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Columnist: The improving ‘Canes are TOTALLY blowing it

Hurricanes Maple Leafs Hockey

Carolina Hurricanes Eric Staal is congratulated by teammates after scoring on the Toronto Maple Leafs during second period of an NHL hockey game in Toronto, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)


We mentioned last week that the Carolina Hurricanes, after a terrible start to the season, were beginning to play some pretty good hockey. And that’s continued in the time since, with two more wins in Ottawa and Toronto improving their record to 6-2-1 in January.

That also has one columnist at Raleigh’s News & Observer wondering if the ‘Canes are, you know, totally blowing it.

Write Luke DeCock:

In the NHL, if you’re not going to be good, it’s far better to be very, very bad, especially in a year when there’s a generational prospect available with the No. 1 pick in the draft, which happens every three or four years or so. Connor McDavid may not be a household name yet for casual American hockey fans, but there’s a pretty good chance he will be for the next 15 years or so.

Since McDavid is available, with Jack Eichel not far behind in the No. 2 spot, it’s a really good year to be really bad, a far better time to be much worse than usual. ...

No one enjoys losing, and no one should, but a little short-term pain could pay huge long-term dividends for the Hurricanes. Anything else only leads to more of the same.

It’s worth noting that the ‘Canes, barring a miracle, still have a shot at winning the draft lottery. All they have to do is miss the playoffs.

But DeCock is right that their chances of landing McDavid or Eichel are growing worse. And unlike the Buffalo Sabres, who went on a run of their own in November and December, the ‘Canes, with Jordan Staal back in the lineup, are playing solid possession hockey, suggesting this may not just be a blip.