Friday, December 29, 2006

Rod Brind 'Amour Night

Congrats Roddy
Tonight the Hurricanes will honor Rod Brind 'Amour for surpassing the 1,000 point mark in his career. Rod has played in 1,222 NHL games and has amassed 394 goals and 629 assists.

Perhaps the most telling stats reflect what is going on right now-in his 18th season. He leads the team in points, assists, face off percentage, time-on-ice per game (by more than 2 minutes), physical conditioning and leadership by example.

Rod has never talked a very good game, but he leads by personal example every day. Ron Francis led by example as well. He brought statesmanship, class and a Hall of Fame aura to the Hurricanes. Think back to your favorite war movie. Ron Francis is the compassionate first lieutenant, he's the Tom Hanks character in Saving Private Ryan. When I think of Rod, I think of a gritty Master Sargent - Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge. He's quiet, intense, menacing and totally invested in the welfare of his boys. Where Ron expected the boys to follow him, Rod pushes from within the pack. Rod makes everybody in the clubhouse a better pro. Rod 's legacy as the captain of the Carolina Hurricanes will be more understated than Ron Francis, but much more powerful. Oh, and of course delivering the franchise's first Stanley Cup won't hurt that legacy either.

Sabres Sweep-o-Rama
Buffalo is clearly the better team at this point in the season. After the Canes game last night, I started watching the Sharks and Coyotes. The Sharks owned the puck for much of the game. Coyotes couldn't make a tape-to-tape pass to save themselves. The Sharks were too cute for their own good. They tried to make that extra pass. A shot on goal wasn't enough. They wanted to shoot at empty nets on the backside. Buffalo is a lot like the Sharks, except that they like taking shots. With John Grahame playing the role of human pitch-back machine, the Sabres were able to generate scoring opportunities off the first shot.

I like the quotes I've seen from Rod and Mike Commodore today. I agree with them. It's over and it's time to move on. The ability to Compartmentalize is good. Let's see how things shake out come April.

Ducks Tonight
If you haven't seen much of the Ducks this year, keep an eye on Chris Kunitz and Andy McDonald. They are mites in the Briere mode, but fearless little playmakers who are probably making Teemu Selanne look better than he is at this point in his career.

I'll be watching the Ducks defensive corps to see how they manage play in their end and generate the breakout in comparison to the Hurricanes.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

To be the man... have to beat the man
The games of tonight and tomorrow night will be big tests for a Hurricanes club seeking to defend their Stanley Cup championship. Two nights of testing for a club with night-to-night consistency issues and a banged up defense.

I think the next two nights will be broken down in great detail by Hurricanes brass as we head towards the trade deadline. The Hurricanes pulled the trigger on the Doug Weight deal at the end of January last season. Obviously, a no-name defense worked out great for the Hurricanes last season. This year's blueline crew remains a squad of no-names, but the veterans are a bit slower and grayer and neither of the two nuggets who are scarfing up ice time are playoff-tested. I think if JR makes a decisive move prior to the deadline, it will be for a stud defenseman who's name is not Derek Morris.

The Hurricanes have put together a solid five-game winning streak, but they've gained no ground on the Thrashers who have also put together a five-game streak. The Eastern Conference is very tight this season, and only the Flyers seem to be out of the race (sweet twist of fate, eh?).

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas, eh?

Hermie, I think you'd make a better hairdresser than a dentist

Merry Christmas all eight of you who read CasonBlog. Hope the intended peace of the season reigns in your households. The Cason household will be in a state of wonderful chaos until dinner tomorrow night.

Special holiday greetings to our friends in Canada who will be celebrating Silver and Gold Day tomorrow. It's a sacred holiday up north where good Canucks celebrate the life and legacy of the revered patron saint of Canada, Yukon Cornelius. On December 25th of each year, Canadians remember Saint Yukon by licking frozen metal objects. Apparently, they find the pain cleansing.

