Ed. note: Warning, this preview has some coarse language in spots. Nothing that won’t be said on the ice within the first six seconds tonight though.
Yesterday, Carey Haber gave us 10 things to look out for in this series. If you haven’t already read that piece, there’s something seriously wrong with you.
This morning, garik16 awoke from his slumber to introduce us to his new favorite team.
Now, I’m going to really introduce you to the Carolina Hurricanes. Who are these guys?
I mean, really, who are these guys?
The only thing you know about them right now is they’re a bunch of jerks. They spent the regular season disgracing the Great Game of Hockey by staging elaborate, choreographed celebrations after home wins.
But the thing is, you probably already knew they were a bunch of jerks just from looking at their ugly faces. Lemme tell you something: there’s far more to these so-called “Hurricanes” than meets the eye. Let’s get to know these guys.
Carolina Hurricanes Forward Lines, Defensive Pairings and Goaltenders
Here are the current forward lines and defensive pairings for the Carolina Hurricanes, per dailyfaceoff.com:
Here’s the defense and goaltending:
Carolina Hurricanes: Players to Watch
This is the Canes’ best defenseman. He plays on the left side of the top pair next to Dougie Hamilton. Slavin is a true shutdown defenseman who can do it all. He plays the power play and penalty kill. He’s the Canes’ ice time leader, averaging 27 minutes per game in the playoffs, which is fourth-most in the NHL.
He contributes offensively. Slavin had nine assists in the seven games against Washington, which ties him with Erik Karlsson for the most points by a defenseman so far in these playoffs.
He contributes defensively. Slavin has a great stick he uses to intercept passes and force turnovers. He’s a great passer on the breakout and generally makes excellent decisions. You can be sure Barzal, Eberle and Lee will be seeing a lot of Jaccob Slavin over the next couple of weeks. Especially in Carolina, as I assume Barry Trotz will look to avoid that match-up whenever possible in Brooklyn.
I didn’t have time to watch enough film for a proper video breakdown of this outstanding defenseman, but I did put a little something together last night. And see, Slavin is so good, you don’t need to go searching through multiple games’ worth of shifts to find quality play. He shows it off every single time he’s out there, and again, he’s out there a lot.
I only went through the first half of Game 6 against the Caps and found something good on nearly every single one of the 15 shifts he took in this time.
One thing that stood out was Slavin’s superb handling of puck retrievals. He makes quick decisions under heavy pressure and always seems to make the correct play. Look at how poised he is on some of these retrievals. Remember, this is just from one and a half periods in Game 6 against the Caps.
He’s another good defenseman. I didn’t have time to watch film on this guy but I heard that on a podcast once so I am passing that information along to you and what you’re gonna do is take my word for it.
The Islanders drafted Nino in 2010 but then he bitched and moaned his way the hell out of here. Garth Snow traded him for Cal Clutterbuck in 2013. He spent five-plus productive seasons in Minnesota before they traded him to Carolina for Victor Rask on Jan. 17.
That means Wild GM Paul Fenton became the second GM to trade Nino Niederreiter away for a player that is not as good as Nino Niederreiter. Good job by him.
Carolina had the third-best record in the NHL (24-10-0-2 for 50 points) with Nino in their lineup. (The Islanders had the fifth-best record in that time: 21-12-0-3 for 45 points.)
Nino plays left wing on the top line with Sebastian Aho and Tuevo Teravainen. This is a very dangerous scoring line and they will probably piss us all off a couple of times this series. With that in mind, I’d like to offer up a preemptive “fuck those guys” before we get started. Fuck those guys.
I’ve made my feelings on Sebastian Aho abundantly clear. He’s a lowlife criminal, nothing more, nothing less. He should be extradited to Finland and thrown in the pokey. Shit, I just turned into my dad by using the word “pokey.” Damn it.
Carolina’s got some of the best names in the league. Nino Niederreiter, Tuevo Teravainen, Greg McKegg, these are some slick-sounding names.
Teravainen is their top line right wing and he’s got a lot of skill. That being said, I have a lot of skill too. So this one’s a wash.
Foegele is probably Noel Fogelman’s favorite player, which is pretty messed up.
This guy scored the double-overtime goal in Game 7 against Washington. Because of something Brock McGinn did, Tom Wilson felt sadness and profound disappointment. So that was pretty cool of him to do that.
