Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.
Let’s get to it.
I found this to be an interesting question, and I’ll attempt to shed some light on it but don’t expect any state secrets to be revealed.
Often this season, Peters has alternated shifts of two forwards and one defenseman and one forward and two defensemen in 3-on-3 overtime. In the shootout, he likes going with statistical favorites – Chris Terry and Riley Nash, for instance – while also taking a flier on some players who have seen success elsewhere, whether in practice, the AHL or otherwise.
Since it’s fresh in everyone’s mind, let’s use last night’s overtime and shootout as an example. Peters utilized Sergey Tolchinsky in 3-on-3 action and said that he would have liked to ice him sooner, but circumstances like defensive-zone face offs prevented it. When Tolchinsky did get out there, he did what he does best: stick handle around defenders, hold on to the puck and create scoring opportunities. That’s definitely something you want on your side in 3-on-3 overtime.
In the shootout, Peters went with Nash, Victor Rask and Elias Lindholm in the first three rounds. Then, it was Tolchinsky’s first-career look because we’ve all seen what he can do. Finally, it was Noah Hanifin’s turn because why not? He’s the hometown kid, so throw him over the boards and see what happens. He might not have been the most obvious choice in the fifth round, but Hanifin wanted to be prepared just in case.
“I think everyone’s job on the bench is to have a move ready, whether you get called or not. Just be ready to go,” he said. “Shootouts are all instinct. You have to wait for the right moment.”
What does this all say? Trying to find what works best is a fluid process. In fact, Peters alluded to just that after Tuesday’s game.
“We talk about it every day, who we’re going to use and what’s our rotation. We beat it up quite a bit,” he said of the shootout lineup. “We’ve got a big project going right now to try to study it and get a better handle on that and the overtime.”
This is going to be one of the main storylines to track heading into the offseason.
Here’s the current situation: Cam Ward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and Eddie Lack is under contract for the next two seasons, so you have to assume that Lack is part of the goaltending picture moving forward. The question then becomes who will join him? The Canes will have the opportunity to re-sign Ward if they decide to go that route, and perhaps they do. His goals-against average (2.38) is currently the lowest it has been in his entire career and his save percentage (.910) is hovering around his career average. He had a hell of a game Tuesday night in Boston and was named the game’s first star after making 35 saves on 36 shots and not letting anything past him in the shootout. But what’s his asking price going to be, and are the Hurricanes going to be comfortable with the price and term? That seemed to be the roadblock in discussing a new contract with Eric Staal.
If the Canes opt to move in another direction, it could mean a free agent signing or perhaps another draft-day trade as they pulled last year in acquiring Lack. The Hurricanes certainly have the picks to be able to finagle that while not compromising their draft haul.
Stay tuned – it will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the next three months.
Before we get to the answer, if you all haven’t downloaded the Hurricanes emoji keyboard for your Android or iOS device just yet, you can do so here. What’s the emoji keyboard, you ask? It’s a mobile app that features various Canes-themed emoji and stickers that you can share with your friends through messaging and social media apps. Among the emoji included are an Eddie Lack taco face, a Jeff Skinner face, a Stormy face and more!
To your question, Gregg, we’ll be adding additional player emoji and GIFs to the keyboard, and Noah Hanifin will likely be included in the next update. Have any specific ones you’d like to see? Comment below or send us a tweet at @NHLCanes.
Brunch, especially at home, is always a solid option. It’s probably the best spread – from biscuits and gravy to sliced ham to bacon to sausage to hash browns – imaginable and never fails to disappoint. I’d be OK with brunch press meal for every press meal.
I should also mention the pasta station in Tampa Bay. Holy spaghetti is it phenomenal. When we were there in early March, you could select your meat (chicken or shrimp), sauce (red or white) and toppings. And then it was sautéed right in front of you before a big heaping portion of it was plated. Delicious. Way to go, Tampa Bay. (Now, build a new elevator already!)
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered or you’d like to discuss “Mad Dogs” on Amazon (but no spoilers beyond the fourth episode – I’m working on it) you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email