Silver and Gold Day is often confused with Lumberjack Day by folks in the US of A. Lumberjack Day coincides with the winter solstice, and is celebrated by Canadian men who put on women's clothing and hang around in bars....and office holiday parties.
Merry Christmas all, and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

On Brendan "Punch me in the face" Witt

Hey Brendan Witt, a Promising Career in the UFC is Calling

For me, the best part about last night was not the extension of a modest winning streak, or a resurgence of the PP. What made last night special was seeing Brendan Witt get pummeled twice. The Isles own Tex Cobb's first period fight was dominated by lil 'ole 5-10 Scott Walker. The second mas more of a draw, but while Witless was cutely shifting between righty and southpaw, Mike Commodore drilled him and made him unce, tice, free-time a mady (H/T Buckwheat).

I used to despise the Caps, in large part because of Brendan Witt. When things were going bad in DC, and they often were, you could always count on Sir Brendan to try and stir things up with a chivalrous cheap shot or a provocation with his stick. Last night it was evident that he still believes he can bring the magic - he can still inspire his pards with his brand of goonery. Last night, Brendan Witt inspired his Islander teammates to a humiliating 5-1 road loss. Reminds me a lot of the old days in DC.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Canes and Flyers

Hello, I'm Anton
Welcome to my MySpace profile

I like steamed cabbage and time alone with the voices inside my head...

Yesterday, I thought last night's game vs. the Flyers was a non-test for the Hurricanes. I think I was wrong...again. Last night was a test of Roddy's groin, he passed with flying colors. The captain logged mui ice time and seemed to have some power back in his stride. Last night was also a test for Cam Ward. Could he put together consecutive solid performances and give his pards the chance to win a close game? Looks like he also passed his personal test, allowing only one deflected goal on 30 shots.

Last night was yet another test for the Tim Gleason - Anton Babchuk blueline tandem. I said yesterday I didn't dig that pairing. I'm still not convinced, but I'll have to say, Gleason brought the grit last night and Babchuk delivered the grace. Looked like Gleason picked that fight with Ben Eager in the second. Good on 'ya Timmaaaay! I'll take a five minute fighting penalty with a agitating AHL striker over the dopey boarding call he took in the first period any day.

Babchuk's play was solid - no delay of game penalties last night- and he showed a ton of patience on his goal in the second. During the broadcast last night, John and Tripp spoke about the extra hours Anton has spent with coaches studying film and working on his game. I think the results are starting to show. He has all the physical tools to be a dominant NHL defenseman, he just has to hone his killer instinct and become a dedicated student of the game. Did you see the between periods interview with Babchuk? He's got that Grim Reaper personal magnetism thing working real nice.


Who does he room with on the road? He needs to spend some time with Ray Whitney. Ray knows how to turn simple interpersonal communication into a circus sideshow. Whether it's artfully dropping F-bombs, mugging in the background rink-side interview shots, or turning last night's pre-game Tripp interview into a farce, Ray is a draw. I think lifestyle coach Ray could bring out the inner fun-bear in Anton.

A big test for the team on Friday night. The surging Islanders come to town with new blood and a recent stomping of the Thrashers. Speaking of new blood on the Isles, how would you like to be Randy Robitaille right about now? My fellow Miami Redhawk has played for eight teams since 2001 (Islanders now for the second time). By now I'm guessing he lives out of an RV, no sense in putting down any money on a house, or even signing a month-to-month rental contract when you're Randy Robitaille.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kevyn Adams

Joe Ovies, Bubba and the Lorenzo Perez are all over this one. Something finally "broke" today for Kevyn Adams. He will undergo minor, as in out somewhere less than 10 days, wrist surgery. Kevyn's take on the state of his game in today's N&O makes the surgery sound pretty elective:

"I feel like I've been trying to battle through it and trying to figure out
what's going on," Adams said. "But there's a lot of games this year where I'm
only playing a couple shifts,
and injuries haven't been an

If ever there was such a thing as face-saving wrist surgery, this must be it.

