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

Friday, January 04, 2008

Leighton to get trial by fire

Goaltender Michael Leighton was called up from Albany on Thursday. John "Crackers" Grahame, who has won a Stanley Cup, was sent down. Before Leighton even gets a chance to learn everyone's name, he'll be put to the test. He'll be starting in nets tonight when the Canes are in Atlanta

Leighton has been, simply put, killing it in Albany. He has five shutouts this season to go with an impressive GAA of 2.14 and a save percentage of .928. Although his record is a very mediocre 13-14-2, the rest of his numbers are quite good.

Leighton has appeared in 47 NHL games, mostly with the horrible 2003-04 Chicago Blackhawks who only won 20 games all season. He has an unimpressive 10-23-10 record, a GAA of 3.69 and a save percentage of .882. These are hardly "good" numbers, but we think that he's grown a lot in the AHL and is finally ready for the NHL. There's little doubt that he could be worse than Crackers, so there isn't really anything to lose here.

Leighton will be wearing #49 for the boys in white. We're all wishing him the best.

In a related story, Crackers has cleared waivers, been assigned to Albany, and will possibly get the start tonight against the Syracuse Crunch.

Looking at tonight's starting lineup for the Canes, five started the season in Albany. Keith Aucoin will be the third line center, Brandon Nolan will be the fourth line right wing, Casey Borer will be the third pairing right defenseman, and Michael Leighton will be the netminder. The fifth guy is Wade Brookbank. He's a defenseman, but he'll be the fourth line left wing tonight.

Defensemen David Tanabe, Bret Hedican and Nic Wallin are out of action. Also, forwards Scott Walker, Matt Cullen, Andrew Ladd and Justin Williams will be in the press box. An analyst for the Thrashers radio network reported that these wounded guys have a collective 3,774 games of NHL experience. Luke's story on this can be found here.

Leighton will be put to the test against some of the greatest skaters in the league. Ilya Kovalchuk is enough of a headache, but there will also be Maid Marian Hossa.

Puck drop is at 7:30 tonight. During the second period, the Thrashers and the Canes will swap tv color men. Thrashers fans will have to put up with the ridiculous commentary of Tripp Tracy. Good luck with that.

No comments:


Red And Black Hockey is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Carolina Hurricanes Hockey Club, the National Hockey League or any of its other member clubs. The opinions expressed herein are entirely those of RBH. Any comments made are the opinion of the commenter, and not necessarily that of RBH.
Whenever possible, RBH uses its own photography. Any incidental use of copyrighted material including photography, logos or other brand markings will not interfere with the owner's profits.