banner
Ryan Craig

Maurice has Canes buying into new style

Posted January 7, 2009

Just weeks ago, the Carolina Hurricanes were on their way to another spring on the golf course and not the ice rink. It was at that point that the organization made a somewhat controversial mid-season coaching change, and with it changed the course of its season.

Now, with a four-game winning streak under its belt, it’s time to start paying attention to the 2009 edition of the Canes.

It would be unfair to blame all of the club’s inconsistent play on the now-departed Peter Laviolette. After all, it was under his watch that the Hurricanes won the 2006 Stanley Cup Championship, so the man must have done a thing or two right.

Sometimes, though, the coach’s message can grow stale, and a change must be made.

This year, injuries could be as much to blame as any other factor – Rod Brind’Amour, Justin Williams, Joni Pitkanen, Tim Gleason, and Scott Walker were just some of the important players to miss significant time while Laviolette was there.

It just so happens that upon their collective return to health, the team is playing its best hockey of the season – imagine that.

However, some credit must be given to Paul Maurice. In his second stint in Raleigh, Maurice has taken a roster built to succeed under a run-and-gun style, and instilled in its collective brain a system that at times sacrifices its own shot creating opportunities to prevent those of its opponents.

On Tuesday night, for instance the Canes out-Deviled the Devils.

Through two periods against New Jersey, when the game was still in doubt, Carolina had only allowed the visiting team 14 shots on goal and didn’t make a trip to the penalty box.

I have covered a number of Canes games this year, and the biggest difference to me in the team right now is that you know what you are going to get when you take your seat in the RBC Center these days.

Whether it was coaching, injuries, underperformance, or some combination of all three, the Canes of October and November were about as hit as miss as you could get. You got the sense that they could score or give up goals in bunches - sometimes both in a ten minute span.

Now the Hurricanes are a squad that back-checks with a passion (see Scott Walker’s play Tuesday night) and limits its opponents’ scoring chances while choosing its spots more carefully on the offensive end.

What impresses me even more, is that Joe Corvo, Joni Pitkanen and Anton Babchuk, three players Maurice mentioned as offensive-minded defensemen that have started to become accustomed to their roles in his system, have flourished, even while becoming more selective about pinching in the attacking zone to create scoring chances for themselves and others.

Brandon Sutter said to the media after the Devils game that the players are finally starting to become comfortable with their new coach.

That new coach admitted his team has played well, but that there’s still a “fourth gear” they can get to.

It’s true that fourth gear in Maurice’s metaphorical sports car might be slower than the team’s early season edition, but the newer model’s performance is undoubtedly better over the long haul.

Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • CBB: North Carolina vs. Ohio State

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA vs Kentucky

    Tomorrow at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Tomorrow at 8:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • WBB: Duke vs. UMass Lowell

    Tonight at 6:30 on 620am

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Washington

    Tomorrow at 4:25 pm on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
UTA
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
MIN
7:30pm Tonight
DET
TOR
7:30pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
POR
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
1:30pm Today
YOUNG
WILB
 
2:00pm Today
TULA
JST
 
6:00pm Tonight
RAD
SIENA
 
7:00pm Tonight
MERC
COOK
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
CASEWEST
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIB
CPNC
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
CLEM
7:00pm Tonight
CMICH
CONC
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
EKENT
7:00pm Tonight
GWEBB
HIWASSEE
 
7:00pm Tonight
ODU
MDES
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
NIAG
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NCAT
 
7:00pm Tonight
FAM
UNF
 
7:00pm Tonight
NORST
NARZ
 
7:00pm Tonight
DART
NILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
MORE
NKENTUCKY
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCSB
SDCHR
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJ
GAELS
7:00pm Tonight
ALA
STILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
HAMP
TENST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENN
TENT
7:00pm Tonight
WMARY
WSHMD
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLGC
FUR
 
7:30pm Tonight
CALST
SDKST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MTST
CHAT
8:00pm Tonight
NDAK
DICKINSON
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
LSUALEX
 
8:00pm Tonight
PRIN
LIP
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
MLGN
 
8:00pm Tonight
MINN
SEAT
 
8:00pm Tonight
LOYC
SUTAH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
WINT
 
8:05pm Tonight
SILL
NO
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
ALAAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
TTU
ARKPB
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
COLST
9:00pm Tonight
CREI
TXPA
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EWASH
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
IDST
 
11:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ARZ
11:59pm Tonight
CHAM
HAW
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
TAM
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
ANA
7:30pm Tonight
DET
NYI
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
BOS
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
DAL