The Hurricanes are an interesting puzzle. They’re not good, but they could make the playoffs. They’re not a playoff team, but they’ve made more than one run to the Stanley Cup Finals in the last 10 years. I’m not sure what to expect, but certainly predicting doom for the team seems to work in their favor, since every time they get counted out, they seem to rise to the occasion and make a bit of noise. Our look at the teams around the league continues today with a look at them darn ‘Canes, courtesy of our friends over at Cardiac Cane:
I’m a gut feel kinda gal so my predictions for 2011-2012 aren’t based on those fancy things like science, math, and history. I am also really superstitious so pretend I am typing this with my fingers crossed as to not upset any hockey gods. ESPN is warning of a sophomore slump for Jeff Skinner. I don’t buy it. I think he is going to break 30 goals this season. With the off-season training he has put in combined with a year’s experience under his skates, I think his game will get better. ESPN does not love hockey.
Over here we don’t… entirely… agree:
February 4th – @ Carolina
We don’t get to welcome the ‘Canes to Los Angeles this season, so their success (or failure) has little direct impact on the Kings and our playoff drive. That said, it’s an interesting case to take a look at. Over at Cardiac Cane they appear suspicious of curses and the like. I don’t believe in that stuff myself (jinx!) but I think the blind optomism that Jeff Skinner gets better this year is misled. Does he have another year of experience? Yes. Has he been training hard this off-season? Who knows… but we’ll say yes. Is that enough to avoid a sophomore slump? Nope. Here’s the key when looking at a sophomore slump: It’s not all about the player himself. Last season Skinner was an unknown. For much of the season, he was a youngster flying (successfully) under the radar. He was talented, but other teams weren’t keying on him, instead forced to focus on some of the bigger, well-known names. Not this year. Teams aren’t going to overlook the talented youngster, and while the ‘Canes should be excited for Skinner and his future, I wouldn’t expect a progression (at least statistically) this season.
That said, the Eastern Conference is a crap shoot outside of the first couple teams. I could see the ‘Canes making the playoffs, but I could also see them wiping out entirely. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. What do you think is in store for Carolina?