With this scheduled five-day hockey hiatus, the Carolina Hurricanes have been resting and reaching out around the community. The surrounding media has taken the break to get some interviews and evaluate what is and isn't working and where we might expect the team to go from here.
From a various tweets at the Raleigh RecZone this morning, all twenty of the Canes players were in attendance at practice today. While assistant coaches Ron Francis and Tom Barrasso have been in Charlotte for the last couple days getting on the ice with the prospect s who are with the AHL affiliate Checkers, today Rod Brind`Amour and Glen Wesley were in Raleigh with Paul Maurice and the franchise's NHL level players. Here's audio of comments from Maurice about the team and his thoughts on the temporary coaching rotation.
The team heads out this afternoon to Dallas where they will play the Stars tomorrow night. Then, as another back-to-back set, on Saturday the Canes will be in St.Louis to face the Blues, which makes the fifth game in a row against a Western Conference opponent.
First up, stories straight from the Hurricanes led by the efforts of Kyle Hanlin and Paul Branecky who are doing a great job responding to Carolina fans who have questions and ideas about why some decisions are made and what is happening behind the scenes.
AHL Prospects Waiting for Opportunity - Paul Branecky With the Hurricanes and their top prospects in Charlotte of the American Hockey League, an apparent stroke of good luck can work both ways.
Carolina Hurricanes Report: Official Podcast 12/08/2010 From Wednesday afternoon. Paul Branecky and Kyle Hanlin talk about December. In a newly added portion of the podcast they take questions via twitter from fans, and this week they respond to questions from Canes Country regulars CaniacSteve and abramsdoug among others.
After the jump, a bunch of new Hurricanes' interviews, including the downloads for recent Canes Corners from Mike Maniscalco and WRAL 99.9theFan, Events surrounding All Star weekend throughout Raleigh, keeping tabs on happenings with prospects in the pipeline, and the usual tour of the hockey blogosphere.
Terrific pair of Q&A's at Red Light District: Conversation with Jeff Skinner and Paul Maurice from a Nashville-based hockey writer, Ryan Porth, who spoke to both Jeff Skinner and Paul Maurice last weekend.
Cory Lavalette had this post up first thing this morning taking a broad perspective on the Canes young #2 goal tender caught in the typical situation as back-up to a franchise centerpiece, including observations from Tom Barrasso and Jeff Daniels on PeteDawg's dedication and work ethic. Justin Peters Adjusting, Having Fun In His First NHL Season Hurricanes rookie goalie Justin Peters is working hard an having fun in his first year as an NHL backup.
Looking at the fourth line: Canes' duo brings hustle, muscle - NewsObserver.com It's almost as if Ryan Carter and Troy Bodie never completely left the NHL's Western Conference.
Canes Now - Ruutu happy to wing it with Staal As Branecky's piece described above, in the rotation of wingers to skate with team captain Eric Staal, Tuomo Ruutu will be moved to the top line when the matchups with opponents require more size and power.
And more interviews, these as audio links, all of which are great for insight to the players' off-ice style and real life priorities.
Canes Brandon Sutter is busy: Canes center Brandon Sutter took the time to talk with Mark and Mike about the holidays, country music, taking penalties and the Canes putting together a winning streak on 620 the Buzz. (from Tuesday morning, about 8 minutes)
Tuomo Ruutu on Canes Corner with WRAL's Mike Maniscalco (from last week's night time session at the Backyard Bistro, about 40 minutes) - The Finnish born Tuomo Ruutu talked about playing in front of his countrymen to open the season and why he always has a smile on his face.
Chad LaRose on Canes Corner (from Tuesday night this week, about 42 minutes) - Chad LaRose joined Mike Maniscalco to talk about his career, his teammates and the fans in Carolina. As they point out, this is his fifth time as a guest of Canes Corner; he is indeed a master for the format.
