited by remkin

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Another thing or two on playoffs.

 

Warning: proceed with caution. This is a best case scenario. Rose colored glasses were used in this analysis.

 

I maintain that a team needs at least 2 and ideally 3 elite forwards, one stud dman, and at least above average goalie play to go deep. Of course you need a solid supporting cast too. The formula is a minimum requirement, not a ticket to the cup.

 

Do we have these guys? No.....well maybe.

 

I've long maintained that we had the potential on paper. Built an Island on it. But it has not come together on the ice. Well do we have it now? Still probably no, but, well maybe.

 

What has changed? A couple of things, but mainly Jordan Staal. Suddenly this is the guy we gave all of that bounty for. Coastal's player use chart shows him squarely in the heavy load corner of d zone starts and best opponents. Yet he leads the team as a plus 7, (5 better than his closest linemate) and I thought that I saw that he has been better than a ppg for something like 12-14 games? That, is elite.

 

If he keeps this up, one down, 1.5 to go.

 

Not sure we have another elite guy, but we do have a tremendous supporting cast, and at least one (maybe two) guys who might still find elite (Skinner and Lindholm). Further, at least in theory,  Eric could recover elite also.

 

Skinner is currently an elite goal scorer, and especially during this run. He is sub elite due to low assist numbers. But he has made some pretty sweet primary assists lately. Lindholm has been on a run of points recently. After a dismal start. Neither is elite, but both have that potential. Eric? Who knows? If he re-signs and gets inspiration from it? Maybe? Mostly I see a lot of head fakes from him, but one wonders how much of his recent drop is physical and what might be in the tank "if".

 

The thing is, we suddenly have a pretty deep group of forwards. Versteeg and Rask are on 50 point paces. This is very good in today's NHL. PDG is on a 37 point pace, and Nesty is on a 34 point pace.

 

If Justin Faulk tightens up his defensive game (he's done it in stretches) he becomes the elite stud dman. And if Jordan keeps playing the way he is. We would probably only need one forward to hit "elite" status as the year went on with so much supporting scoring. Skinner, Lindholm, or Eric could do it, (though Eric is not showing it now, maybe if he gets his contract done).

 

Let me be clear. This is a stretch. My gut tells me we are a couple of years away from getting enough guys to form for a cup run. On it's face beating Florida, Washington, or Tampa in a playoff series is still a long shot. But if the pieces fell just right, this is becoming a better team by far than we've seen in a long time.

Edited by remkin

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This is definitely a rock and a hard place. Been hearing rumors with Price's rehab in Montreal not going well and that they maybe interested in Cam to make a run for the playoffs. Could be a rental?

A lot of teams were expecting to come in like vultures and pick Carolina and New Jersey for cheap. With both teams playing well and in the playoff hunt, price has increased for players like Cam and Eric here and top players in NJ.

 

I think if the Canes can make the playoffs would be a really good shot in the arm for the organization and could revive local interest in the team. This reminds me of how things started off when the PNC arena was known as the ESA. Uninspired play until the 2000-01 season. We made the playoffs as a 8th seed and got bounced by the Devils in the 1st round. Following season? Made it to the SCF.

Edited by hopper915

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Interesting schedule tonight. Lots of chances to gain or lose ground.

 

Caps vs Devils: clearly want Caps to win: We move to 2 points out, with same games in hand w/ NJ.

 

NYR vs Philly: NYR to win (Philly has mad games in hand on us (4) and only two back).

 

Oilers vs MTL: Oilers push MTL further down, 4 pts back of us w/ same games in hand if lose.

 

Red Wings vs Islanders: Pick'em. No tie. Islanders in our division, but Red Wings closer in points per game for WC spot.

 

Sabers vs Bruins: Go Sabers! Sabers out, Bruins catchable for WC if drop back.

 

Leafs vs. Sens: Go Leafs! Like MTL, pushes Sens 4 points back, same games played.

 

Panthers vs Penguins: Go Kittys! Florida out of reach. Pittsburgh w/ 3 games in hand and up a point for WC.

 

 

If, especially the top teams lose, we could be tied for a playoff spot with a win vs MTL tomorrow, w/ games in hand not counted.

Edited by remkin

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Unless we get that immediate 5ish game win streak that Rem has mentioned (and I agree that it is necessary for any playoff hopes), I think it is mandatory that RF make the trades that strengthen this team going forward.  It may be rentals on ES and CW (possibly Versteeg too) and they will be right back.  Whatever gains these players bring in will be valuable assets to this team whether on the ice or as future trade chips as possible "buyers" at a future trade deadline. 

 

Can't be any more steaming turds laid on the ice like the Calgary game.

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Philly and Devils lose in a SO but both get a point and Rags get 2pts with the win over the Flyers. Could be worse.

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Philly and Devils lose in a SO but both get a point and Rags get 2pts with the win over the Flyers. Could be worse.

Devils had a PP with 1:00 left and couldn't close the deal. Philly gave up the tying goal with :13 on the clock. 

 

So not only losses, not only home losses, but disheartening home losses. 

 

I like it. :)

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"Aho playing again a very good game. 1+1 at the end of the 3rd period. This kid is so underrated. So many people here don't seem to realize that this kid has practically everything a player could wish for and he is developing even all the time with a huge pace. He has developed his skating very consistently all the time. Excellent skater at the moment already. Puckhandling is excellent too, but the real great thing about him is his amazing vision and hockey sense. I honestly have to say that I have never before seen a Finnish player who has so great offensive and defensive skills at the same time. Ok, Barkov would be close here, but with his excellent skating I see Aho as even more potential Finnish all time best two way forward. Of course only time will tell. But trust me, this kid is truly going to have a great career. A very unique player."

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This is shocking. I had no idea we would be in the thick of it like we are...

Well, the bad news is the games in hand held by the teams immediately around us: Flyers and Isles both with three and Pitt with two. As (I think) Lake pointed out, that will be more even by the time we skate vs. Pitt on Friday.

 

(Aside: Another minus for the new NHL.com: Used to be you could hover over the name of any team on the standings page and see their next five games. That's gone. Thumbs down, Mr. Bettman.)

 

So today (granted, like every game the rest of the way) is a must-win. Philly is just a point back of us and on the road, playing a great team (WSH) after giving a game away at home yesterday with :13 left. The Isles are two ahead of us and have traveled home to play a team they should beat, after getting whipped in DET yesterday. In fact, every other team that is in action today, except us, is on the back end of a back-to-back this afternoon.

 

We're rested, it's Eric's 900th, we have the next four days off, and Montreal is swooning. No excuses today.  

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3 of 6 available points for the road trip.  Acceptable, but I hoped for better.  Good enough result for next 8 of 10 at home to position any post-season possibility.  Still unlikely as we watch the league burn some of those in-hand games.

 

Go Panthers!

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Now that football is out of the way we can concentrate on the important things in life...Hockey. Unfortunately we have to wait 4 days until the Canes resume their quest for the playoffs.  With other teams already back in action we should know by the end of the weekend a more realistic picture of where we stand in the race. Games in hand will begin to even out and the result of the Pens and Isle games loom as two more must win games.

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Yeah, looking over the next 4 days, the games in hand will close down to next to none. A combined 15 games in hand with the top 8 contenders will shrink to a net of 3. And we'll actually have a game in hand on NJ.

 

The fascinating thing to me is that there are 15 games of import to us while we're idle. And in those games there is a clear preferred loser in all but one: Detroit/Ottawa. Every other game has a clear preferred winner. ie: the teams in question are not playing each other.

 

This is due to the NHL's weighting the end of the schedule vs. in conference foes, (leaving more out of conference games now), and a bit of luck.

 

More than likely, they will even out, but there is the potential for a good swing or a bad swing.

 

Normally a bit early to watch standings, but a big run of the right teams winning or the opposite, could really affect things.

 

Since the game in hand will shrink to next to nill, here is the last adjusted standings: (awards about 1.2 ppg for unplayed games, rounds up).

 

Boston 64

NYI 64

Pitt 63

Detroit 62   cut line

NJ 60

Philly 59

Canes 57

MTL 56

Ottawa 55

 

Based on this, we are mathematically modeled to be 5 points out. This points out the need to go on a run. But could be worse since we kind of 50-50'd the road trip. 

 

Pittsburgh is hot, and with all the cup hoopla and 4 days off.....well we really need that one.

Edited by remkin

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3 of 6 available points for the road trip.  Acceptable, but I hoped for better.  Good enough result for next 8 of 10 at home to position any post-season possibility.  Still unlikely as we watch the league burn some of those in-hand games.

 

Go Panthers!

 

Well . . . I know it was a road trip, but we don't have many stretches of 3 straight games against teams in the bottom half of the league.  I can't criticize the boys at all for the last 2 games, but that Calgary game really hurt imo. 

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One thing that's jumped out at me lately is how much quicker Ward is than Lack.  It's apparent when going across the net or when they go down for a save and then need to get back up.  Ward seems to pop back up like he's on springs whereas in comparison Lack seems to almost struggle to get back up.  I know that there are different ways to get good results and that Lack's size compensates for some of Ward's athleticism.  Too bad we can't combine the two to get a super Frankengoalie.

Edited by LakeLivin

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No need to keep Murphy with the big club if he's just going to make sandwiches and send text messages in the press box during the game. He might as well be skating in Charlotte.

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One thing that's jumped out at me lately is how much quicker Ward is than Lack.  It's apparent when going across the net or when they go down for a save and then need to get back up.  Ward seems to pop back up like he's on springs whereas in comparison Lack seems to almost struggle to get back up.  I know that there are different ways to get good results and that Lack's size compensates for some of Ward's athleticism.  Too bad we can't combine the two to get a super Frankengoalie.

Good point Lake, and I believe quickness getting back to the feet is the first indicator of keeper fatigue (or laziness). When Cam was going really badly last year, he'd take a knee - say, to better see behind the net - but then stay there when the play came to the front, only to get beat up high.

 

It's one thing to play deep in the crease if you're a big keeper, but the minute you take a knee that advantage is gone. I saw a troubling amount of that from Lack in Calgary, given that he'd just had a week off. (Or maybe because of it.)

Edited by top-shelf-1

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