TRH GAMEDAY 12: CAROLINA HURRICANES – Don’t Be a Bully

Now I would not classify myself as a saint by any means, but I would like to think that I at least have the propensity to be a compassionate person; that I while I might not always act on it, I can understand the concept of human decency.

In that same vein, I tend to be systematically against ripping on something just because it is the easy target of the day. I’m not going to stick my neck out to defend whatever is being savaged, due to equal parts apathy and laziness. I’m not completely innocent – I shamelessly enjoy observing the angry mob tear their helpless victim to shreds – it’s just that I don’t want to be another one of the Internet bullies coming in late with a cheap shot, kicking the lowly kid at the bottom of the totem pole who is already in the fetal position. Like this guy:

https://twitter.com/NC_Sports_Fan/status/527637874754088960

Yeah well guess what Brian it was still pretty damn rude. #NoManners

Or on the topic of cheap shots, this guy:

LeanDampGoat.0

He shouldn’t have been standing there.

But unfortunately I am in a moral dilemma here because I have been comissioned to write today’s gameday post, which would typically require me to point out the particulars of the Kings’ upcoming opponent, and how all you heartless jerks can poke fun of them, either passive-aggressively like our pal Brian or in a slightly more direct manner.

“lmao” indeed.

But when the opposing team you are supposed to write about is currently looking up in the standings at these guys:

Hey, records are records right?

There is not much that I can say that hasn’t been said before, or that will leave me with any trace of conscience.

The once mighty Carolina Hurricanes are not only currently the worst team in the league named after an environmental disaster , they are currently the worst team in the league in any metric you can think of.

Carolina Standings

(But mostly wins and points)

Of course I was hoping to hammer home the fact that the hapless Hurricanes would be limping in to Sunday’s game still looking for their first win of the year, but that would just be too convenient. Instead, the Hockey Gods, being the vengeful contingent as they are, saw to it that Carolina would finally get off the shneid and get into the win column.

So lo and behold, it is the Kings coming into Raleigh winless in their last three games and the Hurricanes are ready to build on a momentum-shifting, season-salvaging emotional victory the night before.

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Against another team that is in last place in their conference.

While it sucks that the Coyotes screwed me out of a possible joke or two, Carolina’s win is probably for the best, just because now the Kings won’t be stuck with the albatross around their necks for being the first ones to lose to them. But for the purpose of this preview I am just going to pretend that Carolina is still 0-fer on the season (which for all intents and purposes they still kind of are), so just hang with me here. Things have gotten so bad for the Hurricanes that one of their all-time best players and current GM Ron Francis is issuing statements that sound less like a press release and more akin to something like this:

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Much of their season-opening skid can be chalked up to bad luck, as there was no way for Carolina to prevent the injury bug from becoming the injury ebola virus (topical humor!) and wiping out both of their top centers who look strangely familiar to one another.

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It’s almost as if they are related or something.

While the injury outlook for Carolina is improving, with Jeff Skinner coming back from a concussion a couple weeks ago and Eric Staal making his return on Tuesday after missing the previous five games, there is still a long way to go for the Canes to climb back to relevancy, much less the Cup-winning form they showed almost a decade ago.

Yes, that is right, in case you forgot, the Carolina Hurricanes have won a Stanley Cup. Doesn’t that sting St. Louis?

Edmonton Oilers v Carolina Hurricanes: Game 7

And what a handsome Cup run it was.

But back to modern-day Hurricanes. To think that the Kings made such a fuss about playing shorthanded in Philadelphia, imagine how tough it must be playing night in and night out with around eight or nine (NHL caliber) forwards.  To emphasize the stark difference between the two teams’ personnel, consider this. The Kings’ second line is arguably the best forward unit in the league, and 67 percent of the Hurricanes’ second line is made up of Riley Nash and Elias Lindholm.

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I’m not a mathematician but +12 is greater than -6 by a lot.

A few pieces still remain in the Carolina organization from their Cup run in 2006 (literally only a few: Eric Staal, Cam Ward and Chad Larose, who is currently wasting away as a member of the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL). But the fact remains that the 2014-15 Hurricanes are much more formidable contenders for the McEichel Sweepstakes than playing any kind of meaningful hockey in April.

Former Conn Smythe winner Cam Ward has been in a steady decline since 2011, and is on the verge of losing the number one job to Anton Khudobin, who looks like Johnny Knoxville if Johnny Knoxville was from Kazakhstan and looked a little like Tim Thomas.

Anton-Khudobin-1

His head is also the exact shape of the Kings logo.

The Hurricanes’ defensive core is made up of a collection of career-bottom pairing guys, such as Andrej Sekera, Tim Gleason, John-Michael Liles and Ron Hainsey (I am half expecting them to bring Joe Corvo back any day now). Their forwards are mostly 20-somethings who for some odd reason aren’t scoring over a point-per-game pace like the ones Kings fans are used to.  Yes, Jeff Skinner is good, but he’s not going to turn out to be for this franchise what Rod Brind’Amour once was.

I am in no way trying to compare Skinner’s game to Brind’Amour’s, I was just looking for an easy segue into talking about Rod Brind’Amour, which has always entertained me. Mostly his last name, which is absolutely bananas. Side note, I deeply wished that the Kings could have played against Brind’Amour during the Twitter age, just so we could make #BrindAmourFace become a thing, which it truly deserves to be. Just give it a shot.

Rod-Brindamour

#BrindAmourFace

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#BrindAmourFace
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 #BrindAmourFace
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Not #BrindAmourFace, I just think he’s got peanut butter on the roof of his mouth.

But enough of the past and back to the matchup we have on hand this afternoon. Yes the Kings should get two points versus what on paper sure seems like an inferior opponent. Yes (with the slight exception of last night) the Hurricanes are currently in shambles and are another week of futility away from going into full tank mode. And just like a couple weeks ago when the Buffalo Sabres came to town, it is going to be easy for Kings fans to point and laugh at Carolina’s misfortune.

Maybe you guys will choose to make fun of the fact that one of their top offensive weapons in Nathan Gerbe is only half a foot away from being legally considered a dwarf.

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Hint: He’s not the guy on the right.

Maybe you choose to laugh at the fact that Alexander Semin is being paid 7 million dollars a year to put up two assists and a -7 in eight games, that is when he is actually allowed to play.

Maybe you give them a hard time because their team is named after a meteorological phenomenon but for some incomprehensible reason their team mascot is a skating pig.

Stormy 2

Actually it’s not even skating, it’s just a pig.

Just as any time your favorite team plays against the guys in last place, there is a littany of jokes to be made or weaknesses to be exploited, all ripe for the picking for those who want a quick ego boost or a retweet or two.

But I don’t want to make any of them, because I’m not a dick.

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Knick Rickle was a former junior and college goaltender and is a current aspiring journalist and mediocre adult league goaltender. While growing up in Minneapolis, he learned how to play by attending Robb Stauber's goalie school, which unbeknownst to him at the time was the first step in becoming a Kings fan. The rest of the steps came when became probably the first person ever to move to California from Minnesota to play hockey. He currently is unemployed, holds an English degree, while contributing to #TeamTRH, so you be the judge how his hockey career turned out. You can follow KnickRickle on Twitter @KnickRickle.