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About Last Night: Handle With Care

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Jordan Staal’s comment about “fragile” Canes hits the mark on late-game antics.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure the number one thing you want to do on Sunday—the day of rest, the ultimate break during the week—is not hear another writer tell you that the Hurricanes are crumbling.

But I think it’s important to note an unusual voice tell you that.

One of the things most shocking in last night’s 4-2 loss is the words with which Jordan Staal, a co-captain and long time Cane, described the team right now.

Not just fragile, obviously fragile.

The past two games, during which the Hurricanes have allowed nine third-period goals to only two of their own to forfeit standings points much less wins, have really brought it out of the vets on this Hurricanes team.

Justin Williams wasn’t too kind with his words after the headshaker against Boston either.

Being upset is one thing. Being angry, and letting it be known you’re angry, is a sign of a whole ‘nother thing in my mind.

So what’s the problem with these late game flops?

Is it purely bad decision-making? Because it’s obvious there was a lot of that, even one that implicated Mr. Anger himself.

A known threat of the Flyers offense, Jakub Voracek, is left completely alone at the crease. While not Simmonds or Giroux, the typical hard-bodied crease scorers, there’s little excuse for three men to pressure the corner and probably no excuse for no one in center ice when a scorer is at the doorstep.

Defenders have been sleeping too, as made obvious on the Valtteri Filppula game-winner.

Is it purely a misreading of who’s where on the ice? Or are we too hawkish going after a goal? Either way, the breakaway goal is unacceptable, and I think any Cane would tell you that.

What I find most frustrating with the Flyers game in particular is the outcome given the excellent play through two periods. I was pleasantly surprised with the physical defense we played for forty minutes and the lack of easy scoring chances for much of the game, being that the Flyers are known for getting goals on the board.

Cam Ward played extremely well with the pad saves and seemed composed and ready for the challenge. It was one of those few games where you could actually breathe when the opposition was in the offensive zone.

But that all changed within a span of three minutes, giving up on plays and not marking the open man.

I think this kind of loss is what kills faith faster than just a routine loss, and my fear is it can potentially make leadership a little less apt to make some personnel changes within the team.

Think about it: Philadelphia goes up 2-0 in the first, we can’t score, they win, say 4-1, okay we probably don’t have the most competitive team there is. Let’s make some calls.

But when we look like the stronger team throughout much of the game and then implode, I’m afraid leadership may think, “Well we’re strong, so maybe we keep the team pretty much the same and try to get them more third-period ready with better coaching or training.”

At this point, after eight nine exhausting years of missing the playoffs, including the recent seasons of having a good enough team to grab a wild card spot, I’m willing to try anything.

I wish Tom Dundon and staff the best of luck this offseason. I don’t think a few season ticket deals are going to restore faith in a fragile team.