Jump to content
The Official Site of the Carolina Hurricanes
OBXer

2016 Off-Season Talk

Recommended Posts

I don't care how much training, strength, and endurance a sport takes. That alone doesn't make me appreciate it. This period of summer blahs is getting the best of us when soccer and water polo have sprung up in the discussion. Curling, now there's a sport.

I agree. I appreciate that athletes train hard and must be in top shape to have even a prayer of getting to the top of their sport. But trying to name one sport as "the most" demanding - physically or mentally - is crazy. For a fan, it's not how physically demanding it is that matters. It's how entertaining it is to watch, and for every person, that's going to be strongly influenced by whether they've played it themselves.

 

I've played a lot of hockey, soccer, tennis, baseball, and golf. Hockey, while very physically demanding, is nothing compared to soccer in terms of the sheer stamina and cardio workout. But I agree that soccer, on TV at least, is almost totally unwatchable. So boring - except in a bar during the World Cup - which pretty much sums up why. Any sport that doesn't get interesting until the championship and which, even then, requires Guinness to fully appreciate... well, sorry, the whole rest of the world.

 

In hockey, goal is the hardest position on the ice (and though it's not really close, center is #2). Everybody else gets regular breathers, but goalies are out there for 60 minutes, on their feet, and must be focused throughout the game or the puck is behind them. They must also be acrobats--on skates, wearing 50 pounds of equipment, including those huge pads which make their legs more than double their normal size. They must therefore be great skaters, something few casual fans realize.

 

Tennis is much more demanding than it looks, particularly on a hot day, when the court temp can easily hit 120. The only time I've ever experienced non-work-related heat exhaustion in my life was after playing tennis waaaay too long on hot day. I'm talking leg and stomach cramps, nausea, chills, the works. It will also tear up your back (if you play at a high level on hard courts more than once a week).

 

Baseball (comparatively) is a walk in the park. And whoever said golf is 99 percent mental (Bobby Jones, maybe?) was 100 percent right. Even if your swing is totally grooved and you can hit the ball 300 yards, if you can't control your emotions you'll never be consistently good. Just ask John Daly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's face it.  Hockey rules as a spectator sport.  And these guys are are in freakin' shape.  Back when a bunch of the guys ran with us in the season opening 5k, I was blown away. (Even a hobbled Brindy smoked it.)   Heck, even coach Rowe (a former player) beat me in the last 400m even though he has a few years on me.

 

Soccer, lacross, water polo, even basketball have analogous rules and flows to ice hockey, but NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING beats ice hockey.  The hits, the blocks, the breakaways, the tic tac toes, the goaltending.  Nothing compares.

 

BTW, my walls are "beautiful".  I like them.  I watched them dry... or maybe I watched a soccer game.  Not sure.   :)

Edited by wxray1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, my walls are "beautiful".  I like them.  I watched them dry... or maybe I watched a soccer game.  Not sure.   :)

Ha! So true.

 

And you're right about hockey. By far the best team spectator sport. If every American had actually been to a game in person, it would leave all the others in its dust.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to think that if this team stays in it, but needs a piece, this time Francis will make the move. That was kind of an implicit promise to Jordan this offseason. We will not be sellers anymore.

I agree, and frankly if it weren't for the presence of Jordan's brother's contract, I doubt we'd have been sellers this past season. Ronnie's comments about hating to give up on the playoff run and not counting the remaining guys out after he dealt Eric really said a lot (to me) about how badly he wanted guys to get that taste this year.

 

As for our need for elite guys, I agree we're lacking, but I also think we're on the cusp, and that it's a more a matter of when, not if. I have to think our scouts have one overarching assignment right now: find guys with the TOOLS to become elite who are likely to be available when our picks come around. Forget what the pundits and draft rankings are saying; trust your gut and your eyes, and find about about their work ethic. If they have determination and flashes of elite talent, let us know about them and if we see it too, we'll have the people in place to give them the best chance of getting there.

 

That's how Detroit has done it, drafting smart and developing guys. That's a whole lot cheaper and more sustainable than throwing big dollars at one or two guys whose game may or may not translate to your system. More important, it gives the org that depth, something this one has lacked basically forever. All those guys competing with each other while playing your system as they develop, and earning whatever they get, pretty much guarantees you'll separate the men from any boy(chuk)s who slip through the door, and quick.

