banner
Mike Maniscalco

Canes answer questions as season ends

Posted April 5, 2011

Think back to Oct. 6, the day before the start of the Carolina Hurricanes season opener in Finland.

The Canes were picked by virtually everyone to miss the playoffs for a second straight year. There were too many questions with the Hurricanes roster and the answers would depend on young players developing quickly.

If most fans were told there would be a shot at the postseason with three games left on the schedule, the reaction would be: "Where do we sign up for that?"

This is not to say that this was a rebuilding year with no chance at bonus hockey.

However, some said I might have picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue when I said this team had a shot at the playoffs. Pundits reminded everyone that the Carolina Hurricanes were a team the year before that was loaded with veterans in an attempt to make a run for playoff glory. That squad failed miserably due to injuries and sluggish play and was dismantled, but that roster looked like a solid team compared to the Canes that opened the year.

Questions like: where would the offense come from besides Eric Staal; how could the defense be better; and is the goaltending going to hold up for 82 games?

Those questions now have answers.

Skinner, Cole deliver goals

Jeff Skinner, the seventh overall pick of the draft, provided a tremendous offensive spark, leading all rookies in points. Side note: Any question that Skinner is not the NHL rookie of the year is silly. To do what he has done at 18 years of age is right out of a Hollywood script.

Since Jan. 1, no player in the NHL has scored bigger goals than Erik Cole in keeping playoff hopes alive. Cole has scored 12 goals that have won or tied games in the third period in that span.

When the Hurricanes looked like there was a chance to make a playoff push, forward Cory Stillman was re-acquired to add more punch.

Deals yield defense

General Manager Jim Rutherford provided solutions for the team’s blue line issues. Joe Corvo came back to Carolina in the offseason and has been steady in both ends of the rink. Anton Babchuk started the year with the Canes. The offensive-minded defenseman was dealt for the steadier Ian White. White provided more defensive-minded presence on the back end until he was dealt to San Jose. In a separate deal with the Sharks, young defenseman Derek Joslin was added to the mix. In a final move at the trade deadline the Hurricanes added the player with a nasty streak in front of his net that they needed in Bryan Allen.

As for the goalie, Cam Ward is the only net minder in the NHL with over 2,000 saves this year.

This edition of the Hurricanes did promise one thing: every night you were going to see players take steps forward or back in their development. Roles within the team were defined. Brandon Sutter developed into one of the league's best defensive centers. Skinner showed that his offensive flair wasn’t a fluke as he was steady all year and, after an inconsistent start providing offense, defenseman Jamie McBain rebounded from a shoulder injury to regain the offensive flair he displayed last season in a late call-up.

As the year moved on, the chance of a playoff berth materialized, and there is still a chance albeit slim, for the Canes to move on to the postseason.

If the team does not make it into the top eight in the East, it will be a disappointment, but it won’t mean that this season was for nothing.

The raised expectations for the Canes showed there is more talent in Raleigh than we thought 79 games ago.

The young players who were put under the pressure of trying to make the playoffs will benefit from this year down the road. Leaders emerged in the locker with and without letters sewn on the front of their jerseys. An identity was also formed for this team, one that never quits.

A year that started with uncertainties for this team now has plenty of answers, playoffs or not. 

27 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • mattman8386 Apr 6, 9:54 a.m.

    Mike..

    I fully agree with Cole & Skinner delivering. Cole is back to his pre-injury form due to his workouts with Corvo, and Skinner IS the Calder Trophy winner hands down. If he’s not, then there is a huge flaw in that voting.

    I’d have to respectfully disagree with you on some of Rutherford’s deals. Getting rid of Babchuk in ANY way was the right thing. I think he’s been overrated since day1 , and don’t understand Ruth’s obsession with him. The pick ups of White, Allen and Joslin were good ones. What was NOT done was dealing our “Jeckyll –n- Hyde” Pitkanen. I truly believe his erratic play, and sometimes ‘mailing it in’ attitude down the stretch hurt us more than helped us. Jim R. should have found a way to deal him out and get a better D-man who is more consistent and physical. I’d give Jim R. a C- at best this go-round.

    As for Cam making 2000+ saves this year, albeit great for him, and he has been THE ONLY REASON we’ve been in an playoff hunt, but what does it say about our defense? Those numbers of shots make it looks like we allow opponents to pummel our goalie at will. I think we lost many games due to HUGE breakdown(s) in defense deep in our zone either by turnovers or not fighting for the puck hard enough to clear the zone, AND our weak penalty kill.

    Yes there is a LOT of upside, and many aspects to build on, and I am glad we had a decent season, but I believe we could have made the playoffs LONG ago with a re-tooled power play, more physical play, and better defense. Those weaknesses or failures lie at the feet of Ron Francis running the PATHETIC Power Play (24th, 15.5%), and Paul Maurice , not changing the style of play along the way. We’re now on the outside looking in. Francis needs to give up running the PP, and maybe “Moe must Go”.

