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Cruising Towards the Playoffs Written by Carl O'Linacanes - February 24th, 2009

With the chemistry building line by line throughout the team, the Carolina Hurricanes seem next to unstoppable on their quest for the CMHL Championship. Is their form coming too early, or will the current success carry them to the playoffs and through every single round?

Carolina Hurricanes have managed to only lose one of their last 16 games played, and are undefeated in their last 10. How did this happen, and do they believe they can keep this up?

This reporter decided to ask coach Tony Granato what he thinks has happened to the team.

TG: "I think hard work is what currently defines this team. The veterans really want to show the young kids how it's done, and meanwhile, the kids want to show that they can get it done as well. It's like a competition carried out in a friendly spirit."

CoL: "A little earlier in the season, we were told about the monthly carrot - the top competitor if you will. Have you continued with this, and if so, who received the last one?"

TG: "Well, since it seemed successful, we did indeed continue to carry this out. Last time around Ryan Miller was selected, although it was rather tough as Jagr and newcomer Mara both could have been selected as well."

CoL: "Speaking of Mara, what were your feelings when GM AsmodeanReborn made the trade for him? Were you worried that the team would miss Wisniewski on the back end?"

TG: "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried, but I did remind myself that AsmodeanReborn's earlier trades this season sure seem to have worked out for the best. However, during the very first skate with the team, Mara showed that he belongs out there. He's rather big and uses his size well, he can move the puck, and he's been pretty much flawless back there. I was really concerned when I saw he was a -23 in the +/- column, but we haven't lost a single game since he came here, and he's +9 in those nine games, while the team has had 38 goals for and 21 goals against!"

CoL: "Are you worried at all about next season? There's going to be a lot of holes to fill this off-season."

TG: "Once again, I trust my GM. I think the team has a solid core, and we do have those 4 first round draft picks. While there's no guarantee any of our draftees will be able to play, we do have plenty of players we can move this summer as well. It's going to be tough to decide who stays and who goes on the goalie side. Both Elliott and Anderson are competing hard in order to grab at least the backup spot next season, and they both know that at least one of them will be moved, which only makes them work harder! You may say it's not exactly fair, but it wouldn't be fair to keep that kind of talent on the farm either when they're both good enough to play with the big boys!"

CoL: "How long do you think your loss-less streak can go for? Are you afraid of hitting a cold streak once the playoffs start?"

TG: "You know, I try not to dwell on it too much. It's inevitable that we'll lose a game or two sooner or later, but until then, we'll just enjoy the ride and make sure nobody starts coasting and playing at less than 100%. I've tried to not mess with the chemistry on the team, and it seems to have worked. We're getting solid numbers from all three top lines, and as long as every line can produce and get goals, I think it will be hard for other teams to stop us, knock on wood [Tony knocks his knuckles on the table]. We're just trying to play a game at a time right now. We weren't too happy about today's tie, despite the comeback from a 4-2 deficit. We lost our concentration a couple of times, and Predators took full advantage of it. We do NOT want to see this happen again."


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