The Carolina Hurricanes have become just what the doctor ordered for their recent opponents. If symptoms included giving up 17 goals in your 3 previous games, facing off against the Hurricanes was just what the doctor ordered. Witness the New York Rangers getting blown out 5-2 by the Columbus Blue Jackets, 6-3 by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and 6-3 by the New York Islanders. Their prescription for turning it around came in the form of the Carolina Hurricanes, as they won 2-1 in a shootout, with Henrik Lundvquist allowing 1 goal. Since then the Rangers have won twice, including a 4-0 shutout against the San Jose Sharks. The ‘Canes were just what the doctor ordered for the Rangers.
Winnipeg Got Just What the Doctor Ordered
Two nights ago, the Winnipeg Jets were ailing. Having lost 4 in a row, including their first 2 games at home, Winnipeg was not well. Their symptoms included giving up 6 goals and scoring only 1 versus the Nashville Predators and the Calgary Flames. Prescription? Bring in the Carolina Hurricanes. Winnipeg was feeling much better Tuesday evening after a 3-1 win at home versus the ‘Canes. Carolina provided just enough defensive disarray and offensive impotence to help the Jets quickly recover from what ailed them. The ‘Canes were just what the doctor ordered for the Jets.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) October 22, 2014
The prescription that was playing the Hurricanes treated other symptoms Winnipeg was dealing with, including the need for Adam Lowry to notch his first ever NHL goal. The 21-year old tipped Grant Clitsome’s shot on the way to the net right past goalie Anton Khudobin. Lowry, drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, can look back at October 21st as having been just what the doctor ordered for his breaking into the ranks of goal-scorers in 2014. Here is his first ever NHL goal:
Jeff Skinner’s Return Not What the Doctor Ordered for Carolina
“Skins” returned to the ice against Winnipeg after missing the start of the regular season with a concussion. Fans had hoped that Skinner’s return would be just what the doctor ordered for their team which has had difficulty scoring goals so far this season. Although it is only one game, Skinner’s return did not seem to be the prescription for a return to form for Alexander Semin or for Elias Lindholm. Fans are hoping that the kinks will get worked out, and that both Semin and Lindholm will find whatever has been missing so far this season in their respective offenses.
Winnipeg wasted no time welcoming Skinner back. He was hit early and often, even being essentially body-slammed to the ice at one point. The NHL is not the place to play scared. Other teams are not going to hold back just because a player is back from injury – concussion, upper-body, lower-body – or whatever. Skinner seemed to take it all in stride, and played okay. He obviously has to shake the rust off, and as Coach Bill Peters put it, “get assertive and play responsibly.” Taking a team high 4 penalty minutes is not typical Skinner play, and is not “playing responsibly.” As THW’s Philip Botti stated here, hopefully Tuesday’s outing was, “a matter of Skinner getting his legs under him.”
Another development that is not what the doctor ordered for the ‘Canes is Eric Staal’s having been placed on injured reserve retroactive to October 11th. I saw the play wherein Staal was injured and at the time did not think it looked too serious. Apparently it is, and the team’s captain is now on IR – for how long we don’t know. A few days ago it was speculated by Coach Peters that Staal might be ready to go Friday night versus the Edmonton Oilers. That is now up in the air. Today he said maybe Tuesday versus Vancouver.
Injuries have certainly bitten this team hard this season – we have yet to see a Hurricanes team on the ice at full-strength. That is a development no one could have foreseen when speculating on this team’s prospects for success. I’d like to remain positive. It would be nice to see what the team can do with everyone healthy and implementing Coach Peters’ game plan. With Jordan Staal and Patrick Dwyer still on injured reserve, and now Eric Staal, also, it may be later rather than sooner before we get to see that unfold. Hopefully Nathan Gerbe and John Michael-Liles will be suited up soon, as they are both day to day.
0-3-2, 2 Points Not What the Doctor Ordered for the ‘Canes
I don’t think anyone saw the Carolina Hurricanes being the NHL’s only winless team at this point. (Of course it’s not without precedent as they started winless in their first 5 games in 1987-88 and 2003-2004.) A gander at the schedule before the season began revealed what I thought were very winnable early games for the ‘Canes. And surely this road trip through Canada would net some wins and points for the team. I saw a fan post on Facebook yesterday that the team may go winless this season.
I don’t think it’s time for that type over overreaction, but breaking into the win column would be nice. Of course the fact that the Hurricanes have not won in Calgary since December of 2002 doesn’t spark much confidence. They are 0-4-1 since. However, Calgary while 4-2 this season, has yet to win at home. Let’s hope that the Hurricanes are not just what the doctor ordered tonight for the Flames to get their first home win of the season.
The Hurricanes go into Edmonton Friday night to face the 2-5 Oilers
Is this a winnable game for the Hurricanes? On paper – just as was Winnipeg – yes. The game is winnable, but the team has to play hard and smart for 60 minutes. Starting fast is still a concern for the ‘Canes.
Coach Peters said after the Winnipeg loss, “The start obviously wasn’t what we were looking for at all.”
I cannot say how many times I’ve heard statements about this team and “slow starts.” It was a consistent refrain last season. Who merits the blame if the team starts slow? Is it the coach? Is it the captain or alternate captains? Is it the veterans? In my opinion, there is no excuse for a constant lamenting of “slow starts.” These are professional athletes who should have the mental toughness and desire to go out and do their best from the opening faceoff to the final horn. It’s time for each member of this team to commit to that kind of mental toughness and desire and bring it night in and night out. Otherwise a top-seeded draft position might be just what the doctor ordered for the future of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Mark lives in the Raleigh, NC area and covers the Carolina Hurricanes.