  • Duke1977 Apr 5, 5:22 p.m.

    Everyone loves a winner, and I want them to win as much as anyone. But when all is said and... View More

    — Posted by ssi

    Well said!

  • wlcat609 Apr 5, 4:37 p.m.

    GO WINGS...thanks for the kind words. I fully realize that the 'coach' can only coach the personnel that the GM, management and scouts provide....but I really DO BELIEVE that the COACHING has the greatest impact on how the team performs.....and JR has been at the helm ever since the team came to North Carolina......

  • Paul M Apr 5, 4:10 p.m.

    lol i ment coach.

  • Paul M Apr 5, 4:08 p.m.

    Hockey seems to turn 'great' coaches into subpar ones quickly (Lavi?)(quote from earlier... View More

    — Posted by wlcat609

    good call wlcat609 its not always the couch thats the problem

  • jscott13 Apr 5, 3:27 p.m.

    MO MUST GO. They let Lavi go because he didn't get along with some people. Many great head coaches are like that. Bill Walsh was a tyrant, but he was the best at what he did. JR needs to choose between good beside manner or results.

  • RaleighHunts Apr 5, 3:24 p.m.

    We suck but we didn't suck as bad as everyone thought we would! There's something very fitting... View More

    — Posted by Hans

    Not even close. Hurricanes WON the stanley cup 5 years ago and went to the eastern conference championships 2 years ago... They have, in fact, been one of the more successful teams in the NHL over the past decade despite some subpar years.

  • wlcat609 Apr 5, 2:29 p.m.

    Hockey seems to turn 'great' coaches into subpar ones quickly (Lavi?)(quote from earlier opinion)...have you checked the Eastern Division standings lately?....this 'suppar' coach at least has HIS TEAM in theone of the top playoff positions NOW and if my memory is accurate, this 'suppar' coach was the ONLY COACH THAT COACHED THE CANES TO THEIR ONLY STANLEY CUP. I'd take this 'subpar' coach back in a heartbeat...I thought he got shafted when they let him go...I think this was yet another Cane management 'DO IT ON THE CHEAP' decisions! And you get what you pay for!

  • morgannyy Apr 5, 2:22 p.m.

    I like the makings of this team. We went from a very veteran team that you knew was going younger (and cheaper!) to an up and comer that looks poised to compete for years to come.

  • dbass Apr 5, 2:18 p.m.

    Pitkanen and Harrison are free agents after this season - let 'em go (ESPECIALLY Pits) and upgrade the D. Stillman, Cole, LaRose, Juice and Dwyer are all UFAs at forward - I's hate to see any of them go, but the lack of power play results seems to point toward needing an offensive upgrade too. Or does it?

More...

 

 

  • CBB: North Carolina vs. Ohio State

    Today at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA vs Kentucky

    Today at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Tonight at 8:25 on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA at Kentucky

    Today at 3:15 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Washington

    Today at 4:25 pm on 620am

  • NHL: Canes vs. NY Rangers

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State at West Virginia

    Tonight at 9:30 on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
1:00pm Today
UNC
OSU
 
4:00pm Today
MVSU
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
 
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
Final
ORL 94
UTA 101
Final
CLE 95
BRK 91
Final
BOS 114
MIN 98
Final
DET 100
TOR 110
Final
MIA 103
WAS 105
Final
MEM 97
CHI 103
Final
SAN 119
POR 129
Final
DEN 109
LAC 106
Final
LAL 103
OKC 104
1:00pm Today
NYK
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
ATL
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
IND
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
 
11:00am Today
LALAF
NEV
2:20pm Today
UTEP
UTST
3:30pm Today
COLST
UTAH
5:45pm Tonight
AFA
WMICH
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
YOUNG 92
WILB 71
 
