Let's jump right in shall we? This is the time of year when there is no shortage of ideas on what the Carolina Hurricanes are (or should be) doing now to maximize their success looking forward, and the summer of 2011 will be no exception. Here's this week's stories on the subject.
From Scott Cullen at TSN.ca, a lengthy and thorough review of the whole shebang: Off-Season Game Plan: Carolina Hurricanes After missing the playoffs by two points, the Carolina Hurricanes embark on what should be a very busy summer.
Canes to Consider Defenseman in First Round - Paul Branecky, Tracking the Storm Blog Although he’s willing to break with recent philosophy and draft a defenseman in the first round, Jim Rutherford still plans to keep his options open
Dalpe ready to work for his shot with Canes | CharlotteObserver.com Zac Dalpe loaded up a U-Haul, hopped in his Chevy truck this past weekend and made the 13-hour drive from Charlotte back home to Paris, Ontario.
Depth Players to Battle for Spots Next Season - Tracking the Storm Blog The Carolina Hurricanes’ fourth line tends to look radically different from season to season. At times, it can change from game to game.
Finally found this today: Jeff Skinner stopped by the NHL Network studio Tuesday afternoon to sit in for a live interview with EJ Hradek and Deb Placey: VIDEO: Tuesday's NHL Live. Once it starts (below) you'll need to get to 4:10ET (indicated in the timestamp on the actual video) to where Skinner's segment starts. It runs through a commercial break till about to 4:35 ET. [Note I'm having trouble getting this to play - try clicking on the word VIDEO above to go to the NHL.com site if it doesn't fix itself]
After the jump, much more on the Checkers/Hurricanes, Carolina Alumni and Prospects, updates on the Thrashers move to Manitoba, and another music video translated to express the mood of Canuck fans this week.
A few more audio interviews for your further edification.
At 10 minutes, one-on-one, this is more that one normally gets from the Canes Hall of Famer as he talks about his experience in the coaches' office as he prepares to re-focus on the business side once more. Good stuff! Ron Francis Interview - 5/25 Video - Carolina Hurricanes
Also from NHL.com, BlackBerry "All-Access" pregame show: Jeff Skinner Interview. This 3 minute video is not much different from ones we've seen often enough, but another introduction to fans outside Raleigh of the Canes' Calder Trophy favorite.
More local stories
Charlotte Checkers build for 2011-12 | CharlotteObserver.com Roll to conference finals gives players, staff confidence and enthusiasm for even better run next season.
While our newest writer at Canes Country gave us his take on the matter of candidates for backup goalie on Tuesday, here's another guy's look just yesterday: Backup goaltender - Kurt Dusterberg, HurricanesBeat.com The Backup Plan, No. 2 goalie could change Canes' fortunes. Dusterberg names these names: Manny Legace, Martin Gerber, Ty Conklin, Curtis Sanford.
Dursterberg also got this interview from Oskar Osala today on his decision to take his talents to Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk: Canes prospect signs in Russia - HurricanesBeat.com
"I'm sure the KHL will develop me at least as much as a fourth year in the minors," said Osala. "I think I might be in an excellent spot to get my game to another level."
Luke DeCock's column on the Hurricanes and the Caniacs this week for the N&O: Canes Now - Debate under way over actions, ambitions | newsobserver.com blogs Fan opinion has been polarized by where the bar has been set -- those words are mine, but I think they’re fair given the debate under way -- and a wide-ranging, thoughtful assessment of what the Hurricanes’ level of ambition should be is taking place.
Another Skinner post following an interview this week from a new voice at WRAL: Skinner on his way to superstardom - WRALSportsFan.com's Donal Ware plus this 10 minute audio of the interview. Jeff Skinner was the youngest All-Star in NHL history when he skated for Team Staal at the RBC Center back on January 30 at the age of 18 years, 259 days
Justin Shugg at the Memorial Cup Tournament
The Mississauga St Michael's Majors ended the round-robin portion with a 2-1 record, good enough to earn a spot in the Semi-final game set for Friday at 7pm. It will be delayed-broadcast on NHL Network on Saturday at 2pm EDT. If they win there, then Mississauga will advance to the Finals vs the Quebec League's Saint John Sea Dogs who narrowly beat them last weekend. The Championship game will be broadcast live on NHLNetwork Sunday evening at 7pm.
