That was weak.
Get it? “Weak” rhymes with "week". And it is a pretty accurate one-word description of what the hockey team based out of Raleigh, North Carolina was over the past seven days.
So, uh, welcome to weekly thoughts, or should I say weak-ly thoughts.
I’ll stop now.
The Carolina Hurricanes lost like nine times last week. I don’t know, it might have been more. I stopped keeping track. It felt like nine.
I usually like to start these with one overarching thought about the past week - more often than not, it is a positive one, so let’s do that.
Eddie Lack was thrown to the wolves last week by Bill Peters. I talked about it on Saturday so I won’t rehash that here, but Lack certainly responded in a positive way.
He made 25 saves on 26 shots against the Coyotes en route to the team’s only win since February 24 on Sunday and he followed that up with an admirable 22-save performance in a loss to the worst team in more than a decade on Tuesday.
Going back to his three starts prior to Billy P’s hot takes, he shutout the Sens and played better than the stats would suggest against the Flames before crashing and ferociously burning against the Lightning.
All things considered, Eddie has played pretty well since returning from his concussions, but it still looks like he’s fighting the puck. Maybe more games will help him get more comfortable in the crease.
- Bill Peters put what should be an end to the talk about his comments on Eddie Lack last week (joke’s on him, I’m still talking about it). He said that it “wasn’t my best moment” and acknowledged what he did wrong in the situation. He also mentioned that he and Lack parked next to each other at the airport just by chance prior to flying to Arizona over the weekend and that they had a good talk. Cool, water under the bridge. Now, let’s just forget about it.
- If you’ve been personally victimized by the worst team in hockey, please raise your hand. The Hurricanes lost to the Avs again on Tuesday, thus being swept in their season series with Colorado. The Avalanche are on pace to be the worst team in the NHL since the 1999-2000 regular season. Hockey is fun.
- Jaccob Slavin extended his career-high point streak to five games in Tuesday’s loss in his hometown at Mile High. He’s logged an assist in each of his last five outings and continues to take steps forward in his offensive confidence. My one “complaint” about Slavin is that he still has more to give offensively, and he has started to really produce as of late. He’s incredibly solid as an all around player, so it’s safe to assume the offense will continue to come as he plays more in the NHL. He’s still just 22.
- Perhaps the highlight of the week was the news yesterday that Valentin Zykov has been called up from the Charlotte Checkers and will play in his first NHL game tonight against the Rangers. Zykov was acquired from the Kings in the Kris Versteeg trade at last year’s trade deadline. He was an early second round pick (37th overall) in the 2013 draft and has taken huge steps forward in his sophomore AHL season. He’s put up an even 15 and 15 split of goals and assists in 55 games down in Charlotte this year after accumulating just 14 points in 43 games last year before missing all but two games the rest of the way due to injury. Here’s to hoping that he doesn’t lineup on Jay McClement’s wing and actually gets an opportunity to show off why he was such a highly touted prospect. Odds are that he will be on Jordan Staal’s wing, as is a common occurrence with newly called up forwards. He’s big, physical, and he can score. Let’s see if he can make an impact at the NHL level. If he does, he could really help himself out as he will be competing for an NHL job in September.
- Fun fact: Hall of Fame-bound defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti also played his first game as a Hurricane against the New York Rangers back in 2012. You’re welcome.
- The Zykov addition likely won’t solve the offensive inadequate forward core that Carolina is current sporting, at least not in the short term. The Canes have scored a whopping 11 goals over their past six games. Not great, Bob.
- Entering the final stretch of the season, it looks like we’re in the annual tryout stage. Zykov is the first example of it, and with guys like Andrew Poturalski, Lucas Wallmark, and Haydn Fleury all playing some exceptional hockey in Charlotte this season, they should all be given some ice time in Raleigh by the end of the year. It’s unfortunate that this has turned into a yearly occurrence once March role around, but it’s also a source of optimism. I’m excited to get a look at what some of these young guys can do against better competition, especially Lucas Wallmark. He and Warren Foegele were probably the most pleasant surprises of training camp back in the fall and Wallmark nearly made the NHL team as a 21-year-old. He’s netted a team-leading 19 goals in 57 games for the Checkers and has shown his two-way capability in the process. With Jay McClement mercifully departing this offseason, Wallmark is probably one of the best in-house options as his successor. Now, can he log big penalty kill minutes? Probably not, at least not yet, but his two-way game makes him much less of a liability when he has the puck on his stick.