A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year, You're My Only Vice

This shall be the last post of 2005, so I'd like to wish everyone a pleasant 2006 filled with many jaw-dropping goals, eye-popping saves, and brain rattling body checks.

This calendar year has been filled with lots of ups and downs, and on a personal level some really unfortunate stuff. I'll be looking forward to a better year in 2006. Most importantly, I hope I'm still going to home games in June.

I'll be heading out to the game shortly, and I'll probably stay sober tonight. How fun is that? Maybe a beer or two before the game, but I'll be driving tonight, and there's no sense in taking chances on New Year's Eve, with all the "crazies" out there. Especially with my new wheels and all.

Click the post title for an iTunes file of my favorite "New Year" song. Happy New Year by Camera Obscura. Primary assist goes to my friend Reid, who used the same gimmick in his first post of 2005. Yeah, I know. It's hard to believe, but I have friends. It's even harder to believe that I have friends who don't like hockey. He's one of them.

Note: the link only works if you have iTunes installed. If not, ... sorry. I'm too lazy to convert it to mp3.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Rosencrantz and Hutchenstern ain't dead

I've really enjoyed using nicknames for my Carolina Hurricanes this season. Some players have built-in nicknames, or they have names that lend themselves to nicknames really easily. Some just don't have nicknames. Tonight, I and my friends were trying to come up with a nickname for Chad LaRose. Before I get into that, I'll go down the Hurricanes roster and give the nickname(s) that I use. Bear in mind that some of the nicknames aren't widely used. Some of them, in fact are only used by myself and Jenn and Andy (of Jenn and Andy fame).

Numerically by position:

  • # 8 Matt Cullen -- "Matty", "Cully", "Alfalfa"
  • #11 Justin Williams -- "Viva", or the more proper "Viva La France"
  • #12 Eric Staal -- "Staalsy"
  • #13 Ray Whitney -- "The Wizard", "Tiny Tim"
  • #14 -- Kevyn Adams -- "Kev", "K-Ad"
  • #16 Andrew Ladd (currently on IR) -- no nickname
  • #17 Rod Brind'Amour -- "Roddy", "Brindy", "Hot Rod"
  • #19 Radim Vrbata¹ -- "Verby", "Czech Connection, party of one"
  • #26 Erik Cole --"Colesy"
  • #27 Craig Adams -- "CrAdams", "Craiggers", "Craigasaurus Rex"
  • #36 Jesse Boulerice -- "Bull"
  • #44 Niklas Nordgren -- "Nicky"
  • #59 Chad LaRose -- ???
  • #61 Cory Stillman -- no nickname
  • #63 Josef Vasicek (currently on IR) -- "Czech Condor", "Big Joe", "Yo", "Joe-Va", "Yo-Va"

  • # 2 Glen Wesley -- no nickname
  • # 4 Aaron Ward -- "A-Ward"
  • # 5 Frantisek Kaberle -- "Frank", "Franky"
  • # 6 Bret Hedican -- "Kristy", "Bredican", "Hediguchi", "Yamican", "Triple Sowcow", "You're a HediCAN, not a HediCAN'T"
  • # 7 Niclas Wallin -- "Nicky", "Secret Weapon"
  • #22 Mike Commodore -- "Mikey", "Mikey C", "Commie", "C-64"
  • #24 Andrew Hutchinson "A-Hutch", "Hutch", "Hutchenstern"
  • #70 Oleg Tverdovsky "Tevvy"

  • # 29 Martin Gerber -- "Marturs Gerbe", "Gerbs", "Gerber Baby", "Marty"
  • #30 Cam Ward -- "Wardo"

Please note, also that I do not endorse the use of "Wardo" as a nickname for Aaron Ward. He's "A-Ward". Nor will I endorse the use of "Lazy Russian" (as in "move your feet, you Lazy Russian") as a nickname for Tverdovsky. Some people will use both of these, but I use neither.

If you need to know the origin of some of these odd ones, let me know.

Now, on to Chad LaRose. He's been impressing me, so we thought that it was time for the youngster to have a nickname.

At first, it seemed like he should have a nickname of regal proportions. Something like "Chadwyck Von Rosenburg VII". That doesn't really flow off the tongue when you're cheering the boys on from the stands. The obvious ones like "Rosey" don't really work. Nor does anything like "Chadders" or "Chaddy". Somebody else suggested "Mighty Might", but we don't really wand to disparage him with a nickname, so we nixed that. I kinda like "Ad-Ro", but nobody else did. I even thought that something totally random like "Giraffe" or "Celery" might work, but couldn't come up with anything good. At the last minute Jenn came up with "Rosencrantz", which is terrific, but obviously means that there would have to be someone else to fit into the "Guildenstern" part of that
(movie) equation(book). We couldn't come up with a suitable Canes player to fill that name out, but Andy suggested "Staalenstern". Not bad.

It wasn't until I was almost home that I came up with one that I like much better. Andrew Hutchinson could be "Hutchenstern" to La Rose's "Rosencrantz".

What do you think of all this? Suggestions for other nicknames? Questions about some of the ones I named?

¹ I just found out that Verby was traded to Chicago for future considerations. I'm guessing we'll recall Mike "Ziggy" Zigomanis from Lowell to fill out the roster.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Canes get a point in frustrating OT loss to Philly

The Broad Street Bullies came into town tonight and walked away with two points to pad their lead in the Atlantic Division. They earned their 53rd point and widened their lead over the Rangers to five points. The single point earned by the Canes is their 50th point, and puts the Southeast division gap at nine points between Carolina and Tampa.

The first period left nothing to write home about. Some heavy action in Carolina's end, and some very nice stops by Cam Ward, getting his first start in a LONG time.

Brian Savage of the Flyers broke the scoreless tie at 5:44 of the second with a helper from RJ Umberger.

Five minutes later, while Chris Theiren was in the box serving a double minor for high-sticking, the Canes were able to score two power play goals. The first on was Cory Stillman, with helpers from Bret Hedican and Frank Kaberle. There were just four seconds remaining on the front end of the double minor, so the Canes stayed put on the power play. 58 seconds later, they connected again with a goal from Matt Cullen. Ray Whitney and Frank Kaberle had the helpers.

With the second period winding down, the visitors got a goal at 18:50 from Fred Meyer IV. It was his first NHL goal, and it was a beauty. A bomb from the top of the right face off circle through heavy traffic. Simon Gagne and Foppa assisted.

Early in the third, the Canes got the lead at 1:48 on Matt Cullen's second goal. Whitney and Mike Commodore got the assists on that one.

Philly tied it up at 9:26 on a goal from Gagne. I thought it was Kim Johnsson's goal, but they instead gave him the primary assist, and the second assist to Michal Handzus. That goal was Gagne's 27th of the season, putting him one ahead of the slumping Eric Staal.

The rest of the period was insane, with each goalkeeper making some tremendous stops. The Canes were running out of gas, and it was really showing in the defensemen. We had a really hard time keeping out of our own end, and the checking was almost non-existent.

The same applied to the overtime period, and at 1:27, Sami "The Flying Finn" got one past Ward for the game winner. Handzus and Mike Rathje got assists.

