It has been a less than stellar season for the Carolina Hurricanes. A year after falling a hair short of the playoffs, they have been duking it out with Montreal for last place in the East for most of the season. Eric Staal has been struggling, the team doesn’t seem to be able to put anything together – outside of thumping the Bruins for some reason – and it has only started to turn around within the last two weeks as they have gone 5-1-4.
I looked at a little bit of history being made in the Western Conference earlier, so I thought I should note that in the Eastern Conference Carolina is flirting with some history of their own. Unfortunately, unlike their friends on the West Coast, the Hurricanes history is pretty futile.
If the season ended today the Carolina Hurricanes would be the worst shootout team in (post-lockout) NHL history.
As Luke DeCock of the Charlotte Observer notes:
In 2005-06, the first year the NHL instituted the shootout to break games tied at the end of overtime, Matt Cullen led the Hurricanes to an 8-2 record in the skills competition, which helped the Hurricanes to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Since then, the Hurricanes haven’t had quite as much luck. With Saturday’s shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, the Hurricanes fell to 0-6 this season, surpassing the NHL record for shootout futility of 0-5, set by … the Hurricanes in 2006-07.
What makes things more unlikely in Carolina this season is the fact they have the original shootout goal poster boy on their roster.
Even Jussi Jokinen, a career 46 percent shooter who is tied with Pavel Datsyuk for the all-time lead with 30 shootout goals, missed Saturday. He’s 2-for-5 this season.
“The shootout, it goes lots with the confidence,” Jokinen said. “When you’re going good, you’re going good. When its not going good, you don’t have the confidence and that confidence is always huge in the shootout.
“As a team, we need to be better. I need to be better, goalies need to be better, our other shooters need to be better. No one has been good in shootouts — not me, not the other shooters.”
The Hurricanes’ shootout struggles have been crippling to say the least. When you consider that had they even gone .500 in the shootout this season, they’d be right in the discussion of contenders to win the Southeast – which is just as much a reflection of how bad the Southeast is as anything else – it’ll be tough for ‘Canes fans to not wonder what could have been had the team not started so slow out of the gate and had a bit more luck in the skills competition.