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Tweetmail No. 235: Sticks, Realignment & Road Games

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Hello and welcome to Tweetmail, a weekly feature on Hurricanes.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.

When a player runs low on sticks on the road, does the equipment department mail them from Raleigh or does the stick company mail them? How many sticks does each player take with them on a weeklong road trip? - @HHandorf

Players will typically bring two or three used sticks plus a new one for each game on a road trip. So, for the Canes' most recent swing out west, you're looking at six or seven sticks per player. Players who tend to see their sticks break more might bring a few extra.

Prior to the Dallas game, Martin Necas had snapped four sticks on the trip. He didn't run out of twigs, but his count was certainly running low. So, the Canes equipment managers got in touch with Dave Paul back in Raleigh to ship a few extra next-day to Dallas just in case.

Which brings us to …

In addition, is the Coronavirus going to cause stick shortage for any of the Canes players? Also, will Svechnikov use the stick with the hole in the blade in a game? - @NCSwanson

The Coronavirus is somewhat of a concern as it relates to CCM and Bauer sticks, which are manufactured in China. Players who use these sticks have been informed of the situation, but in the case that it does cause a temporary stick shortage, the Canes equipment managers said they do have enough inventory stocked to last a few weeks. Some players, like Jaccob Slavin for instance, can use the same stick for four games. Others, especially centers who take a lot of faceoffs, churn through sticks more frequently.

Warrior sticks are manufactured in Mexico, so players like Sebastian Aho and Warren Foegele aren't affected by this.

Andrei Svechnikov gave the new Bauer Nexus ADV stick a go-run after practice recently.

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: Andrei Svechnikov tested out this new Bauer stick after #Canes practice today. There's a trippy-looking hole in the blade, and it's super light. pic.twitter.com/DDDIlkinVr

The stick is noteworthy for a number of reasons, including the hole in the blade, which Bauer marketing refers to as Slingtech. As far as I'm aware, Svechnikov only used it after practice in that one instance, so I doubt you'll see him break it out in a game any time soon. 

Since it seems random anyway, how, when, where, why do divisions get reshuffled by the NHL? The quality Metro teams need to be spread out more evenly it seems. - @KevvanV

Division realignment typically happens when an expansion team is added to the league. The last major realignment occurred in advance of the 2013-14 season, when the league shifted to four divisions across two conferences. The highlight of that reshuffle was bringing Detroit and Columbus, two teams in the Eastern time zone, into the Eastern Conference. That just makes sense, right? And, while Vegas still wouldn't enter the league until the 2017-18 campaign, realignment, which was an uneven 16-14 split at the time, helped set the stage for the Golden Knights being added to the Pacific Division.

The next realignment will be much more minor: When Seattle enters the league in the 2021-22 season, Arizona will shift to the Central Division so that Seattle can play in the Pacific. That will finally bring balance to the conferences, as well.

The Metropolitan Division is, indeed, pretty stacked this season, but it's all cyclical. There will come a time when the Metro will more resemble the Pacific this season.

Dramatic realignment I'd be in favor of would be to split the league's (soon-to-be) 32 teams into eight divisions of four. The Eastern and Western Conferences remain. The division winners qualify for the playoffs. Four wild card teams from either conference would also qualify. Same bracket style. Go crazy. Imagine a new-age Southeast Division with Carolina, Washington, Nashville and either Florida or Tampa.

Me and my wife followed the Canes on the road for the Arizona and Vegas games. Seems like Canes fans traveled well for those. How did those away crowds compare to other away games? - @ZachBradshaw6

I was very impressed with the support for the Hurricanes on this most recent road trip. It was great to see so much red in the stands and hear the roar when the Canes scored. Among the Coyotes' burgundy red, there was a surprising amount of Canes' red in the stands at Gila River Arena. That was fun to see, and they were treated to a come-from-behind performance.

Vegas is such a unique, enthralling game experience, and for the third season in a row, the Canes organized a trip for Season Ticket Members. A pregame party just outside T-Mobile Arena set the stage for the group of 200 STMs (plus many, many more who made the journey independently), who were then treated to quite the show - both in presentation and on the ice - at the rink. When Justin Williams wired home the shootout winner, there was a noticeable spike in crowd noise.

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: 200 #Canes Season Ticket Members made the trip to Vegas. This has been a fun annual tradition for the team. Awesome to see so much red in the stands.(📸: @Sara__Daniel) pic.twitter.com/J8aDvGzkzv

You brought it, Caniacs. That support doesn't go unnoticed, either.

Make some noise this weekend.

On road trips, do you and @mikemaniscalco prefer a hotel within walking distance of restaurants/coffee shops or the arena? Assume the weather is lovely for a stroll. - @goCanes_score

Ideally, the hotel is within walking distance of everything, including restaurants and the arena. That just makes everything easier. But, if I had to choose one, I would choose the hotel being close to restaurants and coffee shops and the like. TV's Mike Maniscalco agrees. The reason being: There's a bus that takes us to the arena, even if it is just around the block.

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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 dig my realignment proposal, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes, or you can drop me an email.

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