5 Carolina Hurricanes Players Who Should Be Emulated

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Carolina Hurricanes Players That Should Be Emulated

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James Guillory - USA Today Sports

Since it doesn't happen very often this season, savor reading this next part. The Carolina Hurricanes are enjoying a four-game winning streak. Read it again to be sure. Spin the top, it's real and not dream. They really are on a streak.

Many are asking how did Carolina get here and how do they stay? With the two previous runs they've gone on, the Hurricanes have only been successful in falling from grace. Hard. Getting to a place where you're winning, and staying there are two different ideas. Yet here they are. One of the hottest teams in their division, with one of the hottest scorers in the league. For a team that was bemoaned as having tanked their season in October, this is a step up.

The question of how this streak came to be has a lot of answers and not many of them are short. Coaching, shots of fear from management, the weather, injuries or lack of, chemistry or simply having nowhere to go but up – all possibilities.

The players most directly responsible for the streak currently being enjoyed are not all together different from the ones responsible for the last. Some are and some aren't. The only thing that will give this streak more permanency than the last ones is for these players to be emulated rather than relied upon.

When a team has a standout and he is playing above the level of others, it is not the time to sit back and let them do their thing. This is when truly great coaches find a way to get the rest of the team to play like the standout.

Take a look at these guys, Hurricanes. Do what they're doing. A lot.

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5: Jordan Staal

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Tom Szczerbowski - USA Today Sports

Needlessly inflated contract aside, the younger of the Staal boys has been killing it on a nightly basis.

The best thing that can be said about Jordan Staal is that he has stepped up when it was needed the most by his team. The mark of not only a great hockey player, but a great athlete, is not only performing well, but performing well when your team needs you to.

Kids, do exactly this.

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4: Manny Malhotra

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Geoff Burke - USA Today Sports

Again, a lot of us were wrong about Manny Malhotra.

What do you need to do to score goals? Shoot the puck. What must you do before you shoot the puck? Possess the puck. Enter Malhotra and his faceoff circle cheat code. Knowing that the house is only as strong as its foundation, Malhotra ensures the Hurricanes have more puck possession and therefore more opportunities.

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3: Alexander Semin

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Tom Szczerbowski - USA Today Sports

In addition to being the current favorite in the team's MacGyver Look-Alike Contest, Alexander Semin has been a prime example of when and how to step up when needed.

Despite having some issues early in the season, Semin has gone all kinds of play-maker lately. It's his skill in knowing when to pass and when to shoot that helps in the points column. A great example of fixing what's wrong, Semin is someone to put on your posters.

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2: Anton Khudobin

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Brad Penner - USA Today Sports

It's not just what Anton Khudobin is doing on the ice -- which is seriously a lot-- it's his camaraderie off the ice with the rest of the team.

If your team needs to rally around a goalie, he can't just be amazing between the pipes. Khudobin has become universally liked by all his teammates and remains approachable and light-hearted. Being an incredibly likeable guy, along with playing great -- this makes it easier for the team to get behind their goalie and breeds confidence.

Khudobin knows this.

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1: Jeff Skinner

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Brad Penner - USA Today Sports

If you haven't heard about this kid Jeff Skinner yet, then please tell us what your time on Gilligan's Island was like.

Skinner is to be emulated not only for his skill -- which apparently he has a ton of -- but for two other things. Confidence and clutch performance. Skinner doesn't allow himself to get rattled, he stays inside the game, and his skill show is brought out in game-winning moments.

As the NHL First Star Of The Week for Dec. 30- Jan 5, Skinner is also making opponents sit up and take notice of the Hurricanes, which is worth more than anything else as the race to the playoffs draws near.

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