Raleigh is a town often filled with “what if’s,” “should have’s” and “if only’s.”
When it comes to the Carolina Hurricanes, fans often have to swallow explanations. They had spent most of last year listening to Fox Sports color commentator Tripp Tracy tell them “it’s just one of those things.” After another disappointing season not being in the playoffs, there were a lot of “if only’s.” If only Cam Ward had been healthy. If only Jeff Skinner hadn’t been repeatedly concussed. If only Tim Gleason would play better. If only they’d trade for (fill in name of random player here). If only.
With the Hurricanes finishing up another NHL Preseason, there’s a lot of questions too new to answer. As far as the roster goes, the only thing set in stone is the goaltending. Ward will be backed up by new acquisition Anton Khudobin. Outside of the core roster, the situation remains fluid.
Preseason has been pedestrian at best. Dropping three games in a row, and their only win coming against the Montreal Canadiens, it’d be easy to brand the team as “bums.” Which would be presumptuous.
Missing from these games were veterans Tuomo Ruutu, Alex Semin and Gleason. Those players represent a chunk of the talent on the roster. Not to mention, many of the players lacking in performance have been sent down to Charlotte in this week’s round of cuts.
For fans to already be tossing their hands up in frustration is premature. All three injured veterans are listed day-to-day and according to team reports, have all been skating in practice. With the new whittled-down roster, the next two games will clearly demonstrate who head coach Kirk Muller needs to cut and whom he should keep.
While the Hurricanes are 1-3 in the preseason, the regular season still holds plenty of promise. They have a solid goaltending corps, a defensive lineup just coming into their own and a healthy balance of young and seasoned forwards. The season’s success comes down to nothing more than team chemistry. As long as everyone is communicating, playing off of each other’s strengths and most importantly, settling into their own role, there’s no reason for Carolina to not make the playoffs. The roster looks to be deep enough to prevent the “devastating injury” syndrome, preventing the scramble tactics of last season.
With the preseason continuing tonight on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets, then finishing at home against the rival Buffalo Sabres on Friday, fans can begin getting a better idea of what to expect after Oct. 4.
Carolina Hurricanes Should Make No Predictions Based On Preseason