The Carolina Hurricanes have had their great – if sporadic – runs over the years, but when it comes to star power, they’ve typically leaned heavily on Eric Staal, Cam Ward and now Jeff Skinner.
That’s not a bad nucleus, but GM Jim Rutherford has been hamstrung by a shaky budget and even shakier moves (see: Kaberle, Tomas), leaving the Hurricanes as a pretty thin bunch. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the Hurricanes are tired of settling for the Alexei Ponikarovsky-type marginal free agents; they want to get into the Zach Parise/Ryan Suter sweepstakes this summer, instead.
(If either star player hits the unrestricted market, mind you.)
Both players would obviously give Carolina a huge shot in the arm – and would possibly boost them to “contender” status in the notably weak Southeast Division. The Hurricanes haven’t had a defenseman on Suter’s level since their Hartford Whalers days while Parise would easily outclass Erik Cole as the best winger Staal has ever skated with in Carolina.
Of course, one could also call free agency the dangerous siren call of sports. Those dreams of grandeur seduce teams into spending big amounts of money only to feel the sticker shock later on. (Again, see: Kaberle, Tomas.)
It’s unclear what, exactly, would make the Hurricanes’ management willing to spend big. Perhaps it’s that weak division, possibilities to gain a rare free agent gem or merely the promise of Kirk Muller’s coaching skills. Either way, it would likely answer the prayers of Hurricanes fans who’ve watched Staal and Ward strain to carry the load over the years.
The Tomas Kaberle’s of the world blare an important warning, though: be careful what you wish for.
Get set for the Heritage Classic with hot dog facts and more
The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.
With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.
Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.
While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’re both at least fairly experienced netminders.
(Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)
Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.
As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.
Dave Tippett does not think Mike Smith will be ready for home game vs. Colorado on Oct. 29, but he is not far from getting back on the ice.
Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.
Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.
You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:
Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.
So, who is Shane Harper?
For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.
His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.
You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone: