Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post calls the Canes "divers", pointing to the 70 penalties Carolina has drawn so far this season, and moer specifically to the April 1 game last season, in which Ed Belfour handed the Canes the game on a silver platter.
Biggane is upset that his favorite team was undisciplined against the Hurricanes in four overtime games last season. He doesn't mention this, but I did in a post dated April 8, 2007.
* On December 23 in Florida, Jay Bouwmeester was guilty of tripping at 0:30 of OT, and Erik Cole won it at 1:59.
* On January 16 in Florida, Mike Van Ryn was guilty of holding at 1:30 of the OT , and Viva won it at 1:47.
* On April 1 in Florida, Bryan Allen was called for hooking and Ed Belfour for unsportsmanlike conduct giving the Canes a five-on-three at 1:06 of OT. Ray Whitney won it at 1:30.
* On April 7 in Raleigh, Bryan Allen was called for kneeing at 0:27 of OT. The Canes didn't win on the power play. Allen had a chance to redeem himself with a penalty shot, but failed.
Instead of pointing to Carolina's skilled skaters and saying that you have no choice but to haul them down, he calls Carolina a bunch of divers. In reference to the April 1 game, he even references a YouTube clip that yours truly posted.
I can understand how frustrating it must be to watch games go down like that, and I will admit that the "trip" call against Bryan Allen on April 1 was a bit questionable, but instead of saying something like "Carolina's speedy skaters forced the Panthers to take penalties", he says something like "Carolina dives every chance they get."
Going into this game, Rod Brind'Amour has a nine game scoring streak.
Carolina won the series last year 7-1, including the last seven in a row. As listed above, four of them were in overtime, with the Panthers committing penalties in each extra frame.
Unfortunately, Carolina doesn't have Eddie "the Billion Dollar Eagle" Belfour to kick around anymore.
Carolina should win this game. They will do it using their skill and speed. They will force the Cats to take penalties, and they will force Biggane to write bad copy about how the Hurricanes cheat.
I predict that there might be some raw nerves on the part of the home team, but I don't really anticipate much chippiness.
I call it 4-1 Canes. Obviously without any overtime drama.