Mike Maniscalco

The little things to be thankful for

Posted November 28, 2013

Nathan Gerbe (14) takes a shot during play at the PNC Center between the the Carolina Hurricanes and the Detroit Red Wings on October 4, 2013 in Raleigh, NC.

Sometimes it is the little moves that make all the difference.

On draft day the Carolina Hurricanes made a deal with the Buffalo Sabres to acquire defenseman Andrej Sekera for Jamie McBain and a draft pick.

On July 26th, the Canes signed Nathan Gerbe to a two-way contract with the thought he could provide some forward depth in the organization.

With training camp opening up the team invited 18-year veteran forward Radek Dvorak for a tryout and later signed the former first round pick.

Unrestricted free agent defenseman Ron Hainsey waited all summer for a contract from anyone. That deal finally came in September from Carolina.

On October 31st, the organization called up Manny Malhotra from Charlotte. Malhotra was waived by Vancouver and signed a ‘professional try out’ contract with the Charlotte Checkers.

None of these moves individually was looked upon as Earth shattering.

  • Sekera was a steady defenseman in Buffalo, nothing more.
  • Gerbe was a gritty but undersized player, who showed flashes in the League, but that word undersized is hard to shake in the eyes of scouts.
  • Dvorak was older player that teams bring into training camp to show younger guys how to play. If he showed anything at camp maybe the team would take a flyer on him.
  • Hainsey was made to wait for a deal due to the lowered salary cap and for an offer that would be less money but make sense for him to fit in and play.
  • Malhotra’s career was thought to be over after suffering an eye injury in 2011.

Doesn’t look like much, does it?

Add it together and it has been beyond what the Hurricanes front office could have calculated. These players all came in with something to prove and for all the things that can be measured in pro sports there is still no way to determine leadership, heart and desire. All those players had something to prove and Carolina has provided the place for them to show why they were first round choices or deserving of an NHL sweater.

Sekera is one of the team’s top scorers and has been a perfect complement for Justin Faulk on the blue line. Gerbe only trails Eric Staal in goals scored and has been a relentless fore checker. Dvorak has been steady, and since being reunited with former New York Ranger teammate Manny Malhotra, has turned back the clock on their NHL careers. Ron Hainsey has logged big minutes, picking up the slack with Joni Pitkanen lost for the season from last year’s heel injury. Malhotra has been the best player in the NHL in the faceoff circle since his return to the NHL and has been such a good influence on Kirk Muller’s team that he has been wearing the alternate captain’s ‘A’.

It would also be easy to overlook the contributions of Justin Peters in the month of November. The netminder wanted to prove he was an NHL caliber talent. Instead the team signed Anton Khudobin to be the number two goalie and Peters was sent to Charlotte, having to clear waivers to go back to the AHL. After injuries to Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin he was given his chance, and while the wins weren’t there his play was. Peters found his confidence and the team found a winning streak and his stellar play is a reason why the team is in the thick of the Metro division instead of looking at a deficit. Peters was always positive and a stand-up guy in the locker room. His save percentage of .920 doesn’t do justice of how big the save he made for the Canes during the second month of the season.

There is still a lot of the season left to be played and the NHL is still a league where the stars have to shine for teams to be successful. The Hurricanes have been waiting for their top players to round back into form, and Eric and Jordan Staal have turned in solid performances of late. Cam Ward, who is back from injury, has been stellar and Jeff Skinner is getting his bearings back after missing 11 games with an upper body injury. The team is awaiting Alexander Semin’s return from a concussion and hopes he can capture the scoring touch he had last year in the Triangle. Even with injury and inconsistent play from the top dollar players, it has been the play of the players that didn’t grab headlines that have kept the Hurricanes moving forward.

This should be the point where I say the players that were involved in those unheralded moves should be thankful that the Hurricanes found them. But the truth is the Canes organization needs to be thankful that those players found their way here.

11 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • edits Dec 19, 8:58 a.m.

    Sometimes I wish I could take certain parts of chracter, physique, talent and intelligence from several men to make one that would be close to perfect for what I want. This is what JR has done. He has taken these players for their individual strengths and skills to put with the rest of the team body and he finally has a product on the ice that is a threat no matter who is out there. That is what I love about these moves and that is what I love to see watching a game. The parts are also interchangable, which is never a problem. Everyone knows what their jobs are and everyone is doing that. They keep it up and stay healthy this team will go deep into the paly offs while others implode.

  • aprince27 Dec 2, 9:23 a.m.

    The next time I see someone bash JR after a loss I'm going to refer them to this article. He's... View More

    — Posted by tobin63

    But Tobin...in those sixteen years they will have missed the playoffs 11 times. The teams most consistent years of making the playoffs were in the first five years they were here. playoffs in 99, 01, and 02.