Final
TULA 56
JST 49
 
Final
RAD 76
SIENA 66
 
Final
BUCK 88
CASEWEST 65
 
Final
LIB 94
CPNC 65
 
Final
SCAR 68
CLEM 45
Final
CMICH 97
CONC 60
 
Final
MIAMI 44
EKENT 72
Final
GWEBB 91
HIWASSEE 71
 
Final
ODU 60
MDES 43
 
Final
BUF 88
NIAG 62
 
Final
KSU 71
NCAT 57
 
Final
FAM 65
UNF 83
 
Final
NORST 81
NARZ 62
 
Final
DART 58
NILL 55
 
Final
MORE 60
NKENTUCKY 83
 
Final
UCSB 69
SDCHR 46
 
Final
STJ 53
GAELS 47
Final
ALA 69
STILL 49
 
Final
HAMP 66
TENST 54
 
Final
TENN 61
TENT 58
Final
WMARY 86
WSHMD 46
 
Final
MERC 67
COOK 46
 
Final
FLGC 83
FUR 78
 
Final
CALST 49
SDKST 53
 
Final
MTST 68
CHAT 58
Final
NDAK 78
DICKINSON 48
 
Final
LAMON 76
LSUALEX 71
 
Final
PRIN 77
LIP 55
 
Final
LAM 80
MLGN 53
 
Final
MINN 92
SEAT 57
 
Final
LOYC 73
SUTAH 57
 
Final
SELA 81
WINT 71
 
Final
SILL 52
NO 56
 
Final
MARQ 83
ALAAM 49
 
Final
TTU 72
ARKPB 51
 
Final
DEN 84
COLST 85
Final
CREI 75
TXPA 60
 
Final
CAL 78
EWASH 67
Final
UTST 69
IDST 56
 
Final
UTEP 55
ARZ 60
Final
CHAM 63
HAW 94
 
12:00pm Today
GEOR
CHAR
 
12:00pm Today
WKENT
LOU
 
12:00pm Today
MICH
SMU
 
12:00pm Today
CIN
VCU
 
1:00pm Today
BSU
ABCHRIST
 
1:00pm Today
PROV
UMASS
 
1:00pm Today
AMER
MNTER
 
1:00pm Today
UNC
OSU
 
1:00pm Today
IUPUI
SALA
 
1:00pm Today
VILL
SYR
 
1:00pm Today
VT
CITA
 
1:00pm Today
DUQ
MLOWELL
 
1:30pm Today
FAIR
BEL
 
2:00pm Today
YALE
GTDNS
 
2:00pm Today
FD
DEL
 
2:00pm Today
PSU
DREX
 
2:00pm Today
UNCG
ELON
 
2:00pm Today
ILL
MIZZ
 
2:00pm Today
CAMP
MONT
 
2:00pm Today
LONG
PSUBEAVER
 
2:00pm Today
HOU
SCST
 
2:00pm Today
FSU
SFLA
 
2:00pm Today
BING
BONA
 
2:00pm Today
RUTG
RFLSH
 
2:00pm Today
MCNST
TOL
 
2:00pm Today
JVU
TRUETT
 
2:00pm Today
GT
VANDY
 
2:05pm Today
INDST
EILL
 
2:30pm Today
BUT
IND
 
3:00pm Today
STEPH
ARTCH
 
3:00pm Today
OREG
DELST
 
3:00pm Today
Terriers
FATL
 
3:00pm Today
TXARL
HPYN
 
3:00pm Today
KU
LAF
 
3:00pm Today
ARKST
MARS
 
3:00pm Today
MEM
ORU
 
3:00pm Today
KNST
UMBC
 
3:00pm Today
NW
WMICH
 
3:05pm Today
MIZST
EMICH
 
3:05pm Today
CHIST
STJOE
 
3:30pm Today
KENT
UCLA
 
4:00pm Today
COC
DAVID
 
4:00pm Today
RIU
DET
 
4:00pm Today
UCR
HOUB
 
4:00pm Today
MURST
ILLST
 
4:00pm Today
NWST
LALAF
 
4:00pm Today
WAGN
MON
 
4:00pm Today
MVSU
NCCU
 
4:00pm Today
PITT
OU
 
4:00pm Today
TENNM
PBY
 
4:00pm Today
WYO
SOUTH
 
4:00pm Today
AFA
UCD
 
4:00pm Today
MSST
USCU
 
5:00pm Tonight
JMU
HIGH
 
5:00pm Tonight
TXST
HTILL
 
5:00pm Tonight
DRAK
ISU
 
5:00pm Tonight
SHU
UNH
 
5:00pm Tonight
SCU
NE
 
5:00pm Tonight
MSU
TXSOU
 
5:00pm Tonight
UF
WAKE
 
5:15pm Tonight
ND
PURD
 
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
PVU
 
6:00pm Tonight
AUB
XAV
 
7:00pm Tonight
AKR
BLUFFTON
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
HOF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GMAS
IONA
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
LAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
MRGST
 
7:00pm Tonight
CCST
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
PEPP
RICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAR
STJOE
 
7:00pm Tonight
KYST
TEXAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
VALPO
 
7:05pm Tonight
UMKC
INCWORD
 
7:30pm Tonight
IDST
CALST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
IOWA
 
7:30pm Tonight
SIUE
UWMIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
LBSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
TXSA
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARK
SEMIZ
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
LEH
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
OKLA
 
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
STED
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
BST
 
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
FRES
 
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
TAMCC
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
 
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
 
Final
NJD 3
TAM 2
Final
OTT 6
ANA 2
Final
DET 1
NYI 2
Final
WIN 2
BOS 1
Final
CAL 1
DAL 2
4:00pm Today
LOS
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
TAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NAS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
 
4:30pm Today
WAS
PHI
8:25pm Tonight
SFX
SDC