While this coming week is expected to bring some tension for young players trying to earn a spot on the Carolina Hurricanes opening night roster by forcing some tough decisions for the coaching staff, at least for today the mood at the Canes two on-ice sessions was light and easy. Tweets from the RBC Center this morning told us of 360-moves on the shootout, heated sessions of rock-paper-scissors, and shootout competition losers in red doing 10 full-gear push-ups while on the receiving end of some chirps by the victors in white.
- Canes change it up, take it easy - Chip Alexander, Canes Now
- 'Recovery Day' Breaks Up Intensity - Michael Smith, Tracking the Storm Following their first win of the preseason, the Carolina Hurricanes had two light-hearted skates today.
- HurricanesBeat.com put up some bullet points about practice but their best contribution was this photo of Eric Staal's Red team doing push-ups while the boys in white "supervise" from close range.
Apparently a 4-zip shutout, even against a B-squad in the preseason, will do that for a team. Here are some recaps of the much-needed win in Charlotte last night.
- Canes shut out Jets 4-0 - NewsObserver.com As preseason exhibition games go, the Carolina Hurricanes couldn’t have scripted it any better. The Hurricanes needed a preseason win and got it Sunday, topping the Winnipeg Jets 4-0.
- Canes Victorious in Charlotte - Paul Branecky, gocheckers.com With plenty of post-game video and a link to their flickr photo album.
- Post game – Winnipeg at Charlotte | Chasing Checkers from the AHL blogger who was understandably proud of the show the minor leaguers put forth, both on and off the ice.
Several more interviews, written and audio, with Hurricanes players in the preseason, a look at how the Jets are going about blending old and new, plus Calder predictions, Moneypuck, and an American hockey hero retires.
Ponikarovsky's Positive Start - Dave Droschak, HurricanesBeat.com Alexei Ponikarovsky is getting an NHL opportunity he figured may not exist after posting just 15 points in 61 games for the Los Angeles Kings last season.
Carolina Hurricanes – Preparing for Training Camp | Sports Carolina Monthly Sports Carolina’s Alec Hardy talked with several Hurricanes players about their summer workouts and training camp preparations.
Hard Hits feature: Tim Brent - Kurt Dusterberg, HurricanesBeat.com The Hurricanes now have a chance to capitalize on his late-blooming career. His skating and puck skills should give Carolina's fourth line an offensive element, and he's an above-average faceoff man.
Chuck Kaiton's intermission interviews from this past week are both very good: GM Jim Rutherford (9/19/2011) and Brandon Sutter (09/23/2011) were his guests.
Schedule analysis: Back-to-Back winners and losers in the 2011-12 NHL Season
Great graphics for a complicated but useful analysis: McKeen's Hockey Prospects - NHL '11-12: Tired Teams on Back-to-Back Nights The Canes benefit from getting a tired opponent who is coming off a back-to-back, but compared to the other 29 teams, they also have the toughest go as victims of being the tired team with so many B2B's in March. Great.
The nostalgic rebranding of the Winnipeg Jets
First, the unsympathetic view that the New Jets are not the old Jets and quit trying to make it so: Trending Topics: Jets can’t ‘White Out’ Thrashers past - Ryan Lambert, Puck Daddy For some reason, the True North people who now own the newly-moved Atlanta franchise that began playing in the NHL in 1999 are doing their damnedest to whitewash all record of the Atlanta Thrashers from memory.
Then a response from a Winnipeg blog that doesn't see it quite the same way. A Sour Grape Whines about the Jets Return to Winnipeg - Arctic Ice Hockey Making Wine in Winnipeg from a sour grape
Preseason predictions: Calder Trophy
Seems like everyone is looking for the next Jeff Skinner. Good luck with that. These guesses are all over the map, including one that seems as good as any, which keeps the trophy all in the franchise.
The Hockey News: Fantasy Pool Look: Calder favorite and dark horse Darryl Dobbs (aka Dobberhockey) goes through some candidates before settling on Zac Dalpe as his favorite for the 2012 Calder Trophy.
No sign of Dalpe on Adam Proteau's radar. The Hockey News: THN.com Top 10: Calder candidates This piece runs down a list of 10 rookies who are the pre-season favorites to contend for the NHL's rookie of the year award.
Plenty of strong Calder Trophy candidates as season looms - NHL.com goes to last year's winner and asks what he will do for an encore. Even without the ID, you would recognize that quote by the "sort of, kind of, I thinks (2!) and I'm excited" count. Bless his heart.
"You want to be a guy who is sort of counted on and plays in all situations of the game and in the games when it matters most. To be a player like that, you'll kind of be marked by the other team and you just have to try and fight through it. I think that's what drives a lot of players. I'm looking forward to the challenge and I think as a team we've gotten better and I'm excited to start the season." -- Jeff Skinner
Moneyball and hockey
With all the armchair GM's competing in heated fantasy hockey leagues, studying sabremetrics and other opaque stats, to take the prize without ever having to step on the ice or tape a stick, you had to know that the movie Moneyball would find its way into the hockey blogosphere. Here are a couple samples. Tell me what you think.
Moneyball & The Nashville Predators - Dirk Hoag, On the Forecheck If there's any team in the NHL which serves as a consistent exemplar of Moneyball principles, it has to be the Nashville Predators, who have made the playoffs 6 out of the last 7 seasons, usually with one of the league's lower payrolls.
Why haven’t advanced stats caught on in the NHL? - Jame Mirtle, The Globe and Mail Other than the Penguins, MacKinnon points to the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning as teams that have begun to invest in this type of analysis.
Prospects and Alumni
Remember #65 in White at last weekend's Red vs White Scrimmage? The Canes 2011 fourth round pick Gregory Hofmann, 18, is back home in Switzerland, the Italian portion, where he is a bit of a hometown hero for the experience. I found interviews calling here to Raleigh when he was still in Camp and tin the past few days, stories welcoming him home. The sportswriters are eager to find out what Camp is like in the NHL. They all sound a little starstruck.
Ticinonews - The NHL and the desire to return among Ambri [in Italian, google translated link here]. I speak a little Italian and patched up the translation in this excerpt below.Quoting Hofmann:
"It was a very positive experience because I could learn a lot by training alongside incredible players like Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal: I was truly enlightened (illuminato)!
The first (Skinner) was an impressive skater with hands of gold; the captain had great prowess and charisma.
I tried to watch as much as possible to understand how they move in and out on the ice. It was a really special feeling on the ice to see these players in front of me when before I had only seen them on television."
Now, remember the Hurricanes #77 the last several seasons? Thirty three year old Joe Corvo dressed for the Bruins last night when they played the Montreal Canadiens in Nova Scotia. Sounds like he is doing fine and dandy so far with a goal on the power play that must have been a tonic for the Bruins' fans souls.
Sorry - not a picture to be found of him wearing the black and gold. Bruins’ Corvo makes preseason debut - The Boston Globe HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - Last night's first-period power-play goal read Joe Corvo from Zdeno Chara . It is a sequence that, if it repeats throughout the season, will be just fine with the Bruins.
UPDATE: Ask and you shall receive: Twitpic of Corvo, courtesy @BMR_Blog
Hanging them up
Not much I can add to this. You must watch the opening 5 minutes or so. Great hockey moment. Mike Modano's retirement