Metropolitan Division Preview: Carolina Hurricanes

The Staal brothers are actually immortal and went by the title of Wright previously

The Carolina Hurricanes and the Philadelphia Flyers have a somewhat shared history. Two all-time great Flyers, Rod Brind’Amour and Mark Recchi, won a Stanley Cup with the ‘Canes in 2006. Former Flyer Justin Williams was also on that roster. Their coach? Peter Laviolette.

But that’s pretty much it. There’s not a noted record of animosity between these teams. They’ve played sometimes and…yup. That’s about it. So, I guess they’re rivals now or something. Boo ‘Canes?

 

City Facts

They like racing, I believe.

It’s close enough to the Wright Brothers that I will go ahead and declare the Hurricanes responsible for flying.

The Outer Banks are in North Carolina and they are lovely.

Sometimes I wish the team was based out of Roanoke and were the Mysteries or something bizarre along those lines.

It is not Hartford.

 

Worst Jersey

The Hurricanes’ look is fine. I have no issues with their basic set, despite not being green and white and awesome. However, their black third jersey is terrible. The pirate flag with a hockey stick should be a shoulder patch at best, not a primary logo. And black thirds are the most 90s thing ever. Get with the times, guys.

 

Key Players

Every Staal ever – Okay, they don’t have Marc Staal yet, so they are not master Pokemon collectors (gotta catch ‘em Staal!). BUT the Hurricanes did go out of their way last year to unite Eric and Jordan Staal. Both of them are good, but sadly can’t form a Mecha Shiva like Hank and Dean Venture.

The Staals are excellent hockey players. You should remember Jordan well from his time with the Penguins, where he always seemed to kill the Flyers. He’s a solid two way center and a guy that any team would want. Eric averages about 70 points a season and has been a staple in Carolina for about a decade now.

Wait, what do you mean there’s a Jared Staal on the Hurricanes as well? I wonder if there is a random Staal out there that’s a farmer or something, like the third Manning brother…

 

Jeff Skinner – Has Jeff Skinner hit puberty yet? Can he steam a good ham? Otherwise, he’s useless. Jeff Skinner is a very talented young player, but one wonders if can he step up to the next level.

He may have peaked during his outstanding rookie year, in which he put up 63 points in 82 games and won the Calder Trophy. His PPG totals have lowered a bit in his two subsequent seasons, but the guy’s only 21, so I’m going to go ahead and shut up about him peaking.

 

Cam Ward – Cam Ward was born a Hurricane and he’ll die a Hurricane, dag nabbit! Ward is a consistently solid goalie that seems to fly under the radar due to playing in Carolina. He hasn’t been in Carolina for a decade like Eric Staal just yet, but he’s getting close, entering his ninth season. Ward’s save percentage has dipped the past two seasons after peaking at .923 in ‘10-’11, so it will be interesting to see if that downward trend continues, or if Ward can bounce back to the .915/.916 range he seems to hover around.

 

Alexander Semin – There have been too many jokes about his last name, so I’llI abstain. I won’t be cleaning that mess up. It’s a sticky situation.

Semin has one of those stereotypical Russian reputations. He’s “enigmatic” and “doesn’t back check”. But the guy sure can produce points. He put up 44 in 44 last season and hasn’t scored less than 42 points since his rookie season.

 

Coach

Kirk Muller - The respected former NHLer had a buzz around his name leading up to being named head coach of the Hurricanes. That buzz is starting to die down. Will this be a make or break year for Muller?

 

Key Offseason Moves

Geez, guys, did you fall asleep in the offseason or something? The Hurricanes did very little to improve on a club that missed the playoffs by 13 points last season. Mike Komisarek is a fine player and all, but not a difference-maker to get a team like the Hurricanes over the hump. I guess they were just happy with what they already have. It’s good to be happy with yourself, even if you’re mediocre.

 

Division prediction: Sixth

The Hurricanes are good, but I still don’t think they’re good enough to crack the top 4 in this tough division. Switch back to the Whalers and we’ll talk.