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Tweetmail No. 195: Hype, de Haan in Raleigh & Realignment

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

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.

Tweet from @HockeywthHannah: Hi there long time reader many time question-asker. Here's today's! A lot has changed this off-season for the Hurricanes. What new on-ice thing(/person) and what off-ice thing are you personally most excited about this season?

Hi! Great question. Indeed, a lot has changed in the organization from top to bottom in the last few months.

On-ice, I'm most excited to see Rod Brind'Amour take the reins as head coach. As Mike Sundheim wrote in early May, "In 2005, we got to see the change in our locker room when that A on his sweater turned into a C. Now, we get to see the change as Brind'Amour moves into the office on the end of the hall."

That's the truth. It might not be evident just yet, but once the team trickles back into town in another month, once Brind'Amour blows the first whistle in training camp, once the puck drops on the season, I think that culture shift will become more and more evident.

No one worked harder than Brind'Amour as a player, and he's approached his role in coaching in a similar fashion. Just as it was in 2005, this is his team now. He's going to mold it in his image, an image based on honesty, hard work and a whatever-it-takes attitude - and that's incredibly exciting.

(Let's not forget, too, the revamp of the roster, especially on the blue line. The Canes already boasted one of the league's premier defensive corps, and it only got better.)

Off-ice, I'm most excited to see how this fan base rallies around the team. It's been a long time - too long - since the Canes were last in the playoffs, but that's a drought that's going to end very soon. If this young, talented squad can become what we all believe it can become, it could be a fun season. Fun on the ice will spell fun off the ice, and I can't wait to see how it plays out.

Is it October yet? *checks calendar* Welp. Soon.

Tweet from @HeyHeyWadayaSay: @MikeSundheim what were your first impressions of Calvin or anything that stood out to you after tour guiding with him around Raleigh? #Tweetmail

Quick backstory for this one: in his media availability on Tuesday at PNC Arena, Hurricanes defenseman Calvin de Haan was asked about local beer, of course, and said this: "My tour guide, Mike, is going to take us to a few [breweries] at some point, I'm sure." The Mike he was referring to is Mike Sundheim, the Hurricanes vice president of communications and team services.

So, time for a guest #Tweetmail answer! Take it away, Sunny.

"The biggest thing that stood out to me was a refreshing personality. He's a funny guy. It's a long season and when you're building chemistry in a locker room, you want people that everyone enjoys being around. I also got the impression he truly enjoyed his time around Raleigh and is really going to like living in this community. I can easily see Cal turning into a fan favorite here." - Sundheim

Tweet from @BuzzMongold: @MSmithCanes if the @NHL adds a 32nd team a realligment is most likely. How do you think that would look? I would love to see 8 divisions of 4 and the rebirth of the Southeast Divisions #Tweetmail

This is all hypothetical #fornow, but I don't think we'll have to wait much longer. When they convene in September, the Board of Governors could potentially vote on granting Seattle an expansion team. Whenever said vote happens, it seems very likely that the NHL will have a 32nd franchise in place in the Pacific Northwest in time for the 2020-21 season.

If/when we get there, the league will likely have to juggle divisions. Your idea of eight divisions of four teams is very intriguing, especially with the concept of reuniting the Hurricanes with Washington, Tampa Bay and Florida in a new-age Southeast Division. You could also build a Canadian-heavy division with Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. In the West, how about Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Seattle? And a SoCal division with Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose and Vegas? What would the playoff structure look like in either conference - top four divisional teams plus four wild cards? It's intriguing. I suppose it could work.

But, I don't imagine the changes will be that radical. Adding a 32nd team will finally bring balance to the conferences with 16 teams in both the East and West. Assuming division structure remains constant, which seems to be the most likely scenario, the West will need to be tinkered. I'd have to think Seattle will be a Pacific Division team, meaning the Central will need to poach a team from the left coast to balance out the divisions; Arizona in the Central Division might be the most logical solution.

Tweet from @JasonmkNHL: Was "Brass Bonanza" submitted as an option for goal song this season? If not, SHOULDN'T IT BE!?

"Brass Bonanza" was indeed submitted as a goal song option, and it was already on our internal list we created earlier in the summer. You can expect to see it among the 6-8 final fan vote options, which will be revealed in the next 7-10 days.

Tweet from @a_gunzy: Tougher workout: Arm day or sounding the warning siren at a Canes game?

The Canes have had some really strong siren sounders throughout the years. Television play-by-play voice John Forslund always gives it his all. Some fans have really gotten into it. And majority owner Tom Dundon even gave it a good wind in January. 

I'm going to go with the warning siren being an arm day workout in itself. To crank the siren properly and really whip the crowd into a frenzy as the team hits the ice, you've got to really lean into the wind.

Then again, arm day with Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Bill Burniston might be pretty challenging. We'll have to ask him on the podcast one day.

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Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you want to discuss (eight months later) "Coco" and its brilliance, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

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