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Mike Maniscalco

Everybody needs evaluating during long offseason for Canes

Posted April 10, 2014

Carolina Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller. Carolina Hurricanes host the St. Louis Blues at PNC Arena on Friday January 31, 2014. The Hurricanes played a solid game and ended with an Alex Semin open net goal for a 3 to 1 victory. (Chris Baird / WRAL Contributor)

— Another year without playoff hockey in the Triangle is bringing even more angst, anger and apathy than usual to the fan base of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Changes are certain to come to the hockey team that occupies the PNC Arena, but will they be changes that turn the franchise into a perennial playoff contender?

Simply hearing the owner of the team, Peter Karmanos, say, “tweaks or major tweaks and attitude adjustments are needed,” doesn’t make the concerns of the fan base go away. What “tweaks” exactly can we expect and what attitudes need changing?

When the fans hear that the owner likes the team, it does not instill any more confidence in a dwindling season ticket holder base. It is clear that steps are needed to put the team on the right path – and they are inevitably coming this off-season.

Asking the fans to be patient again as the team tries to figure out what tweaks will come, has puts the outrage meter in the red. Patience is just about worn thin.

What needs to happen might be drastic to fans, but nobody can look at the last five years and say it has been working. No department - from the GM to the last player in the organization - should avoid the magnifying glass. From draft philosophy to the culture of the team, all of it has to be reviewed this off-season.

If that means fan favorites are dealt in favor of putting a better product on the ice, then make the deal. There is a universal truth in pro sports: you have more fan favorites on a playoff team.

For too long it seems like the answer has been ownership assuring fans the team is “a few tweaks away from being the playoff team.” The reality is that the team should not be trying to go for the quick fix of chasing the playoffs year-to-year, but instead chasing the playoffs year-after-year. Yes, the team has been close to making the playoffs these past four years, but close does not get a franchise into the post season and the “one player away” excuse has long been exhausted.

Therein lies the rub for the fans and organization. The parts of this team on their own are good. Good yes, but not great - great parts generally get into the playoffs. This is not a franchise that is a No. 6-12 draft pick or just one or two normal free agents away. It does start with identifying the players that have the make up to lead a postseason team, though.

The scouting department has to constantly be evaluating if the current players that are good enough to carry the team on a nightly basis. Is the draft philosophy producing enough players, not just first-round talent, but the depth that pushes players to improve? What is the plan for how the team will look in five years?

This offseason, the Hurricanes from top to bottom have to stop treating the symptoms and do what needs to be done cure the main problem of missing the playoffs. It might be painful for some in the organization and for the fans that cheer for it, but not as painful as a sixth season without playoff hockey in Carolina.

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  • KT lols at internet tough girls Apr 10, 2014

    The owners brought the outrage on themselves. Rutherford should have been gone years ago. They did their best imitation of the Detroit Lions (we're so close year after year, but won't do anything major to fix the problems). To top things off, they raised ticket prices and parking while expecting the fans to swallow it and grin.

    Missing the playoffs all but one season since 2006 is pathetic. If management thinks that will not cause fans to cancel season tickets, they shouldn't be employed.

    Go Wings!

  • bigfiddlepbc Apr 10, 2014

    Gotta start with the disappearing captain. ES is a great player and should be part of a core but we need a captain who will bring the guts and determination and grit that will get us past this .500 play that has been the norm.
    If memory serves me correctly, the year we won it we were near the top in points in the conference - Go Lavi - but even the years we made the playoffs we were sneaking in as one of the last spots or were still just over .500 and won the division.
    Captain needs to change so ES can just play.
    Need to stop letting gritty tough Dmen like Seidenberg go to other teams
    Too soft seems to be the norm and too soft is going to keep us at .500 and always looking at golf in April

  • thomasew Apr 10, 2014

    Its just like politics, people cry and cry for change, but when a candidate runs that might actually have a plan to make some changes, people will not vote for them. Senseless. May as well take the road of "status quo", and continue to go to the games and complain, or stay home and get some extra sleep.

  • leighleclair Apr 10, 2014

    Yep.. agree.. and then some.

  • JACKSON SAWYER REVENGE Apr 10, 2014

    just like guys on the radio- a wholesale change would do everyone good.

  • a sports fan Apr 10, 2014

    Despite all these years of non-playoff hockey the team has not been able to draft competently to refresh the roster....that falls on the GM and the scouting organization.

    Couple that with an owner that is not as wealthy as others in the league (and sources of revenue are below league averages) and as such you get an investment profile that is below what this team needs.

    GM is gone....best case for Canes fans is to get a new owner as well.

  • Jeanne Gunn Apr 10, 2014

    The Canes have already dealt fan favorites, so they may as well do what they have to do to be a consistent playoff team - if that is possible. I somehow think E Stall will be with the team next year while Muller will be shown the door. Not sure what they'll do with Ward, considering his contract.

  • Ken Heffner Apr 10, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Agree. In the draft, Rutherford has focused on picking small skating forwards like Skinner and small offensive-minded defensemen like Murphy. AT some point, they need to get some grit. For the life of me, I don't know why he can't see that. The answer isn't Ron Francis as GM. They need experience.

  • Jeanne Gunn Apr 11, 2014

    I don't see Muller returning - he seems like a good guy, but I'm not sure the players have every bought into his system. Wonder if they'll give Jeff Daniels a shot this time around, not that he would be the answer, though. The Canes woes go deeper than the guy behind the bench; there's a lot rotten in Raleigh.

  • mlhill22 Apr 11, 2014

    The whole organization, from top to bottom, is a mess. Because of the poor performances year after year, they have had top draft picks. These have basically not worked out. The team definitely hasn't improved with them. Their minor league teams fail to produce any quality depth.
    The owner isn't local and has no clue how to properly run a hockey organization. After missing the playoffs 7 of 8 years, he has the gall to say we need more patience?! Is he that stupid or just ignorant?
    The team, night after night, has poor puck handling, consistent breakdowns, no offensive flow and poor attitudes. I think we generally like most of the players, but a major overhaul is required.
    Season ticket sales will be at all time low, maybe Karmonas will understand that!

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