32 Teams In 32 Days: Carolina Hurricanes
When good teams break through to greatness....
In Today’s 32 Team outlook we examine the Carolina Hurricanes and when good teams are able to make the breakthrough to greatness.
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Over the past four seasons the Carolina Hurricanes are on the short list of the NHL’s elite teams.
They have the fourth best regular season record during that stretch, play a championship style of hockey in which they control possession and consistently outshoot and outchance their opponents, and they have won at least one round in three of the past four postseasons, including an Eastern Conference Finals trip in 2019.
They still have a young, talented roster, a smart front office, and one of the league’s best head coaches in Rod Brind’Amour.
They have every pretty much every ingredient you would want to see for a potential championship team. The one thing they are lacking, of course, is that championship.
At some point teams like this reach a point where they go from being the fun, exciting underdog to a team that carries major expectations. And the more seasons that pass without those expectations being met, the more the narrative around them starts to flip into a more negative light.
It is usually things like….
Why haven’t they won yet?
They need to LEARN how to win.
Maybe they need to change the way they play before they can win?
Maybe the best player is the problem! Trade him!
And so on and so on.
We heard it for years with the Alex Ovechkin/Nicklas Backstrom Capitals. We heard it with the Steven Stamkos/Nikita Kucherov Lightning. We started to hear it about the Nathan MacKinnon/Gabriel Landeskog Avalanche after multiple second-round exits. We still hear it about the Toronto Maple Leafs. We even heard it for a brief period of time about the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin Penguins before they won their second and third championships.
The harsh reality is that championships are difficult to win, and not only require elite skill, coaching, and management, but also a hell of a lot of luck along the way. The latter point being a significant and essential ingredient (even if it is the most commonly and easily dismissed), and having all of those things meet together in the same season is a rare event. The odds are overwhelmingly stacked against even the very best teams every year when it comes to actually winning a championship.
I am of the belief that if talented teams are patient enough (and talented enough) that they will eventually have things go their way, and they don’t necessarily need to change their style, or trade the star player, or “learn” how to win. They just need some shit to bounce their way in the biggest moments. They just need
Colorado, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Pittsburgh all eventually had that happen. I am of the belief that Carolina will eventually get there as well, and there are a handful of players that can help get them there.
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