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Tweetmail No. 123: TSA, Prospect Highlights & Unis

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on 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.

Tweet from @nhlcanesfans: @MSmithCanes #Tweetmail how much do you like the new 'TSA' line of Teravainen, Staal, and Aho?

We've only seen six periods of this line, but what we've seen has been most excellent.

And it makes sense, right? You've got two incredibly skilled wingers who have apparent chemistry and a center who is an absolute horse in the middle. More often than not, the line will start with the puck thanks to Staal winning 60 percent of the draws he takes, a win percentage that ranks fourth in the league among skaters who have taken at least 250 faceoffs. Staal's big frame and ability to protect the puck then creates space for Teravainen and Aho to dangle in and out of open lanes. All three have the hockey IQ and vision to set one another up, and each has the ability to finish.

It's a recipe for a line that has delivered success for the Hurricanes through two games - both victories, too. In Saturday's 5-1 win over the Capitals, the trio combined for 11 points (4g, 7a), and everything was immediately awesome. In Tuesday's 1-0 win over the San Jose Sharks, the TSA line, in conjunction with Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce at the point, grinded out a more-than-two-minute shift in the offensive zone early in the first period, one of the most impressive segments the Canes have assembled this season, even though it didn't result in a power play or goal.

"That's a great way to start the game, right?" head coach Bill Peters said after the game. "You're starting on time, you have a dominating shift, you have something to build off of, the bench is excited and they want to follow that up and duplicate that success. Real good job by them setting the tone for us, and I thought everybody else kind of fell in line."

Montreal and Winnipeg will no doubt be scouting this line heading into the weekend, but they still might have a tough time matching up against them since Peters and the Canes own the last line change at home.

So far, so good for the TSA line, and I'm excited to see how it grows from here.

Tweet from @JPanepinto17: @MSmithCanes who have been the most notable performers of our prospects below the AHL level? (Like Bean, Gauthier, etc.)

This is a timely question because Tuesday night was a big one for Hurricanes' prospects.

Perhaps most notable was 2016 first-round draft pick Julien Gauthier's two-goal performance in the CHL's Canada/Russia Series, and his second goal was unbelievable.

Gauthier used his man-child frame to fend off the Russian defender before dangling the puck around the goaltender and one-handing it into the net. Here it is in all its GIFy glory.

Tweet from @BradyTrett: Carolina Hurricanes prospect Julien Gauthier with a sick goal in the CHL Canada/Russia series

A goal of the year candidate, for sure. Gauthier added an assist on a goal scored by Nicolas Roy, who was selected by the Canes in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Draft, for a three-point night.

At the other end of the ice, goaltender Callum Booth, a fouth-round pick of the Canes in 2015, stopped all 16 shots he faced in Team QMJHL's win over Russia.

Janne Kuokkanen and Hudson Elynuik, two Canes draft picks from this summer, also scored for their respective CHL teams last night.

All things considered, a good night for organizational depth (and a 1-0 win for the big club, too).

Tweet from @J_Money2917: @MSmithCanes will the Canes be wearing their white sweaters at home at any point during the season?

The Hurricanes won't be wearing white at home this season. The only other sweater color you'll see beside red is black, in the form of the team's alternate uniform set. The Canes will wear their black sweaters 11 more times in 2016-17 after the thirds made their season debuts on Saturday against Washington. Last season, the Hurricanes posted a 7-2-3 record in the black sweaters, and Saturday's 5-1 win improved their all-time record to 58-34-9 when wearing the alternates.

Tweet from @sammiemar: @MSmithCanes what should I eat at the game Sunday?

This is easy. PDQ, obviously, which can now be found outside section 130.

If you don't enjoy delicious tenders and fries and homemade sauces, there are plenty of other tasty options available, including the new Makus Empanadas cart outside of section 121. You can't really go wrong.


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 "Better Things," which recently wrapped its brilliant and honest first season, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

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