There shouldn’t be high expectations surrounding the 2009-10 Carolina Hurricanes as they enter the start of the regular season.
That’s not at all a slight, it’s just a fact.
Given that what they will have in October will be eerily similar to what they had in May, you have to ask yourself: Where is the improvement?
It’s not really there.
While the ‘Canes shocked the world with a game seven victory over the New Jersey Devils before upsetting the No. 1-seeded Boston Bruins in another seven game battle, reality struck when they ran into the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Weaknesses were exposed.
Firstly, relying on impeccable goaltending can only get you so far. Cam Ward is a great talent. There’s no denying that. But he’s a human, despite what some of his statistics may reveal.
Carolina had the grit and tenacity necessary to defeat blue-collar teams like the Devils and Bruins (even if they were the top seed), but Pittsburgh had all that, too. What Carolina lacked against the eventual Cup champs was skill.
Eric Staal is not enough.
History will show that the Hurricanes advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in 2008-09. That’s always a great accomplishment. In fact, whenever that happens, there’s a temptation to assume that there’s no place to go but up the following year.
Not true. The ‘Canes didn’t upgrade in the off-season. They have the same group of players, mostly.
If management doesn’t upgrade offensively and defensively, the aura of the gritty, hard-working team will quickly evaporate and turn into the team that could’ve been.