RALEIGH – The Carolina Hurricanes’ penultimate preseason game, their 3-2 loss at PNC Arena to Nashville on Tuesday, further tarnished some of the biggest unanswered questions the team has about the start of the NHL season next week.
1. If the look in the eyes of Rod Brind’Amour of the Hurricanes wasn’t enough to convince you the coach wants 19-year-old Seth Jarvis on his squad for next Thursday’s opening night against the Islanders his words: just as convincing.
“He certainly doesn’t look like a teenager in his first camp,” Brind’Amour said of Jarvis. â€œThat was a real team out there. They came tough and he was impressive. That’s all i can say He looks like he belongs in this league, that’s for sure. “
Jarvis, in line with Nino Niederreiter and fellow rookie Jack Drury – who also put in another solid performance – looked like an NHLer in his second show game. Jarvis didn’t score, but according to NaturalStatTrick.com he had three scoring chances and two high risk chances, with two rebound chances and 0.63 expected single goals – the second best of all players in the game behind 0.73 from Steven Lorentz.
Those numbers show that Jarvis is ready to get to the tough spots on the ice, namely the front of the net, and his teammates noticed his use in all three zones.
â€œHe definitely has the talent. He definitely has the head for it, â€said defense attorney Ian Cole of Jarvis. â€œBut I think his confidence is high and he tries to play games. He does the right reads and plays defense. He does all the things you want to see. And I think that, coupled with the skill he already has, he will grow up and mature into a damn player. “
Brind’Amour and the Hurricanes’ Brass must now decide whether Jarvis is best suited for the NHL or whether he should return to his junior team, the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. Since Jarvis is only 19 years old, he is not allowed to play for the team’s AHL daughter, the Chicago Wolves.
â€œUnfortunately, that’s the problem with this system,â€ said Brind’Amour. â€œThere is still a huge learning curve, a lot of mistakes are still made, and that is just not being here and understanding it. But he’s quick to learn what I’ve seen during the time I was with him. So yes, the system definitely doesn’t help them with children like that. “
2. Antti Raanta got his last tune-up of the preseason on Tuesday and does a lot better than his show debut. Raanta was shot for seven goals with 25 shots in last Friday’s Tampa defeat, but the 32-year-old goalkeeper stopped 31 shots out of 34 on Tuesday, and all three goals he allowed were identified as highly dangerous chances by NaturalStatTrick. com, with just one of them at 5 against 5.
“It was good,” said Brind’Amour. â€œHe’s made some big saves, especially at the beginning (when) we were walking around a bit. Then he didn’t have much work for, I don’t know, maybe for almost a while there. And then a couple of saves at the end of the game that really brought us into overtime. “
3. When they got to training camp, Lorentz and Josh Leivo looked like they were fighting to see who would be the 12th and 13th strikers on opening night. Lorentz, who scored in the first third on Tuesday, seems to have consolidated his place with his game in the camp.
“I don’t want to say that I knew what to expect, but every time I stepped on the ice, when I came into this camp, I knew how high the level of combat had to be,” said Lorentz. â€œNo place is given, especially when you’re trying to get into the league. I take pride in my hard work and I really think I’ll put the work in in the summer and that’s pretty much the best I’ve ever felt at camp. “
Leivo did not stand out from their worst minus 4 in the 8-5 defeat in Tampa Bay last Friday. He didn’t play on Tuesday.
With Lorentz solidifying a place in the squad, Jarvis’ promotion, prospects for Drury and Jamieson Rees, who both have good camps, and veteran Stefan Noesen making an impression, the path to a place in the opening evening line-up for Leivo seems gossamer to be.
4. Golden Knights goalkeeper Robin Lehner held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to say that he has spoken to both the NHL and the NHLPA over a series of Twitter posts he posted on Saturday that touched a range of topics including medical ethics, mental health, Jack Eichel, and more. While the NHL – and society as a whole – has come a long way in better understanding mental health, pain management, and concussions, there are still worlds of knowledge and treatments that need further study and implementation.
I asked Brind’Amour – who has been one of the longest running players in the league during his career – how things have changed since his time on the ice.
“I look back, we did things we don’t do now,” the Hurricanes coach said of the pain management efforts. â€œBut it wasn’t because they were trying to make the boys play. They just didn’t know (the effects of the treatments). The moment they found out, ‘Oh, you can’t take this’ – they weren’t allowed to. … Whenever they find out something new or a better way to do something, we always do it. “
It’s a step in the right direction as the league, sport, and world have evolved in the treatment of concussions.
“Nobody knew what they were,” Brind’Amour said of concussions. â€œI’ve probably had a hundred of them based on the way they are doing (testing) now. Well, now you know that players always put safety first. … There is so much that we probably don’t know, but I think you are always with us. “
Lehner referred to Flyers coach Alain Vigneault in his Twitter diatribe as an old-school coach who hadn’t caught up with time, implying he was encouraging players to use pain medication, an accusation Vigneault denied.
What’s worth it, a source told me that the Hurricanes training staff are on the right page on this issue and that the team’s pain management is generally limited to common over-the-counter pain medication.
5. Speaking of injuries, Vincent Trocheck left the Red-White Scrimmage on Sunday with an injury that Brind’Amour described as a “central body injury”. Trocheck did not train on Monday and Tuesday and did not play in the preseason game on Tuesday.
Brind’Amour said the team were just too careful with Trocheck and he should be fine for the start of the season.