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No lineup changes likely for Bruins

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The Canes are 0-2-1 after their first three games, but coach Paul Maurice said today he isn't planning any major changes.

The Canes, who face the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins on Wednesday, had a team meeting and a limited practice today at the RBC Center. Most of the players did not go on the ice.

Maurice indicated there would be no lineup changes for the Bruins, but left the door slightly ajar. Jamie McBain, Derek Joslin and Ryan Murphy were the only defensemen who skated today and appear to again be set as healthy scratches for the Bruins, but Maurice said the coaches would "go through the video" and make a final decision tomorrow.

"When we look at our three games, there are big blocks that we really liked the things we're doing," Maurice said. "That's our challenge right now. It's not a matter of staying positive, it's staying together. We've got some things we can do better, but they were three, good, battling games and I think the battle was there."

The Canes had a poor third period Friday in their season opener, losing 5-1 to Tampa Bay. On Saturday, they had a strong sustained effort and forced overtime against the Washington Capitals with a goal by Jussi Jokinen late in regulation, but lost in overtime 4-3.

Maurice agreed the Canes did not play as well Monday afternoon at New Jersey as they did against the Caps. The Canes lost to the Devils 4-2 to complete the two-game road trip.

"We have a few players who can bring a little more," Maurice said. "We need everybody going. That's true of every team. But there are a lot more things good in our game right now than things we're worried about.

"It's a confidence thing more than anything else. We don't want to come off a lot of what we're doing, but it's important to have some positive results."

That is, wins. The Canes face the Bruins at the RBC Center, then go to Buffalo for a Friday game that will be the Sabres' home opener in North America. Then it's on to Boston, followed by road games against the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.

"it's early but at the same time you want to win games," said Jeff Skinner, who did skate today. "I think there have been a lot of positives. I think if we stick to it and stay consistent I think good things will start happening to us and we'll get a bounce here or there and hopefully turn it around."

The Bruins are 1-2 after a 1-0 loss at home Monday to the Colorado Avalanche.

"They're searching for that good feeling, too," Maurice said.

Forward Pat Dwyer said the meeting today was "really upbeat" and that everyone remains confident things can quickly turn around.

"We're only three games in and we'd like to have more points than we do, but if you look at the three games, we were in them all going into the third period," Dwyer said. "It's tough. We're right there. We just have to find a way to come out and win those games rather than let them get away from us.

"We're right there. There's no need to panic. But we do need to get some stuff figured out. We said that three games ago but there's even more urgency now."



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One thing about the lines is

One thing about the lines is that don't you think Staal will get who he wants on his line?  I'm not saying he requested LaRose, but if he liked working with Dalpe he would be there.  Same goes for Poni.  Staal's opinion carries a lot of weight.  

In my experience

In my experience, players leave that up to the coaches.  As Doug says if you open that up to players it opens a can of worms. I never asked about forwards but when talking about this with Wesley he stated he never commented on who wanted to be partnered with. I know he did not much like being partnered for a time with Babchuk but never voiced that to the staff. It is kind of an unwritten rule amongst players. 

You may be correct, but I do

You may be correct, but I do know that Mr. Staal has been treated differently than other players in the past.  I'm not an expert, but you can usually tell if guys like playing together in how they communicate.  I don't think Staal would have to speak directly to a coach.

That suggestion seems 

That suggestion seems  logical; but I wonder and don't know how it works.  It would be very awkward for the captain of the team to help set the lines.  On the other hand, Staal and Ward are pillars of the team, so perhaps they do have that input.  Wouldn't the coaches and GM wonder if even subconsciously the players delegated to the fourth line via their captain have some less than enthusiastic reaction to having to win approval from a teammate.  Seems like a can of worms to me, if not Pandora's box.

Old-school hockey?

Maybe this is why we're frustrated with Mo's way of doing things.  He's an old-school hockey guy.  He doesn't think in terms of exerting your skill on the ice, he thinks in terms of "battling" and "being a man".   Of strength and determination.  (He played defense; anyone know if he was a stay-at-home defenseman, which would fit this point of view?)   Inevitably, then, he ends up with a gang of players acting as grinders, even if those players have lots of skill.

Laviolette thinks in terms of skill.  When we won the Cup, at our best we overwhelmed the other team, coming in waves, using our skill and speed to confound them.