From the NHL Board of Governors meetings in Florida earlier this week, video with Canes General Manager Jim Rutherford Talking All-Star Weekend and Jeff Skinner
Chip Alexander, of the News & Observer, has had a couple of pieces this week looking at the Hurricanes strengths and weaknesses at this point in the up-and-down season.
**UPDATE Canes Now - Canes look to fill up TV screen "Move as five," Maurice said today. "Move as five on the puck, support the puck and make sure we're coming to the puck instead of going away from it."
Canes slow out of the gate - NewsObserver.com Lately, the Carolina Hurricanes have been starting slow and giving up the first goal.
Canes lacking juice - NewsObserver.com Since scoring on all three power plays in a 3-0 win over the Boston Bruins the day after Thanksgiving, the Carolina Hurricanes have had 13 power plays in their past four games. They have put just 11 shots on goal, and none has gone in the net.
The N&O was also covering the community outreach efforts that were a big part of these off days as the holidays approach. Here's one from Target at North Hills with father-of-two Patrick Dwyer from Canes Now - Canes reach out to spread Christmas cheer
** UPDATE: The story on Tuesday's team wide campaign to give something back from the Canes PR corps includes more on the day and a photo gallery too.. Community: Hospital Visits and Target Shopping Yesterday the entire team was busy making community appearances for the good of our community. Hospital Visits, Target shopping, and promoting the Pound for Pound Challenge were the highlights of Tuesday’s community appearances.
Bob Wage's piece on the Walking Wounded in the Canes training room tells another worthwhile story that's too easy to overlook. Playing Through The Pain: When Is It Time To Sit? - Canes Country When should players say "enough is enough" and sit through an injury?
The City of Raleigh ready to be Hockeytown South
Bob had a story on this here yesterday, and I've got a couple more stories on what we can look forward to when the hockey world arrives in North Carolina January 28 through 30. NHL and City of Raleigh Partners Announce Three-Day All-Star Fan Festival. Here's the full 14-minute presser, emceed by John Forslund yesterday morning:
This release was over at NHL.com and details a unique offering of the "Fan Fair" which will be at the Convention Center. Tickets are $8 and are available starting tomorrow. Raleigh to host NHL Fan Fair as part of 2011 NHL All-Star festivities
Occupying more than 150,000 square feet of the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh, NHL Fan Fair will offer hockey fans of all ages three fun-filled days of interactive games and attractions, special appearances, trophy and memorabilia displays, live TV and radio broadcasts, pin trading and trading card zones, music, food, official NHL All-Star merchandise and dozens of other dynamic activities.
NHL.com also had a follow up with Brendan Shanahan who is the mastermind behind the new format that includes a potentially tense and hilarious fantasy draft on the Friday night before the game: Shanahan excited about All-Star Game buzz - NHL Insider
"We've done four or five mock drafts just to see how it goes," Shanahan told NHL.com. "It's fun. What we did is we just took previous all-star rosters and just get together some guys in the office just to see how it goes and whether we need to institute any rules for the draft."
Closer to home, Handling All-Star pressure - Luke DeCock - NewsObserver.com Since the moment the NHL awarded the 2011 All-Star Game to the Carolina Hurricanes, Eric Staal has been inked into the lineup. As a three-time All-Star already, and the game MVP in 2008, he was a lock to represent the host team.
And with the most recent vote counts released Tuesday afternoon, take a look at the 8 Hurricanes players getting votes. The "Rosey for All Star" campaign had a very good week. (click on image to see at full size)
News from Charlotte
Checkers defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti may need hip surgery and could be lost for an extended period of time, GM Jim Rutherford says.
Rutherford said condition of Sanguinetti's hip "got worse over time." Worst-case scenario: out for the year. "It's a setback," he said.
