Despite all their great talent and pundits’ predictions that saw them finish atop their section in 2023-24, the Carolina Hurricanes have had ups and downs, much to the chagrin of their captain, Jordan Staal.
Defeated 3-1 by the formidable Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday in Raleigh, the Canes posted a 9-7-0 record to finish third in the Metropolitan, two points ahead of their opponents on the day. However, the presence of talented hockey players such as Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov, not to mention the emergence of Jesperi Kotkaniemi, should allow head coach Rod Brind’Amour’s men to reap more victories.
However, corrections must be made and it’s not really about talent.
“As a group, it doesn’t seem like we’ve fully embraced what we want to accomplish, and this is what it’s going to look like: a .500 team that will win some games and lose others, in a kind of up-and-down journey. It gets a little frustrating. We need everything. I have to do better, our trio too. Everyone’s contribution is needed. We have to start soon,” a disgruntled Staal told the Raleigh News & Observer.
More precisely, the veteran would like his team to position themselves as well as possible on the ice, especially favoring vertical play, i.e. along the north-south axis, in order to stay in the enemy’s zone as much as possible.
“The effort is not great. The one about the desired way of playing is what is holding us back from progressing. In the National League, you kind of know where it’s going to go because of the way things are done. However, it seems that we are not too sure what will happen, he believes. It’s starting to look like a sloppy play that you see in neutral territory when the puck is bouncing and guys are going in circles.”
“This is a less direct game than the team hockey we know and love. I’m sure our fans really enjoyed the game and I don’t blame them.”
The coach wants more
It’s a similar story for Brind’Amour, who is hoping for more consistency from his group. Maneuvering space on the scale remains limited.
“He knows that, he is the one who put everything together for a long time. No, not enough, not regularly enough. It’s hard to win anyway, and we make it even harder for ourselves. We have to stop wanting to be spectacular and flamboyant here and there,” said the pilot.
Carolina will try to get back to their winning ways when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.