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2012-2013 Season Monthly Reports
Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:25 PM
As far as Januarys go in a hockey season, this one was rather unorthodox.
Instead of heading into the unofficial midseason point that is the All-Star break, the Carolina Hurricanes and the rest of the National Hockey League were jumping head-first into a shortened 48-game season.
This, of course, presented unique challenges for every team in the league, as they prepared for the regular season in just a week’s time.
The result? Uneven play in the first few games.
“You’re seeing with some of the top-picked teams, they are losing a fair share of games early in the season,” said Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford. “And then you see teams that weren’t picked are out of the gate real quick.”
Finding the Balance
The Canes were one of just two teams (the other being Anaheim) to log only five games in January. They notched a 2-3-0 record, the two wins coming against the Buffalo Sabres in a back-to-back situation. Though Carolina dropped its last January game to Boston, 5-3, there is the belief that encouraging progress has been made.
Not afforded the benefit of preseason, the Hurricanes, like many other teams who saw turnover in their lineup, spent the first few games tinkering with line combinations, searching for chemistry. Injuries aside, the team seemed to find a steady balance in the last three games.
“We made a number of changes with the team from last year’s team, but [the chemistry] is getting there,” Rutherford said. “The first two games were not good. We were out of sync. We didn’t have a lot of confidence, but we played hard. The next three games were pretty good games.”
Even still, shaping the lineup continues to be a fluid process, as it would be in any other season. Despite just being five games into the season, every player in the Hurricanes dressing room (except for Andreas Nodl, who has played five games with Charlotte) has seen game-action, an important fact in this shortened season when teams can’t afford to insert a cold player into the lineup.
“You can’t let a guy sit around. It doesn’t work for the team. It doesn’t work for the player,” Rutherford said. “The fact that the defensemen have all gotten game-action and both goalies have gotten game-action, I think being five games into the season, that’s quite a bit different than what we’ve seen in the past.”
“They Are Who We Thought They Were!”
When the Hurricanes traded for Jordan Staal at the NHL Draft in June and signed Alexander Semin as a free agent in July, they knew who they were getting: two elite forwards that would bolster the team’s forward corps.
Five games in, that’s exactly what they’ve got.
“They’ve made a difference with their size and strength alone,” Rutherford said.
Staal leads the team with five assists and he ranks tied for second on the team in points with five. And though he hasn’t found the back of the net, he’s provided the team with capable play in all ends of the ice.
“Jordan’s presence and the way he plays, he’s picking up his points,” Rutherford said. “He hasn’t scored yet, but that will come. His overall game makes our team look so much different.”
Semin has a goal and three assists, as he found the back of the net for the first time as a Hurricane in Buffalo on Jan. 25. Beyond his point total, he has provided Eric Staal with the playmaking wing partner he’s been looking for.
“Alex does things most other players can’t do. He’s getting the puck to Eric, and Eric is capitalizing on it,” Rutherford said. “He’s a great playmaker. In the first couple of games, he was making plays to guys that weren’t expecting it. That’s an adjustment that our whole team has to make. It’s starting to come together.”
Full Monthly Report From Hurricanes.Com
Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:38 PM
February 2013 Monthly Report
Bolstered by their second-best six-game road trip in franchise history,
the Carolina Hurricanes vaulted to the peak of the Southeast Division
in the second month of 2013.
And despite running head-on into a spell of injuries, that’s where the team has remained for the better part of February.
“Certainly when we had our whole team together, the players came
together and showed what they can do,” said President and General
Manager Jim Rutherford. “Of course, the division has gotten a lot
tighter as teams behind us have closed the gap. But we’ve been able to
stay right there, and I think that’s important.”
The Canes compiled an 8-5-1 record in the 28-day month, recording 17
out of a possible 28 points. Though the team dropped three straight
games in the latter half of the month, their three-game winning streak
and six-game point streak in the first half of the month set the table
for a successful February.
The Hurricanes played a road-heavy schedule in February, logging
nine of 14 games away from Raleigh, including a season-high six-game
road trip at the beginning of the month. With the team having just
played five games by the end of January, Rutherford pinpointed the
extend road trip as an accurate barometer of the state of the team.