During the second period, there was a scary moment for Rathje. He took a Rod Brind'Amour slapshot in the throat. He immediately went down, and both teams medical staff lingered around for several minutes until Rathje was able to skate off on his own power. Late in the third, there was yet another scary moment. Eric Cole whiffed on a big check, and ended up going face-first into the boards. He suffered lacerations on his forehead, and had to skate off to the locker room. He never returned, and I don't know the status of his injury other than that.

After three consecutive HUGE games (Tampa, Ottawa, Philly) in a four night span, the Canes will rest tomorrow night. They got two out of a possible six points in those games, so it wasn't a total loss, but we'd like to see better performance against top teams. Then back at it on New Year's Eve against another top dog in the East, Les Habitants. They'll get a slight break from the tough games with the first three games of the new year (Atlanta, Islanders, Islanders), then consecutive home games against Detroit and Nashville.

All I'm saying is that it might be a while before the Canes are able to put together a winning streak of any kind. This schedule is a monster. Whatever happens, this'll be good practice for the playoffs.

The good from tonight is that Carolina went two of seven on power plays, and shut down Philly on their four power play chances. Cam Ward made some absolutely jaw-dropping stops, specifically in the second period. I think he did a superb job, facing 40 shots. Unfortunately, as the game wore on, the defense weakened, and he was pretty much out there on his own.

Chad LaRose (nickname forthcoming) continues to impress me. He's always going to be the smallest player out there, but he's also going to be the one who hustles the most. He gives it all every shift, and he is an excellent skater and puckhandler. He makes some really nifty moves through traffic. Some day in the not too distant future, he's going to be a very good player.

Up next, the New Year's Eve ball with the Montreal Canadiens.

Sens win 6-2

Carolina got completely crushed on Wednesday night. The score was 6-2, but it wasn't even that close. All throughout the game, the Sens showed why they're the number one team in the Eastern Conference. They outskated Carolina, played VERY well on special teams (even scoring two shorthanded goals, and they were very aggressive with their checks.

In the first period, there were revolving doors on both penalty boxes. Carolina had two five-on-three segments, but failed to come through. That was a harbinger of things to come. Carolina had ten power play chances and only converted on one of them. They also gave up two shorties. I could blame Bret Hedican, I could blame Marturs Gerbe, but the fact of the matter is, Ottawa was really on their game.

I have to seriously tip the ole ball cap to Dominik Hasek, who was absolutely standing on his head. Carolina has many quality chances, but he was up to the task in stopping 35 tries.

Lucky for me, I didn't watch the game live, as Wednesday night is Scrabble night. When I got home, I watched the DVR, and I was in horror the whole time.

Better luck tonight when we take on the "pouting petulant prima donna" and the Flyers in our own barn. Of course he's on the IR, so we won't even get to boo his sorry ass. I guess we'll have to pick on Freddy Meyer IV. I still want to know if he's related to this Fred Meyer. Anybody know?

I'm on my way out the door right now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Oh, this IS good news.

The Canes made two transactions today, after the rosters were unfrozen (thawed out?).
The first one that I saw was that there was a straight up trade with Washington. We gave them 29-year old "prospect" Colin Forbes in exchange for 25-year old Stephen Peat. Peat's role has always been that of the goon, and frankly, I'm not sure we need that. Perhaps, though, the guys are getting kicked around in Lowell (which is where he's headed), and the Lockmonsters need an enforcer. It kind of makes sense, actually, in that light since we recently recalled CrAdams, who can fill that role. This trade, I can take or leave. It might never make an impact on the NHL level.

The other trade, which TSN hasn't caught wind of yet, is the one that makes me thrilled. Somehow, the Canes tricked the Coyotes into thinking that Krispy is worth a crap. They unloaded him to Phoenix in exchange for Krystofer Kolanos, who looks on paper like a much better NHL player. He'll report to Lowell, where he should make an immediate impact. As far as Krispy is concerned, there are no Krispy Kreme stores in Phoenix, but there are two in San Antonio, which is the AHL affiliate of Phoenix. He'll be headed there, and the doughnuts will be in great supply.

The best thing is that this organization is finally rid of that clown. And I'll drink to that!

HUGE game tonight; Eastern Conference on the edge of its collective seat

Tonight, the Hurricanes will take on the Senators in Ottawa. This will be the fourth and final regular season matchup for the two teams. In October, the Canes defeated Ottawa at home at the front end of a nine game winning streak. In November, there were two matchups, with each team losing in their own barn. Buffalo, who is idle tonight and trails Ottawa by two points in the Northeast Division, will be rooting hard for the Canes. Tampa Bay, who is hosting Les Habitants tonight, will have one eye on this game and one on their own.

Both the Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson line and the Cole-Staal-Stillman line have been en fuego of late. Spezza is listed as day-to-day with a pulled chest muscle but they will find an ample replacement to center the "big" line. Carolina won't be sad if he can't lace them up tonight. He was a factor in all three games, totaling two goals and two assists. He scored the game winner the last time the two teams met.

Carolina has no new injuries. The Czech Condor and Andrew Ladd are both out with knee injuries, as they have been for some time. Nik "Secret Weapon" Wallin is expected to make his return to Carolina's blue line tonight. The bad thing about that is that Andrew Hutchinson may be scratched. In fact, he may be scratched several games in a row if Wallin is back. He just needs one more point!

The keys for Carolina will be to prevent Alfredsson from getting on the score sheet, to find a way to be effective on special teams, and to get some production from places other than our big line. Kevyn Adams? Rod Brind'Amour? Maybe even from our defensemen. Aaron Ward? A-Hutch? The PK has been fine, but the PP has been hot and cold. This is no time for a cold streak.

This is a potential preview of an Eastern Conference Finals matchup. It should be a dandy. Puck drop is at 7:30. Fire up your DVRs!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Canes lose, but keep point streak(s) going

The Hurricanes lost a tough one in Tampa on Monday night in a very exciting game. I won't give much in the way of a proper game recap. Danny Boyle got the game winner for Tampa at 4:27 of the overtime period after some furious action in Carolina's end of the ice. It was his first goal since November 23. Despite the loss, we have a few things to be happy about:
  1. Even though there was a net loss of one standings point, we still got one point. The boys have gotten points in six straight games. Now Carolina's lead over Tampa is eight. Ottawa and Buffalo each won their game to keep the margin in the Northeast at two points. Meanwhile, since Ottawa beat the Rangers and Philly beat Florida, the Rangers widened their lead in the Atlantic to three points.
  2. Andrew Hutchinson assisted a Matt Cullen power play goal at 15:13 of the first period. Hutch now has one goal and six assists for seven total points. Just one more! He's been a nice surprise as a defenseman, and another valuable part of the power play quarterbacking team.
  3. US Olympian Erik Cole scored a dandy of a goal on a semi-breakaway only forty seconds into the third period to knot the game at four. In addition, he assisted on one of Matt Cullen's two goals. He extended his personal point streak to four games. During that span, he has three goals and five assists.
  4. With an assist of a Matt Cullen goal an unassisted goal at 17:30 of the first period and an assist on a Cory Stillman goal in the second period, Canada pseudo-Olympian Eric Staal kept his personal point streak going. He has points in each of the last four games, totaling four five goals and five four assists in that span. On the season, Staalsy has 51 points (25/26 26/25) in 35 games played.
  5. Cory Stillman's goal at 3:58 of the second means he has a point in his last five games. During the streak he has one goal and seven assists.
  6. Matt Cullen had two goals a goal in the first period, extending his own streak to four games. He's got four three goals and two assists in those games.

note: originally, the Staal goal was credited to Cullen on a re-direct, but after the game, they ruled that it was all Staal.

