banner
Adam Harris

No. 12 needs to be No. 1 for the Canes

Posted February 15, 2009

Coming into Thursday night's game against division foe Florida, the Carolina Hurricanes hadn't played a home game in 12 days.  Returning from a west coast road trip, the 'Canes were riding high after claiming four points in three games.  Two of those four points came in a win against the mighty Sharks in San Jose; just the third regulation loss at the "Shark Tank" for the Western Conference's top team all season.  The stage was set for a good home-stand after four days of rest to recover from a grueling stretch in the Pacific time zone. 

With points at a premium (9th place, one point behind the Panthers before Thursday's loss) and a roster that was returning to healthy form (Brind'Amour & Staal back in the line up) the 'Canes took home ice in front of a packed and raucous RBC Center crowd only to disappoint the fans by getting shut out for the first time all season.  Following up Thursday's 5-0 loss to Florida was a 5-1 stinker on Saturday night, falling to former Carolina defenseman Mike Commodore and the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Now the 'Canes are five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with fans searching for answers as to why the team has struggled to score. 

I have one possible answer, although it may not be a popular one.  I hate to call out a single player, because one man can only do so much.  However, Eric Staal needs to be the best player on the ice for the Hurricanes, and he simply has not been so on a  consistent basis.  Staal has had great moments this season, he's one of just 12 NHL players with six or more game-winning goals.  Number 12 leads the Hurricanes in goals, power play goals, shots taken and is one of only five 'Canes to play in all 56 games this season.  Those are all impressive numbers, showing that Staal is a special player and capable of greatness with the Carolina franchise.  Still, something is missing.  That something, I believe, is consistency in effort and aggression.

In a "four point game" against the Panthers this past Thursday Staal was a minus-three in 26 shifts and won only 35% of his face-offs as the 'Canes fell to an efficient Florida team.  So, one bad game after a few days off and a west coast road trip where Staal was hurt in San Jose - no biggie, right?  If that was in a vacuum I'd agree, but then you have his follow-up performance on Saturday night against the Blue Jackets.  Staal shot the puck on-net only twice in 24 shifts, leaving the RBC Center ice after a 5-1 loss with a minus-two for the game.  The Florida-Columbus two game stretch is one that the Hurricanes' 24-year-old center will want to erase from his memory quickly. 

There's no doubt in my mind that Eric Staal can be a leader for the Hurricanes.  We've seen him do it on occasion; last year when Rod Brind'Amour was injured, for example.  There are nights where you notice an extra jump in Staal's step, he appears to be skating with extra fervor, forcing the issue on every possession, challenging the opposing defenders with the blatant presence of a play-maker in the offensive zone.  Unfortunately, it seems we only get to see that energetic, fearless version of Staal once every three or four games. 

But, when you're earning a team-high salary ($5 million this year, $57.5 for 2009-16) and wearing an "A" on your sweater as an associate captain, you need to bring that type of leadership every night by playing with superior energy, aggressiveness and effort on every shift.  Quite simply, number 12 needs to be number one for the 'Canes every night if this team is going to be playing hockey past the second week of April.  A playoff push will require a playoff-caliber effort from every member of the Carolina Hurricanes, especially from the team's best players.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Golf: WGC-Dell Match Play Championship

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASL: NCFC vs. Miami

    Saturday at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • NASL Soccer: Miami @ North Carolina FC

    Saturday at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • NASCAR: Auto Club 400

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on FOX50

  • Golf: WGC-Dell Match Play Championship

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASL: NCFC @ San Francisco

    Saturday, Apr. 8 at 10:00 pm on WRAL-2

  • NASL: NCFC vs. Edmonton

    Saturday, Apr. 15 at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • NASL: NCFC @ Miami

    Saturday, Apr. 22 at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Montreal Canadians

    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • College Basketball NCAA 3rd Round Coverage

