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.
Strictly from a mathematics standpoint, it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-50 percent as of publishing this. That number shifts by a couple percentage points in either direction with each passing game and each passing day.
If we use a target playoff cut line of 95 points in the Eastern Conference (it was 97 a season ago), the Hurricanes need to collect at least 31 points in their last 25 games. A 16-9-0 record gets the team just over that hump. It's certainly possible, especially considering that the team is a league-best 14-5-1 since New Year's Eve. But, in addition to taking care of their own business - that's first and foremost, because if they don't, this is all moot anyway - the Canes are going to need some help above them. On the outside looking in, they're going to need one team to fall out of the race. Pittsburgh and Columbus are two teams in that current conversation; the Canes play in Columbus on March 15, host Pittsburgh on March 19 and travel to Pittsburgh on March 31. Those could be momentous, head-to-head match-ups considering the landscape as it stands today.
It's likely going to come right down to the wire, which will make for a fun stretch run of the season.
With that in mind …
Wherever this ends up, it certainly feels different this season, and that's a good thing.
And to me, it feels different because of the shift in thinking in the Hurricanes' locker room, spearheaded by head coach Rod Brind'Amour and acted upon on a nightly basis by this hard-working, scrappy team.
Brind'Amour put this perfectly into words in Ottawa earlier this week:
"We expect more now, and I love it. I love the fact that the bar has been raised. We expect to win every night. That's something that is I think is a real positive and is a testament to the guys in the room. They've earned that level of expectation from me. We're a good team."
That's the difference. That's the belief. And that's why I believe this team has a real chance to make the playoffs this season.
I think it depends on what the market is for Micheal Ferland.
In this situation, it's important to consider either return. Does the return from a potential trade outweigh the return from hanging onto him, making a potential playoff run and potentially having him walk in free agency?
In my mind, if the market isn't so hot for Ferland, it would be more worthwhile for the Hurricanes to keep him on their roster, even if there's the possibility he doesn't re-sign with the team in the offseason. There's still a chance he could re-sign, and there's still a chance the Hurricanes could push forward into the postseason for the first time since 2009. I'd take either of those odds if the return isn't what the Canes are looking for at the moment.
Sure thing. To the NHL rulebook!
Rule 49, entitled "Kicking," is what we're looking for here. Specifically, rule 49.2 (i): "A kicked puck that deflects off the body of any player of either team (including the goalkeeper) shall be ruled no goal."
A straightforward rule, and an easy call to make for the officials in Tuesday's game. Jean-Gabriel Pageau attempted to kick a rebound to his stick, but Brett Pesce had said stick tied up, and the puck bounced in off Curits McElhinney's pad. No goal.
The Hurricanes recalled Greg McKegg on an emergency basis in the first week of January, but once Clark Bishop returned from injury and was subsequently assigned to Charlotte, McKegg was no longer considered an emergency recall. That means that, should the Canes want to assign him to Charlotte - I don't see that being the case since he's shown he can be quite effective as a fourth-line center - he will need to clear waivers.
Ok, so I cheated a little on this one. It wasn't a #Tweetmail question, but I wanted to offer some quick thoughts on Ridge Rock Brewing Co. after making my first of what are sure to be many visits to Carp's newest craft pub.
There are currently five beers on tap: a blonde ale, an amber ale, an American pale ale, an IPA and a stout. I got to try every beer except the stout in my flight of four, and they were all delicious. The blonde is an easy drinker. The amber is exactly what you're looking for in an amber: malty and smooth. The American pale ale is hoppy but very drinkable. And the Electric Mayhem IPA was probably my favorite. Citrussy. Hoppy. Still very drinkable like the rest. A real refreshing IPA.
Don't forget the food, either. It's tasty. I'm pretty sure I sampled all of the snack offerings. The mango habanero fries are addicting. The menu has a little something for everyone to pair nicely with your beverage.
Put simply: It's great. If you're anywhere near Ottawa, make your way over Ridge Rock and have a sip and a bite.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you'd like answered or you have a beer recommendation, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes, or you can drop me an email.