Needless to say, he was pleased with what he saw, as the Hurricanes
posted a 4-1-1 record (nine points) on their trek up and down the
“We had to have it, because if we didn’t have it, we would be in a
hole now,” Rutherford said. “It’s also the fact that the players showed
what they could do and how they came together, and we beat some good
teams on that trip.”
“It was a big road trip. We established our team identity, and that did a lot for us,” said forward Jeff Skinner.
“Not only did we pick up points, but we got to the way we wanted to
play. Once you find that early in the year, you just have to keep
building on it.”
Aside from the statistical importance of the six-game road trip, the
12 days away from home allowed a team which had its roster
significantly reshaped in the offseason to bond. From the final game of
the 2011-12 season on April 7, 2012 to the first game of the 2012-13
season on Jan. 19, 2013 in South Florida, the Hurricanes – due various
transactions and injuries – had nine different players in their lineup.
“I think that was sort of a bonus. You look at the shortened
training camp and condensed schedule and having so many new faces, it
was nice to get that time together on the road and come together early
in the year,” Skinner said. “In that way, it was pretty good timing,
and I think it worked out well for us.”
The Canes rounded out their road schedule winning just one of three,
but it was how they won that game that is noteworthy. Down 2-0 with
less than two minutes to play in the second period in New York on Feb.
24, Eric Staal
potted a power-play goal to cut the Islanders’ lead in half. Just 45
seconds later, his brother, Jordan, tied the game at two. With the
game-winning goal from Bobby Sanguinetti,
his first career NHL goal, the Canes would go on to win the game 4-2,
their second come-from-behind victory in New York in less than two
“A few times on that road trip, we were going into the third period
down a goal or couple of goals, and you’ve just got to stick with it,
be consistent and play a full 60 minutes. I think we did a good job of
being consistent within the game, and I think on top of that, on the
road trip we were consistent game-to-game. That’s the thing we want to
put an emphasis on throughout the year – being a consistent team and
not change or get away from things if things aren’t going too well.”
February Schedule & Results:
3-2 W (OT)
at NY ISLANDERS
at NEW JERSEY
vs. TAMPA BAY
at NY ISLANDERS
Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:28 AM
Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:04 PM
March 2013 Monthly Report
Canes Battle Through Adversity
Monday, 04.01.2013 / 3:00 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
A maddening month of March thrust the Carolina Hurricanes into a sea of adversity.
But, a number of strong efforts and two points to finally show for it at the conclusion of the month have the team pointed in the right direction headed down the stretch of the 2012-13 regular season.
A Tale of Two Cities
The Hurricanes began the month of March winning five of their first six games, outscoring opponents 25-14.
That was an extension of the way the team had played for the vast majority of February. Atop the Southeast Division, the Canes were cruising, proving to be an aggressive, suffocating team that rolled a challenging four lines and six defensemen on a nightly basis.
It was more of the same in the opening 20 minutes of the March 14 game against Washington: Carolina jumped out to an early lead with a pair of goals in the first nine minutes of the game. But the Caps scored a goal in the second period to cut the lead in half and finished off the Canes with a two-goal third period – in which the game-winning goal slid just an inch across the goal line – to claim victory.
That loss, it would seem, killed the Hurricanes’ world-beating confidence.
In the second half of March, the Hurricanes slogged through a winless stretch of seven games, finally tallying in the win column in their final game of the month.
“At the end of the day, we can’t make any excuses,” head coach Kirk Muller said on Monday in Montreal. “We have to find ways to win. We battled through a few of those games and picked up points here and there.”
The winless slide plummeted the Hurricanes to 10th in the Eastern Conference, as Winnipeg asserted the top spot in the Southeast. A win over the Jets on Saturday went a long way into claiming that spot back, however, and time is still on the Canes’ side.
Despite the team’s inconsistent results, Alexander Semin’s production did not waver. The 29-year-old forward led the team in March scoring with 18 points (6g, 12a). He leads the team in assists (24) and ranks tied for second in points (34) and plus/minus (plus-15).
Not wanting to let Semin get close to the open market in the offseason, Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford locked up the Krasnoyarsk, Russia, native through the 2017-18 season with a five-year, $35 million extension on March 25.
