Here we are again. The seventh summer where, for many, interests may veer off from hockey, or where others root and adopt other teams with a safe, short term commitment. Unlike many of the previous playoff-less Canes summers this one is different: our Hurricanes were actually fun to watch this year. They were above .500 with numerous memorable wins and had a revolving door of young, exciting talent that wasn't the questionable, perhaps AHL-level talent that call-ups may have had in the past. Oh yeah, this team also had Noah Freakin'™ Hanifin. AND Jaccob Slavin AND Brett Pesce.All photos within credited to Jamie Kellner, unless otherwise noted. Thanks!This year was the foundation year. Things are starting to be built here, and built well. The core of that foundation comes from a trio of first year pro defensemen, an Olympian, and their weird Uncle Ron. It's hard to believe that in just a year's time we've moved on from the well-liked Tim Gleason, Jay Harrison, and Brett Bellemore, who were a touch too slow for this speed-driven era of the NHL. Remarkably, looking to the future the solid defensemen options keep on coming and possibilities abound. Stud juniors defensemen Haydn Fleury and Roland McKeown are close, and there's an AHL all-star down in Charlotte with Trevor Carrick, and, although he may not have the same level of pedigree, we can't forget about Danny Biega, injured for most of the year in Charlotte, but who was solid in post-Sekera trade relief last season. It's certainly an unusual and new feeling to have so many defensive chips on the table as a Hurricanes fan, but at least we can be assured we won't be pulling Joe Corvo out of retirement anytime soon.So let's look at this past team's defensive group and see how the young core did in their formative NHL year, but first let's look at the guy who logged more minutes than anyone.Note: All data comes from Corsica.hockey. I used a minimum of 500 minutes played at 5v5 and 100 minutes on special teams when comparing the entire NHL field. Score-adjusted.The Ronster
The Canes sure put some miles on Ron Hainsey this season. He logged the 14th most minutes in the NHL at 5v5 with 1451.26 minutes. The next highest Cane after Hainsey--not counting the traded Liles--is Noah Hanifin at 100th. On the penalty kill, Hainsey again played the most (218 minutes) and had nearly 83 minutes more than the next highest Canes defensemen, Jaccob Slavin. From those numbers alone the Hurricanes got significant value from Ron especially when you factor in that Hainsey played against the opponent's top six forwards for greater than 60% of his shifts. Read More
Well well well, it’s playoff time again. In addition to hosting our Bracket Challenge (please join, pw is Hanifin) where there will be prizes, we’re sharing our predictions for the sake of eventual mockery. Enjoy, and feel free to use these for any… Read More
This season was much needed. From the seemingly never-ending string of talented young hockey players who have made an immediate impact on this season, to the stellar seasons many of our newly drafted prospects have enjoyed, this season has been a breath of fresh air for many Carolina hockey fans. As we all know, and all have probably said at least once, the future is bright. And that feels damn good.So we look forward to next year's Carolina Hurricanes with anticipation, a glimmer of playoff hope, and, maybe for the first time in a while, a strong sense of pride in our boys. There's still work to be done, sophomore slumps to be avoided, and I'd expect some Draft Day / Free Agency Day deals to be made.But as it stands now, what should we look at within this group? Where can things improve to get this team into playoff hockey? Here are 5 fancy stats from this season that I believe are important in this team's identity and to their success going forward.
