Who would of saw this coming? Especially when you’re looking back from the start of the 18/19 season back in October. Few analysts and fans alike thought the Canes weren’t going to do anything in the regular season, let alone make the playoffs. PNC Arena used to only draw 12,000 fans per game and now they’re now selling out at just over 19,000 during the playoffs. Their merchandise sales have also dramatically shifted positively due to some unique opportunities and unconventional marketing campaigns. Their product on the ice is also attracting fans from all over North America.
This is the jersey the Canes are wearing during their home games in the playoffs and has tremendously grown into the team identity. They were also 11-2-2 while wearing the jersey at home (one game was on the road) during the regular season. The players love the jersey so much that they’re collectively decided to wear it during their home games in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. This jersey will stick as an alternate for seasons ahead and probably will for a very long time.
Many off-season changes in 2018 were made for the Canes following another no-show to the playoffs. It was nine straight years without a playoff appearances so Canes management had to make some moves and take some chances.
No picks involved, it’s the five players: Lindholm and Hanifin for Hamilton, Ferland and Fox. As I reported yesterday, the negotiating meeting between Lindholm’s agent and the Hurricanes did not go well, paving the way for this trade— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 23, 2018
Trade talks previously weren’t getting very far but a deal was done nonetheless. Trading 1st round underacheivers Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to the Calgary Flames for Dougie Hamilton, Michael Ferland and Adam Fox at the 2018 NHL draft proved to be an excellent trade for both teams so far, especially the Canes. You can argue that the Flames won the trade due to Lindholm’s explosive breakthrough season with his new team but he wasn’t progressing in Carolina. On the same day, the Canes also selected Russian sniper, Andrei Svechnikov at 2nd overall. Another big win for the Canes and also an important piece to the Canes current playoff run.
The New Coach
Hiring Rod Brind’Amour as the Canes new head coach was by far the best move the Canes made in a long time. His personality and style of game when he was a player is a direct result on how his team plays is very noticeable. For anyone that didn’t watch him play, Brind’Amour played a responsible two-way game. How he played that game is what sticks out. He is intense, tenacious and hard-working. He forechecks hard and is always skating putting pressure on the opposing puck player. His tenacity is what was used to create offensive opportunities as well as he posted over 1184 points during his NHL career. He’s a great leader and motivator which leads to why the Canes chose him as captain when played with the team. He’s also a fitness freak and works out harder than most athletes of his caliber and even at the current age of 48, he still doesn’t stop. Who wouldn’t want him as a coach?
All of those traits lead to how the Canes play which is a “never-give-an-inch” style. They’re not overly flashy offensively but the current Canes team is aggressive on the puck at all ends of the ice. They skate hard and outwork opponents on most nights. That’s how they’re winning right now and it’s paying off.
Mr. Game 7
Of course, we’re talking about none other than Justin Williams. A clutch player with a colourful personality as he was the one that came with the storm surge celebration idea. His leaderships qualities are great as he is loved and admired by not just fans, but teammates as well. He was also on the Canes 06′ Stanley Cup win playing alongside with Brind’Amour. A knack for performing in Game 7’s, he has a current record of 8-1 with 15 points accumulated in those 9 games. He’s also a 3-time Stanley Cup winner so he has some stories to share with the younger boys on the team.
The On-Ice Product
With some young blood in Svechnikov, roster shakeup, new coach and Justin Williams as captain, the Canes have a nice blend of youth and experience to coincide with each other. Once the team assembled after pre-season as the regular season was just starting, things have become interesting. This all started on Oct. 7th, 2018 with the Canes winning their home-opener against the Rangers 8-5. A new celebration of epic proportions that has never been tried in the NHL was born. This is none other than the Storm Surge. Then more came along.
This team knows how to have fun ? pic.twitter.com/xKF4mwvqnJ— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) October 8, 2018
SURGIN’ ? pic.twitter.com/bnSCD1iozc— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) November 22, 2018
Another home win, another STORM SURGE ? pic.twitter.com/gWjpLXC9tL— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) December 16, 2018
The Quidditch Celly pic.twitter.com/FLjsDMNxEU— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) November 19, 2018
Whale whale whale, what have we got here? pic.twitter.com/SvCSdExMIA— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) December 24, 2018
Storm Surge: Bowling for Svech pic.twitter.com/xjssEuZp97— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) January 1, 2019
THIS IS HOW WE ROLL pic.twitter.com/t0AzatCrFn— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) January 12, 2019
We like it, we love it!— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) January 13, 2019
Another win, another Storm Surge ? pic.twitter.com/Obh9sU9UzQ
We set the bar tonight ? pic.twitter.com/dDJMsmcQlw— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) February 17, 2019
When The Bunch of Jerks Were Born
It all started with a post-game talk on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. long-time Coach’s Corner analyst Don Cherry, who spent a minute of his weekly intermission rant on the Hurricanes, condescending to the line that has endured: “ThEy’Re A BUnCh Of jERks aS FAr aS I’M COnCErNeD.”
“They’re a bunch of jerks.” – Don Cherry ripped the Hurricanes for their postgame celebrations. pic.twitter.com/MImbTXH5Xs— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) February 17, 2019
In case you forgot… pic.twitter.com/BKFH3kXj7Y— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) February 27, 2019
The Storm Surge you’ve been waiting for… CURLING! pic.twitter.com/xVe4QjVSkR— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) March 17, 2019
Duck Hunt Storm Surge! ? pic.twitter.com/K07Ctjdjs6— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) March 20, 2019
Don Adds More Fuel to the Fire!
Don Cherry vs. the Hurricanes is the best rivalry of the playoffs ? pic.twitter.com/kC6UzbF7mx— Gino Hard (@Ginohard_) May 5, 2019
Don Cherry further dismisses those Bunch of Jerks saying that the only reason why the fanss are filling up the arena is because they’re winning. Now they’re a “Bunch of Front-Running Jerks”. Once again, this cues another t-shirt promo.
Whether you like this or not, the Canes have created a great story for themselves. They have taken full advantage of Cherry’s rants and have turned it into an identity and a chance to profit from it. Imagine, just imagine if those bunch of jerks win the Stanley Cup.