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.
Is there a time when Peters starts line experiments? – Doug A. (@dabrams2021)
I think you’ve already seen that to some extent, and given the Hurricanes’ recent scoring troubles, head coach Bill Peters has again mentioned the possibility of “shuffling the deck.”
“When you haven’t scored, what you’re doing isn’t working,” Peters said after practice on Wednesday. “So you either keep the lines the same and do things different on the ice or you shuffle the deck.”
It should be noted that no trio remains together for 82 games; chemistry comes and goes, match-ups can dictate adjustments and injuries shake up established ideas.
“Things are dynamic, as far as the lines go,” Peters said. “We have some combinations we like.”
When creating a line, Peters has said in the past that the coaching staff looks for pairs that play well together before adding a third skater to the mix. Before practice on Wednesday, he said the coaching staff had seven different sets of lines to consider. They settled on a grouping – minus Eric Staal, who is a game-time decision for Thursday, and Alexander Semin – that resembled what was iced in early November, when the team rattled off points in six straight.
“We’ll build off that,” he said. “We’ll try to get back to those early November lines if everyone is healthy and available.”
As a refresher, these combinations included trios like Tlusty-E. Staal Skinner, Gerbe-Nash-Lindholm, Terry-Rask-Boychuk and Malone-McClement-Dwyer. Within something resembling those groupings, Peters is looking for offensive production that begins with players heading for the front of the net.
“It’s a willingness to go there. Take your turn there – it doesn’t matter who you are or if you’re big, small or medium-sized. You can go to the net,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re going there with a purpose and with the intent of sticking around.”
As far as line experiments go, expect to see the deck shuffled once again when Jordan Staal returns to game action, which could happen within the next month.
What is the best gift to give a die-hard Hurricanes fan this holiday season? – Hurricanes Boosters (@CHBCHurricanes)
This is a festive question, so here is the definitive* (*not really) Holiday Gift Guide for the Die-Hard Hurricanes Fan In Your Life™.
First, what every die-hard fan needs: a jersey. I’d recommend one of the New Storm red or white sweaters, but the black third alternate is also a good option. Personalization or customization of said jersey is optional.
If you want to be more festive in your sweater-giving, you could opt for a Hurricanes-themed ugly Christmas sweater, which is available in The Eye team store, which has a bevy of other assorted clothes options.
For when the team is on the road, liven up your game-watching experience with The Goal Light, which features the goal horns of all 30 teams. This is a perfect addition for any die-hard Hurricanes fan’s living room.
Finally, once the Die-Hard Hurricanes Fan In Your Life is decked out with the latest and greatest, he or she is ready to attend a game (or five). Enter the Five-Game Flex Pack, in which you can choose five of eight great games and receive an additional $25 PNC Arena gift card for as little as $125. It’s a perfect and flexible gift option for anyone on your list that wants to see some good hockey games in the New Year.
What else should be a part of this gift guide? Let me know in the comments below!
If you weren’t in sports media, what do you think you’d be doing? – Mason L. (@MasonLyttle)
At the risk of sounding like a cliché, I would still be writing, for sure.
I’d probably be writing more creatively, something I did quite a bit while at the University of North Carolina and haven’t been able to do much since. It’s something I’ve always wanted to revisit and hopefully will sometime in the near future. Penning (or typing) this segment on the website allows me to flex my creative muscle a bit more than the standard game previews and recaps, so hopefully you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing this.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered or you’d like to suggest an addition to the Holiday Gift Guide for the Die-Hard Hurricanes Fan In Your Life™, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes.