An interesting turn of events over the past week, as the Hurricanes has amassed 10 points over the past 9 games since the win in Edmonton.
Are the Hurricanes buying into Muller’s game plan?
Are the players playing with more confidence?
Are Cam Wards new pads doing the trick?
4-6-2 is nothing to be excited about though the sense of optimism has Canes fans starting to enjoy the games again. Attaining points in five of the last seven games, the Canes are fun to watch and fans are starting to get the feeling of the team’s ability to win. The poor start to the season saw the Canes skating roughly 40-50 minutes a game very sturdy and hard, though not always able to close the deal on scoring chances. All it would take is one breakdown and then another would quickly follow. In a matter of minutes and even seconds the games in October and November were lost. Many blamed coach Mo’s “system” for the downturn, though a system when followed either works or it doesn’t… it is never a case of working for only part of the game. Jussi Jokinen talked about how Mo’s system works but the team did not fully execute it. A new system is in place and the team is slowly getting to the point of executing it. While no game is perfect, the team is skating for 50-55 plus minutes and the break downs don’t seem to be as jarring as they had been. The team seems more composed when there is a breakdown and while it allows the opposing team a door back into the game (see NJ Devils) everyone, even the goalie, chips in to hold on for the win.
Speaking of puck-moving goaltenders, Cam Ward’s goal against the Devils really has the team feeling good. Many players were abuzz about his goal after the game chirping around the locker room and having a lot of fun with it. After watching it many times on the overhead view I still feel Sutter deflected it and was classy in stepping aside to give Ward the credit. It was a situation where neither player shot the puck and Sutter has, and will have, many goals in his career and to take this one away from Ward would serve no purpose… especially when the deflection was so minute no one could really argue what really happened.
I am hoping this Ward goal and overall good feeling gives the team a sense of holiday joy and renews the excitement of winning that many have not seen much of over the past few months. The loss in Pittsburgh can likely be chalked up to the back to back as it was a close game through two periods. The Canes were badly outshot though still within a chance to be right back in the game. Historically the Canes are a second-half (season) team and a nice streak of wins will change the view of the direction Jim Rutherford takes before the trade-deadline.
Moves will still be made, though the “fire-sale” Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch suggest will happen is a bit premature. I expect Jim Rutherford, prudent as ever, to make a few calculated trades to sure things up before working a major blockbuster trade. The trade freeze has been lifted and a move may be forthcoming though I don’t expect to be wowed any time soon.
For now let’s enjoy the games and this fourth line production!
About the Author
Written by Johnny G
Originally from Virginia I grew up loving hockey. Once hockey came to Carolina it's been the Hurricanes all the way for me. After completing my degree at Full Sail University I moved to Raleigh NC with the purpose of working with Canesvision, of which I did and still currently work. I attend every game and have had the pleasure of being a part of many of the Hurricanes greatest moments, including the Stanley Cup run in '06. I like to take a realistic look at rumors, specifically trade rumors, and apply reason and logic to best break down the feasibility of each rumor. 99% of rumors are wishful thinking that align themselves with "sources," while few actually have a basis for the possibility. Though I am a Hurricanes fan, I am a hockey fan of all levels and hope to bring a universal approach to the daily news of the Carolina Hurricanes organization. Follow me @johnnyghockey