Monday, January 30, 2006

Hurricanes In First Place

One of the biggest suprises this season is how well the Carolina Hurricanes. If we rank the stadings in terms of points, the Hurricanes lead the league with 76 points in their 51 games played. Of course, there are other ways to rank the teams which do not put Carolina on top (for example Ottawa has the best wins percentage in the NHL).

While I do not think Carolina is the best team in the NHL (thats the Ottawa Senators), they are playing very well and are one of the better NHL teams. I completely messed up my prediction of them. I thought that Carolina lacked any big strengths that would make them successful.

One major reason for Carolina's success is the play of their top two centermen. Eric Staal who has jumped from a 31 point rookie season to be one of the best players in the NHL and Rod Brind'Amour who at age 35 has shown he still has a lot to offer with his Selke trophy worthy play and point per game scoring. They have a top two centermen group that have been better than any other team's two top centermen. This strength goes a long way toward NHL success. Of course the uneven schedule also helps as Carolina plays in the still weak Southeast Division and gets a lot of games against the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers while not having any division rivals who have played particularly well this year.

The Carolina Hurricanes have suprised me to be one of the better NHL teams this year. They currently stand in first place in the NHL. Things may finally be looking up for Carolina hockey fans.

NOTE: Not too long after I posted this, Carolina announced a move that shows they are going to try to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup this year. They acquired Doug Weight (who will be a UFA this summer) and Erkki Rajamaki (who is playing in Finland) from St Louis for Carolina's first round pick in 2006, Toronto's fourth round pick in 2006 (which Carolina previously acquired), Chicago's fourth round pick in 2007 (which Carolina previously acquired), Jesse Boulerice (a goon), Mike Zigomanis (a one-time prospect who is now 25 and in the AHL) and Magnus Kahnberg (who is playing in Sweden). For the most part it is Weight for a first rounder with spare parts on both sides. However, this is the kind of deal where possibly one of those spare parts could turn out to be very important in the future. TSN's story on the trade is here.

Comments:
Hey nice post but the Sens aren't the best team in hockey The Hurricanes are and in the end The Hurricanes will be hoisting the cup. I agree Staal is a huge factor and Brindy is well Brindy but Coaching, picking the right players etc.. was huge this year... this style was never played here with Maurice.. it was a lot of dump and chase and prevent defense hockey for a long time. We are loving it now!
 
You know as a result of their surprise run, very few changes were made in the off-season. Veterans such as Aaron Ward, Andrew Alberts, and Stephane Yelle were brought in to help drive the team further, but things did not go according to plan
 
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