Luke Tkach is in Denver where the Wolfpack are, or is, I think it's Wolfpack is. If it's soccer, it doesn't matter.
We can screw it up because we do that. Luke Tkach is with us. The Wolfpack at altitude. What are your thoughts on the Wolfpack at altitude?
Guys, I mean, not none. Creighton's at altitude too. Oh no, they have an advantage because they play in Nebraska.
Yeah, no, it's a little different when you come up here to play the abs and nuggets or whatever, and you don't have time to acclimate. It's a little bit of an uneven playing field, but every team in this bracket has had to come up the mountain, so to speak. I don't think it's an advantage for anybody one way or the other, but it's an interesting matchup because Creighton is one of the very few teams that can play DJ Burns straight up if they want to. Because they have the two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year, and Ryan Kalkbrenner is 7'1", and it'll be a matchup of height versus strength. And talking to DJ yesterday, he thinks he can muscle up on Kalkbrenner and get him out of position and go to work. So, an interesting matchup there, and then a game where NC State probably has the advantage in the backcourt with Jarkel Joyner and Traquavian Smith, but Creighton's got some guards too. So I think it's probably for a 6'11 game, it's probably really more like an 8'9 game. I think these teams are pretty evenly matched. But I don't think the altitude is going to matter that much one way or the other.
No, I don't think it will either. I do wonder though, when DJ Burns posts up essentially at the three-point line, since he likes to back teams down from there, if that guy comes out to pressure him all the way out there, it could open up driving lanes for Joyner and Smith and even Clark. Absolutely, or Casey Morsell.
I mean, there's a lot of things that can happen there. Now Creighton does go 6'7", 6'7", 7'1", across the front line. The State player has all said, just looking at the tape, it's probably the biggest team they've played since Vanderbilt, going back to that game a while back. So it'll be a little bit of a different matchup than what they've seen, and maybe that does create some opportunities for NC State to drive or get some mismatches. But I asked Greg McDermott about this yesterday.
DJ Burns is a unicorn. You don't see guys who post up, as you said, at the three-point line and try to back you in from there. It's just not something that teams see a lot or prepare for. Also, not a lot of guys release a single on the day of their NCE tournament game, as DJ Burns has apparently done.
So a lot of unique things going on right now. Wait, he released the say we ought to get this. Have you listened to it?
I have not. Apparently it's on his SoundCloud. We have a story up on our website. But yes, he has released a single today. He did not mention that yesterday.
So my guess is this may have happened slightly without his knowledge, maybe a bit of an overstimulated PR firm. But yes, that is on our website right now. I don't know if the song is on our website, but the chip story is up.
And yeah, that was not what I was expecting in my email this morning. We got to check that out. Hey, Luke, the cock is joining us from Denver NC State. I personally think that if the if the Wolfpack Wolfpack defend, I think everything comes down to the way they play defense. If they defend in the half court, I think they win the game. If they play the defense that we have seen all too often over the last three weeks, then they'll get beaten.
They might get beat handily. Yeah, my biggest concern would be that Creighton sounds a lot like Clemson, which has been NC State's grip tonight. But I I think NC State's more than capable of winning this game. I don't know that Creighton seen a backcourt this good. I mean, then the Creighton players were asked about yesterday. They mentioned DePaul. If they think NC State is anything like DePaul, you know, they're going to they're going to be very surprised because there's almost nothing in common between those two teams. So but yeah, I mean, I almost expect NC State to win this one one because it's not Clemson.
And two, because, you know, if Terquavion Smith's game against Virginia Tech was any indication that he's sort of back against non Clemson teams, it's it's really hard to defend Smith and Joyner at the same time and worry about DJ Burns and teams in the ACC got used to it a little bit, especially when Jack Clark was out. But Creighton's not going to have that luxury. No, and Clark, I think between Clark and Morsell, if they do enough, I mean, I think State's wonderful. I think they can be great. I think they can get to the Sweet 16 in this tournament. I like their draw if they can get past Creighton, but obviously there are five and a half point favorites. So there's a five and a half point underdog. So there's a lot of people who don't believe they're going to get past Creighton.
Luke DeCock is joining us here from the News and Observer and he is in Denver with the Wolfpack. I asked this question of Chris Patola earlier, so I'm curious your answer and have another question for you that is completely unrelated to this. But first, how has your opinion of Duke changed in the last six weeks? You know, I don't know that it has, because my opinion of Duke even seven, eight, nine weeks ago was that, A, it was a team that was visibly getting better and B, it was a team that still had tremendous upside, even when it was playing well. So Duke's progression, you know, I wouldn't it's not surprising to me.