    In fact, since Rutherford and karmanos bought the whalers they have been in the playoffs only 5 times in 20 or 21 seasons! That's not a good track record.

    The Canes have always been and continue to be a 7th - 10th place team that need a bit of a hot streak to make the playoffs. Once, the fan base understands that - either they can accept it for what it is or demand better.

  • caniacman Nov 29, 11:04 a.m.

    I agree JR gets bashed a lot, and these moves do show how good he is at finding the right players most of the time. From other accounts, it sounds like Gleason could be traded soon. I just hope it is for some offensive up and not another D.

  • kenshi Nov 28, 9:42 p.m.

    I had said Malhotra was a good pick up, especially at 600K. I also remember not that many thought the same as me when they made him an offer. I've been watching hockey for 40 years and I knew the naysayers were wrong.

  • Cragsdale Nov 28, 5:42 p.m.

    The next time I see someone bash JR after a loss I'm going to refer them to this article. He's... View More

    — Posted by tobin63

    +1 sir. well played :)

  • tobin63 Nov 28, 3:36 p.m.

    The next time I see someone bash JR after a loss I'm going to refer them to this article. He's been successfully pulling off maneuvers like this for well over a decade, and I've felt for quite a while that he's one of the best GMs in the league. Complain all you want when we look bad, but 1 Cup, another good look at one earlier, and a deep playoff run a few seasons ago, all in 16 years. Not too bad for a small southern market with a crusty old goalie behind the scenes!

  • jscott13 Nov 28, 12:47 p.m.

    This article says it all...the success of this team is not due to the big name, high salary players. The guys mentioned above have "leadership, heart and desire" which they bring to the ice every single game. Would that the Staals and Ward would choose to do the same.

  • StunGunn Nov 28, 11:47 a.m.

    Those free agent pick ups have been terrific, and a case of the sum being better than the parts. Those guys have been around the block, so they don't take playing for granted - they make the most of every minute of ice time they get.

  • junkemail Nov 28, 11:39 a.m.

    Hear, Hear! This is a fun team to watch and there are so many great story-lines on the bench that it is hard to pick a favorite player.

  • mikeyfan5600 Nov 28, 11:24 a.m.

    The pick up of these Free Agents have been a blessing. Hopefully Rutherford will realize Hansey is a better play than Pitkinen and will resign him and let Joni walk. With the Defense playing so well what do the Canes do with Gleason or Harrison? Would Gleason waive his NTC to go someplace else? If not what could the Canes get for Harrison? it is really a nice situation to be in on our defense for a change. Good Luck Canes the remainder of the season.

    OBTW - how good will this team be when we get our top 20 players on the ice at one time?

More...

 

 

  • Big 10: Michigan at Michigan State

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Duke at Virginia

    Tonight at 7:00 on 620am

  • NHL: Hurricanes at NY Rangers

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • Super Bowl: Seattle vs. New England

    Tomorrow at 6:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
GT 80
NCSU 81
2nd
LOU 35
UNC 44
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
DUKE
7:00pm Tonight
ETST
NCCU
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
IND
SAC
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
TOR
7:30pm Tonight
DET
HOU
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
CLE
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
POR
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
9:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
PHO
Final
TENN 71
AUB 63
Final
CLEM 64
BC 49
Final
STJOE 75
DAVID 70
Final
GT 80
NCSU 81
Final
PITT 76
ND 72
Final
STJ 75
PROV 66
Final
UNH 63
USB 48
 
Final
WVU 77
TTU 58
Final
TEMPL 55
TULA 37
Final
EMICH 69
WMICH 63
 
Final
IOWA 63
WISC 74
Final
SHU 90
XAV 82
Final
UF 57
ARK 56
Final
STET 75
LIP 73
 
Final
ILL 60
PSU 58
Final
TULSA 78
SFLA 71
Final
INDST 64
BRAD 58
 
Final
MAINE 59
GTDNS 77
 
Final
LEH 89
BU 86
 
Final
MARQ 68
BUT 72
Final
DEL 71
COC 68
 
Final
CREI 40
GEOR 67
Final
CLST 76
UWGB 62
 
Final
NEOM 65
MAST 75
 
Final
LOYC 45
ILLST 48
 
Final
KU 68
KYST 57
Final
JVU 50
KNST 51
 
Final
MSST 73
LSU 67
Final
SHU 71
MNTER 77
 
Final
VCU 55
RICH 64
Final
ISU 83
TCU 66
Final
BING 76
MLOWELL 69
 
Final
HART 46
VERM 65
 
Final
DEP 55
VILL 68
Final
WAKE 73
VT 70
Final
UGST 74
ARKST 43
 
Final
FAM 44
COOK 61
 
Final
NDAK 80
IDST 69
 
Final
ARMY 71
GHND 77
 
Final
BEL 71
TENT 53
 
Final
TXSA 57
UAB 65
Final
ILLCH 65
VALPO 70
 
Final
DRAK 70
EVAN 65
 
Final
IND 72
RUTG 64
 
Final
UMO 79
BST 73
 
2nd
RMU 44
BRY 52
 
2nd
WAGN 78
CCST 48
 
2nd
GWEBB 52
CCAR 54
 
Half
MDES 45
COPST 48
 
2nd
RFLSH 54
FD 52
 
2nd
RIU 38
GWU 33
 
2nd
SCAR 44
UGA 36
 
2nd
Terriers 62
LIU 49
 
2nd
PAC 54
LMU 49
 
2nd
STLU 39
UMASS 48
 
2nd
HOW 33
MRGST 21
 
2nd
DREX 63
UNCW 50
 
2nd
LOU 35
UNC 44
 
2nd
MIZZ 39
MISS 53
 
2nd
ALCOR 35
SOUTH 24
 
2nd
NIOWA 55
WICHS 39
 
2nd
JMU 52
WMARY 71
 
2nd
RAD 59
WINT 54
 
2nd
EILL 36
SIUE 36
 
Half
UNCA 24
CAMP 27
 
Half
MORE 34
EKENT 27
 
2nd
NICST 37
INCWORD 41
 
2nd
CMICH 47
OHIO 37
 
2nd
TEXAM 40
VANDY 29
 
1st
UWMIL 18
DET 8
 
1st
UNCG 24
WCU 28
 
1st
EWASH 26
IDAHO 34
 
5:30pm Tonight
SDKST
DEN
 
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
HOUB
 
5:30pm Tonight
MVSU
JST
 
5:30pm Tonight
TXST
LALAF
 
5:30pm Tonight
LATU
MARS
5:30pm Tonight
SD
ORU
 
5:35pm Tonight
LAMON
SALA
 
6:00pm Tonight
PVU
ALAAM
 
6:00pm Tonight
GRAM
ARKPB
 
6:00pm Tonight
PRIN
DART
 
6:00pm Tonight
SCST
DELST
 
6:00pm Tonight
COLST
FRES
6:00pm Tonight
NORST
HAMP
 
6:00pm Tonight
MINN
NEB
6:00pm Tonight
WYO
NEV
6:00pm Tonight
SAV
NCAT
 
6:00pm Tonight
GAELS
PEPP
 
6:00pm Tonight
NW
PURD
6:00pm Tonight
BAY
TEX
6:00pm Tonight
CHAT
CITA
 
6:00pm Tonight
SMISS
WKENT
6:00pm Tonight
CORN
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
LAM
ABCHRIST
 
7:00pm Tonight
BGU
AKR
 
7:00pm Tonight
KENT
ALA
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
BRO
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIB
CSOU
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
DUKE
7:00pm Tonight
NE
ELON
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHAR
FIU
7:00pm Tonight
ODU
FATL
7:00pm Tonight
SAMF
FUR
 
7:00pm Tonight
DUQ
GMAS
7:00pm Tonight
PENN
HARV
 
7:00pm Tonight
LBSU
HAW
 
7:00pm Tonight
BONA
LAS
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
LAF
 
7:00pm Tonight
PBY
LONG
 
7:00pm Tonight
WOFF
MERC
 
7:00pm Tonight
ETST
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
MCNST
NO
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
NKENTUCKY
 
7:00pm Tonight
IONA
PETE
 
7:00pm Tonight
STEPH
TAMCC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
USCU
 
7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
ARKLR
 
8:00pm Tonight
UCR
CSNO
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
NWST
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKST
OKLA
8:00pm Tonight
UNT
RICE
8:00pm Tonight
SDU
USF
 
8:00pm Tonight
NMU
SJST
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
SEMIZ
 
8:00pm Tonight
NILL
TOL
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOF
TOWS
 
8:00pm Tonight
SMU
UCF
8:00pm Tonight
MURST
TENNM
 
8:00pm Tonight
SDST
UTST
8:05pm Tonight
MIZST
SILL
 
8:15pm Tonight
TXARL
TROY
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXSOU
ALAST
 
8:30pm Tonight
TENST
JVST
 
8:30pm Tonight
WASU
STAN
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
CHIST
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
MTST
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
NARZ
 
9:00pm Tonight
BYU
SCU
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
TXPA
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
WEBER
 
10:00pm Tonight
UNLV
AFA
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
MEM
10:00pm Tonight
CALST
SEAT
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCI
UCSB
 
10:05pm Tonight
SACST
MONT
 
10:05pm Tonight
PORST
MNTST
 
10:30pm Tonight
UCLA
COL
10:30pm Tonight
WLVRN
UMKC
 
Final
DET 4
NYI 1
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
WIN
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
FLA
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
LOS
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
TOR
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CHI