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Tweetmail No. 127: Shootouts, Calder & Rogue One

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 @RRNFanJim: @MSmithCanes breakaway come full speed beat goalie b4 he knows. Shootout go wide deke 5x slow down get pokechecked. Why do they do that?

Shootouts are a different animal, right? They are simulated breakaways, so both players and goaltenders approach the shootout in a different manner. There's not much time to think when a breakaway is sprung during game action, whereas the shootout is much more studied and strategic.

I would say that most players slow it down in the shootout simply because they can; they're not being pursued by defenders and have time to think through what they're going to do, which can be to their advantage. On the other hand, this gives the goaltender a similar advantage, as he can read and react to what the shooter does. Perhaps, then, there is merit to coming in with speed.

Take Sebastian Aho's shootout attempts this weekend, for instance. On both Friday and Saturday, he utilized the same move, but against Buffalo, he went towards the net with more speed and ended up scoring the first goal of the shootout. On the other hand, there's T.J. Oshie. On Friday against the Canes, he came into the zone wide and was deliberate in making his way toward the net. He still scored, of course, because he's a shootout wizard.

Video: BUF@CAR: Aho tallies a nifty shootout goal

Ultimately it comes down to execution. Whether you go wide or come into the zone with speed is shooter's preference and we can debate the strategy behind either. The only thing that matters is the result.

Tweet from @DStaffordM: @MSmithCanes Aho for Calder? K2SO for Hart?

Sebastian Aho has been very impressive in his rookie campaign. He's got the skill, vision and smarts that are going to make him a very good hockey player for a long period of time.

As far as the Calder race is concerned, though, I'd have to imagine there are a handful of rookies ahead of Aho in the running. Fellow Finn Patrik Laine has put up unbelievable numbers in Winnipeg so far this season: 18 goals and 11 assists (29 points) through 35 games, which leads rookies in both goals and scoring. He's already notched two hat tricks in the first three months of his career, and he's tallied three-game winning goals. There's also first-overall pick Auston Matthews, who has 15 goals and nine assists (24 points) in 31 games played, and his teammates Mitch Marner and William Nylander are also top five in rookie scoring.

This isn't to dismiss any of what Aho has accomplished this season. He's still developing and continues to get better with each game he plays - and that's really all that matters for the Hurricanes.

K-2SO for Hart and All Of The Trophies.

Speaking of "Rogue One" …

Tweet from @kcracken: @MSmithCanes #tweetmail Now that you've seen (and adored) Rogue One, what are your rankings of the movies?

"Rogue One" was indeed a very enjoyable film. The visuals were gorgeous, and it was good to turn back the clock in the Star Wars timeline. And, without spoiling anything, the ending was incredible. Since acquiring Lucasfilm, Disney has gone 2-for-2 with the Star Wars franchise and continues to print money.

As far as rankings go, I feel that including "Rogue One" could be up for debate since it isn't a saga film, but in the spirit of answering the question:

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. The Force Awakens
  3. A New Hope
  4. Rogue One
  5. Return of the Jedi
  6. Revenge of the Sith
  7. The Phantom Menace
  8. Attack of the Clones

Really, 1-5 could slot in any order depending on the day. I enjoy all of them very much. "The Phantom Menace" is bad, but "Attack of the Clones" is long and slow and really, really bad. "Revenge of the Sith" isn't on the same level as the original trilogy or either of the new films, but it's incredibly dark and mostly successful in doing what it needs to do.

Speaking of Star Wars, make sure you have tickets to the Hurricanes' annual Star Wars Night, which will be held on Saturday, Jan. 14 when the New York Islanders are in town. Ticket packages start at just $27 and include an exclusive "Red Squadron" Hurricanes t-shirt. More details can be found here.

Tweet from @tkcrider: @MSmithCanes oh wow! You were a Rectify fan? I loved it and approved of the ending. You?

Yes, we exist! I came across the show on Netflix just this summer and caught up in time to watch the fourth and final season on Sundance, and what a ride it was. I thought the finale perfectly captured the spirit of the series and properly closed the book on this chapter in Daniel Holden's life.

Not a lot of people watched this show while it was on television, but I believe it's going to be remembered fondly. It's certainly not for everyone. It's incredibly atmospheric, and the plot is a slow burn. But it's also beautiful and deeply human, and for that I recommend it.


Coming off the holiday break, Tweetmail will rest again next week on a gameday in Pittsburgh, so join me in the new year for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you're as ready for 2017 as I am, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

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