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Tweetmail No. 232: Surprises, Stories & Travel

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

DENVER - Hello and welcome to Tweetmail, 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.

How cold is it in Winnipeg on a scale on 1 to -20? What is your most pleasant surprise about the Hurricanes team performance to date in which you thought - wow that is even better than I thought it would be? - @dabrams2021

When we left Winnipeg, the official temperature reading was -11°F, but it felt like -20°F. There's cold and then there is C O L D. That was C O L D. It feels downright balmy in Denver by comparison.

My most pleasant surprise about the Hurricanes' team performance to date is not goaltending - I wasn't sure what to expect out of this duo, but it's a legitimate one-two punch again - and not the special teams - top five in both categories is impressive, but the power play was always too skilled for them not to figure it out - but rather, the team's moxie, their swagger.

The Canes had it from the first of January on last season. They had it when they made that emotional rollercoaster of a ride to the Eastern Conference Final. I wondered what would happen to it after a summer away, especially with a collection of new faces they brought into the room.

But, they've found it again, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. The Canes have turned a corner. They're good, and they know it.

"You can tell when we get tenacious, get on the forecheck and play in their end, we're a tough team to beat," Jordan Staal said after doubling up the Winnipeg Jets, 6-3.

The Canes have superstar young talent. Sebastian Aho already has 20 goals. Andrei Svechnikov is scoring goals no other National Hockey League human being has been able to do. Teuvo Teravainen is making tape-to-tape passes that seem to require more than two human eyes to pull off. Jaccob Slavin is breaking up scoring plays against the best the league has to offer.

Video: CAR@WPG: Svechnikov nets second lacrosse-style goal

And none of those players is over 25.

This is where you'd insert a head exploding emoji.

To top it all off, they're having fun doing it.

Savor this ride, Canes fans. You deserve it.

Which player's personality would fans find most surprising? Any interesting stories from the trip across Canada? - @CaniacZach

I don't know if it's much of a surprise anymore, but the more Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov get comfortable in speaking English, especially with the media, the more their humor is evident. They're both funny guys, but sometimes that might get lost in translation. Perhaps most importantly, they're both good people, but that shouldn't come as any surprise.

My other thought as to a "surprising personality" would be Dougie Hamilton, but if you know, you know, right? For whatever reason, he wasn't fairly portrayed in his two previous stops, but as he said last week, he's found a home with the Canes.

Stories, stories. Hmmm. Quite honestly, it feels like we were in Edmonton about three months ago, and my memory seems to be fading as much as my hair at this point. But, the most interesting story from the trip thus far has to be when Mike Commodore hitched a ride on the bus to Banff. I think he enjoyed swapping tales with an old teammate and fellow Stanley Cup champion at the front of the bus. He also accidentally left his toque behind, but it came in handy the next day when a few of us ventured to the top of Sulphur Mountain.

And, Banff. What a spot. I had heard only great things, and it lived up to every one of them. It was a welcome reprieve from the rink, a chance for the team to grow closer. That in itself is a story.

Do the guys have to share rooms when they travel or do they get their own? - @Beth94828749

The short answer: Some players have to share, but most get their own rooms.

The longer explanation, via article 15.2(c) in the most recent collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA: "Any Player on an SPC who is not in the Entry Level System shall be entitled to single room accommodations for all Club road trips."

"OK, Google, what does that mean?"

Basically, this: A player not on his entry-level contract - that first contract a player signs while under the age of 25 - receives his own room on the road.

Prior to 2013, only players who had logged 600 games or 10 years in the NHL were given their own rooms.

Currently, the Canes have three roster players on their entry-level contracts: Andrei Svechnikov, Warren Foegele and Martin Necas. So, those three don't automatically get assigned single rooms, but since you can't divide two evenly into three (fast math!), one lucky contestant gets to come on down to a room to himself.

Everyone else on the roster plus traveling staff also get their own rooms.

Even though the players and coaching staff are professionals, do you ever see any signs of homesickness on a long road trip? - @_adaminthehood_

I don't know if "homesick" is the right term, but life on the road, especially with a trip this long, can certainly take a toll.

Head coach Rod Brind'Amour is a big proponent of not idling on the road, and I get it. I asked him about the team's layover in Banff earlier this week: "I think the players enjoy it. The staff doesn't. We want the games over with and go home, right? I think it's good. It's unfortunate the way the schedule is, but we did a nice job figuring, OK, we'll make the best of a bad situation, in my opinion. Any time that you can get the guys together on the road and have some enjoyment, not thinking about hockey, is good."

The two nights spent in Banff did seem to do the Canes well, as they responded in Winnipeg with a fairly dominant performance against a team that sported an identical record.

But, look. We're now in our sixth city in 10 days. We've crisscrossed time zones. If it weren't for my phone, I couldn't tell you what day it is or what time it is. Delirium is setting in.

It's been a blast, but I've had enough time-traveling for a bit. It's time to go home - with two more points, of course.

Will Pucky the Whale be at Whalers Night again? - @AndyElliott1999

We're working to make that happen again!

Best meal you've eaten while on this road trip? - @hannahGmartinn

I ate lunch at Meat & Bread three days in a row. Aggressive? Yes. The correct decision? Absolutely. All three sandwiches - a BBQ chicken special of the day, the porchetta and the buffalo chicken - were delicious, and the bread was perfectly warm and crisp. These sandwiches are simple - meat and bread. There's not much else to it, and there doesn't have to be.

Best all-around meal of the trip might have to go to our dinner at Park Distillery in Banff. That put an exclamation point on a beautiful day in a beautiful place.

Is Banff actually heaven? - @Bass8151

I'll allow the argument. I mean, just look at this.


Join me in the next decade for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you also need to finish Christmas shopping because oh my goodness it's in exactly a week why didn't you start sooner, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes, or you can drop me an email.

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