The last time a lot of people were out here in advance of a big hockey game, we were playing outside.
We were playing right across the street. Where'd Frank go? Trip Tracy's here. Frank's behind us. I gave him to Dennis. He's in good hands with Dennis.
I don't know. I thought we were going to get Frank a headset, let him just hang out right in front of us. Do you have a big game feel today? Oh yeah, this is sensational. There's nothing like playoff hockey. I mean, has that ever even gotten remotely old over the years?
And the answers are resounding with caps, no. It's terribly exciting, let alone the Carolina blue weather to boot. Oh, it's gorgeous. What a day. I'm sure people will be out here in the next hour to start preparing for tonight's game.
I want to big picture this. You know, the last couple of months, Carolina, it hasn't been their A game necessarily. Not night in and night out. The record says it. 13-11-1 over their last 25 games. So a lot of fans have kind of almost resigned themselves to the fact that this is not going to be necessarily a special playoff run. But we've seen signs over the last two games against the Rangers, the game against the Lightning here. I thought for two periods and then after, against Florida, where when they get to their game, they're still capable of beating anybody. And certainly, I agree with you on all those games you mentioned, certainly the game against the Islanders.
Oh yes. The game against the Islanders, which was a back to back for both teams beginning of April, what I loved most about that game that I hope applies to this playoff series, is Sorokin was phenomenal in the first period in particular and the Hurricanes and all teams want to score the first goal. But when the Islanders get in front of the game, it can be very difficult because of the structure that they play with. They have one of the great goaltenders on the planet and the Hurricanes, after a really good first period in that game, maybe got even better in the second period.
And that's where they stuck with it. Their game didn't change. They eventually get in front of the game and they win the hockey game. But these other games that you rightly mentioned, where it looked the way it should look against quality opponents, Rangers a couple of times, Florida most recently in their last game. That game against the Islanders A.G. really stuck out big time to me because they didn't change when they got down in the game. And that is the crux of playoff hockey because you're not going to get in front of every game. I do want to ask you about that Islander game because what strikes me about that is it can get frustrating. Carolina got frustrated in the second round of the playoffs last year against Igor Shisterkin and Sorokin can be the same way. But I thought the first goal that he allowed to yes, Barrico can. The Emmy was a little bit of a leaky goal, this one that he wanted back as he had looked like he made the save.
And then it just kind of found a crack in him and went through. Does that open up your mind to go, look, he's he's human. We can beat him. Absolutely. And I mean, look at the game winner because Jordan Martin gets it and including Ilya Sorokin, in my view.
And I feel very confident about this. Everybody on the planet thought that Martin was going to go to your your superstar up front, Sebastian Ajo. And Sorokin vacated the short side. So, you know, those are two short side leaky goals. Yes, he was excellent in the hockey game. But that I think that should have a carry over effect that he doesn't have a cape on him because any goaltender is told and taught at a young age with major emphasis that you want to make sure you protect the short side. So the fact that they got two short side goals on him and they had to stick with it to get those two.
That certainly makes him look very human. I hope helps them mentally coming into this game tonight. Let's just I want to broad brush what the hurricanes have been about. This is five years in a row in the 18 first year, first 18 years of being the Carolina Hurricanes five playoff appearances. Nobody's going to diminish what they accomplished in those five runs.
Right. You know, a title, another berth in the Stanley Cup finals and a trip to the conference finals in that stretch. But this is five years in a row. Three consecutive division titles, including two in this league, in this division, which nobody ever thought they would win. What does that say about where this franchise is right now?
It speaks massive volumes. I mean, you speak about those years. And, you know, it was the feast or famine portion of the tour, like me at the Taco Bell drive through. And, you know, and it was great, you know, because you had two Stanley Cup finals, a Stanley Cup championship, three Eastern Conference finals. But to be able to back it up for five consecutive seasons just resoundingly speaks about the true excellence of who the Carolina Hurricanes are right now.
And as I look over to my left court, of course, this game will be played and hopefully many games here in April and into May and hopefully into June inside. But the stadium series, which was just the validation of all validations of what five consecutive playoff appearances can do for you. And then I, of course, because I'm an analyst, you know, like you, A.G., I think about the first of these five playoff appearances and the first home game in the playoffs after 10 years without. And then all of that drama surrounding Alex Ovechkin and Andrei Svechnikov. That right there down to nothing in a series is where the Hurricanes could have completely lost their marbles and the series could have been over before it ever began.
What did they do? They channeled all of that emotion and love for a teammate to the ends of the earth positively, whistle to whistle, playing to their strengths, mental toughness. And instead of it being it could have been a dagger for Washington in a short series. I felt that that was the turning point to eventually beating the Stanley Cup champs at the time. So I look at that template because that's winning hockey. That's winning hockey to not not change the way you play.
Get more hardened when something like that happens and channel it in the appropriate way. And they should have a wealth of those experiences because of your question of five consecutive playoff appearances. The building. There are any number of not studies, but opinions out there that home court, home ice, home crowd advantage is overblown. But I for 100% believe that the way the crowd and the way this building was in game three gave them a chance to win that game that they wouldn't otherwise have gotten.
And once they got one, then the belief in the way they played kicked it. Great call. You know, one of my game keys on television tonight, the first one is going to be ride the crowd, but don't play the crowd. And and you're right.
I'm thinking, you know, if that game is in Washington, no, they're probably cooked. And so ride the crowd. Be energized.
Let it empower you. But don't change the way you play. And historically, in the first round, I mean, the numbers don't lie in the first round. Home ice. I'm not going to say it's a, it can be a disadvantage, but it historically is not the advantage that it is when teams advance into the ladder rounds.
