Canes prep for home opener with early loss in the past

Posted January 21, 2013
Updated January 22, 2013

It is easy to look at the result from the Carolina Hurricanes season opener Saturday and conclude there was nothing good to take from it, just scrap it and move on. A 5-1 defeat under the spotlight of opening night was bad enough, but it seemed a lot worse due to a three-month delay to the start of the season caused by the lockout.

The overreaction to the loss is natural, Canes fans anticipated seeing Jordan Staal and Alex Semin in uniform leading Carolina to a four-goal victory, not the other way around. Fans can’t be blamed for wondering to themselves, ‘All that waiting and this is what we get?’ With only 48 games to play, and every point being precious, how could that be curtain up for the year? Carolina Hurricanes Logo Carolina Hurricanes schedule

Head coach Kirk Muller acknowledged the start was less than ideal saying, “Yeah, it’s a tough game, there is a lot of weird things going on here in the first few days of games. I thought we were fine, we just didn’t start off the right way and we made some mistakes and it cost us and I think the guys are aware of it.”

Yes, it was bad. The first period had just about everything go wrong for the Canes: the special teams were out of sync, digging themselves into a 4-0 hole after 20 minutes, one of the elite goalies in the game today was pulled after just one period, there were mental and physical errors, there was an inability to finish offensive chances - and it all unfolded the first third of the contest. That was more than enough to have fans wringing their hands.

Canes forget past, look ahead to home opener Fialko: Canes forget past, look ahead to home opener

Muller doesn’t do that. As the head coach of the Hurricanes, he understands it is one game. While the scoreboard is the ultimate judge sometimes, it doesn’t always reflect if a team continued to play hard or just went through the motions. Looking at the game film, Muller knows it wasn’t as much of a horror show as people think. Carolina Hurricanes Logo More Hurricanes Stories

“I was pretty happy to be honest with you with our effort and execution on certain things,” Muller said. “If anything, we just beat ourselves early on. Give them (Florida) credit, they capitalized when we gave them the opportunity.”

The first few days of the NHL season have featured moments that most teams would like to forget. There have already been nine games decided by three goals or more, and the season is barely 48 hours old. The defending Stanley Cup champion LA Kings were hammered 5-2, perennial power Detroit was crushed 6-0 and Vancouver was trounced 7-3.

Why those teams stumbled is a problem that doesn’t concern the Hurricanes. About his team’s tough start, Muller explained maybe the waiting was the hardest part.

“Some of it is fatigue and mental mistakes, just guys trying to do too much,” Muller said. “These guys have been caged up for a while and they want to go out. ‘Less is more’ is a simple saying in hockey, but it is so true. I think we had some guys that wanted to do so much and do so well and they are so excited and it backfires sometimes.

“I can handle not being perfect on our execution and systems, but I thought we were okay on it as the game went on.”

Muller pointed to the fact that the Canes out-shot and out-chanced the Panthers, but his team didn’t bury its chances.

It was a hard lesson to learn, and for fans, probably more difficult to watch in game one of the season. It doesn’t have Muller worried headed into the PNC Arena for the first home game.

“I think our guys will respond tomorrow and we will pick up the good stuff we did and build from there,” Muller said.

Monday's Practice notes

• Zac Dalpe missed practice due to an illness.
• Kirk Muller announced that Cam Ward will be the starting goalie for the home opener
• The team worked on a lot of individual battle drills that turned into 3-on-3 work with a physical edge to it.
• The lines in practice had Eric Staal centering for Alex Semin and Drayson Bowman. Muller has said that he is going to give the players from Charlotte a chance to show what they can do early. The other combinations were Jordan Staal anchoring a line with Chad LaRose and Jiri Tlusty. Jussi Jokinen flanked by Jeff Skinner and Patrick Dwyer and the fourth combination worked Tim Brent, Kevin Westgarth, Jeremy Welsh and Zach Boychuk.


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  • StunGunn Jan 22, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Agreed about being optimistic about the season; however, if Cam sat on the bench in the opener, I think that may have given the wrong message. Cam may have stunk it up in the opener, but I think he still deserved to be the starter. Hopefully, he'll bounce back tonight and have a good game.

  • mjt36 Jan 22, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Never said he did, was refering to the team in general. Saw enough of McBain last year to know he won't get any better.

  • juniorsk831 Jan 22, 2013

    View quoted thread

    McBain didn't play in the game at Florida

  • jskinner23 Jan 22, 2013

    My only beef with game 1 was starting Cam Ward. I'm a big fan of Ward but the guy just became a dad again (sleep deprivation) and missed a couple of days of training camp w/ an illness. Ellis has already been in the net 18 times this season in Charlotte and played well. I know you want to go ahead and get your star goalie going, but I think tonight's home opener would have been the better option.

    A good showing tonight and everyone should step back off the ledge. As someone on Twitter pointed out, The '05-'06 season started with a 5-2 loss to Tampa and that year ended pretty well.

  • Jimmytwotimes Jan 22, 2013

    I love all the people who think its the end when they have a bad game. Its one game guys, we don't need to fire the whole defensive squad and retire Cam Ward yet. 3 weeks from now if we're still getting blown out than I will agree but if we can hold .500 record for the first few weeks and than the chemistry with all our talent develops,...we will live up to expectations.

  • karen26 Jan 22, 2013

    Does the Raleigh/Durham area receive the SPSO channel for the game tonight? The game Saturday was particularly heart wrenching because our expectations were so high.

  • mjt36 Jan 22, 2013

    We have weak defense and a terrible goalie, when our scorers are having an off night you will see alot of 5-1 games, Harrison doesn't belong in the NHL, Corvo is old, McBain is terrible and we don't know enough about Sanguinetti but he did not look good in game 1.

  • PanthersFan45 Jan 22, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I hope you're right, and I'm optimistic about tonights home opener. Its a sellout and I expect a much better effort. If they stay out of the penalty box I think they'll win ..... they played Florida "even" in the 2nd and 3rd periods. 1 game does not make an entire season. The LA Kings had a similar effort in their opener and they are the defending champs.

  • mike28 Jan 22, 2013

    Typical overreaction after one game. This team will be fine and I think they will be a force come playoff time. Just too much talent on this team to think that the first game was anything more than rust. GO CANES!!

  • wlcat609 Jan 22, 2013

    In case you missed it - On the website (Canada's ESPN) the 'power ratings' for the Canes went from 16 last week to 25 this week based on their opening efforts. Canes are one of the six teams without a victory yet this season in the whole Eastern Division.

    Canes should have an advantage for the game against the Lightning as this will be the second game of a 'back to back' for Tampa and Tampa played Saturday as well.




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