Of course, you need both to win the cup, and since 2006 the need for "battling" has gone up, and the need for skill has gone down.

You can see that if you think Mo-style, the new guys, especially on offense, won't "win their spurs" until they battle and "play like a man" very consistently.  Skill won't get them a place in the lineup, certainly not in the top 6.  So of course the forward prospects are stuck on the fourth line, unless (like Skinner) they stand out immensely from everyone else.  And there's only one rookie of the year each year.

You can see why a bottom-budget team owner might prefer the battling style, because it's cheaper to hire battling/grinding than skill, and fans can appreciate the battling even if the team is losing.

Contrast this with Detroit.  But they have the max budget.  They rely on skill, but they have had lots of battlers as well.

So are we doomed, by being a low budget team, to play this "be a man" style, to dump and chase, to lose the puck constantly?  Then again, maybe we just don't have enough skill to play the skill style.

OK Chip

I know you read these comments, and it's got to be apparent no one understands, relates, appreciates or agrees with Mo's use of players and his line combinations.  Heck even JR made comments earlier on how good Dalpe was looking and how he would work well on the second line.  Poni seemed to look good with Staal on the first line in pre-season.

But, when Maurice says he's putting LaRose on the top line to balance them defensively, after the same experiment last year resulted in Rosie's team leading +/- negative rating (-21 I believe?).  You've got to stop and wonder what the heck he's thinking and seeing.

I'm not knocking LaRose, he's a good effort and energy guy.  But he's been in the league a while now and has never shown top six talent.  He's a fine 4th liner, sometimes third line player.  But no way does he belong in the top six as a scorer, and his +/- while on the top lines last year shows he doesn't belong there defensively as well.

Would you ever ask Mo how he comes to these decisions????

Time to fish or cut bait

It's time to fish or cut bait for this team and for this organization.  IF Dalpe is the goal scorer they think he is then put him in a position to score goals.  Same with Bowman and Boychuk.  Both Pittsburgh and Washington (Tampa as well but not to extent of the other two mentioned, and maybe include Chicago) struggled for a spell, sucked it up and played their young players.  This accomplished two things.  It gave the younger players a chance to mature together and by trading older players for draft picks, it enabled those teams to draft multiple players.  Most of the teams' players were 2nd. and 3rd. round picks.  Yes, the stars were in the first round, but the foundation came in the latter rounds.  There needs to be a new philosophy and it needs to start at the top.  While I understand Mo's philosophy that players, no matter their status, need to be responsible in all phases of the game you can't waste prospects on the 4th line.  We all have said this in one way or another, Chad is a 4th line player, 3rd. at the most.  This team needs goal scoring.  Chad is not a goal scorer.  I think that a lot of people were decieved by his 19 goals 2 seasons ago and they still believe that he can duplicate that.  They seem intent on wasting Staal's capabilities by playing non scorers on his line.   





Those SHOULD be the four lines.  Unfortunately they're not.

No lineup changes

I concur with Maurice, there probably shouldn't be any line-up changes under him.  The change needs to be him and let the new coach change the lines. Why wait til we're so far down a new coach won't make a difference.   There is sufficent talent on the team if motivated and utilized strategically, could be a contender.  Go away Maurice and then Go Canes!

Here's a thought...

I wonder...Could the hiring of Dave Lewis, a proven NHL coach with a career record of 135-83-33, be a glimmer of light?  I mean, bring him in as the Defensive Assistant Coach and when MO fails slid him into the slot of Interim Head Coach?

Personally, I would prefer to see Daniels behind the bench but Lewis would be better than MO!!  He is getting to know the team right now and then, when the time is right, he takes over!  Well, the time is NOW!!!!

My only thought to this is, I would bring in a coach the players didn't know.  That would rattle the cage more than one they are already working with.

Either way...MO MUST GO!!!

What is Paul smoking?

So he feels like our lines are coming together? We have scored 6 goals in 3 games. That is not going to win many hockey games. Looks like another top 14 draft pick. How long do we have to put up with this Maurice hockey?

Kevin Bacon and Animal House

I'm reminded of Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House screaming "Remain calm! All is well! All is well!" as the riot broke out.

There is a fine line between confidence and cluelessness. As I listen to Mo's audio snippets after the game, he seems convinced that this is a 95-point team just waiting to explode with success. I don't share his enthusiasm and I've got to wonder if he has lost perspective.