I'm not saying that I thought this would necessarily happen, but I'm not surprised by it because there was so much sort of room to grow, for lack of a better word. I mean, Derek Lively, offensively, Dereek Whitehead in general, you know, it's kind of in a season where they've grown in stages sort of player by player. First, it was Kyle Filipowski who turned out to be much better out of the gate than anyone expected. And then Tyrese Proctor kind of moving to the point and getting the ball in his hands and growing into that role and allowing Jeremy Roach to thrive. And then now lively starting to try some moves on offense and becoming more of a two-way player, because obviously he's been phenomenal on defense all year. And then, you know, Whitehead, who probably should have been their best shooter. If you've been healthy all year now starting to take those shots and make those shots, you know, Duke, it's almost like an NBA team that keeps adding weapons throughout the season. But it's Purdue kids because these guys are sort of coming online after being slowed by injuries and and all of that. So it's a team that, unlike a lot of its predecessors, was built from the beginning on defense and hustle. And now that they're adding sort of explosive offense to that just makes it a really potent combination. So I think I saw, again, I don't want to say I saw this coming, but you could sort of see this potentially developing.
So I'm not I'm not necessarily surprised. I don't know at this point how much further there is to go. But I also don't know how much further Duke needs to go when you look at the teams that have lost already. It seems like Duke's kind of up there with all of them. And if Marcus Sasser is really in trouble for Houston and you knock the favorite out of the field because he's hurt or can't play, you know, Houston's gone. Arizona's gone.
You know, at that point, things start to change pretty dramatically. Yeah, I most people think Duke was under seeded. I think they got seeded based on what their body of work was this year.
So I didn't wasn't didn't have any problem with that. But the way they were playing, they certainly were trending higher. And I don't think anybody would have gone. What the heck is that if Duke had been on the three line? But hey, look, you can always overcome a bad or unfair seed.
I mean, maybe you don't, but you can't you have the option. They get they get a chance to play and take care of it. So and Tennessee's compromised the point guards out. And that's that's the next matchup tomorrow. You mentioned that Duke's getting better, almost like they made some additions at the trade deadline. Well, the hurricane sort of did as I transition to hockey real quick. And then they lose Andrei Svetchnikov.
Jalen Chaffee looks like he's going to play tonight. How does the way you look at the hurricanes change based on events of the last week? Yeah, I mean, you look advancing in the playoffs is always kind of a there's a degree of randomness to it.
We know that. I mean, even the best teams go into the playoffs with a 10, 15, 20 percent chance of winning it. I do feel a lot less confident than I would have a month ago that I'm going to be back here in Denver in June. You know, I just think it makes it that, you know, Svetchnikov injury, you know, makes it that much tougher. So much more has to go right.
But that's also, again, you know, you and I talked about this. Why would they add a wing at the deadline? It's going to screw up their depth.
It's going to mess up the lines. They really need a center, blah, blah, blah. You know, this is why you add a wing at the deadline for stuff like this happens, if not now, then in the first round or the second round. And you just you need weapons and you can't you put yourself in a tough position when you leave cap space unused.
And, you know, maybe this is where the light comes on for Puglia, Jarvi. And, you know, he becomes an impact player. I mean, he's going to kind of have to now just to fill that void or Jack Drury, you know, grabs the reins and goes on. But but you put yourself in a position and look, I'm just not second guessing because I don't know that there were a lot of players out there left who fit that bill.
Right. And I think Meyer was going to New Jersey all along. I don't think the hurricanes ever had a realistic shot at him. So, you know, it just becomes became sort of circumstances where they couldn't use all their assets. The right players weren't out there.
And now you really needed one of those guys. And it's just unfortunate because this this core group, as you and I both know, only has a few more kicks at the can before. There's going to have to be some reorganization for cap reasons with the slave and contract and the Pashy contract and Shay and all that. There's going to have to be some reshuffling at some point. And this just makes it that tougher for this core to get it done this year. But it's not it's still not impossible. I mean, if you if you look at the way the hurricanes have played, the real challenge here is probably.
You would expect them to get through the first two rounds and then, you know, we've seen them beat Boston in the past and obviously a revitalized Boston team. But, you know, anything can happen. It just makes it that much harder. This is the way I've looked at it.
And maybe it's too simple. The hurricanes are always about goal prevention, not about goal scoring. I mean, you have to score, obviously, but there are a goal prevention team even during the regular season. It's more about Rod judges the quality of the game based on what they give up, more than what what they create is important, but more than what they give up is more important to him. And the all four playoff exits are identical.
