Ten days ago we were focusing the Canes side of the blog on the draft/what moves they will need to pull off in order to make the playoffs next year. However, here we are trying to suppress our excitement that the Canes still have a chance to make the playoffs. All they need is to string together a franchise-record streak and hope three teams crap the bed … it could happen! We’ve made sure to tell everybody who will listen that the season isn’t over and the Canes have reinserted themselves into the conversation.
We wanted to see what FITZ and JFK thought about the current streak and playoff possibilities:
What has been most impressive over this hot streak? What’s different?
JFK: I’ve been impressed with the fight in this team. They recovered from the horrible stretch in February that seemed to put them out of the playoffs with a pretty incredible run to get back into contention. It’s a positive sign that a young team didn’t completely collapse. The difference, I think, is confidence.
FITZ: It’s a tie between the offense and the goaltending. Under Bill Peters, one can easily tell how the team will play based on how they move the puck on the offensive end. If they move it crisp and work within the system, they are a tough team to beat. Goaltending has been interesting. Between the two backups, they’ve both been able to keep the team in the game. I’m sure that is why they really brought Cam back this season — if the offense does its thing then the team only needs a average goaltender. We are finally seeing the grand plan.
Let’s say the Canes actually make it into the playoffs. Think they cause a commotion?
JFK: Making the playoffs would be an incredible feat, but I don’t see the Canes making a lot noise if it happens. Hockey is a weird, streaky kind of sport — 8 seeds can go on runs and even win the whole thing (2012 LA Kings). But they’ve already had to go on a playoff-esque run to get to this point. For how long can you keep that up? Plus, the Caps would be a terrible matchup in the first round.
FITZ: Man, if they make the playoffs that will be one for the ages. Just like we deserve to be in the Storm Squad (see above), the Canes deserve to be in the playoffs. My one concern is too much of a streak. At end the of the college bball season they always debate whether it’s better for the team to lose heading into the tourney. Canes don’t have a loss to give to make the playoffs. Just get in because remember, you only have to be one game above .500 in each series of playoffs.
If the Canes don’t make the playoffs, what positives are you taking away from the season.
JFK: I think the development and establishment of some younger stars is the biggest positive. Sebastian Aho really emerged as a legitimate scorer. I think Eddie Lack was really starting to come into his own as the “goalie of the future” before he got hurt. And this team managed to beat some good teams this year. They just need to put it all together for the entire season.
FITZ: It’s a step in the right direction. There has been a lot of starts and stops, but if you look at the big picture, we’re a better team than last year. The young guys like Aho and Elias Lindholm really have shown how bright the future can be with this team. Jeff Skinner has reemerged as the player everybody thought he would be after his rookie season.
If the team does not make the playoffs, they will learn from these experiences of tapping on the playoff door. Look at the 2016 Cleveland Indians. For three years they missed the playoffs because they started slow and then they finally figured it out and almost won it all. The offseason will bring some interesting moves. But that is a discussion for after the Canes make the playoffs.
Sidenote: This season brought us the ability to compare Canes to the Mighty Ducks that has never been possible before … Amazing Season!