I hope we get rid of Ward. Too much money for a lackluster player.
It also must be mentioned that as soon as I file a story dumping on the Canes, they pull out a gem like their come-from-behind 5-4 overtime win over Montreal on New Year's Eve. Who can figure this team out? They're as likely to be red-hot as ice-cold down the stretch.
Late-breaking note: Tim Gleason was traded on New Year's Day, to Toronto for John-Michael Liles, an offensive defenseman who missed time with injuries and found his job taken by younger, cheaper guys once he got healthy. The Leafs tossed in a prospect too.
It went down in a mildly humiliating way. Liles was in Michigan for the Winter Classic, probably psyched to take place in the league's marquee outdoor game. Then he was pulled off the ice at warmups and told he was traded. Brutal timing.
Do people see the trade of both Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh to Vancouver for Kellan Tochkin as anything other than a decisive end to lengthy exasperation?
Dvorak earned his spot by beating out the perpetual this-year-is-THE-year prospects like Dalpe. And Dvorak plays like Muller thinks. And Dvorak has respectable size. And he's experienced. No one really knows how many minutes his body allow, but the price was right.
In the depth department: I just got an email from the Canes that they've signed forward Radek Dvorak to a one-year deal. It's a two-way contract, too: $600K at the NHL level and $125K at the AHL level.
Everything turns around if they get out of the blocks quickly. This roster has a little less depth than the roster at the beginning of 2006 had. Two things that happened then: the Canes had like the fewest man-games lost to injury in the history of the league, and Rutherford added key pieces gradually over the course of the year (Recchi, Weight). Perhaps if Carolina can be over .500 when the outdoor games happen at New Year's, management might invest in more depth, though the Olympics might affect dealmaking.
What's your take on drafting Lindholm? I was thinking Nurse would have been a better pick but Lindholm looks great.
I don't disagree that the team has gotten softer while the league has gotten harder. But that's largely a reflection of who the Canes have drafted. I believe the collective management team -- Rutherford, Muller, Brind'Amour, Stillman, Wesley -- sent significant messages by purging the roster of McBain, Dalpe, Boychuk, and Welsh. Unfortunately, although the top six forwards and top four D's (if Pitkanen were playing) are pretty good, the remainder of the roster is still weak and there isn't much depth in Charlotte to draw on. I can't fault Muller for that. Over time Muller will sort out the players who fit his style -- which I think is to play hard for all 60 minutes -- from the players who don't.
I doubt Muller's in trouble with Rutherford and the ownership group, for the reasons you both list. But I think that issuing a pass for last year and this year in the name of not having been able to take a team through training camp is a cop out. Though I appreciate your defense of Muller, I want to know why the Canes so frequently haven't been able to start playing until the beginning of the second period. They come out of the tunnel soft, and I think that's on the coaching staff as much as the players. Where's the urgency in their game? It's time for Muller to turn the volume up on this team. They drill the fundamentals in practice and that shows on the ice. But they don't drill competitiveness like other teams do. Get online with a team that has a rink webcam and watch what the Penguins and the Flyers do in practice. Muller's great on the greaseboard. But he's not changing the culture of a team that's often easy to play against. Maybe I'm impatient.
I second what CT said, and I was also frustrated by "Nor is Muller committed enough to wringing more effort from his middling roster." If there's one thing that Muller has done, it's been getting his players to step up and work, knowing they'll be appreciated if they do or thrown out if they don't. Before Muller, this franchise was rapidly circling the drain, and now we can sit here and cultivate play-off hopes given the wise mix of experienced players and new NHL talent. Injuries have been one of the biggest issues with this team, which also might've been due to the changes in conditioning and plays that came with the coaching transition last year; between this and the incredibly short/intense season of last year, the Canes were sore and it showed. In a way, there were fewer "ifs" last season than ever, and more grit than we've been seeing from the Hurricanes. Franchise transitions cannot happen overnight.
Muller in trouble? Ridiculous. Only if the team goes 0-20, which is very unlikely. This is Muller's first season with a team he took through his own training camp, and the team is already injury-riddled (Pitkanen, Ruutu, Gleason). Rutherford will stand behind Muller for one more year, unless Muller does something that ticks Rutherford off. It happened with Laviolette.
It is a source of great comfort and joy to find out that one of your most beloved musical idols is also partial to the most amazing sport on planet earth.
Please incorporate this into a song, John. Especially
"Prior to the red carpet walk of the 2011 NHL All-Star teams, there's the promenade of the mascots. I don't think there's much I can tell you about the promenade that isn't already covered by the phrase "promenade of the mascots,"
See you in DC, Richmond, and Chapel Hill.
To add a clarification to a point in the article regarding being picked last. The NHL organizers were going to have a group of players be picked last, so that no one got singled out, but the players overwhelmingly objected. They want to see their teammates squirm.
Late-breaking news Wednesday morning -- Canes forward Jeff Skinner was promoted from the rookies team to the All-Star roster and will play in Sunday afternoon's game. Canes defenseman Jamie McBain took Skinner's place on the rookies team and will compete in the SuperSkills competition on Saturday night. Everything's televised on Versus.
agreed - there's no way to 'outlaw' fighting in the game. if you do this, other ways to express frustration/aggression will develop - this could be more dangerous than a simple 60 second delay to pick up gloves and sticks.
I don't love the fighting, but it's a part of the lore of the game, and it does serve a purpose in the intimidation portion of the competition.
Claire even those of us who migrated to the Cape from Pittsburgh still know where our loyalties lie. Now the Penguins are out to get those nasty Red Wings. Go Penns!!! We all know where the good food comes from also.
Great article! Go Pens!!
great article! i cannot believe that you question your loyalties! once a pittsburgher, always a pittsburgher! from your favorite cousin!!
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