Carolina Hurricanes: NHL powerhouse

They are the unstoppable force and the immovable object.

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Carolina Hurricanes: NHL powerhouse

This is what it looks like for opposing teams when the Hurricanes come in on the rush.

This is what it looks like for opposing teams when the Hurricanes come in on the rush.

This is what it looks like for opposing teams when the Hurricanes come in on the rush.

This is what it looks like for opposing teams when the Hurricanes come in on the rush.

Bennett Carollo, Sports Editor

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Who are the Carolina Hurricanes? The sad truth is that, for many people, the answer is probably “I don’t know.” That’s why I’m here: to inform the masses of the greatness that is the Hurricanes. They are more than just a hockey team. They are a movement. A symbol of sustained excellence.

It is true that the Canes have only one Stanley Cup Championship in their history, a glorious triumph in the 2006 season, but the rafters at PNC Arena are sure to become a lot more crowded with banners very soon. It’s hard to imagine a future where the current Carolina team, which is loaded from top to bottom with studs such as Sebastian Aho, Dougie Hamilton, and Jaccob Slavin, doesn’t become a dynasty. The humble beginnings of their rise to greatness could be seen last season. While all the haters and doubters slept on them, the Hurricanes put together a quality season. The first and most integral piece of the championship puzzle was put in place when the team hired Rod Brind’Amour to be the team’s new head coach ahead of the 2018-19 season. Brind’Amour, the captain of the aforementioned legendary 2006 squad, was the perfect choice to mold the talented roster into hard-working champions. The result was a 99-point season that saw a nine-year playoff drought come to an end. And yet, the boys in red and white were still written off.

Their first-round opponents, the defending champion Washington Capitals, were overwhelming favorites. The first two games in DC didn’t go as planned for Carolina, as the Caps took a 2-0 series lead. However, at home in front of undoubtedly the best fans in the NHL, the Canes caught fire, evening up the series. Warren Foegele, AKA McLovin, and brick wall goalie Petr Mrazek were crucial in these dominant wins. Washington took game 5, but Carolina was again an unstoppable force at home in game 6, forcing a decisive game 7. The game started slowly for the Canes, as they trailed 3-1 late in the second period. This might have been an insurmountable deficit for most, but the Carolina Hurricanes aren’t any ordinary hockey team. The Finnish flash, Teuvo Teravainen, scored to make it 3-2, before longtime Cane Jordan Staal came in clutch with the equalizer in the third period. From there, it was a battle of wills. Unfortunately for the Caps, the Hurricanes just wanted it more. As the game dragged on to overtime and then a second overtime, Carolina continued to pour on the pressure and showed that they are the best conditioned team in the NHL. The knockout blow was finally delivered at 11:05 of 2OT, when captain Justin Williams’ centering pass was crammed into the net by Brock McGinn, silencing the Capitals fans and the Canes haters. The boys followed up this statement win by sweeping the New York Islanders, who were frankly no match for such a powerhouse. Then the conference finals happened.

After getting a taste of playoff glory last season, the Hurricanes are hungry for more. The rest of the league is no doubt terrified of Carolina, who has yet to even reach their full potential. The Hurricanes’ front office was busy in the offseason, bolstering the already stacked roster with the likes of Erik Haula, Ryan Dzingel, and Jake Gardiner. Then there’s second year forward Andrei Svechnikov. The guy they call Svech is growing into the next in a long line of Canes superstars, with seven goals and 18 points on the season thus far. He also turned heads by picking the puck up on his stick and scoring a lacrosse style goal. Goalies quake in fear at the mere sight of this Russian beast. Rookie Martin Necas has also turned into a force to reckoned with. As if Carolina needed another weapon on their offensive attack. It should be noted, however, that the Hurricanes lost a strong soldier in their Stanley Cup fight, as Michael Ferland, the greatest player in NHL history, crossed over into enemy lines and signed with the Canucks. Ferland’s scoring prowess will be missed, as he already has a whopping one goal in Vancouver.

I can already hear what the Hurricanes haters will be saying in response to the cold hard facts I have just dished out. “If they’re so good, then why are they fifth in their division with only 21 points?” Sure, Carolina’s current record looks modest, but this is only because they are taking it easy to start the season, to give the other teams a chance. When the full Hurricane force is released, the truth will become obvious. It’s the Carolina Hurricanes’ world and we’re just living in it.

 

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