Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or whatever else 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.
How does the coach get the Canes back on track? What does he need to say or do? – Bill G. (@billgeurin)
This question was asked prior to the Canes' 3-2 overtime win last night in San Jose, but I think that win typified what the team needs to do on a game-by-game basis to be successful; it’s not something the coach or the coaching staff can say or do, but rather it’s about competing and executing.
Last night’s game was, for sure, the Canes’ best effort on the road trip, and they were properly rewarded with two points. As assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour said in his second intermission interview on FOX Sports Carolinas, the team’s compete level was “off the charts,” even despite a tough end to the first period in which the Sharks – after capitalizing on a couple of defensive-zone mishaps from Carolina – led 2-1.
When the ice tilted in San Jose’s favor, the Canes found a way to counter it. Overtime was a prime example of this, as the Sharks hemmed the Canes in their own zone early, and the visiting team, wrapping up a season-long, five-game road trip, looked a bit gassed. But a few grinding shifts later, including another terrific individual effort from Andrej Sekera, led to Elias Lindholm finding Jay Harrison for a beautiful overtime winner.
Regardless of the situation, the Canes’ compete level didn’t dip, even against a team that had lost just seven games at home coming into last night. That’s the focused effort Carolina will need to put forth on a consistent basis to be successful as we head down the stretch of the season.
Who are the Canes interested in trading? – JD Mayo (@JDMayo83)
(I got quite a few questions about trades and the trade deadline and just simply had to pick one. Apologies if yours was not chosen – try again next year.)
Ah, trade deadline day. Where Twitter treats rumors as currency and imposter accounts seek attention and peddle pipe dreams or, best-case, educated guesses as full-on fact. It’s a lovely day, really.
Anywho! We won’t deal with rumors here, nor do I have a short (or long) list of who the Canes are interested in trading.
But for a moment, I’ll play GM. (Scary thought, right?) Would it not be wise to at least listen to offers for most of your roster? It doesn’t mean the trade will be made, and hearing out an offer, laughable or not, is free. OK, I’m done playing GM.
Let’s consider who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer: forwards Radek Dvorak and Manny Malhotra, defensemen Ron Hainsey and Mike Komisarek (and Joni Pitkanen) and goaltender Justin Peters.
Of this list, Hainsey would likely command the most value. He’s being paid very reasonably and has proven himself a more than capable top-four defenseman. From a Canes perspective, though, he has shored up the team defense, which was certainly a question mark coming into the season with the news of Pitkanen’s still-injured heel; a player of Hainsey’s caliber might be worth hanging onto for the future.
Then there is the goaltending question. Anton Khudobin was re-signed on Tuesday to a two-year, $4.5 million deal. Peters is a pending unrestricted free agent, and Cam Ward is on the hook through the 2015-16 season. The Canes could very well have three goaltenders on the roster come Thursday, but this is a situation worth keeping an eye on today.
If you’re interested in following along with the trade deadline hoopla, we have you covered. We have a running, regularly-updated blog, and at 2:45 p.m., we will be live streaming a special trade deadline edition of Storm Surge. Mike Maniscalco and I will be on hand with host Amber Jaye as we take you through anything and everything that has happened or is happening live through the 3 p.m. deadline. It should be fun and maybe even a smidge unpredictable.
Making a purchase. Which do you like more: the black Canada jersey or the classic red? – Elliot F. (@TherealEFarrell)
I’m a fan of this one.
Strictly speaking red or black, though, I’d go red.
But if you had to get a Canadian sweater, I’d still go red.
All-time favorite press meal: two main courses (‘cause that’s how we roll), two sides and a dessert. Go. – Lee T. (@lee_taft)
This is easy and tough at the same time.
Main courses: Sesame-ginger chicken (no bone) and pot stickers. Sides: Beer cheese soup (this counts as a side) and mixed vegetables. Dessert: Soft serve with Reese’s Pieces.
Join me next week for trade-free questions and answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered, you can reach out to me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes.