Red and Black Hockey
Entries with the tag: Paul Maurice
The Hurricanes made some personnel changes on the bench and on the ice over the summer. There are a lot of new guys, but the result of the opening night game was pretty much the same as a lot of games from the last two seasons. They worked hard and looked great in the first period. They lost the edge in the second, and then they just got outworked in the third. Penalties, poor special teams play and lack of focus all added up, and the sum was a 5-1 loss at the hands of Tampa.
Jeff Skinner scored the Canes’ only goal at 8:07 of the first and was really the best thing the Canes had. He and defenseman Joni Pitkanen were good. Justin Faulk was good. Everyone else was either invisible or was noticed for the wrong reasons.
After Martin St. Louis tied the game early in the second, the Canes still had plenty of chances to pull ahead in the middle frame. Late in the period, when it looked like it would be a great game, the wheels fell off for Carolina.
Like most of the eastern United States, Raleigh was hit with a snowstorm on Christmas Day. The Hurricanes canceled a season ticket holder event. The game for tonight—against the Capitals, is on. Maybe.
The Hurricanes are ready to go. The Capitals are in town and ready to go. According to twitter feeds, they’re still waiting on the referees to show up. And that could be tricky. Hundreds of flights have been delayed in New York, Washington, Baltimore, etc. I read earlier today that Delta was canceling more than 500 flights and US Air was canceling more than 300. Between the delays, the cancellations, the last minute changes, and the frustration of travel during the holiday, it could spell trouble.
For now, the plan is to play the game. No word on the arrival of the officials.
Whenever the game is played, Carolina will have a slightly different look.
On Monday, the Hurricanes finally made the announcement that we all knew was coming. Paul Maurice has officially been signed to a new three year deal to coach the Hurricanes. Ron Francis will be retained as an associate coach and will be the Director of Player Development. None of this should be a surprise to anyone.
Carolina will now get to working on getting some of those forwards re-signed. And on looking for a cheap alternative to Erik Cole. Jim Rutherford has done a good job picking up quality stuff out of the bargain bin over the last few years. He has also always worked with a limited budget well below the upper limit of the salary cap. This will naturally preclude going after a big dollar free agent. To clarify my stance from yesterday’s post, my opinion is that the Hurricanes won’t be big players in the FA market. I
they would get a top notch winger for Staal, but I know that the reality of it is that they won’t be spending big dollars.
Go ahead and remove the “interim” tag from Paul Maurice’s position with the Hurricanes.
According to JP Giglio in today’s N&O, Mo will most likely be signed to a new contract as head coach of the Hurricanes. It’s not a lock, but it’s about as close to certain as it could be. Jim Rutherford typically doesn’t deal with player or coach contracts while the team is still playing, but he has given his vote of confidence.
“The fact of the matter is something extraordinary would have to come up for this coaching staff not to return,” Rutherford said. “But I still want to wait and go through the process when we’re finished playing.”
Technically speaking, Maurice is still under contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Peter Laviolette is officially under contract with the Canes. Maurice’s contract expires in June, While Laviolette’s was to run through the 2010-11 season.
On Thursday, the Maple Leafs will come to town and Paul Maurice will coach his first game against his former team. Mo was on 850 the Buzz this morning discussing the emotions behind playing against a team that fired him.
The full five minute radio clip is here, but here’s the money quote:
The politically correct thing that most coaches would say is that it’s just like any other game, but it’s absolutely not…. It’s absolutely personal. You get fired, you want to see that team lose every game for the next ten years.
I’m not sure whether the Leafs will know or care about that comment, but it’s an honest opinion. And I love that kind of honesty.
On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes defeated the visiting Thrashers 3-1 to move into sole possession of the #8 spot in the East. Cam Ward had a sleepy game in net with some solid defense in front of him and a huge game from the top line. Meanwhile, Carolina’s defense did an excellent job of shutting down Atlanta’s top line. Ilya Kovalchuk was able to break a nine game goal drought, but that was it. Todd White and Bryan Little each assisted on the goal, but both were held to zero shots on goal.
Sergei Samsonov potted two hard-working goals while Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu each had a single assist. To finish it off, Joe Corvo scored a blistering power play goal as some third period insurance.
This closes the 2008 portion of the 08/09 season. I vowed to withhold judgment on Paul Maurice: redux until the team has played 20 or so games under him, and I intend to keep that promise. I’m beginning to think that it’s not too soon at all, but I’ll still wait.
On Tuesday, the Hurricanes took advantage of 11 power play opportunities, cashing in on three of them to defeat the visiting Canadiens 3-2. In the process, Eric Staal potted two goals and Sergei Samsonov earned two assists.
Slowly but surely, Staal is getting back to where he should be. And so are the Canes. There’s no denying that this has been a sub-par season for the Canes in the win column and for Staal on the stats sheet. In the past six games, Carolina has earned seven standings points. For the first time all season, they’ve earned at least a point in four consecutive games. Eric Staal has a four game point streak, which is also a first this season. In those four games, #12 has seven (4/3) points, including two two-goal games.
It’s great to see Staal coming to life because thus far this season, that old saying is perfectly applicable. “As Staal goes, so go the Canes.” When he scores, the Canes are 7-0-1.
Sergei Samsonov is also coming to life. In the last six games, he has six (2/4) points. He, too, is getting to the kind of production he was giving the Canes last season.
This Hurricanes season is starting to look a lot like the Cinderella season in 2001-02. In a lot of ways, but mostly in that Paul Marice is getting his team to overtime with frightening regularity. In January of 2002, under the guidance of Chairman Mo, the Hurricanes went through a a rough winless spell. Between January 17 and January 29, they didn’t pick up any wins, but they had five ties in that seven game span. Remember ties?
This is what’s happening now. Maurice has been back at the helm for five games. A blowout loss in his first game followed by an overtime loss, a win, and now two shootout losses in a row. Five games. Five points. They have quietly fallen into third place in the Southeast division, but things could be a lot worse. This is only the second time all season that the Canes have secured standings points in three consecutive games.
Of course the Hurricanes would prefer to get the two points, and they certainly should have had two points in Philly on Thursday, but they blew a four goal lead and were honestly lucky to have escaped with the one point. Still, I’m trying to be optimistic about it and say that one point is better than no points.
On Wednesday, the Hurricanes made a strange announcement. As a lot of people expected, Peter Laviolette was fired. The strange bit was that they hired “Ole One Eye” Paul Maurice to replace him. This move came two weeks shy of the five year anniversary of the reverse scenario. According to Luke Decock from the N&O, this move will be “for the remainder of this season only”.
I was pretty sure that Lavi wouldn’t get canned in-season, and I confidently said so in a conversation just a few days ago. Now, I should prepare myself to eat my hat. While I admit that a major change might have been necessary, I’m not really sure about the decision to bring Mo back.
Eric Staal, Rod Brind’Amour and Nic Wallin are holdovers from the Chairman Mo era. It’ll be interesting to hear their responses to the change.