Viva was unable to extend his streak to six games, and Brind'Amour was unable to extend his to seven, but the point remains that they're really spreading it around, and they're staying "hot" as a unit. Not just one or two guys, but the whole team is getting it done.

Things the Canes should be concerned about:
  1. Despite converting on both power play chances in the first period, and two of four for the game, the Hurricanes PP unit is volatile, at best. I'd settle for a "slightly better than average" PP so long as it's consistent. As is, they're Jekyll one night, and Hyde the next.
  2. Marturs Gerbe isn't good at handling the puck. He did really well with it earlier in the season, but he's been having trouble lately, including having some difficulty with the trapezoid. Tonight's issue was not trapezoid-related, but he earned the TEVVY for the night by trying too hard to play the puck instead of letting a skater come get it. While we were on a power play in the first, Gerber went behind the net to chase a puck, played it really awkwardly into the hands of the short-handed Lightning, lost his stick in the process, and gave up the shorty to Dave Andreychuk at 17:03. He tried too hard in the Florida game on Friday night, too. I commented about it to my friends at the game, but he got away with it then. He even picked up an assist on Friday. He didn't get away with it tonight, and I wish he'd cut it out.
  3. Bret Hedican isn't playing well lately. He's gotten away with some really bad passes in the past couple of games, and he wasn't the scapegoat tonight, but sooner or later, his sloppy play in our own end is going to hurt us. In general, he's an excellent defenseman, but he might be thinking about his groin injury too much.

Next: a Wednesday blockbuster bonanza at the Eastern Conference leading Senators. In three matchups so far, the Canes have won two and lost one.

I'll keep ya posted.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Canes flirt with disaster, beat Cats, keep streak alive

It was a really ugly game, but Carolina managed to narrowly avoid catastrophe as they defeated Southeast Division rival Florida Panthers 4-3 on Friday night.

In an imitation of their 2002-03 selves, the Canes were absolutely horrifying on the power play. The word "anemic" doesn't quite do justice to it. Carolina "enjoyed" FIFTEEN power play opportunities, including two different five-on-three situations, but only managed to pot one goal while up a man. Honestly, at least two of those power plays looked more like penalty kills, because the Panthers had shorthanded chances. A few other power plays elapsed without us even taking a shot.

I hate to sound like a spoiled little bitch, but the boys played like total shit, and they're very lucky to have won. They could have scored about ten goals. They certainly had ample chances. In actuality, they kind of deserved to lose. One for fifteen is completely inexcusable. Especially in our own barn.

All pissing and moaning aside, there was some good. Eric Staal once again demonstrated that he's in the upper echelon of NHL by adding one goal and one assist to his already astonishing numbers. He now has 25 goals and 24 assists in 34 games. He's on pace for a 118 point (60/58) season. On his goal, he came in on a breakaway, and wristed one past Luongo that barely eked by the right post at 4:39 of the second. He also assisted Brindy on the only power play goal we scored -- a five-on-three. That goal put the boys ahead 4-2 at 12:41 of the third, and proved to be the game winner.
Incidentally, on the Brindy goal, Marturs Gerbe picked up an assist, his second of the season. He's now in a seven way tie for league lead in goalie assists.

Viva had just scored a nifty goal at 9:38 of the third to snap a 2-2 tie. Kevyn Adams and Erik Cole assisted. Cole was being harassed, and made a ONE HANDED pass to the streaking Williams.

The Canes other goal was really sweet. At 14:24 of the first, Bret Hedican centered a pass to Matt Cullen out front. Cully had his back to the goal, but backhanded one through his legs and past Luongo. The secondary assist came from Cory Stillman.

For the Cats, Olie Jokinen scored two goals (15:41 of the first and 18:29 of the third), and assisted Gary Roberts only :53 into the second. Since the local media hands out the stars of the game, Jokinen was denied that meaningless honor, but he deserved to have the second star.

The ugly ugly win means that Carolina swept their five game home stand and have won seven of the last eight contests overall.

Buffalo cruised past Tampa 4-1, thanks to solid play between the pipes by Ryan Miller, who was unfortunately left off Team USA. Although the Sabres weren't able to pick up any ground on the blazing hot Senators, (who beat the Islanders 4-2) the Sabres victory is good news to Canes fans, as it allows the Canes to widen their lead in the Southeast to nine points.

Up next for the Canes: a Boxing Day matchup with the Bolts in Tampa. Then home against Philly, on the road against the Thrashers, and a New Year's Eve home game against the Habs.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Staal, Spezza relegated to taxi squad. Crosby left out entirely.

When the USA announced their Turin roster on Monday night, there was a little bit of head scratching, but honestly, I'm completely dumbfounded by what Canada has done.

Team USA decided to include Chris Chelios and Keith Tkachuk while leaving Brian Leetch and Jamie Langenbrunner behind. Chelios instead of Leetch?!?! Are you kidding me?!
I can't begin to understand that one. And although Jamie Langenbrunner isn't the most spectacular player in the league, I like him. He's one of the non-Canes that I like to see play. Anyway, I like him a whole lot better than fat boy. All joking aside about his pre-season weight issues, Keith Tkachuk is presently injured for the third time this season. He'll be off the ice with a hand injury until at least late January. If I were the one making those decisions, I would have replaced Chelios with Leetch and Tkachuk with Langenbrunner. Maybe even Matt Cullen.
And Derian Hatcher? Sorry. How 'bout Paul Mara instead?

I know, I know. They wanted to go with a mix of experience and youth. On the Chelios/Leetch thing, they've both played at the Olympics three times. They've both played in a total of 16 games. Chelios has seven points in Olympic play (3/4) while Leetch has 13(2/11). Leetch is younger and is much more effective than Chelios. And he would still be able to provide veteran leadership to the blueliners. I don't get it.

As an aside, the USA Hockey website keeps referring to coach Peter Laviolette as being from Raleigh. He lives there now, but is in fact from Franklin, Massachusetts.

Actually, Team USA isn't what's got me all fired up this morning, though. It's team Canada.

Maybe it's because I'm a homer, but I'm far from being alone in my outrage at the relegation of Eric Staal to the taxi squad. What in the world do you have to do to prove your mettle? Lead the league in goals? Okay, got that. Demonstrate an ability to take a game into your own hands, and dominate said game? Got that. Show tremendous play-making skills? Got it. Yeah, Staal gets to go to Turin, but he'll be watching the games from the bleachers. Sitting alongside one of the most spectacular players in the game, Jason Spezza. That's so unfair.

