With a night to sleep on it, nothing about Bill Peters’ opinion of the way the Carolina Hurricanes played on Sunday changed Monday.
“The effort didn’t change overnight,” Peters said. “The effort wasn’t very good guys, that’s the truth. That’s a fact.”
And nothing changed about the team, either. No one was on waivers to make room for call-ups from Charlotte, and Peters said he wasn’t expecting any new arrivals. Justin Faulk was the first player off the ice after practice. Scott Darling saw plenty of shots and Cam Ward will start Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. All business as usual despite Sunday’s disaster.
“When it doesn’t go your way, good teams bounce back right away,” Justin Williams said. “The response against San Jose was poor, for lack of a better word.”
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When it doesn’t go your way, good teams bounce back right away. The response against San Jose was poor, for lack of a better word.
Canes forward Justin Williams
There are three possible ways to look at this: One, Ron Francis thought Sunday was fine. Two, Peters begged for help and didn’t get any, an indication that it’s put-up-or-shut-up time for him. Or three, the players are being told that no help is around the corner and they’re going to have to figure their own way out of this.
Almost certainly, it’s the latter.
“There’s more to give,” Peters said. “We’ll get more. We’ll get more tomorrow.”
The help, as such, is forwards Josh Jooris (three goals), Phil Di Giuseppe (no goals) and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck. More interesting than who draws in may be who goes out: Will it be the obvious choices from the bottom of the lineup or will it be bigger names who aren’t usually subject to such humiliation but have played their way into it?
While the Hurricanes have a handful of players who would almost certainly clear waivers and a handful of players tearing things up in the AHL, the belief is that this current team is physically talented enough to emerge from the mess at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and claim a playoff spot if it can get its mind right. How the Hurricanes respond to Peters’ comments Tuesday will have a lot to say about whether it can. Given that Sunday was the team’s response to another poor performance Friday, there’s not a lot of reason to expect that it will.
“That remains to be seen, because you don’t do it unless you do it, if that makes any sense,” Hurricanes forward Justin Williams said. “We have 29 games here to find out who we are, what kind of team we want to be, because it’s right there for us. If we play to our standards, it’s still right there for us. So we just have to do it.”
There is, as they say, a lot of hockey left, even if the coach is making deck-chairs-on-the-Titanic analogies about his own team before fans can even make them, as Peters did Monday. Despite the sense of fatalism surrounding this team right now – and rightfully so, given the quality of its performances recently – one good winning streak would wipe that bad taste away instantly.
Is it capable? Sure.
Can it? Maybe.
“There are a lot of different reasons to be desperate, but I would find a way to be a desperate hockey player,” Peters said. “There’s different reasons for different guys at different stages of their careers. But for our team, it’s time to be desperate.”
Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LukeDeCock