Where do we even begin with this one? Another big game, another deflating loss.
The players for the Carolina Hurricanes are making a habit of coming up short. Now the coach that had seemingly had it with his gang is saying that scoring just one goal is “good effort.“ How do you even begin to dissect that without repeating everything we’ve been saying about this franchise over the past nine years?
Just as was the case the past two games, give credit to the other team, in this case the Philadelphia Flyers, for showing up and playing like they wanted to win. Yet again, this feels like a story of how the Canes failed to care enough to simply go win a game than it does a story of how the Flyers defeated the Canes 2-1 in overtime.
Don’t You Dare Blame Cam
When the game ended with the Flyers scoring at the 4:57 mark of overtime Twitter exploded with people claiming Cam Ward cost us the game. Bullsh*t. Cam Ward let in a bad goal to end the game but he was the only reason the Canes even made it to overtime. He made save after save from about the halfway point of the second period to give his guys a shot. It is not his fault the overpaid quitters that play forward cannot do their job to score more than one goal.
The Hurricanes have scored 13 goals in their past 9 games if you exclude the 6-5 game in Montreal. How on earth the team has managed to win any games at all is mystifying. Yet here we are rolling the same lineup out there (Phil Di Giuseppe is not the savior!) every game expecting different results. So once again, let’s focus on that aspect of this team — not Cam Ward, who earned every bit of his second star performance. No man on this team wants to win more than Ward and somehow he is the only person who has seemed to avoid the contagious case of perpetual loser that goes around the locker room every year.
Blame Peters & Francis
After Bill Peters went on his rant Sunday afternoon about needing more effort and profoundly declaring there was no way he could put the same group on the ice again, most of us thought we would finally see a real change.
Boy, were we all wrong.
The big earth rattling shakeup was inserting Phil freaking Di Guiseppe and Klas Dahlbeck. WOW! Now the real question remains, was this because Peters remains content with this group, or will Ron Francis not green light the recall of certain Charlotte players? That answer truly is key as to who is at fault for this organizational crap show.
The argument to not go out and overpay for a scorer via trade has valid points no doubt. But if Francis outright refuses to recall some of the best scorers in the AHL to help his woefully pathetic offensive-deprived team, then he needs to be out of a job. Point blank, that is as clear as it gets.
On the other hand, if Bill Peters truly believes that inserting PDG and Dahlbeck is a true shakeup then he needs to be unemployed. Either way someone, or both men, are failing this franchise.
After last night’s loss, Peters said he was “happy” with the teams effort. The very team that had a putrid two shots on goal in the third period. The very team than took five penalties during the game. The very team that only scored one goal in 64:57 minutes of hockey. That very team, according to him, iced a quality effort. How does that make any sense?
Speaking of not making any sense let’s look at the overtime situation. First off, Jeff Skinner was dynamic and did everything he could to score. Jordan Staal had the best opportunity off a Skinner rebound.
DRAMA. DRAMA. DRAMA. @NHLCanes #Redvolution pic.twitter.com/Zmi6nPTKfr— FOX Sports Carolinas (@CanesOnFSCR) February 7, 2018
But Brock McGinn was on the ice twice during overtime. It was his man that walked in and scored an easy goal on Cam Ward. The first time he was on the ice he was paired with Derek Ryan - in overtime!
Yet leading scorer Teuvo Teravianen never saw the ice until the very end and Sebastian Aho was not with him. Early in the year Peters refused to play Skinner in OT; now he encourages putting players who wouldn’t even make a Stanley Cup contenders roster on the ice in overtime. C’mon, Bill. You cannot sit here and give us the press conference you did on Sunday then coach the way you did last night. That is just as unacceptable as your players quitting on the game halfway through.
The only goal of the game for the Canes came on a power play goal. While the play they scored on was well executed it was the only real chance they had generated on the four minute penalty. Thanks to Nolan Patrick high-sticking (? Definitely was an elbow, but whatever) Brock McGinn, the Canes got an extended PP. They literally waited until the Flyers were so tired they could hardly move to make a real attempt at scoring. Elias Lindholm got to the front of the net and won the battle for a rebound.
Sometimes hockey can be so simple and cliche. If you just shoot more and get to the front of the net good things happen. Too bad Lindholm is the only guy who gets that this year. (Also, you know things are going well when the official team Twitter account trolls its fans.)
We attribute this goal to the guy in the upper deck yelling "SHOOT!"#Canes lead 1-0! #PHIvsCAR #Redvolution pic.twitter.com/EgzHs6pNhr— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) February 7, 2018
By the way major props to McGinn for toughing out the rest of the game with your potentially broken nose.
.@BrockMcGinn21. Hockey player. pic.twitter.com/yjVZIerBQJ— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) February 7, 2018
The penalty kill seemed to strike gold and killed off five chances they faced. The Hurricanes were known for their PK unit until this season but last night reminded us of the ghosts of years past.
On the flip side the Canes went just 1-4 on the power play which goes back to the whole not having enough scoring thing. In a big divisional match up that you know you have to win, the power play has to be better.
Amazingly the team is still in the playoff hunt. Thankfully for the Hurricanes it seems like no other Metro team wants to pull away in the standings. Before losing three in a row, the Canes had to put together three straight wins and had a chance to jump the playoff barrier. Another three game win streak would likely vault them over the cut line once again. With 13 games remaining within the Metro, how the team performs in those games will ultimately decided their fate.
However, if the combo of Francis and Peters continue to refuse to make real improvements to the roster, they will not get in. Those can be as simple as taking Jeff Skinner off the third line where he is being drug down by players like Ryan and PDG; calling up some guys from Charlotte; or going out and making a statement by executing a trade for a real NHL player (or players).
One would imagine Tom Dundon is steaming at the way this team is performing. He had giant plans for this long home stand to hook in fans and his players are throwing that away. If he is very serious about wanting to make things change fast he needs to be breathing fire down the neck of Ron Francis and Bill Peters. If only we could be a fly on the walls on PNC Arena.
Moral of the Story
The playoffs are still there but yet they will quickly fly away at the rate the team is going. The inability to score is beyond alarming but the refusal to truly do something about it is even worse. Bill Peters’ words from Sunday have lost their meaning with him calling the effort good from last night. It doesn’t take a mastermind of hockey to know it was not enough.
The three game win streak has been washed away and now we have a three game losing streak. There is little to no desire in this team and it is apparently obvious that it will be tolerated. It is beyond time for someone, whether than be Justin Williams, Jeff Skinner, Ron Francis, or Tom Dundon to come out and publicly say the team has been pathetic and everyone needs to man up. Until that happens do not be surprised to see this eight game homestand turn in to a total of four to six points which is just not acceptable.