A Draft, Some Trades, and A Buyout Walk Into A Bar…

Hurricanes General Manager Ron Francis has been developing a reputation as a GM who doesn’t make his intentions well known to those outside the organization, instead “playing his cards close to his vest”. This is the polar opposite of what his predecessor has done in recent seasons, and it left a bit of mystery going into this past weekend with the draft, leading up to the start of free agency. Let’s take a look at what’s gone down the last week. Continue reading A Draft, Some Trades, and A Buyout Walk Into A Bar…

[Alternate Canes Universe] November 12th, 2016 – An Unexpected Turn

[This is part 14 of a multi-part series where I venture into an alternate universe where I take over the Carolina Hurricanes using Sports Interactive’s Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access.]

November 12th, 2016 (6-7-3)

It was becoming increasingly obvious that Alex Nedeljkovic and Guy Boucher weren’t going to be sending each other Christmas cards. Boucher had handed the starting goaltender job to Cam Talbot in training camp, and Talbot was doing all he could to give it back. The Hurricanes opened the season against the New York Islanders, and Talbot looked great, shutting out the Isles 4-0. But in the rematch in Brooklyn the next day, Talbot stopped only 27 of 32 shots and the Canes fell, 5-1. Talbot then gave up four goals to Buffalo, five to the Rangers, three to the Avs (his only other win), and four to the Ducks.

If Nedeljkovic was frustrated, he didn’t show it. After dropping his first start of the season to Arizona on October 21st, the rookie goaltender looked strong against Calgary on October 30th, making 25 out of 27 saves in a 4-2 Hurricanes win. However, it would be against the Washington Capitals where Nedeljkovic would have his coming out party. After giving Talbot the next two starts against Columbus (both losses), Boucher put Nedeljkovic in net again on November 5th against the Caps. At the Verizon Center, Nedeljkovic would make 32 saves and shut out the Caps, 4-0. It was a star-making performance. Continue reading [Alternate Canes Universe] November 12th, 2016 – An Unexpected Turn

[Alternate Canes Universe] September 30th, 2016 – Damned If Ya Do…

[This is part 13 of a multi-part series where I venture into an alternate universe where I take over the Carolina Hurricanes using Sports Interactive’s Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access.]

September 30th, 2016 (TRAINING CAMP)

The difference between the 2015 training camp and the 2016 training camp became obvious in the first few days. The previous season saw players separating in smaller cliques, but this season saw the players come together. The additions of Brouwer, Ladd, plus the returning Backes seemed to already be paying dividends.

The lines seemed to be setting up more like Workrate had envisioned them, with Backes sliding into a first line wing with Eric Staal and Elias Lindholm, and Jordan Staal centering a line with Jeff Skinner and Wayne Simmonds. Victor Rask was surrounded by the veteran presence of Andrew Ladd and Troy Brouwer. Continue reading [Alternate Canes Universe] September 30th, 2016 – Damned If Ya Do…

[Alternate Canes Universe] July 27th, 2016 – Never Say Never

[This is part 12 of a multi-part series where I venture into an alternate universe where I take over the Carolina Hurricanes using Sports Interactive’s Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access.]

No matter how well you prepare for the offseason, something happens that completely throws off your strategy. In Bob Workrate’s case, he planned on going into the 2016 offseason with his wallet planted firmly in his pocket, potentially looking for bargains that he could sign to play on the fourth line, but at the very least cutting back on the payroll so that new team owner Sam Paradise wouldn’t see the franchise as a giant money pit.

This started easily enough before free agency even started, as the Boston Bruins made a call to Workrate. The team, coming off of a first round playoff loss to Tampa, was looking for some size and some veteran presence on their third line, and after hearing that the Hurricanes might be looking to trim a little salary, offered a second round pick for Joel Ward. Ward, who was a bit of a disappointment in his season in Raleigh, wasted no time in saying that he was happy to be out of Carolina, and with a “winning organization” like the Bruins. Continue reading [Alternate Canes Universe] July 27th, 2016 – Never Say Never

[Alternate Canes Universe] April 30th, 2016 – A Shakeup At The Top

[This is part 11 of a multi-part series where I venture into an alternate universe where I take over the Carolina Hurricanes using Sports Interactive’s Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access.]

April 30th, 2016 (37-33-12)

It looked more impressive. The record said “over .500″, and 86 points didn’t look all that bad, especially when the Montreal Canadians – the team that came in 8th and got that last playoff slot – had only 94. Five games – turn five losses into wins, and the Hurricanes would be in the playoffs.

But Bob Workrate knew that wasn’t good enough. He hoped that, at least in the short term, it would be good enough for management, though he wasn’t optimistic when he was called into Team President Don Waddell’s office. Waddell looked nervous as Workrate entered and took a seat. Continue reading [Alternate Canes Universe] April 30th, 2016 – A Shakeup At The Top

[Alternate Canes Universe] March 3rd, 2016 – A Meeting With The Captain

[This is part 10 of a multi-part series where I venture into an alternate universe where I take over the Carolina Hurricanes using Sports Interactive’s Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access.]

March 3rd, 2016 (27-26-12)

It’s easy for so-called “armchair GMs” to dispose of players who no longer serve a purpose. But when it comes to the actual business of sports, it becomes a little more complex. Take Eric Staal. The 2015-16 season would be the last for the Carolina Hurricanes captain if he wasn’t re-signed by the team. Staal was one of the best players on the team, and had been throughout his career. But at $8.25 million a year, Staal’s price was huge, especially for a team that was still losing money. Staal was on a pace for a point total around the 60s, and for a #1 center, that didn’t add up. Continue reading [Alternate Canes Universe] March 3rd, 2016 – A Meeting With The Captain

[Alternate Canes Universe] January 19th, 2016 – Death By Shootout

[This is part 9 of a multi-part series where I venture into an alternate universe where I take over the Carolina Hurricanes using Sports Interactive’s Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access.]

January 19th, 2016 (18-18-12)

On New Year’s Day in Colorado, the Hurricanes skated to a 3-3 tie, losing in the shootout.

The following day at home, they lost to the Ottawa Senators in the shootout, again after skating to a 3-3 tie.

January 7th against Arizona? 3-3, shootout loss.

January 12th at home against the Capitals? 3-3, shootout loss.

January 15th, in Philadelphia, a 3-3 tie, followed by a shootout loss. Continue reading [Alternate Canes Universe] January 19th, 2016 – Death By Shootout

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