Meanwhile, I think Canada was remiss in their inclusion of Shane Doan and Kris Draper. Yes, these guys provide international experience with Team Canada, but so does the rest of the roster. I don't like these two dudes, and I think it's a horrible mistake to deny Spezza and Staal a regular spot.
It's all academic anyway, since Canada should have a clear path to the medal round. They could easily put together two teams who would contend for gold.
In the end, Staal will get to stand on the podium, and he'll get the medal, but if he doesn't get a chance to play, it won't be the same feeling. Oh, and he'll get over it pretty quickly as he'll get to hoist the freakin' Cup in June.

Crosby? Sorry, but I just don't care. I think he's a little bitch. Granted, he's a little bitch who's a great hockey player, but he's a little bitch. One of my favorite moments from this season was in a game on October 29. The Canes were visiting Pittsburgh. While both teams were changing lines, there was a lot of commotion at the bench area. Vasicek and Crosby somehow got tangled. It was really quick. Crosby was running his mouth, and Big Joe caught him squarely in the face with a left cross that bent his head straight back like a PEZ dispenser.

Like I say, this is immaterial. Canada will win a medal without Crosby. They'll win a medal even if Staal and Spezza are in the stands.

In other Olympic roster news concerning Hurricanes, defenseman Frantisek Kaberle has been named to the Czech Republic's roster, and netminder Martin Gerber has been named to the Swiss team.

Former Canes Marek Malik (Czech Republic), Arturs Irbe (Latvia), and Sami Kapanen (Finland) were also asked to represent their countries.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Canes top Bolts 6-4, widen lead in SE

On Tuesday night, the Hurricanes beat Tampa 6-4, fortifying their lead in the Southeast division to seven points. After two 5-2 losses, the Canes were able to best the Lightning for the first time this season. They will meet again on Monday night in Tampa.

The first period was furiously paced, with four goals scored in the first nine minutes. It all got started with a Tampa power play goal at 3:36 by Fredrik Modin in close with assists from Brad Richards and Vaclav Prospal. At first, the goal was credited to Richards, but it was clear that Modin had the re-direct.

At 6:41, Eric Staal answered with his 23rd goal of the season on a play that was beautifully set up by Erik Cole. Cole fed Staal who hammered at it from the goal mouth, but had to patiently wait for a rebound and a second chance. Sean "wife beater" Burke couldn't stop the second chance. Secondary assist went to Cory Stillman.

With the Canes on the power play, Andrew Hutchinson wristed one in from the top of the right faceoff circle at 8:38. Assists came from Viva and Matt Cullen. A-Hutch spoke recently about how the coaches would like to see him shoot more on the power play. I like those results. I also like the fact that he's that much closer to proving Jes wrong.

Before the dust could settle, Tampa answered right back at the 8:54 mark. Vinny Lacavalier and Rob DiMaio assisted Prospal on a momentum-killing goal to knot it up at two.

At 18:15, Staal probably assured his spot on Team Canada by netting a gorgeous goal, his 24th, that was assisted by Viva and Team Czech hopeful Frank Kaberle. From the bottom of the right faceoff circle, Staal threaded a shot through the legs of defenseman Nolan Pratt. Wife beater never even saw it.

The second period wasn't nearly as frenetic, but there was still plenty of action.

At 7:51, Team USA member Erik Cole made a really nice play to bat a rebound out of mid-air and into the net. Birthday boy Cory Stillman (32 years young today!!!) and Team Russia hopeful Oleg Tverdovsky assisted.

Ryan Craig somehow managed to send it over the line for the Bolts amongst a whole slew of folks for a power play goal at 16:27. Assisted by Evgeny Artyukhin and Martin St. Louis.

As the second frame came to a hectic close, the little guy scored at 19:53 off an offensive zone draw won by Brad Richards. Score tied 4-4. Golbez says that faceoff wins are overrated. The folks at The Puck Stops Here tend to agree with him. Concurring with them is Tom Benjamin. I join James Mirtle in a dissenting view that faceoffs are in fact, extremely important, and perhaps underrated. In this example, if Tampa doesn't win that draw, Carolina sends it down ice, Tampa doesn't score, and the period ends.

In the third, Carolina exerted themselves on the power play, scoring on two of four third period man advantages.
At 3:05, Matt Cullen, who is still hoping to make the USA's Taxi Squad put one in with a helper from Staal. A five-on-three segment had just elapsed, but the Canes still managed to cash in with the five-on-four. Eric Staal made it look easy, carrying the puck behind the goal line and dishing to a wide open Cullen for the finish.

Rounding out the scoring was Viva, on another power play at 12:10. Assisted by Rod Brind'Amour and Tevvy.

All told, the Canes were three of nine on the power play, which is very encouraging.

Another very encouraging thing is that Tevvy had a great game. On the scoresheet, he had two helpers. Not on the scoresheet is that he was absolutely amazing on D. Not just blocked shots, but the less glorious stuff. Denying lanes, breaking up passes and the like.

So, with a game still in hand, the Canes are now seven points ahead of Tampa in the Southeast. After a Friday night game at home against Florida, the going will get rough. The four games between Christmas and New Year's will be at Tampa, at Eastern Conference leader Ottawa, then home games against Philly and Les Habitants.

Andrew Hutchinson was put back on defense, and was apparently no worse for the wear following that rough ride he got at the end of Saturday's game with the Devils. The goal tonight was his first as a Hurricane and his fifth NHL goal in 33 total games. Added to his five assists, he now has six points on the season. I have made improvements to the hot dog with cheese monitor. That picture is my own, taken during our win over the Devils on Saturday. Click the picture to get an enlarged version.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Just in time for Christmas ... an obsolete toy.

The new McFarlane NHL figures came out today. Series 10.
Everyone loves these little (sometimes big) figurines. You've probably got several in your house.
The new figures are Jose Theodore, Rick Nash, David Aebischer, Iggy, Robert Lang, Martin St. Louis, Jagr, and (unfortunate timing) Thornton. Obviously, although they were released today, the figures were made well in advance of the trade. We all thought Thornton would be a Bruin until the end of time, so this is maybe going to sell out very quickly and become a collector's item.

Here's what it looks like:

Coming soon from McFarlane: Napoleon Dynamite figures. December 26.

Team USA to be named today, Coach Lavi featured in NYT

The final roster for team USA will be announced today. Somehow I missed it, but yesterday, the New York Times ran a pretty nice article » (login info)« about Canes coach Peter Laviolette, who will be coaching the boys in Turin.

Fire up your DVRs or better yet, tune in to OLN tonight for the Stars v Wild game at 8:00 eastern time. The announcement will come live. I suppose during the first intermission.

From that game, Brian Rolston of the Wild and Mike Modano and Bill Guerin of the Stars are expected to be shoo-ins. Despite their age, Guerin and Modano can still turn it on, and I would expect Modano to wear the C.

I can't give a full prediction on who will be on the final roster, but I can say that I'd really like for J-Ro and Tkachunky to be left off. I'm not alone in wanting Roenick left behind, but I know lots of folks are counting on fat boy to be there.

I'll also say that I'm hoping to see two Minnesotans that nobody ever talks about in terms of Team USA -- Jamie Langenbrunner and Matt Cullen. Cullen is probably the darkest of dark horses, but Laviolette likes the guy a lot.

A lot of people are talking about John-Michael Liles as a darkhorse, but I don't see how in the world he could be left off. Wherever you see people penciling the name Chris Chelios, scratch that off, and put Liles in his stead. People can't seriously talk about keeping Chelios on the USA roster. He's actually old enough to have played on Herb Brooks' 1980 team, and he was the only bright spot on that fiasco of a team in Nagano '98, but he's not what he used to be. We need to go with youth where we can.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Canes win 4-1, widen lead in Southeast

While the Lightning were busy getting creamed by the Red Wings 6-3, the Canes took care of business on their end by defeating the visiting Devils 4-1.
Also in the East, Buffalo continued their torrid pace with a 4-3 win over lowly Pittsburgh. However, they couldn't gain any ground on Ottawa, who crushed Toronto 8-2. Ottawa has three games in hand and a lead of three points over Buffalo in the Northeast. Carolina has one game in hand and a five point lead over Tampa in the Southeast. In the race for top spot in the East, Ottawa leads Carolina by four points and they have two games in hand.

Rod Brind'Amour got us off on the right foot with a power play goal at 8:58 with helpers from Cory Stillman and Viva. Martin Brodeur was beaten badly on the goal, not looking anything like the goalie who used to own the Canes. There wasn't a whole lot of other action, as the teams combined for only 16 shots in the first period, but the penalty boxes were busy.

At 11:53 of the second, Devils newcomer Aleksander Suglobov scored a power play goal with helpers from Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Gionta. It was Suglobov's first NHL goal, and the Devils' first PP goal in ten games. Interestingly, Suglobov wasn't even on the lineup card. Because of this, I suppose that in theory, Coach Laviolette could have protested the goal and they might have had to wave it off. I'll consult the rules book and get back to you on that.

The third was a goal-o-rama. At 1:59, rookie Chad LaRose scored into a vacated net for his first NHL goal with assists from Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen. On the play, Whitney was coming in unmolested and he forced Brodeur so far out of his net that when Whitney fed LaRose, Brodeur might has well have been sitting in the third row of section 129. LaRose had a tremendous camp, and was the last guy to be cut. Despite his lack of stature (5'10" / 173lbs) he is a very poised player, and an extraordinary skater. He's been playing really well since his call-up last week, tallying four points (1/3) so far in six games.

Just 19 seconds later, before the PA announcer could even announce the goal, the Canes struck again. Eric Staal scored his 22nd goal of the season by finishing a play created by Stillman and Erik Cole. Stillman left an absolutely gorgeous drop pass for the streaking Staal to poke in.

At the 15:17 mark, Erik Cole finished the scoring by slamming one home with assists from Stillman and Staal.

Staal now has 22 goals and 22 assists. His total of 44 points is eighth best in the league. At $942K, he has to be the best bargain in hockey. To be honest, I have no idea what kinds of performance bonuses he had built into his contract (of which this is the last year), but I'm quite sure that he'll be making substantially more than his base salary. I know it's a tough call to make, but I don't see how he could be left off Team Canada.

Speaking of which, who's going to be the one to make that call now that Gretzky's out? Technically, he hasn't stepped down from that post yet, but it would be physically impossible for him to handle those duties at this point given his situation.

One final note -- my boy Andrew Hutchinson was in the wrong place at the wrong time late in the third. He was checked hard into the bench area just as the door to the Canes' bench was open. Door closed, he would have hit the wall with no incident. Door open, he hit the frame of the door with his ribs. He hobbled off to the dressing room and never came back. I haven't been able to find anything about his status.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Canes win lousy game 2-1

Thursday night's game with the Blue Jackets was NOT one for the ages, but we got two standings points, so I guess it's okay.

For a number of reasons, the arena was damn near empty. The weather was really cruddy. Freezing rain, ice accumulations of up to a half inch. People don't like to go out in stuff like that. Also, the game wasn't part of the very popular "24 game pack", so most likely the only folks there were full season ticket holders. It's been a month since I've been to a game, so I'm getting really anxious. I had the night off, and I could have traded my unused tickets to an earlier game for that, but I wasn't about to go out in that nasty weather. Besides, I've got the Devils coming to town on Saturday. Finally! An Eastern Conference opponent. We've just played seven in a row versus the West, and I'm looking forward to seeing visiting players I'm more familiar with.

So... About the game. A big snoozefest. And speaking of household names, the Jackets were without Rick Nash AND Adam Foote. Sure, they have future hall of famer Sergei "I was almost a Hurricane" Fedorov, but he's a shadow of what he used to be. I think the year off, as he so eloquently stated in his second intermission interview, killed him.

Clearly the best Jacket last night was (it pains me to say this, knowing that Jes will get a rise out of it) Jaroslav Balaštík. He was all over the place. Our announcer must have called his name a hundred times.

No scoring in the first, but the Canes killed a full two minutes of five-on-three. I don't know whether this speaks about the Canes' killing or the Jackets' futility on PP, but they didn't even get a shot off with a full two minutes of five-on-three.

While the Canes were enjoying their own full two minutes of five-on-three, there was finally a goal at 6:33 of the second. Cory Stillman unleashed a slapshot that was somehow tipped by Brindy from close in. Brindy got the goal, with helpers from Stillman and Whitney. The second goal was a thing of beauty. Brindy had to do a nifty move while laying on his stomach to keep the puck in the zone. AWard corralled it and got it to Williams, who found Brindy behind the net for a backhand beauty at 9:24 of the second. That was all the scoring we would need, but Columbus made it interesting by getting a breakaway goal from Michael Rupp at 1:20 of the third. The scoresheet says that Rupp created a takeaway, but by my estimation, Cory Stillman committed a giveaway in neutral ice, setting up the easy goal.

There's really nothing to say about this game. It was boring. For the second straight game, though, Team Canada hopeful Eric Staal was held without a point. We need to get that back on track.

Andrew Hutchinson has been playing as a fourth line forward and power play point man. He had no points last night, but is still well along the way to the eight needed for a hot dog with cheese.

Due to the solid play in net of Martin Gerber, rookie goaltender Cam Ward has been sent to Lowell for a conditioning stint. He will start for them Friday at Bridgeport (Islanders affiliate), Saturday versus Manchester (Kings), and Sunday afternoon versus Hartford. I'll keep an eye on Wardo and post it all here.

As an aside, for all you hardcore Canes/Whalers fans.... the Hartford Wolfpack are having a little "Ron Francis night" of their own on January 6. They'll honor Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Kevin Dineen, all of whom had great careers playing in the shopping mall.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The boys are back in town

I never even wrote about our victory against the Blackhawks on Tuesday night, and I'll get to that. I'll also get to a preview of tonight's tilt with the Blue Jackets. First, though, some housekeeping.

This site is intended for use with Mozilla Firefox version 1.0.7 or better. Click on the button to the right for details about how to install version 1.5. It's quick, easy, free, and all your settings can be imported from IE. This site will still work with Internet Explorer, but I don't like the look of it as much. Seriously, if you're still using Internet Explorer, you should change. NOW.

I'd also like to welcome Canes Hockey Fan, written by TJ, to the blogroll. It's always good to have another Caniac on board. Stop by and give him a read. It'll be worth your time.

A visitor in Raleigh, using a Mac OS X and Firefox 1.5 as their search engine became my 5,000th visitor today! Woo hoo! Okay. Not so much 5,000th visitor, as 5,000th pageload. Still, though, it's a big moment here.

