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cjslumber

Two Major Reasons Why the Hurricanes are in the 8th spot verses fighting for the 2nd seed.

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Just a random stat that I found interesting while examining the standings last night:

The 'Canes have scored more goals than all but TWO Western Conference clubs, Preds and Ducks. Along those same lines, they've given up more goals than all but two Western Conference teams, L.A. and Phoenix. Within the Eastern Conference, we're seventh in goals scored, but 10th out of 15th in goals allowed.

Either way you slice it, when you put those two stats together, that's mediocrity. But it also tells me that just a little bit more offense, or just a little bit more defense - a moderate upgrade on either side - and we're a legit contender again. I agree with the notion that we need some more scoring out of the third line. And yeah, the injuries have played a HUGE role.

I'm actually pleased with the job Cam has done this year. I was REALLY worried about Ward taking over the starting job, ya know, sophomore jinx and whatnot. He's been solid, if not spectacular. Grahame's been serviceable as the backup, but rebound control and some lax defense has been the difference there.

The slow start, the 0-3-1 Western swing, and the lack of conversion in the shootout have proven pivotal thus far.

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Just a random stat that I found interesting while examining the standings last night:

The 'Canes have scored more goals than all but TWO Western Conference clubs, Preds and Ducks. Along those same lines, they've given up more goals than all but two Western Conference teams, L.A. and Phoenix. Within the Eastern Conference, we're seventh in goals scored, but 10th out of 15th in goals allowed.

Either way you slice it, when you put those two stats together, that's mediocrity. But it also tells me that just a little bit more offense, or just a little bit more defense - a moderate upgrade on either side - and we're a legit contender again. I agree with the notion that we need some more scoring out of the third line. And yeah, the injuries have played a HUGE role.

I'm actually pleased with the job Cam has done this year. I was REALLY worried about Ward taking over the starting job, ya know, sophomore jinx and whatnot. He's been solid, if not spectacular. Grahame's been serviceable as the backup, but rebound control and some lax defense has been the difference there.

The slow start, the 0-3-1 Western swing, and the lack of conversion in the shootout have proven pivotal thus far.

More scoring out of the third line would certainly help, but more consistent scoring out of at least the top two lines is what we're missing. This is a team that can bury 4,5,6 goals one night and get blanked the next. We have a respectable -- if not spectacular -- GF count, but if you graphed the goals game-by-game the results would look like Don King's hair. That's one of the inconsistencies that's perplexed everybody this year.

Same with goals against, though to a slightly lesser degree. They clamp down on a team and hold them to 1 or 2 goals and then cough up 4 or 5 to the next opponent. And it's not like you can lay it solely at the doorstep of the goalies. Most often, it's a turnover, a blown coverage, a bad pinch and all of a sudden whoever's minding the net that night is getting blasted point blank or has a 2-on-1 or 2-on-nothing coming right down his throat. The goaltenders have their share of responsibility too, but to blame them alone for this stat would be highly unfair. (Note: I'm not reading your post that way Mike -- just pointing out that there's a shared accountability there.)

Then there's that pesky "extra" point we've missed out on so often. If we had the other 7 points from our OT/SO losses, we'd be leading the division and challenging New Jersey for the second seed right now. On the other hand, if we'd lost those games in regulation we'd be somewhere between 9th and 12th in the conference.

Put it all together and what we've actually seen isn't even mediocre. Mediocrity implies a pattern, and there's been no discernible pattern to this season at all that I can see. We seem to either be winning big or losing big and it doesn't seem to matter who the opponent is. Witness: a sound trouncing of the the-league-leading Ducks on 12/29 follwed up 2 days later by a resounding thud against the bottom-feeding Flyers.

The up side to this -- if there is one -- is that despite everything, we're still in the hunt. And it doesn't seem like it would take a "sea change" to correct things and challenge for the top half of the bracket. Seems like the team is just that close to fixing whatever's broken.

And even though we lost it, I was encouraged by what I saw in the Minnesota game. Down 4-1 after 20 minutes earlier this year I'm not sure the guys wouldn't have just folded their tents and gone home. but they didn't, and even though the clock ran out on 'em, they still showed the character that made them the comeback darlings they were last year. And that's encouraging.

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In the recent Sports Illustrated feature story on hockey in the Southeastern division, note is made of the fact that this is the division with the highest number of goals both made and given away by all the teams. I can't recall which coach specifically responded to that (Thrashers?) but he noted that it was like a saloon door in the wild wild west -constantly swinging. It's a division where everyone is shooting and everyone is scoring - action hockey, for better or worse (depending on which side of that goal count your team is on by the end of the night!).

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Better for our fans, non-traditional markets are more likely to appreciate getting to cheer five times a game for goals (i'm all for this as long as they aren't all garbage goals), although need to keep open ice checking and as much as I hate to admit it fighting, that always gets people out of their seats.

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