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

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Kaberle in lineup, Cole at home away from home

Tonight, the Hurricanes will have two things working for them as they try to end a dismal four game losing streak. The Canes will be in La Belle Provence to visit les Habitants, who are themselves on a bit of a losing skid. Five standings points and four playoff seeds separate the two teams.

(1)Frantisek Kaberle, who has missed every game this season recovering from shoulder surgery, will be in the lineup. To make room for him, Anton Babchuk was sent down to Albany of the AHL. No trade has been orchestrated at this point, but according to sources, Jim Rutherford turned down two offers yesterday. Apparently, one of them was indeed for Foppa. Carolina will wait a little while to plan their course of action. Unless they can right the ship in the next couple of games, they will become a "seller", which will enable them to get some good young prospects and/or picks for an explosive forward like Ray Whitney, who is scheduled to be an UFA this summer.

If the Canes can straighten up and put themselves back on a post-season bound path, they would still be in a position to buy.

Remember that with each day that passes, the cap hit to a "buying" team is decreased dramatically on high-dollar contracts. Waiting till the deadline is the most cost-effective method for a bubble team.

(2) Erik Cole will be playing in the Molson Bell Centre. Cole loves to play in that building. The last time he played there, he recorded four points (3/1) in an 8-2 romp over the Habs on January 31, 2006. He also had a hat trick there on November 23, 2003 in a 7-3 blasting of the Habs. He scored the game-tying goal in the Miracle at Molson (2002 playoffs), and later in that series scored 2 goals and an assist in game 6 at the Molson Centre. In fact, Cole just loves to play the Habs. Last season, in three total games against the Habs, Colesy had eight points (5/3). This season, in two games, he has two goals (both at home).
This is Cole's first visit to the Bell Centre this season, and in fact the first since "the injury".

Montréal will be without Sergei Samsonov, who has demanded a trade, and is (from what I understand) on waivers. Samsonov is grossly overpaid, has been a massive disappointment both this season and last, and has been a healthy scratch more often than not lately. The diminutive left winger, who is roughly 1/3 the size of Zdeno Chara, once had a 75-point season with the Bruins (2000-01), scored 53 (23/30) points last season combined with Boston and Edmonton. This season, he's on pace for a season barely in the mid-30's. His $3.525M salary is in no way commensurate with his performance, so I wouldn't expect anyone to pick him up, even at the pro rata price. He still has one year remaining on his contract, which would make it even less likely for someone to pick him up. Expect him to clear waivers, then be cut. Then you might see some action.

Puck drop will be at 7:30 eastern, and it isn't on Canes TV. I'll have to listen, or go somewhere where I can watch the French feed on Center Ice.

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