Once again, do not buy Carolina Hurricanes stock

The Carolina Hurricanes celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Kings in overtime.

The Carolina Hurricanes celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Kings in overtime.
Picture: Getty Images

It comes from a place of broken heart. It’s hard not to be mesmerized by the Carolina Hurricanes. They play fast. They have a rabid fan base. They have a lot of players that are easy to like. They have a coach in Rod Brind’amour who is happy to explain things to fans and is not a complete meatball (he also looks like this in the middle damn 50s). They are a loser simply because of their market. If they won a second Cup, it would cause an uproar in Canada that even Dave Grohl couldn’t approve of (actually!). They have Teuvo Sharp, the one who ran away from me. I understand.

And here they are again. Since the beginning of the year, they are 11-4-2. They did not lose in regulation throughout December. They have in the immediate vicinity of Boston The Bruins for the No. 1 overall seed, and the Bruins are going “Rampage!” over the rest of the league. We’ve seen it all before, and it sure is tempting if you didn’t know better. It’s a fucking mermaid a song.

They do it the same way they always have, spreading the wealth around and dealing damage to teams from almost every lane. Eight guys have 10 or more goals; 11 have 20 points or more; and not one of them in either category is Max Pacioretty, who was counted on to be the extra dose of first-line scoring the Canes needed but played just five games before blowing out his Achilles again. It’s the lovely, impersonal team it always is.

That’s not to say there isn’t skill here, because there is plenty of it, it’s just that Carolina just isn’t in the spotlight like other places. Sebastian Aho may not be the lead guitarist on the team, but he might be the best rhythm guitarist in the league. Andrej Svečnikov is one of the best snipers in the league. They’ll tell you they resurrected the career of Brent Burns, who has 38 points in 53 games. You just watch as in the playoffs Burns turns back into the over-dressed and over-bearded craftsman he’s always been.

Carolina is on top of the division this time, but it’s not even getting a goal. Neither did Frederik Andersen Antti Raanta has managed to achieve a save percentage of 0.902 so far this season. Teams the best goaltender is probably Pyotr Kochetkov, who they currently keep in the AHL. They can go to the playoffs trusting Andersen, and then they’ll better understand a series of songs about sad boys produced by Toronto bands last few years (Freddie killed Neil Peart! Yes, I said it!).

Tri hard’ it works in winter but not in spring

So what does he suspect? Because the Canes play a style that will leave teams cold in the middle of winter when the season has become an endless grind, but it looks like what everyone else does when the playoffs begin. There is always an NBA team that breaks the pecking order in January and February because they’re still willing to guard or close hard when the right teams come in for a breather. The Warriors know they don’t have to roll as hard to the hoop or rush the three-point line on Valentine’s Day as long as they come Tax Day.

It’s the Canes. Last season, they went 17-5-3 between December. 1 and this point in the calendar. Credit must go to Brind’imour, which rolls through the dregs of the season to its wards. But that doesn’t make the Canes special when they need to be.

Moreover, the Canes play a hard puck game and rush/chip and attack. And because they work so hard and have a lot of speed, they can recover a lot of pucks. They always win those races in the winter. But it’s a simple game. They get the puck, get a point, d-man shoots, and the Canes are trying to make some noise around the net. Check out this map of their shots this season:

Article image titled It's time for our annual 'Don't Buy Carolina Hurricanes Stocks' column

Screenshot: Hockeyviz.com

Pretty basic stuff. But in April and May, opponents and their d-men are a little more determined to get back to the puck and move it. That first hitter is more willing to help his d-men and be available for quick penetration. In January, he could cheat to the red line simply because it’s easier.

The Canes make it easy to get goaltending in the playoffs, because so many shots come from the basket. And the good goaltenders who were brought in during the playoffs suck them up and don’t leave rebounds where the Canes thrive. Last year, when they ate it up to the Rangers without a win on the road in either the first or second round, Igor Shesterkin had a .949 save percentage during seven games. They scored 13 goals in total. The previous year, when the Lightning shot the goal, Andrei Vasilevskiy had a .956 save percentage over five games. In 2019, Tuukka Rask managed the same number in a four game streak.

This spring, the Canes may have to go through Shesterkin and Vasilevskiy again. Or maybe Shesterkin and Linus Ullmark, current manager of the Vezina club.

In defense, it’s kind of the same story. The Canes are the most man-to-man team in their zone, and they can be because all of their d-men can really move along with their previously mentioned rushers. They are the team most capable of harassing players in the entire D-Zone. But when that extra effort comes for opponents coming into the playoffs, the Canes don’t have the extra gear to hit. They have been playing it for seven months. And they lose just enough of those races or get beat enough to lose.

The Canes have no shortage of talent and will likely club whoever they get in the first round. But are they really ready to beat a boosted Rangers team this time around (I know, I miss the Devils, but they’re at the start of their arc and have a lot to prove, especially with an awkward Jack Hughes)? They could really use a premiere Patrick Kane to give them one player who just might conjure up something outside of their farming customs. Unfortunately, Patrick Kane on offer this season is not the main one. In a way, Timo Meier is an idealized version of the winger they already have, scoring off the line and stuff like that.

Enjoy your victories, Caniacs. We’ve seen it all before.

If you want more odes to Teuvu, follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *