Found December 01, 2011 on
Fox Sports Carolinas:
Raleigh, NC --- One of the reasons the Carolina Hurricanes made a coaching change earlier this week was to lighten the mood in the team's locker room by taking some pressure off of the players.
In addition, new coach Kirk Muller's message was for the team to have fun. But losing isn't fun. And even with Paul Maurice gone and Muller calling the shots, the results haven't changed.
Carolina lost again Thursday night, this time 5-3 to the New York Rangers at the RBC Center. Losing to the Rangers is certainly forgivable. They are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and entered as perhaps the hottest team in the NHL.
But a loss is a loss, and Muller and the Hurricanes need a victory in a bad way. But they also appear to realize the reality they are facing.
"We have to keep chipping away at it," Jeff Skinner said. "It's not going to change overnight."
The Hurricanes are now 0-2 under Muller with the other loss coming against Southeast Division-leading Florida. But there's not much time for Muller to settle into the job because the overall stretch for Carolina now reads 14 losses in the last 19 contests with the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins coming to town Saturday night.
The body language at times told quite a revealing story Thursday. The Canes didn't always present themselves as a team intent surging past the Rangers. They certainly had some positive moments, like scoring 35 seconds into the contest and Skinner's 11th goal of the season just before the end of the opening period that gave the home team a 2-1 advantage.
But there were plenty of bad minutes, too, stretches that usually aren't associated with winning. And in the midst of a second-period funk, the game started getting away from the Hurricanes.
New York scored three goals in five minutes to take a 4-2 lead. Just like that, a lead became a seemingly impossible deficit to overcome. Carolina closed to within a goal, but the Rangers responded to essentially seal the deal yet again.
But there's a new voice in the locker room and a few roster changes have come recently, as well. While the Canes are 27 games into the season, they are just beginning a new era. Are they viewing the situation as basically starting over?
"I hope so, we've lost quite a few games," Tuomo Ruutu said. "We've got to forget the past, but at the same time try to learn from it, move on and learn from this game and learn from the past and look (into) the future."
As easy as that sounds, the players are still going to feel the weight of the losing. That's why Muller has added a second message: Stay positive.
He recognizes the depth of the players' struggles and that it dates well back into October.
"This is a real test to the character of our group," the new coach said. "We've got young guys. If they can fight through this, if they can battle through this and there's a light at the end of the tunnel and they start growing, then they're going to be better down the road."
On looking for bright spots, Muller noted Anthony Stewart sticking up for Skinner after the 19-year-old All-Star took a blow into the boards that appeared on replay as an intended hit to his head by the Rangers' Brian Boyle.
Stewart threw down his gloves and squared off with Boyle.
"Stewie did the right thing," Muller said. "That's what we want. We want to get these guys bonded together and jell together. Skinner is one of our top players, and top young guys, and we want these guys to be a family and protect each other, and so I thought Stewie did the right thing."
Muller is looking to focus on a positive every day. If it's one, fine. If it's two, even better. In Stewart he found one on this night. But to truly turn this thing around, he's going to need to see more than that, soon.
BEST OF MAXIM
When Paul Maurice was fired from his post as the Carolina Hurricanes head coach on Tuesday, he could have left kicking and screaming. Instead, he packed up his things and left in possibly the classiest way possible. He left a note for his successor, nineteen-year NHL player Kirk Muller, in the Hurricanes locker room.
As Sportsgrid pointed out, it may have been a plea for Muller...
The NHL will take no disciplinary action against Canes defenseman Derek Joslin for his hit on Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg in Tuesday's game.
Versteeg was hit in the head by Joslin late in the first period of the Panthers' 3-1 victory and left the ice bloodied. No penalty was called.
A disciplinary hearing was set for Wednesday for Joslin to determine if Joslin...
Out of all of the things that have gone wrong for the Hurricanes this year the one near the top of everyone's list is the play of Tomas Kaberle. Thought to be a good replacement for Joe Corvo, he was signed to a three year deal worth $12.75 mil. over the summer but he has been anything but that. Kaberle has no goals and only five points in 26 games, has been on ice for only nine...
Now that I've got the retrospect out of the way, we can go forward and look at the team's scoring chance numbers through two months of play. This will be a little different from what I did last month as I'm going to be looking at a few different things, one of which being adjusted scoring chance information. One of the biggest issues with scoring chances is that there...
Kirk Muller is quickly getting a feel for how much work he has to do with the Carolina Hurricanes.
The New York Rangers topped the Canes 5-3 Thursday at the RBC Center. That was Muller's second loss since being named coach Monday, but the Canes are winless in their last five games and suffered their fouth straight regulation loss.
Muller kept the media out of the locker room...
The Carolina Hurricanes have added former NHL head coach John MacLean to Kirk Muller's coaching staff, general manager Jim Rutherford announced today.
MacLean, 47, spent nine seasons as a coach in the New Jersey Devils organization, including seven years as an assistant coach. He was head coach of the Lowell Devils of the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2009-10, leading the Devils’...
This may have been Carolina's fourth straight loss but it was also a game where the Hurricanes were the better team. Florida was outchanced 17-13 for the entire game and virtually had no life in the first period but the Canes did not make them pay for it. Once again, some of the blame falls on the powerplay failing to create chances when they had plenty of opportunities (five...
The New York Rangers (13-5-3) visit the Carolina Hurricanes (8-14-4) at RBC Center tonight starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports. Rangers Game Notes TV: MSG; Radio: ESPN Radio 1050AM, XM 92Probable Lines:Anisimov-Stepan-GaborikFedotenko-Richards-CallahanAvery-Dubinsky-PrustBoyle-Mitchell-HagelinMcDonagh-GirardiDel Zotto-SauerWoywitka...
2011-12 Game 27
Pittsburgh Penguins (15-7-4, 34 points) at Carolina Hurricanes (8-15-4, 20 points)
Want an autographed Vitale rookie card? It would set you back less than $5.00 right now.
Why does it matter?
Another game, another new coach. The Pens will be trying to avenge an earlier loss to the Hurricanes (5-3 on November 12th). It's the last game...
---> Tonight's Game
The Rangers will face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at RBC Center (7:00 p.m.), to begin a two-game Southeast road tri...
RALEIGH, N.C. - Kirk Muller is quickly grasping how much work he has to do with the Carolina Hurricanes.
We take this break from all the Bobby Ryan talks/discussions/rumors/prospective trades to get back to actual hockey. The Rangers kick off a quick two-game roadie in Carolina against the slumping Hurricanes. Carolina fired coach Paul Maurice on Cyber Black Monday, replacing him with Kirk Muller, who brought in another ex-Devil, and ex-Ranger, John MacLean, as his assistant coach Thursday...
TONIGHT’S GAME: The Rangers will face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at RBC Center (7:00 p.m.), to begin a two-game Southeast road trip. The Blueshirts currently rank second in the Atlantic Division standings, and fourth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 13-5-3 (29 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Pittsburgh [...]
RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s C...
Standings: Pittsburgh (8-14-4), Rangers (13-5-3)
Leading Scorer: Jeff Skinner (10-12-22)
Goaltender: Cam Ward (3.05 GAA, .910 SV%)
Rangers Projected Lines (projected):
Artem Anisimov-Derek Stepan-Marian Gaborik
Ruslan Fedotenko-Brad Richards-Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin-Brian Boyle-John Mitchell
Sean Avery-Brandon Dubinsky-Brandon Prust
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto...