Let’s talk about the reality of the Carolina Hurricanes coming out of Quebec City against the Montreal Canadiens on the 20th.
The reality is that Carolina is not a strong team to be reckoned with by any means. Initially, head coach Kirk Muller was attesting most of the shots on goal and scores to the fact that the ‘Canes have a large amount of newer players to the team that need to adjust to the systems inherent in the NHL.
Ignore the fact that they have sent down plenty of players for that very same reason, and the 28 player roster is looking incredibly weak. Ignore the fact that the team is still not complete for the regular season. Call me old fashioned, but I feel like it’s the wrong call to blame green players for the failure of a team. To me, that screams fear of being held responsible for such a devastating loss in preseason, and Muller seems to be consistently making passive aggressive shots at his own team. But, I digress.
Honestly, hockey is hockey. Some numbers might be a little different between AHL and the NHL, and you’ve got a more competitive and seasoned regiment of players to contend with, but ultimately it’s the same game. I don’t care if you’re on a pond, or if you’re at the PNC arena. It’s hockey. You skate, you score, you fight when necessary. That’s the end of discussion, with only semantics to back up anything else.
Now obviously, the next game against the Canadiens showed us that the Carolina Hurricanes agreed that enough was enough. They fired back with their first win of the pre-season against the same team that shut them out to a 6-0 loss, with a 3-1 victory. Respectable swing of events for sure, but I think the mainstay of the game that earned the credit was Anton Khudobin with a whopping 41 saves. Comparatively, I think that almost qualifies him for the title of “good player,” which is something that the Carolina Hurricanes sorely need more of at this point. Given that Jeff Skinner will make the regular season (his preseason has been sidelined by injury) they should see some improvements as the season gets rolling regardless of their fluctuating green roster.
Muller also stated that the team needs to play it’s own style and be sure about their game, with their Montreal game being a testament to that being the case. Do I agree? No. Why? Because the Carolina Hurricanes have a history of being a fairly fluid team with an adjustment style that matches their competition.
Hopefully, with the start of the season on the horizon, this holds true and we’re able to see the team play in its’ absolute best niche: flowing with their competition in order to find a great, stable game to carry them through to victory.