“It’s hard to get elite players in this league, and when you look at Alex’s numbers and compare them to the elite players, his numbers season after season are very strong,” Rutherford said in a phone interview last week. “It puts an elite player in the lineup for the next five years, and makes a real strong number one line with Eric and Jiri.”
“I like playing here. It’s a good team for me. It’s a new life,” Semin said in an English interview last week. “Washington is a big city, I know, but this is a good place for me to play hockey.”
March Schedule & Results
MARCH 2 vs FLORIDA 6-2 W
MARCH 3 at FLORIDA 3-2 W
MARCH 5 vs BUFFALO 4-3 W
MARCH 7 vs MONTREAL 4-2 L
MARCH 9 vs NEW JERSEY 6-3 W
MARCH 12 at WASHINGTON 4-0 W
MARCH 14 vs WASHINGTON 3-2 L
MARCH 16 at TAMPA BAY 4-1 L
MARCH 18 at NY RANGERS 2-1 SOL
MARCH 19 vs FLORIDA 4-1 L
MARCH 21 vs NEW JERSEY 4-1 L
MARCH 26 vs WINNIPEG 4-1 L
MARCH 28 at TORONTO 6-3 L
MARCH 30 at WINNIPEG 3-1 W
Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:18 AM
April 2013 Monthly Report
Frustrating second half comes to end
Monday, 04.29.2013 / 2:00 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
For the Carolina Hurricanes, the 2012-13 season was frustrating, maddeningly so at times, and April provided more of the same vexation, as the team struggled to find results despite putting forth largely consistent efforts.
Despite missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season, looking forward, the team is poised to be successful in the long run.
“When you look at it deeper than [the results], I think you can only take away positives,” defenseman Jay Harrison said. “But ultimately, when reflecting on what happened this year, it was a team-wide lapse in a few games over a few weeks. With a shortened schedule, it just adds up far too quickly.”
Fighting Until the End
Though the Hurricanes entered April having won just one of their previous eight games, they were still very much a part of the playoff picture. The team was just a point out of the eighth and final playoff spot and four points out of the Southeast Division lead with games in hand.
The team went on to drop seven straight games and plummeted in the standing.
“There are a lot of different ways you can look at it,” Harrison said. “Ultimately, the simplest explanation is that we just didn’t play well enough over a stretch when we had to, and we didn’t limit the losses when we needed to."
The Canes could have just as easily checked out for the final weeks of the season, but they scratched and clawed their way to eight points in their final eight games, including a brief two-game winning streak and three-game point streak in the final week.
“I really can’t tell you why,” said defenseman Justin Faulk when asked about the team’s slide. “You definitely can’t say guys didn’t show up or guys didn’t want it."
During the torrid stretch the team had through February and early March, in which they posted a 13-6-1 record, the Canes showed they could match up with virtually any team in the Eastern Conference. Though the results didn’t continue in the latter half of March and through April, the effort remained.
“We had a lot of great efforts, especially in that skid,” Harrison said. “I don’t think our record through March and April was really indicative or reflective of our effort and the kind of hockey we were playing. But at the end of the day, it was not enough to get the results required."
If a healthy team can carry that through 82 games next season – which will be preceded by head coach Kirk Muller’s first actual training camp – there’s reason to believe there will be competitive hockey played in Raleigh well into the months beyond April.
April Schedule & Results
APRIL 1 at MONTREAL 4-1 L
APRIL 2 vs.WASHINGTON 5-3 L
APRIL 4 vs.TAMPA BAY 5-0 L
APRIL 6 vs. NY RANGERS 4-1 L
APRIL 8 at BOSTON 6-2 L
APRIL 9 vs. PITTSBURGH 5-3 L
APRIL 11 at WASHINGTON 3-1 L
APRIL 13 vs. BOSTON 4-2 W
APRIL 16 at OTTAWA 3-2 L
APRIL 18 at WINNIPEG 4-3 OTL
APRIL 20 vs. PHILADELPHIA 5-3 L
APRIL 21 at TAMPA BAY 3-2 W
APRIL 23 vs. NY ISLANDERS 4-3 W (SO)
APRIL 25 vs. NY RANGERS 4-3 OTL
APRIL 27 at PITTSBURGH 8-3 L
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