Oh Carolina.

Last year was tough for the Carolina Hurricanes.

EStaal was minus-257 (ish) on the season.  Intern Jeff Skinner had a concussion and was limited to 20 goals.  Cam Ward’s save percentage was 36th among goalies (down from 17th the year before).  They picked up a little after getting a new coach in Kirk Muller, but still finished 23rd overall.

So you know what this summer is about.

Does Eric Staal look like a captain who messes around?  Or does he scrape a bad season off the windshield like a bug and intend to do something about it?

Action shot of Eric preparing to wipe the ice with someone and not laugh.

Eric (and management, though I prefer to think just of Eric) thought about how the Canes could get better: like more goals (ranked 16th overall) and a better power play (20th overall).  Then they looked around the NHL.

Action shot of Eric looking.

 The old saying goes, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”   Next best bet: “Get a slightly different version of your own DNA to do it for you.”

Saved this photo as “staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaals.jpg.”

You all heard me wailing when Jordan turned down 10 years with Pittsburgh.  He got traded to Carolina during his wedding reception (Ray Shero does not do the Electric Slide), and promptly signed an almost identical deal with Carolina.  It’s a great move from JStaal even if I get a little dramatic talking about it.

Farewell, my prince.

Since Jared Staal (I haven’t figured out how to abbreviate him yet) is already in the Canes system, Eric is just putting the band back together.  Ginger Staal can stay in NYC  (for now) in case they need a place to crash for New Year’s Eve.

Three down, one to go.

Consider the potential for mighty wings and Amish beards.  Now off-the-charts.

Out the right side of the plane, you’ll see a sod farm.

With Jordan on board, Eric turned the bus toward Washington, DC.  Or the outskirts, since that’s probably how far Alex Semin walked in the time the Caps did not re-sign him.  He started this walk in November, which explains a lot about how he played this season.  (Sorry I’m not sorry).

But (but, but, but), Alex Semin is an awesome natural talent.  It think Carolina is a great fit for him because 1) no Ovi and 2) no Ovi.  I’m not crazy about AO GR8 either, but he and Sasha were poison for each other.  Ovi gets lazy.  This time last year we thought he might put Jennifer Hudson out of a job as Weight Watchers spokesperson.  He helped run Boudreau out of town.  All the while Semin hid behind him like a bratty little brother.  When he did something good, #sashacares would trend on Twitter.  Sarcastic, yes.  Also true.

I wish I’d made this. Of course it’s from www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com.

Semin needs to be on his own.  Cut him loose, see if he can fly.  He has the ability to make $7 million/year look like a good deal.  Does he have the chutzpah?  If anyone can make him prove it, I think EStaal is the man for the job.  Eric has three little brothers + two kids + Skinner and does not put up with this crap.

Censoredcensoredcenored ARMS.

When Semin gets on track, I’ll be equal parts furious and face-palming.

What will this season bring for the Canes?  Coach Muller intends to test drive the Staal/Staal line in training camp [link], likely with Eric on the wing.  If they go Staal-Staal-Skinner, I swear that I will have the adorable-ocalypse meltdown.

Or they could roll two deep in front, with back-to-back Staal-centered lines and Semin alongside.    The Canes lost Brandon Sutter in the trade to Pittsburgh, who is “arguably the Canes’ best defensive forward” [link].  Well JStaal’s got that in spades, having been nominated in ’11 for the Selke Trophy.

More offense, more defense.  Things are looking sweet in Carolina.

(Red Sox fan.  I had to.)

I like the Hurricanes for no reasons other than my soft spot for expansion teams and my combined love for EStaal, Ward & Intern Jeff Skinner.  Maybe I always knew they’d get Jordan.  Maybe I just want a road trip to worship at the Shrine of Staal, as suggested by @thekitchenette.  Either way I hope the Canes do well this year.  Just not as well as the Caps.  Or the Lightning.

So really not that well at all.

ACK.  My Southeast Conference “Kill-F***-Marry” is getting crowded.  If the NHL realigns [link], I trade the Bolts for the Pens and things are even worse.  Basically I’d root for Carolina to finish 3rd in whatever their conference might be.  Realignment would require them to top the Flyers and Rangers for that to happen, landing behind Pittburgh and Washington in my ultimate fantasy reality.  No problem, right?

Now that I’ve confessed my crazy endgame, be honest.  How many of you have been window shopping new teams/players clothing this summer?

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  1. I have DEFINITELY been window shopping new shirseys. Methot, L. Schenn, Wolski, Parise, Nash…There’s gonna be a hole in my wallet the size of Crosby’s ass by the time the season starts. On top of all those, there are the players I haven’t gotten around to buying. Anyone willing to offer up some closet space?

  2. I’m sure this post was hilarious as your writing always is Pants…but reading this, my brain went a little like:

    Faceoff Pic – HAWT
    Locker Room Pic – HAWWWWWT
    Jesus ARMS and camo hat

    • That locker room pic has reinstated Eric as Favourite Staal.

  3. MouthGuard Reply

    Will be interesting to see what Cap’n Kirk can do with Semin, and whether Jordaaayyyyynnnn will serve as a DISTRACTION to Eric (and vice-versa). This team definitely got a LOT more fun this summer, that’s for sure.

  4. I am definitely adding Carolina to the ultimate East Coast hockey roadtrip next winter. I can justify it because aren’t Canes tickets, like, free with a Subway sandwich or something?

    • Veronica Reply

      Almost, Jess but if you play your cards right, you had drinks with a Canes season ticket holder in Chicago who maaaaaaayyyyyy have extra tix for a few games this season! Besides you have to get the tickets in Carolina before all the Pens/Sabres/Flyers/Rangers/Caps fans snatch them up!

      • Haha – deal! PS – your pictures were awesome!

  5. May have hurt myself laughing at that Weight Watchers comment. Well done.