Hello and welcome to Tweetmail, 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.
I wasn't expecting this to happen, but the Buffalo Sabres made answering this question way easier!
The answer I was going to give was vaguer. I had the chance to catch up with President and General Manager Don Waddell on Tuesday. Here's what he was able to say at the time about Steve Smith and his seemingly sudden resignation as assistant coach with the Hurricanes:
"We talked to Steve at development camp. He's felt that he might want to look around," Waddell explained. "He's been here four years and did a good job with our D. We felt we would give him that opportunity to explore, and he made the decision to leave us and explore other opportunities."
The answer that I can now give is that he has indeed moved on to pursue another opportunity with the Buffalo Sabres, as announced this morning.
Which leads us to …
I don't want to dive into speculation on names, but in my conversation with Waddell, I asked him what the ideal candidate looks like to him and head coach Rod Brind'Amour:
"Rod and I have talked a lot about this type of person, someone who can work and continue to make our players better, someone who can handle the D and the penalty kill," he said. "To me, the experience level is important but also sometimes getting new, fresh ideas from people is equally important."
Waddell said there is no timeline attached to the search for the new assistant coach; it will happen when it happens.
"We started talking when we knew this was going to happen," Waddell said. "Roddy has talked to quite a few guys. It's just a matter of interviewing some people. Whether it happens this week or next week, there's not a huge sense of urgency."
Yes, but that's only part of the equation.
Unquestionably, the Hurricanes need Scott Darling's numbers to improve from a season ago. He knows this and has been committed to improving himself and his game over the summer. The team is also counting on Petr Mrazek to regain the form he showed in the 2015-16 season as the primary starter from Detroit. His numbers have dipped in the seasons since, but he wants to prove himself, and the Hurricanes are going to afford him that opportunity.
But there's more to the Canes' playoff hopes than just the crease. The team is going to need more consistent goal scoring after finishing 23rd in the league in the 2017-18 season. The team's specialty teams needs to improve, after the power play was ranked 22nd and the penalty kill was ranked 24th last season. The moves made this offseason - drafting Andrei Svechnikov, trading for Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland and signing Calvin de Haan, to name a few - should help address a few of these problem areas and hopefully end the Canes' now nine-season playoff drought.
The goal horn - in reality, a collection of four horns of varying size, very similar in appearance and sound, if not exactly like this Kahlenberg Q-4 Chimetone Air Horn - is positioned in the catwalk above the ice on the North side of the building, near where the videoboard hangs. Originally used by the Hartford Whalers, the horn relocated with the team from the Civic Center to North Carolina in 1997.
You haven't missed anything! Earlier in the summer, we solicited suggestions for the Canes' new goal song and received around 1,500 entries. We've compared that to an initial internal list we put together, and we're narrowing down the selections to a final 5-10 for a fan vote that should launch before the end of the month.
A similar question surfaced in Tweetmail No. 176, but here's somewhat of an update.
"Open Ice" was an all-access series that took you behind the scenes of Prospects Development Camp in the summers of 2013 and 2014. The six-episode 2013 series can be seen here, and the four-episode 2014 series (plus a bonus clip) can be seen here. Our video crew also chronicled the 2014 dads trip under the "Open Ice" umbrella.
Since then, we've produced various bits of behind-the-scenes content but nothing as episodic as "Open Ice." For instance, here's a behind-the-scenes look at Andrei Svechnikov's visit to Raleigh in early June.
Video: Andrei Svechnikov Visits Carolina
And here's an all-access pass to Svechnikov's Friday night after he was selected second overall in Dallas just a few weeks ago.
Video: Svechnikov's Draft Day
In addition to this, our video crew has been busy compiling behind-the-scenes footage from the last few months, especially in the weeks leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft, so there's a good possibility you'll see plenty more all-access-type content coming your way in the next month or two.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you'd like answered or you have an idea for behind-the-scenes content you'd like to see, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.