The biggest thing I take from the Perez piece today is that Lavvy and JR would love the hockey world to believe that it's that nagging 'ole wrist thing that has been behind Adams poor play this season. Here is Lavvy and JR on Kevyn's role on the team:
Asked to describe Adams' role on the team, Laviolette said, "I think we
want to wait and see what the doctors have to say.

"But he's been battling some injuries through the course of the year.
Hopefully he can get healthy, because he's an important part of this team."

Rutherford credited Adams with being the type of player who gives
everything he's got.
"Things haven't been going his way this season, but now
that we've identified the situation, hopefully he can get back on track,"
Rutherford said.

ATTENTION NHL GENERAL MANAGERS: Just in time for the end of the holiday trade freeze, the Carolina Hurricanes are proud to offer this new and improved Kevyn Adams. He's rested, battle tested, ready to be loved, and at the end of his very affordable contract. He's also now 100% (on the Pat Quinn sliding scale) healthy, just in time for your playoff run or pre-blow-it-up-and-start-over fire sale.

Note: Offers involving Jeremy Roenick will not be considered.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Canes win unconvincing at best

Warning - This Post Contains an Unfortunate Vintage Star Trek Re-Set

While I greatly enjoyed the win over the Bolts, I find myself unconvinced that the Hurricanes have turned a corner. I'm only convinced that on Saturday night, the Canes were slightly better than their mirror image - the Bolts.

The two teams remind me of the Frank Gorshin character pictured above in that bad Star Trek episode where the mirror image dudes in tights with 1-pack abs are locked in a life and death struggle while Kirk 'n crew look at them and see just two losers in heavy makeup.

Both teams are suspect on defense. Both teams have unreliable goaltending. Both teams seem to be struggling with post-championship motivational issues. Both show flashes of old brilliance, but these tend to be quickly countered by prolonged periods of stupid (too many men and delay of game penalties in the Hurricanes case). One look at the season schedule/results page for the two clubs reads like radio station call letters, "W-L-W, W-L-O, etc."

I think Keith Aucoin has added some pop to the Hurricanes attack. His feed to Ray Whitney for the first goal was slick. With his assist on Saturday night, Aucoin is only two points behind Tim Gleason and only three points behind Kevyn Adams. OTBW, KAdams logged less than two minutes of ice time Saturday night. Something is gonna have to break with Kevyn. Lavvy won't keep dressing a guy who is adding nothing to the mix.

The Hurricanes have simply got to clamp down inside the defensive zone. I really don't dig that Anton Babchuk - Tim Gleason pairing. Gleason seems to spend as much time wallowing on his belly as he does upright. And Babchuck's decision making in traffic is still suspect (ex. the Ryan Craig goal of Saturday night).

The Hurricanes play the Flyers Tuesday night. Yet another non-test. If they win, so what. If they lose however....

Friday, December 15, 2006

Canes -n- Leafs

Well, that nasty westward swing seems like ages ago now. The Hurricanes have been idle long enough to reflect, re-tool, and build some community good will. Luke DeCock et al are all over the Coach Mo, Bates, and Jeff O'Neill angles to this game, and I have nothing to add, other than to observe that Coach Mo remains as classy as ever, Bates seems to be taking advantage of his Coach Mo lifeline, and Jeff O'Neill? Well he still seems trending TO-like towards the dark side:

"He knows that I need to be motivated in a different way than other players. We have that understanding. If I go through a couple game stretch where he's on me to play better, it's not like you want to go in there and share a nice pop with him the next morning. It's simple as that."

And just what is that "different way?" So has Coach Mo bottled some elixir of motivation for Jeff, or is he still a Keyshawn/TO in the countdown stage? To me he still sounds like the guy who walked by me in the Rec Zone after a Hurricanes practice and took the time to tell me, "NC State sucks," as I watched the Wolfpack play an ACC tournament game on the lobby TV. To this day I wish I could have come up with more snappy retort than something along the lines of, "uhhh woook? Hell, even "No, you suck!" would have been better than that.

