Welsh had a hell of a game, huh?
By “a hell of a game”, I mean “calm down, son, and quit taking penalties”. But aside from his less than fortuitous start, I think Welsh had a good, promising game. The Hurricanes definitely wanted him; they sent Brind’Amour AND Francis to recruit him. Also, he was 31% in the faceoff circle, which for his first NHL game ain’t half bad.
As for the game…well. No +/- for this one.
The upshot of it all is, this game was pretty representative of the season. Plenty of jump, but a slow start and a lot of defeat on everyone’s faces.
The Canes were mentally screwed up at the beginning of the season. Muller fixed them up well – and fixed Eric Staal particularly – but it was too little, too late, and the wear and tear of a losing season showed on everyone’s faces tonight.
But you know what? I can’t be that broken up about it. For starters, I’ve been drinking, so I’m feeling pretty good. But on a serious level: two kids from Carolina got drafted in the OHL today. The Canes are deep as all get-out in the minors. Justin Faulk turned in a beautiful season. And the Canes played their last game against a team that’s going to the playoffs for the first time since 2000, and winning the division for the first time.
There’s hope in the Southeast, despite this absolute toilet of a season.
I’ll talk plenty in the long offseason about what the Canes need to do to have a good season next year, especially the value of a strong start. But right now I think it’s important to focus on two things. One, the odds of Boucher playing in the NHL next year are pretty slim, and it shouldn’t be hard to bury his contract. And two, Carolina hockey will be back next year, with an elite coach and a rejuvenated team.
So I’ll keep my head up. Hey, we could be doing a lot worse.