In this recurring post, I ask some questions to a staff writer or editor of an opposing team’s FanSided Blog. This week, I interviewed the editor of the Carolina Hurricanes FanSided Blog, Cardiac Cane.
U&B: What has been the biggest strength for the Hurricanes so far?
Wes: The Hurricanes biggest strength has been their goaltending. Justin Peters stole a point Saturday night against the Lightning with 47 saves and has just been excellent this season. He should play against the Blue Jackets, but nothing has been announced yet. Cam Ward has also played well, but isn’t getting the accolades of Peters. But whoever is in net will give the team a chance at the win.
U&B: Who should the Columbus Blue Jackets look out for on the ice?
Wes: Jeff Skinner without a doubt. He didn’t have a great season last year, but has been the leader on offense this year. He has 12 goals in 20 games and leads the team in goals scored. He’s also helped create a dangerous first line with Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu, who were both struggling at the start of the season. If there’s a player that’s going to burn the Blue Jackets or any other team, on the rush, it will be Jeff Skinner.
U&B: Who do you see as the biggest threat to the Canes from the Blue Jackets?
Wes: Just looking at the Blue Jacket’s depth chart, the team’s speed seems like a tough task to handle, especially on defense. Jack Johnson, Nikita Nikitin and James Wisniewski are all fast defensemen that can jump into the play, which the Hurricanes need to be aware of. The offense also has a good amount of depth even without Marian Gaborik and Nathan Horton. The Canes will have to be aware of players like Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno and Boone Jenner, who all fly under the radar, but can score.
U&B: What is one area in which the Canes have struggled this season?
Wes: Offense. It seems that when the Hurricanes win, it’s one player that has a big game and a strong effort from the goalie in net. The Canes have good depth on offense on paper, but with Jiri Tlusty, Tuomo Ruutu and Jordan Staal all under performing at different points of the season, it’s been tough to find a good rhythm on offense. However, some games the offense shows up fine with several different players contributing. If everyone’s on their game, the Hurricanes have no problem scoring, but that doesn’t happen often.
U&B: What are your expectations for the upcoming game?
Wes: This is a tough game to call. The Blue Jackets and Hurricanes haven’t met in over a year and the game will be the first between the two as division opponents. I expect the first period to be almost a ‘feeling-out’ of each other. Just learning how each other play and getting acclimated, but by the end of the second and third period I expect it to get a little chippy and seem like a regular division game.
A huge thank you to Wes Herrmann for answering my questions! You can follow him on twitter here. Be sure to check out our Game Day Posts and follow along on Twitter during the game. Come back soon for another edition of “Behind Enemy Lines.”