Every once in a while, while I'm doing the housekeeping, I like to air things out. I've noticed that a lot of people are getting here using similar search keywords.

For instance, the #1 query leading to my site is "What Would Avery Do? t-shirt. I don't know where you can get one of these shirts, but the folks at KingsNation have put them together, and the word on the street is that you can buy them outside the Staples Arena. Oh, and yes, he is dating Elisha Cuthbert.

Lots of folks get here for a better reason: they want to know some info about Rod Brind'Amour. One person, for example was desperately trying to find out what his parents' names are. I can't help there, but I would presume "Mr." and "Mrs.". Also, a few folks are curious about his marital status. I can only say that he is single and raising two sons and a daughter. Whether he is divorced, or widowed, I don't know. I encourage you to check out this video tour of his palace (link courtesy of NBC 17 via CasonBlog). Unfortunately, the link only works with Explorer, but it's worth the hassle to watch the video. He's just a big kid himself. And evidently, the house is on the market.

There are folks looking for Olympic rosters. To my knowledge, nobody has announced their final roster yet, but USA will announce theirs on Sunday. If you happen to be that one reader looking for Finland's roster, you might try this site, which is entirely in Finnish.

Someone was looking for Guam's Ice Hockey team. Unfortunately, that may have come from a post I wrote the other day when I was trying to make an example out of the Quebecois. They want to field their own hockey team in international competitions, but they aren't a sovereign nation (yet), and would therefore not be permitted to play in any IIHF tournament. I used Guam as a silly example of another non-sovereign nation who might demand to have their own team. I would be VERY surprised if anyone there has any hockey experience, as it is a tropical land with very little population.

That's about it for the housekeeping.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Hagman in Dallas

This is too good to pass up the opportunity to make this joke.

Hagman is back in Dallas! (TSN story here).

Okay, okay. Not Larry Hagman, who portrayed J.R. Ewing on TV's "Dallas".

No. This is Niklas Hagman, who was shipped from Florida to Dallas for a seventh round draft pick.

This is a completely meaningless trade, but it will allow for lots of "who shot JR?" jokes.

Speaking of shooting JR, I've had enough of J-Ro's mouth with all of his whining about the direction of team USA and how he'll root for Canada if he isn't selected. As Japers' Rink points out, in terms of point production, Roenick isn't even in the top five Americans on the Kings. Yes, you've done a lot for USA hockey, but you're not producing. You're 35 years old, and we're looking to go with youth. Get over it.

By the way, if the Women's Curling team is any indicator, Team Canada will be wearing blue jackets this year. Blue? Since when is Canada blue?

tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999!!

Since I wrote a tiny blurb about the Sedin twins the other day, and I'd always wondered how Vancouver got the #2 AND #3 overall picks (which they used to take the Sedins) in the 1999 draft, I did a little bit of research.

The 1999 NHL Draft was a bit wacky with lots of trades so that Vancouver could arrange to pick the twins together. I think the entire world was all freaked out about the turn of the millennium, or the apocalypse, because there were wacky drafts in the NFL and NBA that year too. I'll try to recap as clearly as possible.

I'm not aware of any blockbuster trades or any draft day maneuvering, but there was definitely some weird stuff. For the first time, maybe ever, there was no player from the University of North Carolina selected in the first round. Four players from Duke were selected with the first 14 picks, including three underclassmen. Never before had a player left Duke early, but three left that year.

  • Elton Brand (Sophomore) was selected with the first pick by Chicago
  • Trajan Langdon (graduate) was selected with the eleventh pick by Cleveland
  • Corey Maggette (Freshman) was selected with the thirteenth pick by Seattle
  • William Avery (Sophomore) was selected with the fourteenth pick by Minnesota

  • Actually, there was some drama with the Magette pick. The Sonics turned around and traded his rights, plus Dale Ellis, Billy Owens, and Don ("Miss American Pie") MacLean to Orlando in exchange for Horace Grant and two future draft picks.

    The New Orleans Saints traded their first round (#12 overall), plus their next five picks AND their first two picks from the 2000 draft to the Redskins, who had the #5 overall pick. All so they could draft Ricky Williams. That one didn't quite work out.

    Brian Burke, who was then GM of the Canucks knew that the Sedins wanted to play together, and he knew that they wouldn't come to the NHL unless they could. He figured a way to make it happen. His Canucks had the third overall pick in the draft, and needed a way to get the two pick as well, as the Sedins were rated the #1 and #2 European skaters. It was very complicated, and he paid a steep price, but he made it happen. here's how it went down:
    1. Vancouver traded Bryan McCabe and a first round pick in 2000 to Chicago for the #4 overall pick
    2. Vancouver traded the newly acquired #4 pick AND the #75 and #88 picks to Tampa for the #1 overall pick
    3. Vancouver traded the newly acquired #1 pick AND a conditional second round pick in 2000 to Atlanta for the #2 overall pick.(EDIT -- and a third round pick in 2000)

    If you're following closely, you'll see that so far, three teams have had the right to the #4 pick. That saga wasn't over, though. Tampa Dealt the 4 pick to the Rangers for Dan Cloutier, Nik Sundstrum and a first and third round pick in the 2000 draft.

    All that fuss so the Sedins could play together.

    You might ask why I went to such pains to point out that the #4 pick changed hands so many times. The Rangers used that pick to select Pavel "Krispy" Brendl, who eventually landed with the Hurricanes. He was a phenom in junior hockey, and even played well in the AHL, but he never has and never will amount to anything in the NHL.

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    Sharks survive Hurricanes 4-3; J. Thornton tallies four points while wearing a skirt.

    The Hurricanes ended their long six game road trip in San Jose on Saturday night. The boys lost the game, in part because Joe Thornton had an amazing night, but still managed to pick up seven out of a possible twelve points on the road. Not bad.

    The Canes played well, but undisciplined early, got down a little in the second, got down a lot in the third, but almost rallied all the way back.

    Carolina got goals from Brind'Amour (PP), Staal (SH) and Craig Adams. San Jose got two goals from Cheechoo and one each from Joe Thornton and Nils Ekman.

    I won't launch into a diatribe about officiating, but there was a missed high-sticking call early in the third. Sharks keeper Evgeni Nabokov caught CrAdams with the stick, cutting Adams on his nose. That's a double minor, but it went unnoticed. This happens. I'm just saying this because right after this, the Sharks exploded for two goals in 32 seconds. Had they been a man down, who knows what would have happened. I'm just saying.

    All griping aside, I have to tip the ole ballcap to Jonathan "what does a train say?" Cheechoo and Joe Thornton. Cheechoo had two goals and an assist (while riding the pine on my fantasy squad) and Joe Thornton had a goal and three assists. If Joe can tally four points in one game, he can do whatever he wants, but I swear it looked like he was wearing his pants unzippered. Fellow Hurricanes blogger Casonblog pointed out a trend that has players wearing their pants like skirts, with the inseam zippers undone. Unfortunately, I can't grab any photos to illustrate my point vis-a-vis J. Thornton, but I'm not making this up.

