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.
What’s the best thing to come out of this season? – Kate E. (@katecaniac)
Even in a season such as this one, I think you can point to a number of positive aspects, including Justin Faulk’s exponential growth on the blue line, Elias Lindholm’s continued development in his sophomore season or the emergence of a number of young, budding everyday players.
But one stands out above the rest: the direction in which head coach Bill Peters and his coaching staff have the team pointed, and the team’s confidence in that system.
Don’t just take that from me; ask the players.
Eric Staal: “I think with Ron and the management staff and Bill and his staff, they’ve got a direction they want to go and they will get to. Hopefully over the summer we can do some things to strengthen our team. We’ve showed flashes throughout the season of a team that, when healthy and playing right, can be a playoff team.”
Jordan Staal: “The way we finished the season made me feel good about where we’re at and where we’re headed. The way we played our system and learned the way we need to play for our coach and what he demands of us, you could tell that we’ve had a more consistent game. We’re in a lot more matches, and we’re right there.”
Justin Faulk: “I think the system that Bill has us playing is good for the team, good for the guys. When we play consistently for 60 minutes, I think we have a good chance to win every night.”
Jay McClement: “I think we had a bit of a tough time at the start of the year because we just weren’t used to the way we were expected to play, and then you could see the success we started to have. We started to be a lot more competitive in a lot of games. … Coming down the stretch, when we played the way we were expected to play, we were a competitive team. We’ll be in a better spot to start the season next year.”
Jeff Skinner: “I think they were good. Any time you finish where we did, there are always questions about what happened and how you got to where you were. … They stuck with the program and didn’t really change too much in their philosophy or panic. In the New Year, it paid off when we started to play better and get more results.”
Cam Ward: “The coaches did an awesome job this year. I thought you saw our team play with a lot of structure, and that begins with coach Peters. We showed a good team character by not giving up, and the leaders were able to make sure that everybody was prepared to play for most nights.”
Any word on which Canes players are going to the Worlds? – Doug A. (@dabrams2021)
As of now, the Hurricanes will have four representatives at the upcoming IIHF World Championship: Justin Faulk (USA), Elias Lindholm (Sweden), Victor Rask (Sweden) and Anton Khudobin (Russia). A fifth, Michal Jordan, has been invited to the Czech Republic’s camp.
Additionally, Canes head coach Bill Peters will serve as one of three assistant coaches for Team Canada, joining Todd McClellan (head coach), Peter DeBoer and Jay Woodcroft behind the bench.
The IIHF’s annual tournament will take place from May 1-17 in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic.
What’s the funniest story from your first season on the road with the team? – Cane-alytics (@Cane_alytics)
Ok, here’s one: Nashville. Dads trip. Broadway. Honky tonks and live music in every direction. This was the Canes’ first and only trip to Music City of the season, and head coach Bill Peters wanted to embrace the spirit. So, he bought Kyle Hanlin a cowboy hat.
It was a souvenir that survived the brief road trip and made it back to Raleigh in one piece.
A lot of what happens on the road will stay on the road, but I do hope to recap my season with the team sometime in the near future, and I hope you all enjoyed our daily coverage of the team throughout the season.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered or you’d like a last-minute reminder to do your taxes, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes (or drop an email here).