 

I think RF and BP strongly believe Rask, Aho, TT, and Lindholm can be elite. If they're only half-right, there are your two guys, plus Skinner and J. And it's waaaaay too early to count out Nordy or PDG, IMO. Assuming this is another year on these guys' road toward eliteness, and given the way we've built and drafted so far, I'd guess that any guys we bring in for help at the deadline will be just that, short-term pickups to get us into the dance, because it sure feels like the long-term plan is to spot talent others miss and build a system which produces elite players at best, and reliable role players at a minimum. It's certainly the most affordable and sustainable way to consistently fill your NHL bench, and we seem to finally have a GM and coaching staff with the hockey sense and the will to build that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This morning's bullet points...

1. How would you know if you had watched paint dry or a soccer game?

2. I have not watched any of the Summer Olympics and don't intend to.

3. I'd be hesitant to consider Nordy as possibly elite.

4. Live hockey is definitely the best spectator sport I know of. Baseball is good because of the atmosphere of being at the park, but all other sports are better viewed on TV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been delaying my NHL account PW change.  Kind of cranky over it.

 

I can understand the hate of water polo.  It is slow compared to ice hockey.  But it is faster than soccer.  And has more hockey-isms too, like a penalty box.

 

You have to have played it to understand just how grueling it is.  It is an extreme contact sport too.  Besides getting drilled with a ball, there is constant action, both legal and nonlegal under water.  It takes the full body to make a shot.   But anyway... Whatever.  Haters gonna hate.

 

Before I even read this I realized that I wasn't at all clear as to what I was trying to convey.  Because of the factors that wxray highlights I can't think of a sport/game that seems more grueling than water polo.  With sport/game defined as opposing individuals or teams attacking/ defending at the same time.  

 

I've never played water polo, but after watching some of the underwater action I didn't find it hard to appreciate how difficult the game must be (which is why I made the comment in the first place).  I think most casual athletes could stumble around and play most unfamiliar sports even if they were terrible at it.  But if they tried it with water polo I suspect many would need to be pulled from the pool and resuscitated. Literally.      

 

Water polo, like many Olympic events, is interesting because it is a novelty. You just never see it. I can watch it too, for maybe 10-15 minutes, then it's not new anymore and I remember why it's never on TV even in the age of some cable channel covering just about every sport on Earth. It is is terrible to watch. I'm sure it is fun to play and requires phenomenal fitness, but to watch? Get me back to the 25 mile bike race where nothing happens (until the crashes).

 

To me watch-ability also increases proportionally to the degree you want one side to win. If there's an obscure event where an American athlete is a huge underdog but has a chance at upsetting a heavy favorite in an event that's non-traditional for Americans, I might find it interesting to watch. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Water Polo is crazy fun to play.  Most swimmers have played it in some shape or form during their swimming tenure.  Back in high school and during neighborhood swim team we used to play water polo.  It's a lot of fun and a great work out!  It's an extreme work out actually.  Try playing it.  

Edited by bluedevil58

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A writer over at TheHockeyNews has an article on his observations of the top 40 players at the National Junior Evaluation Camp. http://www.thehockeynews.com/blog/the-top-40-players-at-the-national-junior-evaluation-camp/

 

Two Hurri-yutes caught his attention:

 

Nicolas Roy, C (CAR): Roy was a big-time standout for me. His skating seems to have improved, but the size, defensive eye and faceoff acumen remains. He scored Canada’s only goal against the U.S. and even saw power play time early on.

 

Janne Kuokkanen, LW (CAR): The Canes pick showed off some remarkable co-ordination against the U.S., kicking the puck from his skate to his stick and then onto the net for a shot in a flash. Overall, his quick release is a nice weapon.

Edited by LakeLivin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great stuff on Roy and Koukkanen. I think it gets back to Top's post, and what I've been on about too: we have had a nice run of good drafting despite fairly low picks, and trades for prospects. Between the two the cupboard is pretty full. Now we need to develop and hope that a couple of guys at least, rise to prominence.

 

This team ended up having a lot of issues to address when Francis took over, aside from coaching and admin.

 

We've known for years that defense and offensive depth were issues, but with the Eric Staal, dropoff, and Semin, and frankly even Ruutu and until last year Skinner, the offense at the top became an issue too, and we've all followed the sub par goaltending for at least 6  years now.

 

So Francis has full on addressed the defense arguably to an overkill. We are good there. And I would argue that we have addressed the offensive depth very strongly. Even if the Saarelas, Zykovs, Roys, Kuokkanen's, Aho's, PDG's, never hit elite, enough of them will be good enough to keep us from the LaRose on the first line, or Bowmans, or Terry's etc. We have and will have depth.

 

So the remaining questions are top end forwards and goaltending. And those are the questions. Who would not believe that if we some how find two 40 goal or 70 point forwards somehow, either through trade or from within, and get solid goaltending, that this could not become a solid cup contender?

 

I am fine with the cautious approach. Frankly it is the right approach, mainly because there is little other option. Right now the only player that could draw an elite forward back, that we would be wiling to trade is J. Faulk. But we are not ready to pull that trigger, mosty because we don't yet know exactly what we have in Fleury, McKeown and Bean, let alone certainty on even Hanifin, who looks to have all the tools, but still has to develop into that guy.

 

Then, as Top suggests, we don't know who, if any of our young guns and prospects might have elite in them. Before we go making moves to get elite talent, we should get a better idea what we have. If Aho turns out to be a 65 point guy and Gauthier a Rick Nash type, or if Linholm turns into that guy, then it would change our moves.

 

Still, while I have a lot of hope that all of our youth and talent, gets behind a leader, and plays faster and better without Eric around, and guys step up and produce like their potential suggests, we still have to see it to believe it. And if we start slow with anemic offense, waiting could be hard to do.

 

But where the fingers are really crossed is goaltending. Cam has not started a year strong in a long long time. I think that this team of young players will get better as the year goes on, but we simply cannot start bad again, and we are not going to be able to overcome a lot of bad goaltending, especially early.

 

Francis has hitched his wagon for this year, firmly to Cam and Eddie. If they faulter? This year could get out of hand fast.

 

Cam has shown the ability to be a solid #1 goalie for long stretches, but not an entire year in forever. Fingers crossed.

Edited by remkin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cam has shown the ability to be a solid #1 goalie for long stretches, but not an entire year in forever. Fingers crossed.

"Write off" is too strong a term, but I am willing to give Cam some leeway for the past two to three years, particularly in view of the things he was dealing with on the home front and the fact that, by his own admission, he thought he was gone two summers ago. We all remember that emotional end-of-season interview.

 

The fact that the team stuck with him and that he was willing to take a pay cut in line with what he's earned speaks volumes about his character. I think he's going to come out extremely focused and determined to show he can play well night in and night out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some statistical musings:

 

Last season the Canes had good puck possession numbers (tied for 11th best Corsi For%).  But they also had a very poor even strength team shooting % (tied for 3rd worst).   Seems like that could well be a reflection of our lack of top end offensive talent.  And shows that the system can take you so far but that we need a higher talent level to boost scoring (a point that I believe rem keeps alluding to). 

 

I also happened to look at team hits and was really surprised by the results.

 

               Most Hits                             

1. LAK  (2322)      23. SJS

2. NYI                    24. TBL

3. OTT                   25. DET

4. ANA                   26. DAL

5. PHI                    27. CAR

6. NYR                   28. VAN

7. BOS                   29. MIN

8. CBJ                    30. CHI (1318)

[Pit was right about in the middle with 1829]

 

On the whole, teams hitting less seem to be more successful than teams hitting more, but I'm not sure why.  Might that reflect that certain playing styles are more successful in todays NHL? Is it a reflection of better puck possession for the teams hitting less (you're not going to be hitting the other team when you've got the puck)?  Not sure, but I find it interesting. I'd love to know if Tulsky has a take on the matter.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Last season the Canes had good puck possession numbers (tied for 11th best Corsi For%).  But they also had a very poor even strength team shooting % (tied for 3rd worst).   Seems like that could well be a reflection of our lack of top end offensive talent.  And shows that the system can take you so far but that we need a higher talent level to boost scoring (a point that I believe rem keeps alluding to). 

 

 

And I'm not really the only one. Peter's keeps getting asked about this because it was true the last two years: we have good possession and generate a lot of shots, but don't beat the goalie (we also hold down shots but give up goals). Anyway, in the past his mantra is getting in front of the net and getting greasy goals. Not that we don't need to do that, but he has to say something doesn't he? It is hard to say, "well the guys give it the effort, but they just aren't that good". Yet it seems more and more I'm hearing that from analysts that like the Canes. Not the ones that don't get it. The ones that like us, admit that the system is working, but at some point you need someone to beat the goalie.