    Good things:

    • The Canes were able to kill off a loooooong 5-3 sequence late in the first, and were able to be fairly disciplined after that.
    • The Canes took advantage of limited power play chances, going one for two.
    • Eric Staal scored a shorty on a highlight reel goal
    • Rookie Chad LaRose looked good in his limited ice time. He had an excellent scoring chance denied by Nabokov, and he looked pretty confident out there. Also, he picked up an assist on the CrAdams goal.
    • the road trip is over

    Because I have limited exposure to Western Conference teams, especially those in the Pacific Division, I didn't know that Joe Thornton's cousin Scott is also on the Sharks. It sort of had me thinking about family members who play together. Aside from the Sedin twins in Vancouver and the Niedermayers in Anaheim, I can't think of any on the top of my head. There's the unrelated Adamses on Carolina. In a different direction, there's two unrelated Petr Sykoras playing on different teams (Peter Sykora II was sent back to the Czech Republic, by the way). I know there's all sorts of brothers playing on different teams. Who knows of any other groups of family members playing together?

    Up next: a Tuesday night HOME game against the Blackhawks.

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Cole strikes twice; Canes move to 3-1-1 on long road trip

    The Canes downed J-Ro and the Kings 3-2 on Thursday night. With one game remaining on the six game road trip, the Canes are 3-1-1. The boys will be in San Jose Saturday night for a fling with the Sharks.

    For the second game in a row, the Canes came out ready to play. For the second game in a row, they were up 2-0 after 20 minutes. This is very encouraging. However, for the second game in a row, they allowed two third period goals. The third period is normally our time to shine. I guess I'll blame it on the time zone difference.

    The best thing is that Erik Cole came out of a 14-game goal slump to tally two. The first, a power play goal, was an absolute blast from the right faceoff circle on a broken play at 10:27 into the first. He was trying to reset, but he saw a huge gap, so took the shot. Perfect. Chad LaRose got his first NHL assist and Eric Staal got his 21st assist of the season on the play.

    Next came a Justin Williams tap-in at the 13:59 mark. Just as a Kings penalty had elapsed, he was there to stick home a shot that was pinballing around. Helpers came from Mikey C and Cory Stillman.

    The second Cole goal came at 6:52 of the second. After a long pass from Tevvy, Cole had to use his strength to fight off his man on a semi-breakaway, then wait out the keeper to make the perfect shot.

    The Kings came to life in the third frame, cutting it to one. They had several quality chances to tie it, but couldn't best Gerber down the stretch. One crucial mistake they made was to commit a hooking penalty at 16:44 of the third, killing the momentum they had built. The result was that they had to wait until about :30 remaining to pull the goalkeeper.

    All in all, a great game. For the second game in a row, we did not allow any power play goals. The Kings had one 5-3 sequence that lasted about :45, but the Canes were able to stave it off as well. Of the Canes three powerplay chances, they scored on one, and another goal came just five seconds after a tripping penalty had expired.

    After five of six road games, the Canes are 3-1-1, and looking very good. Up next: a Saturday night rumble with the Sharks.

    Oh, and by the way, Sean Avery, all three Carolina goals were scored by guys wearing visors. What did you do?

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    Carolina rolls over Ducks, K-Ad has another natural hat trick

    On Tuesday night, the Canes earned their fifth point in four road games by defeating the Ducks6-2. There are still two more games on this super long road trip.
    No full recap here, but it's worth mentioning that Kevyn Adams (photo from hurricanes.com) scored his fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the season. It was his second career hat trick, both this season. Also, they were both natural hat tricks, meaning that no other player for either team scored until he had three.
    Also worth noting:
    • The Canes made the Ducks power play look silly. Anaheim had four power play chances, and only managed to get three shots off. They did not score any power play goals, but:
    • Carolina scored TWO shorthanded goals.
    • CrAdams had three assists. One on each of KAdams' goals
    • Brindy had three assists.
    • Staalsy had scored his 20th goal and got his 20th helper, putting him in fifth place in the league. The top four? Jagr, and Ottawa's "big" line. Alfredsson and Heatley have 41 apiece. Spezza and Jagr have 43 apiece.
    • Martin Gerber (aka "Marturs Gerbe") played brilliantly against his former team. The Canes, in fact, chased J-S Giguere. (edit -- The Canes scored three goals on 17 shots versus Giggy after chasing Bryzgalov midway in the second)

    Up next for the Canes: a Thursday night tilt with the Kings. Too bad we don't have any frenchmen to kick Sean Avery's ass.

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Canes get crushed by 'Yotes, but get two assists from goaltenders, one from Hutch

    The Hurricanes didn't look so hot tonight, getting smoked by the Phoenix Coyotes, thanks in part to a FIVE POINT (!!!) night from Ladislav Nagy. Two assists to go with his hat trick. Nagy spent a short period of time on my fantasy squad, but wasn't cutting the mustard. I wish I had him back, just for tonight.

    If you can believe it, there are some good things that can be taken from this shelling.
    • Andrew Ladd continues to be hot. Our first round pick from the 2004 draft scored his fourth goal in only seven games played.
    • Eric and Erik were both on the scoresheet. Staalsy scored an absolutely gorgeous goal as he was being dragged down on a coast-to-coast play. (More on this later). He also got one of the helpers on Ladd's goal, giving him 38 points (19/19) on the season. Colesy picked up his 14th assist (the primary assist) on Ladd's goal.
    • A-Hutch keeps inching me closer to the free hot dog with cheese. He got the secondary assist on Staal's goal (more on this later), giving him five assists for the season. I'm now 62.5% of the way to a hot dog with cheese. Are you worried yet, Jes?
    • The Canes pulled off what is probably an NHL first. Two different goaltenders for the same team recorded assists in the game. Cam Ward, who started the game, got the primary assist on Staal's goal (more on this later). It was his first of the season. Also getting his first assist, Martin Gerber was credited with the secondary helper on a Rod Brind'Amour goal late in the third.
    • The Canes connected on two of seven power plays (28.6%)
    • The Canes won 59% of the faceoffs, including 73% of offensive zone draws and 60% of neutral-ice draws.

    On the flip side, obviously we lost. We let Ladislav Nagy have a career night. Those are bad things. The other bad things:
    • The Canes committed 12 penalties.
    • The Canes were terrible on the penalty kill, allowing Phoenix to convert five of ten power plays. In addition, the Canes surrendered a shorthanded goal.

    Okay... So here's what I keep alluding to. Eric Staal scored a highlight reel goal that was a very strange play. Canes were on the power play. Hutchinson made an errant pass that went all the way back to Cam Ward. Ward then passed to Staal, who was in our own zone. He went racing down the ice, working his way across center ice, into the Yotes zone. Through the right faceoff circle, he was cleanly ridden down. As he was falling, he kept the puck on his stick AND maintained control of the puck. He was sliding towards the goal line, and at the right moment, nudged the puck in. Absolutely gorgeous. Since Cam Ward was the last person to touch it before Staal, he gets the primary assist. The strangest thing is that there's a secondary assist to Hutchinson on that since HE was the last to touch it before Ward.

    That assist, by Hutchinson, was his fifth. Either there was a scoring change from the Dallas game, or I never paid close attention, because I only had him down for one assist in Dallas. Now they're saying that he had two. Whatever the case, I'm pretty stoked.