    Friday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NASL: NCFC vs. Maimi

    Saturday at 7:30 pm

  • NASL: NCFC @ San Francisco

    Saturday, Apr. 8 at 10:00 pm

  • NASL: NCFC vs. Edmonton

    Saturday, Apr. 15 at 7:30 pm

  • NASL: NCFC @ Miami

    Saturday, Apr. 22 at 7:30 pm

NBA Scoreboard
Charlotte 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 MST6:00 EST3:00 UAE (+1)00:0019:00 ET5:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Orlando 
Indiana 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 MST6:30 EST3:30 UAE (+1)00:3019:30 ET5:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Boston 
Detroit 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Chicago 
Philadelphia 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Oklahoma City 
Atlanta 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Washington 
Cleveland 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0021:00 ET7:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Denver 
Milwaukee 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 MST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)03:3022:30 ET8:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Sacramento 
New York 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 MST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)03:3022:30 ET8:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Utah 
NHL Scoreboard
Toronto 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 MST6:00 EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Columbus 
NY Islanders 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
NY Rangers 
Edmonton 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Anaheim 
MLB Spring Training
Cactus
Oakland4Bot
6th
Chi White Sox3
San Diego1Bot
7th
Kansas City6
San Francisco6Bot
7th
Milwaukee4
Texas5Bot
5th
LA Angels(ss)3
LA Angels(ss)7Bot
6th
Seattle2
Cleveland1Bot
7th
Colorado10
Chi Cubs 6:05 PT7:05 MT8:05 CT9:05 ET21:05 ET1:05 GMT9:05 6:05 MST8:05 EST8:35 VEN5:05 UAE (+1)7:05 CT
Cincinnati 
Grapefruit
Minnesota4Final
Houston8
NY Yankees7Final
Philadelphia3
Washington1Final
St. Louis6
Detroit4Final
Toronto5
Miami15Final
NY Mets9
Tampa Bay2Bot
1st
Baltimore0
WGC Match Play (PGA)
Leader in BOLD/CAPS
MatchHScore
GRACE v Sullivan164 and 2
Snedeker v MCGIRT182 up
McIlroy v KJELDSEN172 and 1
Grillo v WOODLAND163 and 2
CASEY v Luiten172 and 1
SCHWARTZEL v An136 and 5
Spieth v TANIHARA164 and 2
Moore v Ikeda170 and 1
WATSON v Vegas181 up
PIETERS v Piercy163 and 2
Matsuyama v Furyk170 and 1
OOSTHUIZEN v Fisher154 and 3
Reed v Dufner170 and 1
KOEPKA v Kisner136 and 5
NOREN v Jaidee163 and 2
Molinari v WIESBERGER182 up
Kuchar v Steele170 and 1
FLEETWOOD v Johnson181 up
JOHNSON v Simpson155 and 3
Walker v KAYMER163 and 2
Willett v KIM164 and 2
KNOX v Haas163 and 2
THOMAS v Wood172 and 1
Fitzpatrick v NA145 and 4
MICKELSON v Kim155 and 3
Holmes v BERGER137 and 5
Day v PEREZ6 and 12
LEISHMAN v Westwood121 up
HATTON v Howell III111 up
CABRERA BELLO v Wang112 up
Garcia v LOWRY102 up
RAHM v Chappell92 up
View Full Leaderboard
Puerto Rico Open (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
T. Aldridge
S. Alker
M. Anderson
S. Appleby
R. Armour
R. Barnes
R. Berberian, Jr.
W. Binfield
Z. Blair
R. Blaum
View Full Leaderboard
 
Founders Cup (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1A. Nordqvist-25F
2tI. Chun-23F
2tA. Jutanugarn-23F
2tS. Lewis-23F
5tH. Jang-21F
5tI. Park-21F
5tS. Ryu-21F
8tM. Jutanugarn-20F
8tL. Ko-20F
10tJ. Korda-19F
View Full Leaderboard
 
WGC Match Play (EURO)
Leader in BOLD/CAPS
MatchHScore
GRACE v Sullivan164 and 2
Snedeker v MCGIRT182 up
McIlroy v KJELDSEN172 and 1
Grillo v WOODLAND163 and 2
CASEY v Luiten172 and 1
SCHWARTZEL v An136 and 5
Spieth v TANIHARA164 and 2
Moore v Ikeda170 and 1
WATSON v Vegas181 up
PIETERS v Piercy163 and 2
Matsuyama v Furyk170 and 1
OOSTHUIZEN v Fisher154 and 3
Reed v Dufner170 and 1
KOEPKA v Kisner136 and 5
NOREN v Jaidee163 and 2
Molinari v WIESBERGER182 up
Kuchar v Steele170 and 1
FLEETWOOD v Johnson181 up
JOHNSON v Simpson155 and 3
Walker v KAYMER163 and 2
Willett v KIM164 and 2
KNOX v Haas163 and 2
THOMAS v Wood172 and 1
Fitzpatrick v NA145 and 4
MICKELSON v Kim155 and 3
Holmes v BERGER137 and 5
Day v PEREZ6 and 12
LEISHMAN v Westwood121 up
HATTON v Howell III111 up
CABRERA BELLO v Wang112 up
Garcia v LOWRY102 up
RAHM v Chappell92 up
View Full Leaderboard
 
ATP Scoreboard
Wednesday, Mar. 22
Miami Open (ATP/WTA)
First Round
J. Chardy6 6    
F. Bagnis2 2    
M. Mmoh3 2    
N. Mahut6 6    
M. Klizan64 3    
B. Paire77 6    
Y. Nishioka1 6 6   
J. Thompson6 4 3   
D. Young6 1 6   
D. Brown3 6 2   
E. Escobedo7 0 6   
D. Evans5 6 3   
F. Fognini6 7    
R. Harrison4 5    
C. Harrison1 1    
D. Sela6 6    
A. Bedene5 0    
J. Struff7 4    
J. Monaco5 5    
F. Delbonis7 6    
J. Vesely65 6 3   
T. Haas77 3 4   
V. Troicki5 6 0   
T. Monteiro7 3 0   
J. Donaldson 
K. Edmund 
K. Anderson 
D. Lajovic 
G. Pella 
T. Smyczek 
A. Pavlasek 
T. Fritz 
 
WTA Scoreboard
Wednesday, Mar. 22
Miami Open (ATP/WTA)
First Round
C. McHale62 7 6   
A. Beck77 5 0   
M. Doi2 4    
V. Cepede Roy6 6    
J. Jankovic6 4 63   
Y. Shvedova4 6 77   
A. Petkovic2 4    
J. Cepelova6 6    
M. Brengle6 3 6   
J. Ostapenko3 6 2   
Y. Wickmayer62 4    
L. Safarova77 6    
B. Mattek-San6 4 6   
K. Siniakova3 6 4   
H. Watson64 1    
P. Tig77 6    
E. Bouchard4 7 3   
A. Barty6 5 6   
D. Vekic6 4 2   
Q. Wang0 6 6   
R. Ozaki3 3    
L. Chirico6 2    
L. Davis1     
V. Lepchenko3     
A. Tomljanovi5     
M. Linette1     
A. Anisimova6 0    
T. Townsend2 0    
A. Cornet 
A. Sasnovich 
S. Rogers 
M. Erakovic 
K. Nara 
A. Kontaveit 
O. Dodin 
P. Parmentier 
J. Goerges 
A. Riske 
S. Cirstea 
M. Puig