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Guest Feature - Are the Canes Good or Bad?

((Here is another guest article from the "C-Leaguer" and once again he brings up a good question. Are you happy or unhappy with the team's play so far? On one hand, the Canes have earned a good number of points and they are in first place in their division. They have suffered numerous injuries, have played most of their games on the road, but have not made any excuses and still have been competitive.

On the otherhand, they have been inconsistent and even their coach has said that he is looking for a complete 60 minute, consistent effort. The stars of the team have not always been the best performers. Fans don't really know what to expect.

What do you think?))

(PS- This was written before the Toronto game, but is still pertinent)

It’s election day and I’m trying to make up my mind on something as I await the start of tonight’s game against Toronto and the election returns. Am I happy? It’s a simple question and I promise this has nothing to do with the Doug Weight hit on Brandon Sutter. Am I happy with where the Canes are this far in to the season? Are you?

The Hurricanes have played 11 games to date and compiled a 6-3-2 record for 14 points. They’ve gone on a six game road trip. They’ve played only 4 games at home. They’ve come back from being down 2 goals to win a game three times. They took on Detroit and looked very good. They’ve battled through injuries and come out with more wins than losses and overtime losses combined. They’re coming of a game against Toronto where they were 3-6 on the power play. Ward has looked good recently, and even pitched a 1-0 shutout against the Blues on the road. Leighton looks like he may be at the least a competent back up. Scoring is balanced and guys down the lineup are providing goals. The team defense concept seems to be back.

On the flip side they’ve dropped a game to the Kings, albeit in overtime, after leading by two goals in the third period. They gave away at least a point to the Oilers after Ward allowed a bad goal late in the third period. They lost a game in Pittsburgh that they were leading with about 10 minutes to go in the third. The power play has been woeful at times. The energy level has been all over the place, with the Canes looking inept at best for long stretches, and even entire periods, of games. Ward’s inconsistency still rears its head at bad times. Staal does not appear to be the same player he was at the end of last season. Staal has only 5 goals, 2 or 3 of which were empty netters. Brind’Amour has not looked great the last half dozen games.

So, my question to you is, are you happy with this team so far? 14 out of 22 points extrapolated out to a full season is 104 points. That gets you in to the playoffs easily. However, the team could easily have two more points (1 each against Edmonton and LA), and possibly as many as five more (yet another from Edmonton and two from Pittsburgh).

Personally, I’m on the fence. Going in to the Saturday game against the Oilers I was happy with where the team was in spite of the injuries and woeful power play. After the game I flopped positions, think the Canes were lucky to be where they were, that sooner or later the lack of physical play, the lack of consistency, and the inability to convert on the power play were going to catch up to them sooner or later and the law of averages would bring the record back to earth. Then came the game against Toronto, and I’m back on the fence.

I honestly don’t know if I’m happy with what this team has done so far, if they’ve been lucky, or if they should have done better. Imagine if this team was 9-1-1 (change the games against LA, Edmonton and Pitt to wins, keep the rest). It wouldn’t help their power ranking on TSN, but they sure would be in a better position in the rankings that matter. Extrapolated out, which is foolish since no team could maintain that pace for the season but this is all for fun, that would be 134 points for the season.

Now, imagine that they weren’t able to come back from any of the three games they were down 2 goals and the record drops to 3-6-2. We’d be talked about with the Thrashers, the Islanders and the other cellar dwellers as possibilities for the number 1 draft pick after the season. That’s 8 out of 22 points and extrapolated would predict 60 points, which is well outside of the playoffs.

11 games does not make a season, but it is fully 1/8 of the season. It’s not yet statistically significant, but it is long enough to start to get the picture. I think if they can keep this up then they should be fine as Scott Walker, Brandon Sutter, Frank Kaberle (who thought at the start of the season we would be happy to have Frank back in the lineup?) and Justin Williams come back to the line up. If they can’t then Justin Williams returning will be too little, too late.

Either way, I’d love to hear what other fans and readers of the blog think about this team to date.