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Capitals vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Flying Under Radar Nothing New for Canes

Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 4:00 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Flying Under Radar Nothing New for Canes
Many in the national media don\u2019t give the Carolina Hurricanes a fighting chance in the standings. But that doesn\u2019t bother the team one bit.
The beginning of the National Hockey League’s regular season ushers in unparalleled excitement for fans of the sport and players alike, as 30 teams begin the quest to capture the greatest trophy in sports.

Michael Smith
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It also arrives with a deluge of national media members turned pundits offering their predictions on how the season will shake out. Many – like this one, this one, this one and this one – don’t give the Carolina Hurricanes a fighting chance in the standings.

But that doesn’t bother the team one bit.

“We don’t see a lot of love nationally in some of the predictions, but that’s fine,” Eric Staal said. “We’re going to go about our business and do what we have to do.”

“If they were always accurate, we might as well go to Vegas,” joked head coach Kirk Muller. “I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been on teams that we’re supposed to do really well and we get off to a tough start. I’ve been on teams that people have been like, ‘Wow. Where did these guys come from?’”

Asked if he tried to avoid reading what the press says about the team, Staal said it’s something that’s hard to avoid.

“We’re all in this sport and business, so you want to stay in the loop as far as certain things that are going on in the league,” he said. “They’ve predicted that for a long time with the teams we’ve had down here, and I’m pretty sure we were picked close to last the year we won the Cup. We know what we have down here internally, and now it’s about performing and showing what we can do, and that starts Friday.”

“In here, I’m more like hey, what’s our vibe in our room?” Muller said. “That’s what’s important.”

The vibe is upbeat. It’s eager. It’s tenacious. It’s a will to work together toward a common goal of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2009.

“We believe strongly in the pieces we have in this room,” Staal said with confidence.

“I’m pretty excited to get it going,” Muller said. “We had a good camp, we worked on a lot of things and the guys are ready to go.”

The Hurricanes open the season with five of their first seven games at home, a somewhat odd occurrence in October, when the team is generally on the road for the better part of the month.

“Our guys are ready, and the key is that we just go out and play,” Muller said. “There are always jitters on opening night and playing the first game at home. We’ve just got to relax, have fun and play hard.”

Following the disappointing denouement in last year’s shortened 48-game season, Staal said the team is galvanized to remain consistent and make a return to the playoffs.

“You feel like there were a lot of positives with last year. We had such a great start, we were in a good position and we hit a rough patch and were unable to keep our head above water,” he said. “But that confidence has still got to be there with the group we’ve got. When everyone is clicking, going and playing our type of game, we can play with anybody.”

Just don’t tell that to the national media. The Hurricanes are content with flying under the radar.

And, ultimately, predictions are devoid of any real meaning; the game is decided on the ice, and the Hurricanes are well aware of what they’re capable of.

“To be honest, I don’t really care. I don’t care what anyone else is going to say about us,” Staal said. “Individually, you have to believe in yourself and what you can do. As a group, regardless of what people say or write, we in this room have to believe in each other and know what we can accomplish.”



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 59 11 27 -16 38
E. Staal 54 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 58 11 15 -16 26
J. Skinner 54 15 9 -16 24
R. Nash 56 7 14 -9 21
N. Gerbe 55 6 14 -13 20
A. Sekera 57 2 17 -7 19
V. Rask 57 8 10 -18 18
J. McClement 59 4 12 1 16
J. Staal 23 4 11 -1 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 6 11 3 .901 2.73