Justin Faulk's 5v5 Goals For % Relative to TeamThis statistic describes the effect Justin Faulk has on the Canes Goals For %. When Faulk is on the ice the Canes score 44.19% of the goals that occur, dropping from 50.4% when he is not out there. Read More
Now that Canes fans have had a chance to digest some of the changes in the 2016-17 season ticket renewal packet, I thought it was time to see how being a season ticket holder member with the Canes compares to other teams with similar markets or levels of demand.All the information I've gathered is from public-facing pages within each team's official website. In the interest of fairness, I have not gathered any additional information from any team, including the Hurricanes. I wanted this to be what Joe/Jane hockey fan would see were they looking for season tickets across the league.Another note: the prices and perks I found and compared are only for each team/venue's equivalent to section 328. Almost every team offers greater perks for front row and club seats, I did not include those. Also, I only looked at full season ticket benefits here. The perks and pricing for partial season tickets will likely be different from the information I assembled.So how do the offers from the Canes stack up? Are they a good value? Great value? Greatest value? GreatestEST value? Well, let's take a deeper dive. Read More
It's always weird seeing big name players in their new sweaters after they've been traded. I remember the initial shock of seeing Gretzky in a Blues jersey, then a Rangers. It just doesn't feel right. The impact of trades hit harder when I was a kid. I hadn't seen much of the annual trade deadline carousel of stars and, in my head, there were strong, unbreakable links between the captains and their teams. My most jarring cases of "new jersey shock" came when Ray Bourque swapped the black and gold for the Colorado Bigfoot, and when Mark Messier left New York for Vancouver. They were both captains, likely the first person most people thought of when thinking of their respective teams, and, perhaps most importantly, devoted to their longtime teams. Of course time does its thing, heals all wounds, and washes those feelings away and things like Ron Francis in a Leafs' jersey begin to make sense. Okay, maybe not that last part.Obviously, I now have a new trade to add to the list. We all do. Our captain has gone to New York to wear the blue shirt that so many mid-to-late career NHL stars seem to do. Most people knew a Eric Staal trade was likely and even expected it.What I didn't expect was how it made me feel. Without much hyperbole I can easily say I don't think a NHL trade has ever affected me in such a way.Not even recent trades of some of my favorite Canes players, John Michael Liles or Andrej Sekera, come close. After Eric got dealt I was pretty bummed out, maybe a little shell shocked that the BIG move had FINALLY happened, and *cough* perhaps even a bit weepy. Over the last week or so, while trying to reconcile why the trade had jacked me up so much, I came to one certain conclusion: I had taken Eric Staal for granted. Read More
One of the most interesting aspects of Carolina Hurricanes Casino Night are the player baskets. Every year, players and coaches fill up baskets with some of their favorite items, autographed swag, and perhaps opportunities to spend time with them. Despite the approximate retail value of the items, they tend to be auctioned off for well into 4 figures, which is great, as they all benefit the Kids 'N Community Foundation.We were shocked when the Canes asked the Section328 crew to put together some baskets for this weekends Casino Night. While we are sure that none of these will actually receive a bid (or even exist in real life), it was fun pulling them together.The Flanagan Basket:A copy of Too Fat To Fish autographed by author Artie Lange because every fat guy needs inspiration that there is someone out there worse off than him.
One year's supply of Ricola lozenges to coat your throat from trying to keep up with Mike talking so much
Bomber of Evil Twin Brewing Even More Jesus because beer is a religion in 328
PS4 controller w/ the sticks chewed off by a puppy signed by Derek Roessler. It shows the frustration in trying to beat Derek in NHL 15 or 16
Copy of NHL16 for XBoxOne signed by Steve Halko, because Flanagan can never score either.
Two tickets to sit in Section 328 because, I mean, c’mon… it’s awesome
A ticket to the 328 Season Opening tailgate and a bye in the first round of the 328 Annual Cornhole Tourney. Includes tutoring session by none other than the World Champs of the World Team of Mike and Derek prior to the tailgate.
