For better or worst, the Storm Surge is officially over. Carolina Hurricanes captain Justin Williams officially kiboshed the team’s post-game shenanigans down the stretch in an effort to get his team focused on the task at hand: earning a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Now, the Canes are IN and we’re all left wondering… “When will they bring it back?”
There’s no question that the “Bunch of Jerks” in Raleigh, North Carolina have irked traditional hockey fans this season and, frankly, we love it. Canucks fans themselves are used to being looked at with disdain from the rest of the league… might we have found our kindred spirits with Canes fans?
1. First off… when’s it coming back? You know what I’m talking about.
Wait, what? When are the Canes bringing back Richard Petty driving a Zamboni down the interstate to promote the team? (This is a thing that actually happened shortly after they moved here.) Anyway, I don’t think there’s a Storm Surge coming if they win, like, Game 4 to pick up their first win of the series after being railroaded in the first three games of the series. But if the Canes win a game to go up in the series, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see something, even if it’s just the OG Surge of lining up at the blue line and jumping into the glass. And if the Canes happen to clinch the series on home ice, who knows? I have a feeling it would involve at least one oversized prop bracket and an animation of Abraham Lincoln working a “bunch of jerks” reference into the Gettysburg Address or something.
2. The Canes don’t have any BC boys on their roster, but head coach Rod Brind’Amour is a Vancouver Island legend. How big of an impact has he had on the team this season? How would you compare the team under him versus under former head coach Bill Peters?
Brind’Amour has been a really interesting case this season. Many people dismissed him as more of the same, after serving as an assistant to both Kirk Muller and Bill Peters, and there was definitely a learning curve. But once he got a little bit of experience under his belt, it became obvious that he was at his best simply being Rod Brind’Amour and letting that cover for any tactical shortcomings. You can tell that the players are buying what he’s selling. He might not be the best X’s and O’s coach, although he enjoys getting down in the weeds on things like faceoff etiquette, but his motivational skills are second to none and he has a knack for making his players feel confident. He’s also extraordinarily patient, sticking with line combinations for months at a time. On occasion that’s been to his detriment, most notably with a power play that’s been popgun more often than not, but guys know that they can make a mistake and it won’t result on them immediately being buried on the fourth line. For a team full of young players, that’s huge, and it’s to his credit that he’s made this team as confident and loose as they are.
3. What makes your Sebastian Aho the BEST Sebastian Aho? Bonus question: Aside from Aho is there a player on the Canes roster that Canucks fans can really grow to love? Warning… don’t say Micheal Ferland.
Our Aho is a Finn, he was in the NHL first, and he forces sites like Hockeyviz and Corsica to come up with creative ways to differentiate him and the Islanders’ Aho. At Hockeyviz he is “Aho (Younger)”, which makes him sound like an eleventh-century king of Norway. At Corsica the other one is “5ebastian Aho”, like a guy who wants to put an S on his license plate but it’s already taken. It’s hilarious. Anyway, if there’s a player to love on the Canes roster, it’s unquestionably Jordan Martinook. He’s a riot. He doesn’t take any crap from anyone on the ice, but he’s the class clown (and I mean that 100% as a term of endearment) inside the locker room. After the Canes clinched a playoff spot, you could hear him in the weight room whooping it up while the media tried to conduct interviews. Before we got in the room, he went around and gave everyone a bear hug before Brind’Amour came in for his short postgame speech. Why’d you do it, Jordan? “Well, I started on the far side (home to Curtis McElhinney and Jaccob Slavin) and didn’t want to leave anyone out, so I just went around the room.” He’s a piece of work, his teammates love him, and he plays like his pants are on fire every shift. Plus, he tried (poorly) to learn Russian this year from Svechnikov, who was on his line for most of the year. What’s not to love?
Thanks again to Brian LeBlanc for his time and consideration. It’ll be tough to see Micheal Ferland hoist the Cup if the Canes do indeed go all the way, but I think us Jerks here on the West Coast can get behind another loveable pack of Jerks from the South East.