“Unacceptable” and “disappointing” were the words used often by Bill Peters in his post game press conference yesterday afternoon. Yet somehow those words just don’t seem to do enough justice for what is happening, nor what has been building up to this moment, inside PNC Arena’s walls.
Give the San Jose Sharks credit; they showed up to play and they deservedly walked away with a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. But the narrative here is not about how the Sharks outplayed the Canes. The true story here is that the Canes once again did not show up to play hockey even though they are paid outrageous amounts of money to do so.
Buckle up, friends: this one is going to be a long one.
Over The Edge
In a normal setting if your boss tells you that you have to be better one of two things occur. You either come to work the next day with the attitude that you will be better and then proceed to go be better at your job or you come to work the next day and say screw it, what are they going to do about it. Over the course of the season the Hurricanes have been being told they needed to be better. Their coach, Bill Peters, has called for more work effort and demanded better results. Until now the team has done just enough to keep the boss off their backs most nights but ultimatley their attitude of ‘What are you going to do about it if we don’t work hard’ may have finally caught up to them.
Friday night against Detroit the team did not show up to play either. Excuses could be made such as it was a back to back and they had to play in front of Scott Darling. Therefore Peters gave them the day off Saturday with the contingency that they had to show up on Sunday. Sebastian Aho, Brock McGinn, Cam Ward, and Jordan Staal got the memo, but everyone else effectively said “screw you” to their coach. They decided to act like overpaid children and plan out their Super Bowl party instead of showing up to play hockey. This time they pushed their coach over the edge.
Here’s a pathetic stat for you to digest; The Canes have only scored more than two goals once in their past seven games. They were out shot 12-5 in the first period yesterday and didn’t show any sign of caring about what occurred.
If you need video evidence of just how horrible the team played, watch the first two goals from yesterday.
Both goals come from a guy being allowed to skate freely in the slot without any pressure at all. The second goal is especially embarrassing as four Canes players all chased the puck to the corner. The sound you can’t hear from those clips is Cam Ward screaming at his guys that he is not supposed to be baby sitting Chris Tierney. That is what it looked like as Cam frantically tried to point Tierney out to his teammates as he stood alone for far too long in front of Cam. Just as the team did Friday night, they left their goalie out to dry once again yesterday.
So give San Jose their credit but take a long look in the mirror if you play for Carolina (and don’t wear #20) because your days here may be getting limited.
Bill Peters was very candid in his press conference and guaranteed line up changes.
Expect to see a different #Canes lineup on Tuesday. Peters: "There are at least three that can go in, and if it’s not those three, there’s a group down in Charlotte, too. You can’t put that group out again after that. That’s not acceptable. They let each down, too, in the room."— Michael Smith (@MSmithCanes) February 4, 2018
Unfortunately, we all know that Phil Di Giuseppe, Josh Jooris, and Klas Dahlbeck are not the answer. If Valentin Zykov or Warren Foegele do not make an appearance in the line up Tuesday against the Flyers then Peters’ words meant nothing. The team has needed goal scoring and those guys deserve a shot -and a chance to play big minutes, not buried on the fourth line. On the other side, the guys coming out need to be big names. Lindholm, Rask, Skinner, Faulk - go on if you’d like - have all earned a trip to the press box. If he scratches Nordstrom, Fleur, and Kruger then we know his words meant nothing as well.
The real answer here goes above Bill Peters. Ron Franics has been quiet as a mouse since Tom Dundon’s introductory press conference. He has never made a player for player trade in his tenure and quite frankly, is starting to alienate even the most patient fans. Trades are not easy, but if you are willing to pay up, they can be made. The team is clearly not good enough as they are, so for the love of God, mix something up! If you are not going to use Zykov or Foegele up here, use them in a trade to go get someone you will play in Raleigh!
Lastly, Mr. Dundon. Your promotions and attempts to gather in fans are superb. You seem genuine when you say things will be changing around here so please, we beg you, if Francis is not willing to make a deal go do it yourself or find someone else to be GM. Bringing in all these fans to PNC Arena is fantastic, but with the effort your team has put out the last two games, would you blame them if they don’t come back?
Moral of the Story
This current version of the Carolina Hurricanes is pathetic. From the moment the Washington Capitals came back to win on January 12th they have lacked passion in every sense of the word. The team from late December is what we need to find and it does exist. Finding that compete level consistently is the golden ticket.
We’ve experienced some awful teams over the past nine years but this one seems to be weighing on our emotions more than any other. Maybe that’s because we were told this was the year. Maybe it’s because we are so close to a playoff spot we can taste it. The answer likely falls somewhere in the middle but games like yesterday and Friday are deflating to the fans. Something HAS to change and it needs to happen this week. Francis, Peters, Dundon, it’s time for you to take this franchise to the next level so please do not disappoint us yet again this year.