The other team's power play destroyed Carolina's penalty kill. That's that's it. So special cough. Is he important? Yes. Can they find enough goals without him? I think so. As long as they don't get destroyed down a man and their penalty kill over the last two and a half months has been the best in the NHL. Not like not even close how good it's been like 93% successful in the last 26 games.
It has been tremendous. If Piotr Kaczetkow starts tonight against Toronto, and I don't know who's going to start at this point. Do we declared an open competition for who's going to be the starting goaltender in game one? I don't know. It seems a little early for that. It's hard to say.
I mean, I think the hurricane's best chance to win the Stanley Cup is with Freddie Anderson and that. And you just got to do what you can to get him ready and primed and confident and ready to go. I got to run. I got a game started here. I will talk to you next week. You got it.
Luke has a game. He's busy. It's all right. Super busy. That's fine.
That's fine. Didn't know Luke has to go. Well, and it's the altitude too.
You got to make time for getting places. That's right. So your heart rate returns to normal. I will finish the thought and I don't know that Luke thought we were going to talk about this.
Yes, it's an open competition. If Kaczetkow plays tonight, then feel free to look at it this way because that's what it is. Because if we are rotating, and we'll go back to the last sequence where they rotated. So Freddie Anderson did not start the game in Montreal. That was Auntie Ronta. And the game before was the game against Tampa where Carolina put on a clinic and Freddie was bored and didn't have anything to do for the entire game and have whatever it was like a 14 save shutout.
Yeah, crochet stuff. He did nothing. Then the next game is the Montreal game and Ronta starts, plays the period, first period, gets hurt. Anderson plays the next two, faces 14 shots. Montreal's not all that dangerous. One goal on 14 shots.
That's that. The next game is the home game against Philadelphia and the Hurricanes are playing Philly and then they have the weekend back to back with Vegas here and at New Jersey Saturday Sunday. None of the goalies have played great of late.
None of them. So Rod starts Kaczetkow against Philadelphia. And he said we're just going to rotate him now. Anderson plays Saturday against Vegas, which means that if Anderson starts that game, that means that Kaczetkow's going to start the next game. I'm not saying the next game is more important. They're all equally important, but it was a Devils team that was trying to catch you in the standings. It's better to if you if you were only going to win one and they won none, but if you were only going to win one, the Devils game is the one you'd choose. So that's where you would put this is our guy. They chose not to do that. Kaczetkow, then Anderson against Vegas and then Kaczetkow.
So already I'm maybe I'm just creating this myself. I don't think so, though. All right, so now they've gone two days and played in two days. They didn't practice Wednesday after the Tuesday night win over Winnipeg in which Anderson played.
Two days off. Tonight in Toronto. Tomorrow is at Philadelphia, one of the worst teams in the league, and then they are at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers on Tuesday.
So I ask again. If Kaczetkow goes today, that means Anderson gets Philadelphia. Now, the wrinkle in this is Anderson, Kaczetkow goes today, Anderson goes tomorrow, and then Anderson could play again in New York on Tuesday. But if they're really rotating, as Rod is saying, and he starts Kaczetkow tonight. That tells you.
This is not I don't think I'm breaking any news here. It tells you that Rod isn't sure who the goalie is going to be in game one of the playoffs. He is wanting like if neither steps up and demands it, it's going to be Anderson in the first game. And Luke might be right in that Anderson gives them the best chance, right? Luke might be right about that. But what I'm saying is, is that in the mind of the head coach.
It could be either. And he wants one of them to demand the net, not verbally, but by their play. And if Kaczetkow gets tonight and New York.
I mean, it's it's there. Yeah, it's there to be taken because if he plays well, if he plays well, if Kaczetkow plays well, the Hurricanes win tonight. There's almost no chance that he won't play on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. You don't take out a hot goalie.
Nope. I mean, he won't play tomorrow. They're going to they'll split these two games.
I don't care what happens. They will split these two games. Kaczetkow, they'd have to have a performance like they did against Tampa for them to not change. But that's just the way I think this is playing out.
That's why part of me thinks that he has to play Anderson tonight. But we don't know. We don't know. And I listened to the press conference yesterday, the press conference, his scrum with the media yesterday. And my first listen to it was he's going to start Kaczetkow because he mentioned the rotation and it would be his turn.
And then I listened to it again and I'm like, I don't know if he's doing that. But we'll find we will find out until honestly until like six o'clock tonight. We really will not.
I'm talking just inside baseball. I'm talking to Rod Brind'Amour today about four thirty for our pregame show. And at that point, he'll tell me. But everybody else isn't going to find out until the team takes the ice in Toronto. And he's coming out at six thirty, which the first goalie out at six thirty. We'll find out at six thirty right there.
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