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Pothier hopes to be part of something special

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Brian Pothier had to wonder: what would it be like?

Pothier was playing for the Washington Capitals, one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. In the blink of an eye, a trade was made and the defenseman was in the Canes' dressing room Thursday, with a team that's a long shot to reach the playoffs.

But the transition was seamless, it seems. Pothier hopped on the ice and helped the Canes to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators for their seventh straight win and pull within seven points of a playoff spot.

"A couple of years back in Washington, they won 13 straight and they got the playoff spot on the very last day," Pothier said, not mentioning it came at the expense of the Canes. "it's a great opportunity to do something special.

"Obviously you put yourself in hole. But you always say miracles don't happen unless you're in a really bad situation. We're in a bad spot but maybe something special can happen and we can do something that doesn't happen too often.

'The start this team had is unfortunate. We played against them and they didn't play poorly. They were hitting posts and just the one mistake they made was a goal. It was just a crazy situation for them where every mistake they made came back to bite them."

And now?

"They're working hard and creating their own breaks and they're playing smart," Pothier said. "You could tell from the very first day they're very well coached. It's a reallyhard team to play against."

As for adjusting to the Canes' defensive system, Pothier said it was pretty easy.

"We got shuffled around quite a bit," he said. "It's not an overly complicated system. You have a responsibility and you make sure you take care of it and take care of your side of the ice.

"And then just compete. Compete down low and be as physical as you can and move the puck as quick as you can. It's that simple."

 

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I would like to see Pothier remain a Cane.

He is a positionally sound D man and gets his stick in the passing and shooting lanes. He is also good at slowing opposition forwards with the puck down when entering our zone.

Finding Players Who Fit the System

I think it is almost inarguable that a coach has very little, if any, control over the injuries that occur to players during the season; and therefore I certainly cannot put blame on Maurice/Francis/Rowe for the astonishing number of injuries the Hurricanes had to endure this season. I understand as well that the General Manager obtains the players for the and the coaching staff has to take the players given to them and meld them into a team.

My take at the start of the season was and continues to be that some of the veteran players really were not well-suited for the Maurice/Francis/Rowe system. I also thought then that it was a mistake to view Brind'Amour as a second line center. With the trades of Wallin and Aaron Ward, and bringing in Carson, Picard, and Pothier, the Hurricanes have defensemen who are much better suited to the particular system in place for the Hurricanes. To me, the failure of a number of Hurricanes veterans to buy 100% into the Maurice/Francis/Rowe system was a significant contributing factor to the poor play by the Hurricanes at the start of the season.

With respect to Andrew Alberts, although his hitting was excellent, his poor puck control and tendency to take penalties at inappropriate times appear to be the root cause of his being traded. Corvo would be welcome back to the Hurricanes I think if his contractual aspirations are within the Hurricanes' budget. We may well find that Pothier has skills that work well within the Maurice/Francis/Rowe system. Cullen has been an excellent player for the Hurricanes, and it remains to be seen if he can or will be re-signed.

Jim Rutherford stated publicly on a number of occasions that the Hurricanes next season would be younger, bigger, faster, and more aggressive. The Hurricanes team we've seen over the last 15 or 20 games is playing exciting, Hurricane hockey and the results speak for themselves. The new Hurricanes as reconstituted play a hard-nosed, fast, and positionally sound brand of hockey. It is fun to watch. With the new players obtained, specifically including Pothier, Picard, and Osala, the Hurricanes have an excellent start of the refining of the team for next season. Sutter has been playing outstanding hockey and is a leader among the young players coming to the team. Boychuk has been impressive and will only get better.

In summary, already the Hurricane team when from being one of the oldest teams in the NHL and also, unfortunately, one of the slowest teams to one of the youngest and fastest teams in the NHL. I think Jim Rutherford has done a fantastic job of recognizing which current players would fit with the system and in finding new players whose skills and approach to the game also fit the Hurricanes style of play.

It's great hockey to watch. Whatever else happens this season, I am confident that the Hurricanes future is bright.

A credit to Ron Francis too.

A credit to Ron Francis too.

What did he say?

Had to read this twice, Pothier said. "You could tell from the very first day they're very well coached. It's a reallyhard team to play against." But Moe was suppose to gone months ago, guess JR does know what he is doing.

Conservative

Agreed, you can't pin our lousy start on PM. At the end of the day, the guys have to go out there and do their jobs, I don't care who the coach is. Yes, systemically PM is a little conservative, but what we've seen over the last 2 years is that if the guys are playing well and doing thier jobs we win most nights.

Next Year

At a reasonable price he'd be a nice addtion, he's had a tough time the last 2 years with post-concussion problems, but I remember him from his days with the Sens and he was very solid. If we can keep him, add another top 4 guy we'd round out our d core very well.

Any word

or thought of what he might do or go after this season is over ? thanks Chip...

The Canes are Good,My Grandkids are Better, and Life is Great !!
Go Canes !!

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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 chip.alexander@newsobserver.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.
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