Friday, January 16, 2009

Carolina Hurricanes are teh suck.

How bad are the Hurricanes right now? They were defeated by the Toronto Maple Leafs last night. To pour some lemon juice into those wounds, it was by a Jason Blake hat-trick. JASON BLAKE. *facedesk* And it gets even better. By better, I mean, a bigger train wreck.

Before yesterday's game 'Canes owner Peter Karmanos was speaking at the RBC Center and he showed that he's, well, keeping it classy. By classy, I mean remove the "c" and the "l" and that's what he was/is really like.

  • Luke DeCock (best sports reporter name EVARR) spells things out pretty clearly--that despite PK's classy (minus the cl) outburst, the real problem is PK himself. Some (many) highlights from his excellent piece:
  • Six weeks into Maurice's second stint, it's clear he has been able to treat some of the symptoms that plagued the Hurricanes under Laviolette but not the underlying disease: a wicked case of not-that-good-itis. (note, "not-that-good-itis" is a nicer name than I've used in the past).
  • The problem isn't that the Canes aren't good enough when they play their best. When they do, they're a pleasure to watch and dangerous to oppose. The problem is that when they don't, they're nowhere near talented enough to get away with it, even against the Leafs, close to the lowest common denominator.
  • During a speech at the RBC Center, Karmanos ripped Laviolette, saying the coach was basically a passenger when the Canes won the Stanley Cup and painting him as impetuous and stubborn.
  • It was a show of gross disrespect to a man who had a heck of a lot to do with winning the Cup, pulling a team of disparate parts together into a family, even if only for one glorious moment.
  • Criticisms of Laviolette's brusque manner and tactical inflexibility aside -- and there's room for discussion there -- Karmanos is either unaware of the debt he owes his former coach or unwilling to acknowledge it. Laviolette may have caught lightning in a bottle, but he delivered a title.
  • Laviolette bears none of the blame for that, nor does Maurice. It lies with Karmanos, whose failure to spend to the salary cap forces general manager Jim Rutherford to scour the bargain bin (Exhibit A: Josef Melichar, now house-hunting in Albany) and trade Erik Cole (who the Canes likely couldn't afford to re-sign anyway) to get a badly needed defenseman.
  • It also lies with Rutherford, who hasn't replicated his astute trading and free-agent buying of the summer of 2005 (but hasn't had the same budget since) and must take responsibility for the franchise's failure to nurture and develop impact players.
  • Karmanos clearly has no idea of the esteem in which Laviolette is held by most fans. If the owner was looking for a scapegoat, he pointed his finger in the wrong direction.
Face it, the team isn't very good. And the coaching change hasn't made a difference. I hate to see this sort of thing happening to a team I adore. It's true, they're a rag-tag bunch of guys, minus Staal and Ward, and as a result, their record is gonna be pretty rag-tag. Until changes are made to personnel, from JR to team members, things will continue to ride along on a fragile set of rails. If, in fact, Ron Francis is being groomed to be the next bench boss, I hope he knows what he'll be up against with the ownership.

Since I have shifted my blogging devotion from Carolina to my junior team (Tri-City Americans), I will point you to a couple of great 'Canes sites, if you care to visit. It should be noted I haven't made this shift because the 'Canes are sucking so much as that I love my local team. So check out Canes Country, Carolina On Ice (sometimes salty language), and Red and Black Hockey.

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