Why do I think that is? Because teams get so amped up. Sometimes they play with the crowd and they lose their game and they're playing. If you have home ice like the hurricanes have earned once again, you're always going to be playing against a team that's been in playoff mode like the Islanders have for a stretch of time. So their game should already be locked in and they're coming in on the road, not trying to impress anybody. So that those parameters for me is why early on in the playoffs, sometimes if you don't have the right mental approach with your energy and your execution, got to have both that sometimes, you know, teams with regularity win games on the road in the first round that they just simply wouldn't win in the conference final or the Stanley Cup. Last year, Carolina was all good here until game seven against the Rangers. Tripp Tracy is with us.
Goes without saying, I've talked to Rod Brenda more already about this. They need eighty six. They need to go Tara Von and to fully take advantage to get the most out of them offensively. They've proven that they can win without offensive contributions from table and Seth Jarvis.
But if they want to advance here, they need it and new season, new reset. But all indications in Florida were that he is ramping up. I loved his game in Florida.
I thought that there was another notch or two, maybe three of compete urgency. The things that he does defensively, I thought he was outstanding in that game, which knowing how much table loves this moment and hopefully many more to come, A.G. And the fact that he opens so many things up. And I think if that first power play unit or whatever power play unit he's on, if it's going to be successful, he's going to have to be a major straw that stirs the drink, establishing the shot, distributing the puck with pace in the proper places.
If Thursday was an indicator of table who's had a mediocre year, let's not kid ourselves and mediocre might be kind. I think it's very. Yeah. And but he loves the clock. She's a Stanley Cup champion. He's an international performer.
Pretty much you can plug him in for it. I thought he ramped up very encouragingly against the Panthers Thursday. We didn't see there was no morning skate officially. I mean, I saw the the extras skating. So we know who the extras are. Freddie Anderson was on the ice.
Yes, he put your RV was on the ice. That might surprise some people. And Dylan Coughlin and Calvin DeHaan were out there as well. So we know the group. Do you anticipate that we're going to see Ajo with Tara Von and Jarvis again? Maybe to start my one fear of those three guys playing against each other, playing with each other.
Excuse me. Is who's going to be the energizer bunny? Who's going to do the heavy lifting? Jarvis has certainly has the will to do it. Can you create enough puck possession and hold on to parks and create the room for Ajo in particular and table to be able to do their thing.
But you have last change at home. And we saw how invaluable that was in particular in the first round against Bruce Cassidy at the time in the Boston Bruins against Bergeron and company. The Islanders really have three good sets of defenseman and four lines. But you have more control if you played those three guys together of who they play against. But that's my one fear when they are together is who is going to create the time and space. But then if you pull someone like, say, Jordan Martin, just as an example, now all of a sudden you're losing the identity of your team.
You're checking line. So I wouldn't be surprised if they start together. They're going to have to be effective with flat out quickness puck retrievals because, you know, they're obviously not an overly bigger physical line. I thought they were that way in Florida in a game that, as it turned out, I needed needed to win real quick about the Islanders before we say goodbye to trip the they get Matthew Barzil back with Barzil and Horvat. Small sample size, six of 17 on the power play without them. They're 30th in the league, so they're below Carolina on the power play. Special teams, obviously always a big deal.
But just aside from that, what is Barzil bring them? Barzil brings them tremendous playmaking. You know, over the years, whether it be Barry Trotz or now Lane Lambert, they're always trying to get him to shoot the puck more.
But he is an elite playmaker. I look back to the 2019 second round as we enjoy these five consecutive years, and the Hurricanes really did a job of really containing a much younger Matthew Barzil. He had already blown up positively to some extent, but they did a great job being able to contain him.
And you want to see if you can get to him early because he's coming off an injury. He and Bo Horvat, you know, they they practiced a lot together. They had those limited games together to see what their chemistry is. And at the end of the day, this is a reset. You hope it's not a reset for Carolina's penalty kill. You hope it carries right on into what it's done, because that's why the big picture approach of, I think, being more disciplined and pressure points was planned. And then the plan was stuck with which power play both that limped into the playoffs, which one I've seen it happen before, which one is going to lock itself in. Master, the obvious point, whichever one does, is going to have a big leg up in the edge in the series.
All right, I lied. Aunty Ronta gets the start tonight. He's earned that over the last, say, what, three weeks. He hadn't been playing more at least a month, so he's earned it, though. It's a debatable point. My opinion has been Ronta, he's earned it, in particular at home. But, you know, wherever he's been, whatever venue he played so well in his first, you know, all he could do until game seven of the Rangers series was win at home.
And I have it in the back of my head. I've referenced that the group hour to hope the situation at some point, I would think I hope not. But at some point, you know, if you go to Anderson, you got a guy that it's him against the world.
He has a guy that is a guy that has a higher ceiling than Ronta, in my view. If you're going to go deep and win a challenge for a Stanley Cup, conference final Stanley Cup, I personally believe Anderson's going to have to be the guy. I see how it plays out. It's very opinionated, but I like the way for all the reasons that you just mentioned that you start, knowing like I think about Grubauer and Holpe in the first round when they went on to win the Stanley Cup. You know you have that scenario, which I think is actually a great situation for a goaltender to come into with Freddie's talent of him against the world.
You hope it never gets to that, but however it plays out, I do agree with this decision. Yeah, Auntie starts. Frank, is he coming to the game tonight? No, he's not. Dennis is walking him around and Frank is off of obedience training and at some point, at some point I'll get into the details.
He may or may not have chased down a chicken yesterday. Excellent. Yeah. No, that's good. That's a great sign. There were feathers everywhere. That's a great sign.
That's Tripp Tracy. Love you. You too, man. You don't have to get dressed tonight. Just come like this. Yeah, it's fine. I'm wearing a jacket. We don't need both of us doing that.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-17 20:40:46 / 2023-04-17 20:47:16 / 7