Can the Carolina Hurricanes get off to a good start this season? Newly minted head Coach Bill Peters says that “We’ve got to start better” when analyzing the Canes’ performance in games. A glance at the past few season’s first few games would argue that starting better applies to seasons as well.
Going back to the 2005-06 season – the season they won the Stanley Cup – the first 8 games look as follows:
|26 Home; 46 Away||32||40|
A couple of things jump right off of the page. First, the only winning result in the past 9 years over their first 8 games was in the season that they won the Cup. The remaining seasons’ results were either 50/50 or a losing result. While far from scientific, it is clear that the Hurricanes need to strive for more positive results right out of the gate. While the NHL season is a long one, and while a rocky beginning can be overcome over the course of 82 games, it is undoubtedly crucial for the Canes going forward to play hard at the start of the upcoming season. Winning early can only help their chances at returning to the playoffs.
Another takeaway from this simple spreadsheet is that Carolina traditionally seems to get scheduled a large amount of away games at the start of the season. Once again, 2014 will again find the Canes at home in only 2 of their first 8 games. This post will not lend itself to an all-out analysis as to the schedules of other teams, however, the reigning Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings start the upcoming season with 7 of their first 8 games at home. Just saying…
For too many seasons Carolina Hurricanes have been treated to the “mathematically still in it” phrase at the end of March.
Fans in Raleigh are ready for their beloved Canes to be the “chased” as opposed to the “chaser.” Getting off the starting blocks quickly will give the team a much better chance at being “in it” in March of 2015, versus hoping for a break here, another team stumbling there, etc. The Metropolitan Division is not an easy venue for an uphill climb. If Carolina can be in the plus column after their first 8 games this season, I predict a much better end result than in recent years. Every point is critical. Here’s hoping for a net positive right from the start.
Mark lives in the Raleigh, NC area and covers the Carolina Hurricanes.