Had an interesting stat come across the wire: wins in the calendar year. St Louis led 2019 with 56 -but a sneaky #2 — the Carolina Hurricanes who set a franchise record with 54 wins in 2019. That’s a pretty big deal especially after being in the league for 40 some odd years and dropping off since their big run 15~ years back.
This is a team on the rise, they’ve got a hell of a roster, and I think Rod Brind’Amour is a huge part of that and he seems to be a very successful coach thus far.
One name this year that’s really jumped out at me has been James Reimer. A bit of journeyman whose bounced around between a few different teams but he’s been lights out most nights.
I’ll be honest I thought this team was going to be terrible after their magical run last year. So I’ve got my foot in my mouth on that one. That organization has really turned things around and they’ve got some young guys and I don’t see them going away any time soon. They’re definitely fun to watch and they made the eastern conference finals -did anyone see that coming?
With Aho and Teravinen, this team has got their core back (Do you think the Blackhawks might wanna redo that one? Yikes. Hawks gave up a little too early on Tervo and he is playing phenomenal). Dougie Hamilton. I mean, you hear things. I don’t know what this guy is like in the locker room, but you hear things, despite all that he can PLAY. He’s able to skate with the puck, he can shoot hard from the point and he’s making a bigtime impact. It’s nice to see him hitting his stride from where he was drafted. And I know he was with the Bruins and all but when you’re on that team your stock goes up from name value alone so to see him putting it all together with the Canes is something else.
Back to Brind’Amour. I truly think guys just love to play for him. A player who some guys in the league even played with but he works his ass off -as a player and as a coach.
Stepping back for a second. Carolina hasn’t really been thought of a “hockey town” per se but when they go to the conference finals and set these small records -that energy compounds and starts to gain traction amongst the masses which is huge for a place like Raleigh. And for the players it’s crucial because they’ve played their whole lives with big crowds rooting for them in Minnesota, Sweden, British Columbia and wherever and that support goes a long way.
They haven’t slowed down and only 2ish points back in the Division, I think it’s definitely possible to see them going back to the conference finals.