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

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Carolina to get back on right foot tonight

Carolina played a bad game on Thursday night. Very bad. For forty minutes, they were outshot, outhit, outhustled, outworked and just outplayed by a team they should be able to beat.
Blame bad bounces if you want, but the Canes were bad. In the first period, there were three examples of bad play in goal situations that is not characteristic of a championship team.

Washington's first goal was an own-goal by David Tanabe. Oddly enough, though, I can't blame him. The Caps were about to dump it in, and Crackers went to the corner to be where he anticipated the puck would be. Snuggles redirected the puck out of midair at center ice, and it went directly into the vacant net. There was no need for Grahame to leave the net that early, and even if the puck had gone where he anticipated, he would have been way too far out of net for comfort. A poor choice by him, followed by a bad bounce.

Later, Dennis Seidenberg had a wraparound chance, and would have easily beaten Kolzig, but he got too anxious and stuffed it against the right post.

Still later, Eric Belanger came in on a shorthanded breakaway against Kolzig, but hesitated too long, then whiffed on a last-second attempt. It was all him from the red line in, and he couldn't even get a shot off.

The rest of the first two periods was characterized by a failure to get to loose pucks, a complete absence of forechecking, and the Caps asserting themselves in the Carolina end.

After the game, Coach Laviolette had a very terse press conference and has since said that the game was "terrible". He didn't quite go all Chairman Mo on them yesterday, but they had a very thorough workout with a LOT of skating, puck pursuit and net crashing drills. None of that was present in Thursday's game.

I would imagine that the boys will bounce back tonight when they face the Bolts, who are on the outside looking in. The coach is mad, the players are embarrassed, and they will have to redeem themselves.

The Thrashers also lost on Thursday, so although they couldn't help their own cause, at least they didn't slip any. Atlanta will play the Rangers this afternoon at MSG.

Puck drop in Raleigh tonight will be at the unusual time of 8:30. This is to accommodate an afternoon basketball game at the RBC Center. No television.

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