    The Canes now have two days off before heading to LA to play Emilio Estevez and the Mighty Ducks. Then on Thursday, they go across town to take on Sean Avery, J-Ro and the Kings. What will Hollywood hottie Elisha Cuthbert have to say about Eric, Erik, Andrew, Andrew and the boys?

    Saturday, December 03, 2005

    Rules #17b and #30a not enforced; Referees Angus and McCreary are a joke.

    Alternate title: Canes lose in shootout, but gain standings point.

    Adding injury to an already bad day for me, the Hurricanes lost their game in Dallas on the shootout.

    The Canes did their thing, rallying from two goals down to tie it, and they sent it to the extra frame. I won't give a full recap here, but I will point out that Andrew Hutchinson had an assist two assists. He now has three four points on the season. I am now 37.5% 50% of the way to a free hot dog with cheese. Mmmmmm. That sure would make me feel good right about now.

    Once again, the on-ice refs didn't know the rules, and it may have cost the Canes the game. It might should have never gone to shootout in the first place, and even then, the "game winner" might should have been disallowed.

    There was something maybe fishy about Mike Modano's "sort of" hat trick. He scored two goals in regulation and he "got" a shootout goal, which was a matter of some debate. However, shootout goals don't count in the stats, so I think it has to go as a hat trick with an asterisk. The matter of debate is that Modano's shot hit Gerber's pad and skimmed along the goal line. The butt end of the Gerber's stick actually nudged it across the line. The rule, which I'm still searching for, should say something to the effect of "once the puck strikes the goal keeper or any part of his equipment and DOES NOT go directly in, the play is over". There is no opportunity for rebounds or playing the puck a second time. Maybe the play should have been whistled dead.

    In my research of the NHL rules, I came upon one that was definitely overlooked. And it may have cost the Canes the game.

    First, some background information. This is crucial. With :46 remaining in overtime, the Stars were assessed a penalty for too many men on the ice. The Canes had a four-on-three for the remainder of the period, but there was insufficient time for the penalty to be served in its entirety. If you're really sharp, or if you happen to have done some research on this, you'll know that referees Angus and McCreary screwed it up. Carolina should have been awarded a penalty shot rather than a man advantage.

    From the NHL rulebook, Rule 17b:
    If by reason of insufficient playing time remaining, or by reason of penalties already imposed, a bench minor penalty is imposed for deliberate illegal substitution (too many men on the ice) which cannot be served in its entirety within the legal playing time, or at any time in overtime, a penalty shot shall be awarded against the offending Team.

    Got that? If there isn't enough time on the clock to serve the too many men on the ice penalty, there should be a penalty shot.
    For the record, this provision also exists for the delay of the game (taking net off moorings variety) penalty.

    Why did the refs mess this up? And actually, why didn't Lavi know this and bring it to the ref's attention?

    Oh... and here it is. Rule 30a. If any of the referees in the league knew this rule, Marek Malik's jaw dropper the other day, and Mike Modano's "winner" tonight would have been disallowed.

    Rule 30a (pertaining to penalty shots) reads, in part:
    The puck must be kept in motion towards the opponent's goal line and once it is shot, the play shall be considered complete. No goal can be scored on a rebound of any kind (an exception being the puck off the goal post, then the goalkeeper and then directly into the goal)

    When Malik made his fancy between the legs shot, the puck went into reverse briefly. As gorgeous as it was, it should have been wiped off. When Modano's shot was blockered away by Gerber, and the REBOUND was put in by Gerber himself, it should have been wiped off.

    You ready for this?

    You wanna know who refereed the Rangers/Caps game in which Malik scored that goal? Take a guess...

    Angus and McCreary.

    Two times in six days they've botched the rules and directly affected the outcome of games. When will the NHL, Bettman and/or the NHL Official's Association hold them accountable?

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    Thank goodness for airbags

    I was just involved in a car wreck in which my car was totaled. I am perfectly uninjured, thanks to the glory of inflatable restraints. My entire front end, windshield and all airbags are toast. The other driver failed to yield to me as she was turning left across traffic. Although her light was green, mine was also green. She did not have the green arrow, and thus should have yielded. She will be found at fault, and I will be driving something new(er) sometime in the near future. However, since it's the weekend, and I don't use one of those newfangled 24-hour insurance companies, I have to wait until Monday to file a claim. I also won't be able to get a loaner car until then. Who knows how long it'll be before I get a check from the insurance company.

    The good thing, other than being uninjured, is that this happened at the very front end of a loooong Canes roadtrip. Certainly by the time we have another home game, I'll have something else to drive.

    Tonight : The Canes start off their tour of the Pacific teams by visiting Dallas.

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    When will it end?

    Those crazy Québécois are at it again. Or is it Québeccer? I've never been completely sure, but I always use the former. Anyway.... they've got another crackpot idea in the works.

    They want to have their own hockey team for competition in the international arena.

    Here's the problem. The International Ice Hockey Federation governs both the World Championships and the Olympics. They make it clear that they only recognize sovereign nations. So unless and until they gain their much desired independence from Canada, they won't be able to participate in any IIHF sponsored event.

    The World Cup, however, is not ruled by IIHF. They would be able to field a team there, even as a non-sovereign nation. For that matter, so could the British Virgin Islands, or Greenland¹, or Guam.

    I wonder what Steve Avery thinks of this.

    In other WTF news, Steve Jefferson, the father of imprisoned Mike Danton, was just arrested for making threats to player agent David Frost. Stories here and here. Apparently, something on the order of 20 "threatening" phone messages a day. It isn't clear whether the elder Jefferson was having "relations" with Frost. Katie Wolfmeyer was nowhere to be found.

    ¹ Red and Black Hockey presents ----- Useless Trivia factoid #2741. Greenland is not a sovereign nation. Although they are self-governed, they are in fact a Danish colony. They have their own Prime Minister, but they still answer to the Queen of Denmark.

    Wow. Just..... wow.

    I can't imagine what's going on in Beantown right now.

    On the off chance that you missed it.... Thornton to San Jose for Wayne Primeau, Brad Stuart and Marco Sturm. The hockey world is stunned. Fans in Boston must be livid.

    The Bruins save something like $1.6M in the deal. Brad Stuart will bolster the defense nicely, and Sturm is a pretty good winger, but Primeau is a healthy extra at best. NONE of these guys is a top line player. That's why Boston is getting screwed.

    The Bruins will lose one of the league's top scorers. More importantly, they will be losing their Captain. A guy who bleeds black and gold. That can't be replaced by two average players and a lousy one.

    Boston was already in bad shape. Getting rid of Joe Thornton, though, is not the right answer. Not getting more out of it was just stupid.

    Also, on the Bruins rumor treadmill: I read somewhere (NOT Eklund) that the Bs are interested in replacing coach Mike Sullivan with Paul Maurice. Another bad idea. I hope for the sake of Bruins fans that this rumor is unfounded. If you're wondering, Paul Maurice has been coaching the last place AHL Toronto Marlies since Carolina fired him midway through the 03-04 season. This would be an even worse idea than the Thornton trade.

    I'm tired and very confused by this trade, so I'll apologize for the quality of this


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