Peter Koutroumpis, Managing Editor
RALEIGH, N.C. – I’m in.
I’m buying into riding along with the Carolina Hurricanes as part of the Redvolution through the 2017-2018 season.
I’m looking ahead to a historic finish.
This year’s edition of the Carolina Hurricanes, whatever form it eventually evolves into, must end an eight-year streak of missing the NHL playoffs.
There’s just too much hype, excitement, and giddiness surrounding a retooled and rebuilt roster that holds much more potential and promise to accomplish the feat more so than in recent years.
My normal take, and I’m working very hard to see past this, is that the Hurricanes are still a few more moves, pieces, players away – more specifically, a proven 30-goal scorer short of making that final push.
However, and this is a big however, I am going to take a very selfish and greedy stance on my outlook for this team this season.
They will make the playoffs.
They will do so because I, nor any other local media member covering this team, has had the privilege of covering playoff hockey here since 2009.
I want to cover a team that makes it past the 82-game threshold and is one of the 16 still left standing, ready to create postseason moments and plays that I can document for readers and fans, or anyone from 15 non-playoff markets who stumble upon them online.
I’ve tired of seeing results that turn out relatively the same.
Though not done intentionally, it’s turned my coverage of each home game I attend to a canned prep of a predictable result – a one-goal win following a dramatic comeback in the third period, or a loss after falling short in trying to stage that miraculous finish.
The players are working hard, and questioning head coach Bill Peters whether that is the case or not, is not a line of inquiry that I’ll follow.
Nope, I won’t do it and haven’t since a stern dressing down by him late in the 2015-2016 season during a pregame scrum before a matinee game against the Islanders, and following a tough loss to the Penguins.
It was a tense and stressful time, as the trade deadline was approaching – just before Eric Staal was dealt to the Rangers.
I’ll never doubt the effort of a team led by the man possessing The Hammer, particularly when he’s under pressure.
He knows how to put the pieces of a roster together and put them to work.
But back then, he also knew that the inconsistency of young up-and-coming players would inhibit the finish that this team needed.
That brief, yet impactful tirade showed me that he cares.
As this team hits the ice to begin training camp on Friday, I’m ‘all in’ believing that Captain Bill will get the ship on course and go full steam ahead towards the postseason.
And there I’ll be, life-preserver on and all, ready to sail.
If anything, it will be a more exhilarating ride to take than it has been for the past eight years, bobbing up and down in a lifeboat caught in choppy water, wondering if anyone will ever come by and rescue me.
Today I’ve fired the flare gun.
I’m finally going to make it to that 2018 NHL playoffs port-of-call, and it’s going to be on the good ship Carolina Hurricanes.