Here's the follow up story with a bit more: Canes Now - Checkers' Sanguinetti may need surgery
Good to see the local paper in Charlotte focusing on one of the Checkers' most talented players and team captain, Bryan Rodney with this piece yesterday: Checkers' Rodney tries to lead by example - CharlotteObserver.com
If you haven't seen the series of three "commercials" for the Checkers "As Seen On TV" giveaway planned for Friday night, when the Hershey Bears return to the TWC Arena, you don't know what you're missing. Featuring the heretofore unknown thespian talents of Michal Jordan, Riley Nash, and Mike Murphy, they're all queued up over at the Charlotte Checkers's Youtube Channel. As a teaser, here's the one that Puck Daddy called "one of the single greatest hockey commercials in the history of all-time ever:"
They play hockey too! If you missed the Checkers wild game Monday night, with 8 goals in the 2nd period alone, here's the recap from TheAHL.com : Checkers blitz Crunch for 10-3 win Nine different players scored at least one goal as the Checkers moved to 12-3-0-2 in their last 17 games.
TSN's Scott Cullen highlights the standout play of both undrafted Jerome Samson and former first-rounder Zach Boychuk in his piece on minor league up-and-comers. AHLers that may score if given the call (s/t to @corvylav for the link!)
Around the League
A few pieces of interest from beyond our little corner of the hockey universe.
Not your usual packaged story on Sidney Crosby whose hot hand, as the Penguins have now won 11 straight, is simply too awesome to bring the snark. Nicholas J. Cotsonika: Definition of best player in hockey: Crosby - Yahoo! Sports Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is too modest to admit it, but the numbers suggest no one is better.
From the center of the hockey universe, looking at how money doesn't buy happiness: Spending doesn’t always equal success in NHL's salary cap system - The Globe and Mail Six of the league's biggest spenders found themselves out of the playoff picture on Wednesday morning.
I alway enjoy these posts that pop up occasionally at Puck Daddy. I've highlighted the Canes claim to fame this go-round: Stunning Numbers: Penalties, and the NHL players that take them - Puck Daddy
Zero: The number of REGULATION losses for the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes when they score first this season. The Bruins are 10-0-1 overall for a .909 winning percentage, best in the NHL. The Hurricanes are 9-0-2.
The ongoing conversation on the future of hockey on broadcast television is heating up as negotiations with Versus and NBC begin to take shape. Bettman: We're in a good place on TV negotiations - Sporting News
Unlike the days after the lockout, serious interest in televising hockey in the United States extends beyond NBC and Versus. In fact, Bettman characterized the interest in securing the NHL TV rights in the U.S. at an all-time high.
Hurricanes in the race for World Juniors
I love me a "hometown boy makes good" story: Biddeford's Dumoulin moves closer to making USA Hockey squad
"He plays the game the right way," said Jim Johannson, USA Hockey team general manager. "He moves well, he defends well. He gets the puck up to the forwards well. We're excited about those traits in Brian."
And for Team FInland, Rasmus Rissanen expects to play in Buffalo, with his family traveling from Finland to watch. The Everett Silvertips, his Washington state Juniors team on the road in Saskatchewan this week, had a Q&A with Rissanen on their site this week. Here's the story, which has simple real life talk, for example, on improving his English. CSI Miami and House are as good a place as any to start, I suppose.
Did you ever turn to movies, TV shows, or music to help you get a feel for English and some slang as well?
Not really any movies, but I would always read hockey websites, and they helped me. I also watch House and CSI Miami – I eventually was able to watch those shows and understand without having to read the text.
Finally, a subject close to my hockeymom heart, a couple updates on North Carolina youth hockey developing as local teens prepare to play on a bigger stage:
Men's hockey: N.C. native commits to Sioux | Grand Forks Herald Charlie Pelnik, a 15-year-old standout from Cary, N.C., made visits to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Michigan, Boston University, Merrimack and Northeastern before deciding to commit to UND last week.
Cary girl commits to BC for hockey - NewsObserver.com Those who know Meghan Grieves say she doesn't back away from a challenge.