What we need instead is a Bruce Boudreau like we saw on HBO.

Perfect Quote

Love it ctill.

I have said all along "you can't make headway dragging anchors".  I'm sorry but Mo is an anchor to this organization.  I'm sorry he got an eye injury playing for PK...I really am...but this is a business and his "analysis paralysis" on everything is killing us.  Stop feeling sorry for the guy and move this team forward NOT backward.  The talent and prospects are there.  Let's move on with someone, ANYONE that will grow this team.  I would rather lose every game WITHOUT Mo with Dalpe playing top six minutes than win some/lose some with Mo's bumbling/shuffling/B.S. with the media and still finishing in 9th.

Let the box office speak.  Let the RBC Center ignore those "Mo Must Go" signs.  The true fans of Canes hockey are speaking and the powers continue to ignore.

I'm starting to see what the Whale fans were talking about.

As mentioned before..

Joni and Kaberle on the same pairing on PP, Harrison in front of the net on the PP, Chad on the top line, Dwyer and LaRose playing ahead of Dalpe, Stewart at 6'2 220 plus lbs and decent hands playing on the 4th line, Jay Harrison ahead of McBain, and 1st round pick Murphy hanging out with the team for 9 games with no action??  It is really hard to guess what this coaching staff is trying to achieve here. The powerplay that has been defunct since 2006 is still a two minute waste of time, shake it up, try something new..  How about Poni in front or Stewart? Dalpe some time on the PP and Ryan Murphy should get a look before going back to the O on the powerplay.... It made me laugh the other night when the TV guy said he likes LaRose on the first line because of his defensive ability, guess that is why he was at or near the top of all forwards last season in +/- minus.

Oh, the TV guy...

Don't get me started on Tripp's performance Monday afternoon. You'd have thought we were winning 8-0 the way he was gushing over the team. He's a nice guy and would be a good community relations person, but I say get him out of the booth and get someone who will, at the least, shut up when the Canes are stinking up the joint.

tripp tracey

I think he sounds like a college hockey announcer. I think the Aaron Ward suggestion is great. Or let Forslund announce alone.

Ironically, Aaron Ward now

Ironically, Aaron Ward now works for the Big 10 network.  

Tripp is just another

Tripp is just another example of this franchise's staleness. He is Harvard buddies with the Jason Karmanos family so he isn't going anywhere. Aaron Ward (someone who actually played in the NHL) would be an excellent analyst alongside John Forslund but instead we are stuck with someone who's thrilled that Chad LaRose is on the first line, thinks it's good we didn't score first or on the first power play, and obsesses over taking a time out more than Chris Webber.

When Chad "The Chatterer"

When Chad "The Chatterer" LaRose has been moved to the first line by game three you know you are in for a long season. Why don't they just designate him first liner for life (since he will always have a job here as long as JR is the GM) and get it over with? Dalpe should be put in and given top line minutes for at least five games. If he doesn't produce then reduce his minutes but at least give him a chance to show what he can do. Maybe if he had played in Toronto a few years back then Mo might tlust him more?

It's time for Mo to go. This season could essentially be over in by next weekend based on their play so far. The franchise is settling into what appears to be a long Panthers/Islanders-esque stretch of not making the playoffs and management seems to be okay with it by refusing to make a coaching change or increase the budget.

Consensus Continues

that Mo just does not get it.Put him in the press box and let Lewis and Brind'Amour and/or Barrasso handle the team.

School days...

If I remember correctly, Maurice was in school, trying to get his degree, when JR brought him back to replace Laviolette. I'm wondering if Maurice doesn't have a secret hockey-death wish to get fired in time for registration for Spring semester. That would make his decisions this week seem logical.

As for criticizing Staal, I don't see it guys. I wasted my entire afternoon Monday watching that awful game and most of the time it looked like Staal was the only guy on our team who was actually playing.


He was finishing his MBA. I'm not his biggest fan at the moment, but lets not put him down in all areas.

Good Feeling

Mo: "They're searching for that good feeling, too"

Dude, the CANES fans have been looking for over two seasons now...must be nice to have that kind of job security.

Nothing changes

After reading what Maurice said, all I can do is shake my head. Same old words from the Head coach and I expect the same result tomorrow. He doesn't seem to learn anything. What does he actually see when he watches the video?


Mo is too invested in his own ideas...

At this point, I'm almost at a loss for words but that's never stopped me before.  

-- I think Mo's just too mentally invested in 'the plan' to change it.

-- Maybe JR or PK has said "we're paying LaRose all that money; make sure he's earning it on the ice as a top 6 forward"

--   The guy with the C on the sweater needs to bring his game every game.   Every other shouldn't get you the C.

-- I'm not quite sure why the team meeting was really upbeat.  The team meeting should be about getting the job done -- up and down the ice all night long.  Upbeat is after you win a few in a row.

-- Where are the minority owners in this?  They may be the minority, but I expect they'd want their investment to be successful.

-- Here's the next 'big move' I see -- trading some up-and-coming forwards (2) for either Cullen or Whitney, or maybe we bring Stillman back from retirement.

Unfortunately, that

Unfortunately, that "Big-Move" is exactly in line with previous decisions made and managements thinking and rationale.  For some reason we enjoy bringing back players that we don't re-sign.  That goes for players we couldn't "afford" to pay the larger contract to (yet we end up paying it anyways and giving up prospects) and for coaches that couldn't get the job done the first time. 

Although I think you missed the most likely one, trading a couple prospects to Montreal for Cole.  Just like when we brought Cullen back right after letting him go. 


I can't think of a worse way to use the free 9 games we get with him.  The only experience he is getting is a tour of the arenas and press boxes.  Just send him down already. 

I have no problem if they send him down because he just wasn't ready to play at this level.  However, we haven't given him that chance to prove one way or the other.  At this point he is missing games at both levels and one would think (apparently not Maurice) it would be more beneficial to actually getting in game time; not merely practicing and sitting in the press boxes around the league. 

The Maurice game of favorites continues. 

Games counted

If Murphy does not play it is not counted toward the 9 games he has as a junior player.  So even though he has been around for three games he still is eligable to play in nine games before he has to be sent down --  if that is the decision.

Thanks.  I was under the

Thanks.  I was under the impression it was team games not just the ones played in.  However, it doesn't mitigate the fact that sitting in a press box isn't making him better.  At least in Kitchner he would be playing.


Vegas is trying to establish the over/under of when Chad infuriates Chara.  If there's a player in the league that gets under Chara's skin faster than Chad, I'd like to know who it is.

Under Chara's skin?

Max Pacioretty got under Chara's skin.

Do it from the 4th line

Love to see Rosey get under Chara's skin. But please do it from the 4th line and not the first.

I'm not a big proponent of the "coach must go" rants. Usually players get coaches fired. Or owners and GMs that don't give the coach sufficient talent and resources.

But when we see over two years of PP failure, I think it is fair to say that's on the coaches. When we see lines with players that do not complement each other then thats on the coaches. When we see players consistently over and underslotted that is on the coaches. When offensively gifted forwards ( like Bouchuk and Dalpe) are buried on the 4th line whose first role is not to be scored upon, and are played for 5 to 7 minutes a game, and do not develop.... then that is on the coaches.  I think Mo is starting to overthink things. He is also stubbornly sticking with things that don't work.  I am slowly being drawn to the dark side of the Mo Must Go force.

LaRose in Top 6

sittler27,  is there even a colorable argument for having LaRose in the top six, much less the first line?  Surely, with all the NHL hockey knowledge and experience with Brind'Amour, Francis, Wesley, Barrasso, and Rutherford there must be some reason, even if misguided, that is driving what appears to me to be almost failure to a certitude.  I can understand that Maurice is disadvantaged by never having played in the NHL; but in the organization are truly talented former players. 

  Similarly, what hockey logic is there to putting Dalpe on the fourth line and scratching Murphy?  What am I missing here?

I don't see it

Mo's stated logic is that putting LaRose on the line balances out the offensive tendencies of the other two. But look around the league.... where do you see that?  Top lines are exactly that.... offence is a priority but since some teams like to match top line against top line every NHL player is expected to to be able to play some basic level of responsible hockey in the neutral and defensive zone. If Staal is so bad defensively why is he killing penalties? On no other team in the NHL can I give another example where a 3rd/4th line player is slotted on the top line for "defensive" reasons. In fact I think it is idiotic.

