After months of previewing and speculating, the 2013-14 season is finally here for the Carolina Hurricanes and they face a very tough test tonight when they take on the Detroit Red Wings. I never like to read into opening night results that much because it's only one game, but after how the last two season openers went for Carolina (both 5-1 losses), it would be nice to see the Hurricanes come away with a win tonight. Especially since this hasn't exactly been an ideal off-season for the Canes. Between the news about Joni Pitkanen, the myriad of injuries affecting the club right now and the move to a tougher division, the feeling in Hurricanes camp right now is one of concern rather than hope.
Personally, I don't think the Hurricanes are going to be that outmatched in this new division as some may believe, but there are a lot of things that need to go right for them in order to make the playoffs. With so many key players injured during the pre-season, it may take a few games for the coaches to figure out what the full-time lineup will be and the next couple of weeks may not be pretty from Carolina's standpoint, especially since they play some very good teams at the beginning of their schedule.
There's definitely a lot to be concerned about if you're a Canes fan and I understand that but personally, I'm way more excited for this season than I was the last two or three. I might be a little more optimistic than I should be, but I truly don't believe the Canes were as bad as their record stated last season and I like that there is a lot up in the air for them this year. I don't know what to expect in terms of results or how the team will perform in the new division because there is still a lot that needs to be decided. All I do know is that this is going to be a much different Canes team than they were in year's past (for better or worse) and that really makes me look forward to this season even if most people are projecting the Canes to finish last in the division.
As for tonight's game, I really want to see the Hurricanes carry over their strong puck-possession game from last season and hang tough with Detroit but ultimately, I'm just hoping for a win. Even if it's one where they get outshot 35-22 and rely on luck to carry them. This is not how I want the Canes to win all of their games but for tonight, I'll be satisfied with a win no matter how it comes. I'm sure everyone else in the Triangle has the same mindset, so let's get to previewing the actual game.