Friday, August 15, 2008

NHL Four-cast: Carolina Hurricanes

1 - Why is this team worth watching? Eric Staal is turning into a really, really good power winger and Rod Brind'Amour basically puts on a nightly demonstration of how to play the center position. Should Brandon Sutter make the team - yes, of those Sutters - he will be a pleasure to watch; the kid hustles, likes to hit and has fantastic vision on the ice. They still won't break into the college basketball/NASCAR demographic, but they aren't boring.

2 - Are they better or worse than last year? Should everyone come back healthy then they are definitely better. Their power play was pretty deadly with a resurgent Sergei Samsonov and a happy-to-be-out-of-N.Y. Matt Cullen. The additions of Joni Pitkanen and Josef Melichar as well as Corvo at the deadline will improve their transitional game. They didn't bring in a veteran backup but will use Michael Leighton to ride the pine behind Cam Ward. Leighton has big game skill and has a fun history with Ward ...

3 - Who should YOU draft in fantasy? They have three good guys to get that are distinct injury risks nowadays: Brind'Amour, Cullen and Ray Whitney. Corvo comes in with great numbers from last year but he got them with Ottawa, his plus/minus might go down but he should continue racking up points - especially on the power play. Cam Ward is another of those workhorse goaltenders who put up average numbers. Staal is the only given - he averages a point per game, takes over 300 shots and gets timely goals both as game-winners and power plays - and he will be gone by the second round.

4 - If the Hurricanes were a NASCAR team, which team would they be? I don't know, I don't like NASCAR. If there are any good ole' boys readin' this blog, feel free to contribute ... is there a driver who is fast, has won a title, left his loyal team in a controversial move and races in front of a half-empty track?

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