If the Majors can pull off the win there, it would be Justin Shugg's third Memorial Cup, making him only the second Canadian Junior player who could claim that achievement. With that in mind, Shugg has been a popular interview this week. Shugg will turn 20 in December, which I believe makes him eligible to turn pro and join the Carolina organization this upcoming season.
Another video here: Shugg goes to the movies Video - NHL VideoCenter in which he talks about what the Majors did on their off day at the Memorial Cup. Mini-putt golf is mentioned.
Alumni and other retrospectives (or: The part where we get to look back)
This just went up from Tuesday's gathering to celebrate the life of Hurricanes longtime ice master and irreplaceable cog in the Canes hockey operations: Donnie Mac Tribute Video - Carolina Hurricanes The RBC Center remembers (18 minutes)
The Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) are pleased to announce that veteran defenseman Mike Chiasson has committed to the University of Michigan and will join the Wolverines in the Fall of 2011.
(and stepping back a couple years for context: Chiasson's memory lives on through son - Peterborough Examiner)
Ian White was another player who passed through Sharks Ice on Wednesday. He was there with wife Tess and their adorable infant daughter Gracelyn Sophia, who was born just hours after the Game 7 victory of the Detroit series. One of the Sharks’ many unrestricted free agents, White made it clear that he wants to return. (Tess was nodding her head in agreement, too.)
A key component to the Canes 2006 Stanley Cup team, Doug Weight announced his retirement this morning. This from Paul Branecky on the occasion: In Short Time, Weight Made Big Impact - TTS Blog Doug Weight only spent a small part of his career with the Carolina Hurricanes. However, it’s safe to say those days were among his most memorable.
A couple tours of recent post-seasons with lots of videos you'll likely remember word for word: Red Light District: Postseason Rewind: 2009 and Postseason Rewind: 2006 with a familiar voice as the guest writer: In their own words: Bob Wage, Canes Country "What is it like as a fan to see your team win the Stanley Cup? For me, it was one of the highlights of my life. It's something I'll never forget."
Around the League
Transfers and roadtrips
Sources: No Thrashers announcement before next Tuesday from TSN.ca's Darren Dreger.
Dirk Hoag puts his superschedule spreadsheet to work to see how the Hurricanes' travel mileage changes If the Atlanta Thrashers move to Winnipeg, but remain in the NHL's Southeast Division - On the Forecheck The impact of a team in Winnipeg participating in the NHL's Southeast Division creates a huge travel issue for not just the relocated team, but their division rivals as well.
It's been over a week since the Checkers were swept by the Binghamton Senators, and now the Sens' Calder Cup Final opponent is known: TheAHL.com | Houston, Binghamton set for Finals The best-of-seven 2011 Calder Cup Finals begin on Friday and Saturday at Toyota Center in Houston.
There are several moves happening in the American Hockey League this off-season as well. Maybe a long way out, but having another team in this neck of the woods is good news for the Charlotte Checkers. Something brewing in Baltimore? New downtown arena: Proposed gets private financing commitment - baltimoresun.com . Don't forget the Checkers originated 50 years ago as the Baltimore Clippers.
Not just hockey, but a good look at how successful business people respond to the unusual demands and unexpected losses of owning a major league sports franchise: Pro sports ownership unlike any other business - latimes.com With Dodgers ownership a question, Robert Kraft, Mark Cuban, Ted Leonsis offer perspective on buying a pro sports team.
Compensation adjustment could lead to more offers for restricted NHL free agents - Sporting News if only for this quote with a more likely word used to replace (mess): "Find a team that is near the cap and you can really (mess) with them," one NHL source said.
This news has sent shockwaves through the summer market for UFA defensemen,
as Doug Weight wasn't the only one with a big announcement this week: Brian Rafalski announces retirement after 11 NHL seasons - NHL.com
"The decision was made between myself and my wife approximately two months ago," Brian Rafalski said. "We went through a long process of weighing different factors in our lives and at the end of the day it came down to priorities -- with the top three priorities being serving God, serving my family and serving others. Hockey not being at the top, it was time for me to move on."
Life is good in Vancouver