As for how to handle Dalpe I also don't see where you take a prospect whose strength is putting the puck in the net and distributing it to goal scorers and putting them on an energy/checking line where job one is not get scored on. Kind of like using a race horse to pull a plow.  Where in Dalpe's prior development would he ever have been asked to be a 4th line checking forward.  It is like putting him in a situation where he is destined to fail. Hockey is played at such high speed it is all about reacting. Dalpe has reacted a certain way his whole career.  Now he has to do something that is very different and I'm guessing he is thinking and hesitant..... blue print to runing the kid. I hate this for him!!!

As you have gathered from other recent posts, I am really scrathing my head as to what Paul is doing.




Doug.... Did not answer your Murphy question.  I'm hearing that this is complicated. Everyone comes back from Mono differently and I hear there are concerns on Joslins stamina to handle a 60 minute game.  He is getting close. Also remember where McBain had always been a slow starter. I hear that they talked to him about this and expected him to come to camp in top shape. He did not. I think a message is being sent. That makes it a decision betweeen Murphy and Faulk and from what I hear that they feel Faulk's game has been better suited to the nature or the teams we have been playing. But they also think Murphy is benefitting from practicing with NHL level players ( more than  he would from playing in Juniors according to both Glen and Ron) and he gets better every time out. They also think he is learning from being in the press box and breaking down game situations with Glen as they happen. He is learning the tendencies of elite level NHL players They will play him at some point. They don't feel they owe Kitchener anything.

Thanks. The points about

Thanks. The points about McBain make sense. I had heard rumblings suggesting he needed to adopt a more Skinner attitude regarding his conditioning. I also think Murphy probably does need to work out against NHL strong, grown men. He can make kids his own age look foolish.

Here are about all the highly skilled, but under-appreciated and risky forwards: 1. Hemsky, 2. Turris, 3. Filatov, 4. Kabanov, 5. Mueller, 6. Bernier. Each have pros and cons. All have skill. Rask, too, I beleve can be called up, but I don't know if he can be sent back. If I recall correctly, he cannot be returned to Calgary.

Good points about both

Good points about both McBain and Murphy. Thanks.

Something is wrong

All the "talent" that the Hurricanes have in the AHL is doing nothing.  Dalpe is supposedly a scorer, but is used as a 4th line energy guy.  Boychuck isn't good enough after a couple years of development.  McBain is now relegated to press box status.  

One of three things is going on here.  The Canes talent evaluation is horrible.  The Canes development process is worthless.  The head coach is a fool.  Chances are it's combination of all three.  While I don't think he's horrible, Jim Rutherford is the most overrated GM in the NHL.  The drafting record of the Canes is spotty at best.  Plenty of first round busts.  Teams across the league and now Faulk are proving Rutherford's "defensemen take a long time to develop" theory antiquated.  Rutherford rehired Maurice.  The poor performance of this team lies squarely at his feet.

Talent doesn't develop on

Talent doesn't develop on the 4th line, while playing 5 to 7 minutes a game? You mean Dalpe and Boychuck can't show off their offensive gifts while being pushed to the 4th line in a don't give up a goal but provide energy role?  That is a logical conclusion and makes sense, one I thought was commonly understood.  Maybe you can explain it to Mo, as I get the feeling he doesn't understand it.


I agree with the 8min or less for Dalpe or ANY of the young guy's Dalpe imo should be on the 2nd or 3rd lines or how else are you gonna know what he brings to the table ,just like last year with Bowman ,and there's Tlusty who Mo is rowing up a river trying to make his pet project work...Ain't happening Mo!

How bout :




Tlusty or Charlotte F(preferably)/Brent/Dwyer

Poni/Stewart could be interchangeable ,but need to play with playmakers ,because they are not ,but very effective if they are or go back to Skinner/Ruutu/Jokinen as the 2nd line. The lines Mo has now has NO balance and he's trying to hide Tlusty and LaRose on lines to TRY making them more effective when it actually makes the whole team LESS effective or am i missing something here?

Nail on the head

No I think you hit the nail on the head.  Mo has his pet projects from Toronto and as always plays favorites with them.  Instead of giving our talent a chance to develop by giving them substantial time and continuity with the same guys.  I would although suggest LaRose be relegated to the 4th Line as well, with time on the PK.

We either stack one line (although obviously not currently) and become to easy to beat, or we spread ourselves so thin we just can compete.  Needless to stay we still have the same glaring shortcomings now as we did in the off-season.  Lack of Top 6 Talent.

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.