cupcakes are overrated, but I love a good burrito
It really was only the last couple of minutes of the game that was "same as the old Canes." The passing was crisper and far more fluid; the Canes' concept of puck handling is far richer these days, no longer the binary to-the-goal or away-from-the-goal code of yester-season. This is huge for this franchise, as anyone who's watched the Canes these past few years will tell you. If anything, the problem with the minutes before the final two was that the Canes were thinking too much; refreshing as it was to see them looking around instead of blindly passing and dumping, future games are going to require that they do their homework beforehand and speed up. The tempo near the goal is too slow; we want quick-firing, and we want more shooting of the puck. Still, this is clearly not the same team as before.
That having been said, I agree with you that the Canes need to find their killer instinct or else they're going to blow the season.... again.
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.
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