Calvin de Haan
I always thought Calvin de Haan was under-appreciated by Isles fans and I was sad to see him go last summer. The smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman was a great signing by the Canes.
The third defensive pairing of de Haan and Trevor van Riemsdyk is probably the best third pairing in the NHL. Now look, I didn’t research that statement to see if it’s true. I’m kinda hoping you’ll just give me that one, okay? Just let me have it, please.
Now the one thing to remember about de Haan is he’s a fat footed slob, and that could very well work in the Islanders’ favor.
good one Kenny...since I'm so fat can I borrow your sweet fleece sweater so I can sweat it out on the bike— Calvin de Haan (@cal_dehaan) July 28, 2016
Carolina got lucky as hell in last year’s draft lottery. They had the 11th-worst record, which should’ve landed them in between the Islanders’ two picks (at nos. 10 and 12), but the ping pong balls bounced their way. They jumped ahead of nine teams to the no. 2 spot.
They used the pick to draft hot-shot Russian sniper Andrei Svechnikov.
That little bit of lottery luck was a significant boost to their long-term prospects. This is a young kid (he just turned 19) with high-end skill who started to pick it up the second half of the season.
In Game 3 of the Caps series, Svechnikov fought Alex Ovechkin and got knocked the fuck out.
After the game, Ovechkin claimed that Svechnikov challenged him to the fight. That’s certainly what it looked like to me. However, once Svechnikov was released from the hospital and well enough to talk to reporters, he claimed it was Ovechkin who challenged him to fight.
One of these two enigmatic ruffians is lying. We don’t know who as of yet, but regardless, it doesn’t matter that much to me. Svechnikov was a willing participant. He made a poor decision and suffered a very unfortunate result.
He’s currently in the league’s concussion protocol and it’s unclear if he’ll return during this series. Carolina’s offense is more dangerous with him in the lineup.
The same goes for injured forward Micheal Ferland, who’s currently listed as day-to-day.
You might’ve been confused like I was hearing Ferland’s name mentioned so much around the trade deadline as if he were some top-secret, under-the-radar superstar and you just didn’t realize it. He’s not a superstar - his career-high through five NHL seasons is 41 points - but he is a very good player.
He’s physical and he can score; he registered a career-high 21 goals for Calgary last season.
Ferland is driven by an inferiority complex stemming from the unfortunate fact that his parents spelled his first name wrong. His return would improve the depth of the Canes’ offensive attack.
As previously mentioned, Hamilton plays on Carolina’s top pair with Jaccob Slavin. He’s a good skater with legit offensive skill from the back end; this season, he had the second-most goals by a defenseman in the NHL.
Despite his high-end ability, Hamilton’s been traded twice in his career, by Boston and then Calgary. Both trades were followed promptly by standard smear campaigns, complete with juicy quotes that called his character into question.
So fair or not, he’s got a bit of a reputation as “a loner and sort of an uppity kid” unanimously disliked by all of his teammates. He’d rather go to a museum alone than have lunch with them, apparently.
I give you this background to provide some context for the following “controversy” from round one. Hamilton caught some flak for what some considered to be his bailing out on a couple of Ovechkin hits late in the Caps series.
I think it was a bit overblown, but the optics certainly weren’t great. You decide for yourself; here are both plays in question.
On the first play in Game 5, he looked like he assumed an icing was about to be called. So that’s understandable. But should he really be making assumptions in an important playoff game? I don’t know, but that was a pretty bad look, especially since it led directly to the Caps 3-0 goal.
On the Game 6 play, he’d already gotten rid of the puck, so it wasn’t like he was unwilling to “take a hit to make a play.” So it’s hard to blame him for opting to get out of the way of the freight train that is Alex Ovechkin. That being said, it’s possible he rushed the pass - it wasn’t accurate and it resulted in a turnover - specifically because he saw Ovie coming and wanted to bail. Ovie certainly thought so; he flapped his arms at Hamilton on his way to the bench like a long-lost Bluth brother.
I’m not sure what to think. I haven’t watched Hamilton enough to feel confident one way or the other, but perhaps we’ll get a better idea of just how willing he is to engage physically should he have to go back to retrieve a puck with Matt Martin barreling towards him.
So there you have it. That is literally all you need to know about the Carolina Hurricanes. To summarize: Slavin’s a beast, Aho’s a lowlife, Hamilton’s an uppity loner and de Haan’s a fat footed bastard.
Enjoy Game 1 tonight.