 

Last year Skinner did it, so it can be done. But it is hard in today's NHL to beat the goalie (except ours). It takes guys with that particular skill set. A team full of Pat Dwyers and Drayson Bowman's will possess the puck a lot, but the game is not scored in time of possession.

 

Francis knows this though. He has said it. And Peters knows it too. And they are working on it. They got TT, they got Stempniak and they got Aho.

 

If this year's version can find some guys who beat the goalie, and a goalie who can stop the puck, we will make the playoffs. Winning the cup takes elite talent. We may have it in the pipeline, we just don't know yet. If we have it, then we just have to let it develop. We definitely have a lot more chips in play than ever before, so hopefully we do. But I still suspect there's at least one big trade between us and cup talent, maybe two. But there's nothing wrong with that.

 

It's optimism time, so I'm going with Cam has a stellar year and Aho does very well and Lindholm breaks out, and Teuravainen takes a big step forward, and Rask steps up another notch.  Then I suspect Slavin has more offense in him, and so does Hanifin. That, along with other guys holding their own or improving, will be more than enough to get us in. That's what I'm going with.

Edited by remkin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some statistical musings:

 

I also happened to look at team hits and was really surprised by the results.

 

               Most Hits                             

1. LAK  (2322)      23. SJS

2. NYI                    24. TBL

3. OTT                   25. DET

4. ANA                   26. DAL

5. PHI                    27. CAR

6. NYR                   28. VAN

7. BOS                   29. MIN

8. CBJ                    30. CHI (1318)

[Pit was right about in the middle with 1829]

 

On the whole, teams hitting less seem to be more successful than teams hitting more, but I'm not sure why. 

 

I'm not Tulsky but I was curious by your conclusion and since all the data wasn't there to see I went and got it and regressed final standings and total team hits.  The data says different - there is no correlation here at all.    :)   I think that is interesting in and of itself.

 

 

WAfOwI.jpg

Edited by coastal_caniac

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another interesting thing is that the two most dominant cup winners recently are Chicago and LA and they are exactly first and last in hits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another interesting thing is that the two most dominant cup winners recently are Chicago and LA and they are exactly first and last in hits.

 

Yeah, like I said, it's all over the place and doesn't add up to anything in terms of being successful.  Some teams hit more or less than others.

 

I'm not going to do it but what would be interesting to me is to do the same regression in 5 or 10 year intervals over 15 or 20 years.  Then compare r2.

 

That would give a better indication of the relevance of hits today, if it exists.

Edited by coastal_caniac

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another relevant fact is that Detroit is 25th. Peters is bringing their basic system to us. I don't think it's that Chicago or Detroit won't hit, just that it's not a big part of their game. They would rather have the puck and occasionally get hit than you have the puck and we hit you. It's about skill and speed and puck possession far more than physicality.

 

LA has shown that a physical, heavy game can work too, but while our 4th line and some guys on our team will hit, and we have added size, we are cleary built more on the Detroit and hopefully Chicago model. Of course that requires skill and speed, but it is starting to look like we have at least depth in that area, and maybe more. 

 

It is relevant in terms of fears that we are too soft or get pushed around, that the lowest hit team in the entire NHL has 3 of the last 6 cups.

Edited by remkin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Winning the cup takes elite talent. We may have it in the pipeline, we just don't know yet. If we have it, then we just have to let it develop. We definitely have a lot more chips in play than ever before, so hopefully we do. But I still suspect there's at least one big trade between us and cup talent, maybe two. But there's nothing wrong with that.

This neatly sums up the most interesting aspect of the coming season to me.

 

It's obvious that we've added to our stock of snipers with Aho and TT, and I include Lindholm, Rask and Skinner as others. Who steps up this year is the key, but five guys with the potential to do so is really four more than we've had in a long, long time. Better yet, we keep stocking the potential scorer pipeline, and on both ends of the rink: Tolchinsky, Fleury, Bean, Roy, Gauthier. 

 

Speed scores in today's NHL. We finally have it, and guys with the ability to capitalize on it. Watching them do so is going to be a lot of fun.