One coupon to have Mike come to your work and loudly berate your most hated co-worker for 15 mins Read More
The 2016 NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and while the names leaving the Hurricanes are familiar, the players coming back to the organization may not be. Let's take a look.Aleksi SaarelaPosition: center
How Acquired: from the New York Rangers in the Eric Staal deal
Drafted: 3rd round (89th overall), 2015 NHL Draft
Current Level: Liiga (highest professional level in Finland)
Current contract status: unsignedSaarela had been considered a strong prospect, potentially even a first round selection, but injuries and a weak 2014-15 season in Finland's Liiga (12 points in 51 games) dropped his draft stock. Saarela's play in Finland has improved greatly this season (19 goals, 32 points in 47 games) and his play in the U20 World Juniors (with fellow Canes prospect Sebastian Aho) earned him a gold medal. Read More
Gameday.After a fairly sedate Saturday, I got a decent night's sleep and woke up around 9am Sunday. The realization set in almost immediately - I was going to hit the ice and play a hockey game with real NHL players in just a few hours. Now, I've been performing in front of crowds for quite a while: Nearly 18 years at ComedySportz, a few years at GOUGE wrestling, NC State Hockey, and the Canes PA gig this year. Plus all of the public speaking stuff I did in school. I'm generally pretty even-keel before an event. But Sunday morning, I could barely eat any of the pancake breakfast that my wife fixed. At the point where she exclaimed "Would you stop pacing around the house?!?!", I realized that it was time to pack my bag and head out.Arriving at PNC Arena, I got the treat of parking in the player's lot behind the security gate. That made for a shorter trip with the bag and stick into the arena, then a right-hand turn down the hall into the Hurricanes locker room. As Doug Warf had tweeted out earlier in the day, my locker stall was ready and waiting.https://twitter.com/dougwarf/status/698895216896536577#42 - Serious businessTurns out my spot was the third down as you walk in the door. Goalie Wendy Thomas was in the first stall (the other #42 on Team White), and I was sandwiched between Nic Wallin and Bret Hedican.Yup. Just got real. Read More
I took the day off work on Friday.That's kind of a big deal - I'm an employee of a small startup hustling to get some product out, so this was actually the first day off I'd taken since I joined the company in October. But with a full day of events planned, I was going to get my money's worth. With my hockey gear packed the night before, I set out around 9am for the PNC Arena.We were able to park in the North lot, right outside the security gate, making for a fairly quick trip with the gear bag into the side room at ice level that was functioning as a temporary locker room. Stash the gear, sign the waivers, and look around for any familiar faces. I didn't recognize too many, this being my first fantasy game in a room with quite a few veterans. I did recognize Jeff Wing, assistant coach for the NC State hockey team, and Paul Lawson, all the way in from Scotland.I ended up sitting next to Wendy Thomas, the only woman to play in the game, during the Hurricanes' morning skate. Apparently her husband and I were at Red Hat at the same time. That bit of nerdy trivia would come into play later.For the morning skate, Justin Faulk came out and skated on his own for a bit. He was moving pretty slowly, unfortunately, which didn't give me a great feeling about his availability for the night's game. He left the ice before practice really got started. Coach Peters worked the guys for about a half-hour or so through a nicely-paced workout, then left the healthy scratches to get a little bit of extra work in. Read More
"Hey, Chris, uh, do you need me to announce the alumni fantasy game?""Nope, we're covered. You can take that game off."With that, the wheels started turning.Let me back up a bit, by way of introduction. I'm Wade. Some folks may know me (or my voice) as the surprise selection for the new public address announcer at PNC Arena (I was as surprised as anyone). My day job is as a technology executive/programmer/sysadmin for a local internet startup. But what's relevant to this article is that I'm a Hurricanes fan. I started following hockey while in college at William & Mary, where my friends were almost universally both from Northern Virginia and Capitals fans. But I moved to Raleigh in February of 1999, just before the Canes left Greensboro for their new home. After attending the first game at the then-ESA, I fell in love with the sport and the team. I've been a regular in Section 328 for quite a while.Hipster Cred - I haz it.I also picked up playing adult hockey about a decade or so ago. As I tend to physically match most of the stereotypes of computer nerds, I'm not the most athletic guy in the world. My last foray into any sort of competitive sport was a season of Babe Ruth baseball when I was 16. My career ended with one hit, one run scored, and I missed the only game our team won that year. Yeah. And growing up in the middle of nowhere in Southside Virginia, the only place you'd see a hockey jersey was when the one new kid who had lived in the city wanted to show off by wearing one. Hockey was that thing you might pass briefly by on ESPN, watch five minutes, get confused, and move on. But after seeing the Canes storm the crease like bumblebees for a few years, I got the itch. Even my wife (who grew up in the same town, and joined me in Raleigh saying "Hockey is stupid, why would I want to go to a hockey game?") was hooked after seeing about three games in person. Read More