Edited by top-shelf-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On hits.  Hitting by itself doesn't result in wins (see Tuomo Ruutu and how he hit without making a hockey play).  Physical play is important, but can sometimes be more productive than hitting by just taking the body, running a rushing player wide and cutting off his space, and being willing to go to the "dirty areas".  The big check is always an exciting play, but rarely results in a goal, and just as often results in a penalty.

 

I am pro physical play (and size of course), so keep your torches and pitchforks in the shed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to at all reignite the never ended size battle, and we have been drafting bigger guys overall, and Francis has said all things being even you want the bigger player, when asked way back when, he listed first wanting to play for us the right way and second speed as the most important factors. Certainly seems to be the trend for winning these days too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I sit here thinking about all of our offensive prospects, the name from the past that comes to mind is Justin Williams.  So I did some research on his career.

 

Justin was picked in the 6th round, 125th pick by the Flyers.  

 

He really didn't do very much his first 4 years in the NHL.  Then, all of a sudden he developed that sniper shot.  He had 2 seasons of 30 goals, and then had health issues.  From then on, a healthy Justin was still good for a 20 goal season.

 

As I contemplate how many of these guys will pan out, you would have to say that in almost all of the cases, they were picked earlier in the draft and with a better skill set than Justin.

 

All of that is to say, we have a lot of lottery tickets and to think that even 3 or 4 of these guys could pan out to be 20 or even 30+ goal scorers is not a stretch.  We are bound to have some of these guys continue to develop more skill and pan out.

 

My contribution for the rose colored glasses doldrums.  

Edited by hag65

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point Hag. Lindholm is in season 4 ironically.

 

We really do have a lot of chips on the table. What I like two things we have done. One is that a lot of guys we picked up in trades were at one time very highly reguarded prospects who fell back for various reasons, if they had it once, maybe they can find it again. McKeown was once regarded as a top 10 pick. Sareela was very highly thought of early. Zykov at one point was thought to have the tools too.

 

The other is that we are on a roll with drafting after round one. While most second and beyond draft picks don't ever amount to much, the teams that to well seems to correlate with having a couple of those guys. Francis told me it was a bit of luck, but whatever it is, we seem to be on a nice roll with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, like I said, it's all over the place and doesn't add up to anything in terms of being successful.  Some teams hit more or less than others.

 

I'm not going to do it but what would be interesting to me is to do the same regression in 5 or 10 year intervals over 15 or 20 years.  Then compare r2.

 

That would give a better indication of the relevance of hits today, if it exists.

 

 

Another relevant fact is that Detroit is 25th. Peters is bringing their basic system to us. I don't think it's that Chicago or Detroit won't hit, just that it's not a big part of their game. They would rather have the puck and occasionally get hit than you have the puck and we hit you. It's about skill and speed and puck possession far more than physicality.

 

LA has shown that a physical, heavy game can work too, but while our 4th line and some guys on our team will hit, and we have added size, we are cleary built more on the Detroit and hopefully Chicago model. Of course that requires skill and speed, but it is starting to look like we have at least depth in that area, and maybe more. 

 

It is relevant in terms of fears that we are too soft or get pushed around, that the lowest hit team in the entire NHL has 3 of the last 6 cups.

 

Good stuff on the regression coastal.  Given "traditional hockey thinking", I think you nailed it when you said no correlation is interesting in and of itself. 

 

And I think your point about looking at hitting versus wins across time would be interesting.  It ties in with rem's post about styles of play.  My suspicion is that you'd see that hitting has declined in relevance since they started enforcing the rules more strictly after the 2004-5 lockout and speed has become more and more important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some statistical musings:

 

Last season the Canes had good puck possession numbers (tied for 11th best Corsi For%).  But they also had a very poor even strength team shooting % (tied for 3rd worst).   Seems like that could well be a reflection of our lack of top end offensive talent.  And shows that the system can take you so far but that we need a higher talent level to boost scoring (a point that I believe rem keeps alluding to). 

 

 

 

See: Nathan Gerbe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I foresee us being a bottom dweller in the standings this off season.  We lack the top end offensive talent to be competitive with all of the teams in our division who I might also add, most of them have acquired top end elite offensive talent if they didn't already have it.  There are too many IFs and history has told us that when this team has a lot of "IFs" going into the season then it usally does not result in a playoff berth.  The team does not have a single 60-70 /point guy.

Edited by bluedevil58

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...