Here's to hoping Jeff doesn't get his dose of motivational elixir and his laziness on D leads to the game winning goal for the homeboys.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Something happened to the Hurricanes in the third period after Justin Williams scored the go-ahead goal. They started to play it too cute. They started trying to make that one extra slick pass, and it set them up for a fall. Nooo, a shot on goal that your crashing forwards could follow up just wasn't enough. Nooo, it had to be a saucer pass across the goal mouth from an impossible angle. Or a fake slapper and drop pass from the slot just to set up scoring sensation, Tim Gleason, and his three freaking points on the year for a slow developing and totally telegraphed slapper just inside the blueline. I think it was Eric Staal who dropped a pass to nobody along the Avalanche blueline that led to a rush the other way and ended in Andrew Brunette's tying goal.

From that point on all momentum belonged to the Avs. The Canes started getting beat to the puck, losing battles in the corners and not picking up forwards and defensemen crashing the net. Yes, Joe Sakic is still that good and shouldn't be allowed the time and space to make plays. And congratulations to NHL castoffs Tyler Arnason and Pierre Turgeon who both enjoyed stat-padding nights against the Stanley Cup champs.

It was great to see Cory Stillman back in the lineup. He snagged an assist and looked awfully crisp for a guy who has missed the first two months of the season. What a pro. John Grahame also played great for two periods, but he got hung out to dry in the third and seemed to deflate after the fourth Avalanche goal. He wasn't alone in that regard. What a horrible road trip. Time to bust-out that Men in Black mind eraser and start over with Coach Mo and the Leafs.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Welcome Paperwhites

One of the fun things to do with Statcounter is check out where your recent visit activity comes from. For example, I got a bit of activity yesterday from folks searching for John Lennon takes. Most of the time I get traffic from people doing Google searches on things like paul-kariya-sexy, bubble-hockey-figures, and camisole-shoulder-pads. I also get a strange amount of traffic from blogs that deal in obscure philosophy and battling depression. Go figure.

Today I discovered a new gem. Paperwhitesinseason is the latest Hurricane blog to join the Daily Read list. She's a Louisiana transplant with a very refined taste in 80's music. Good call on the Crowded House/Split Enz songs. Six Months in a Leaky Boat is another great Split Enz number. The Canes have spent the first two months of this season in just such a leaky boat. Welcome to our little Island of Misfit Toys, PWIS.

Almost coming back is kinda nice, right?

For the most part, I'm kind of ambivalent about the new NHL Web site. But I do like the "Frozen Moment" hi-res images they cycle at the top of the page. Check out Erik Cole from last night.

Grasping for a little sunshine today, and finding little. According to Luke in today's N&O (I'll omit the last name in the hope of avoiding a Bevis and Butthead riff from JP), last night's comeback from a three-goal deficit was the Hurricanes first since 2003. Maybe that's the wee bit 'o sunshine I'm looking for...but I can't quite get out of my head all the bad penalties, Eric Staal missing badly on the penalty shot (I think the puck caught a couple of threads on the shoulder of Luongo's sweater as it sailed high), and of course Scott Walker tossing the puck over the boards...twice. I think that over-the-glass rule is stupid. It ought to allow for discretion on the part of the officials, except in extreme cases, like when Mick McGeough is officiating. But I think knowing the rule, and still popping the puck over the glass twice is even more stupid.

There were Hurricanes who played hard last night. There weren't many who played smart. I thought Mike Commodore played very well last night. Not just the timely goal. He was poised and controlled in his aggression. None of his blueline mates matched his poise, smart physicality or pinch-sense. Anton Babchuk seemed to stagger through a shift after kissing the endboards at 55 mph. By the third he was back and playing with more poise and creativity than his more seasoned pards. Matt Cooke was definitely in Heddy's head last night. Few probably noticed David Tanabe drawing a penalty in the third and choosing to serve it, and the rest of the game, in the locker room.

The Hurricanes are averaging 3.13 goals per game. The are allowing 3.10 goals per game. And the PP sucks. Lavvy, his crew and JR are going to have to find a way to widen that .03 margin if the Canes are going to jump back to the top of the standings. Yeah, they might slug through the year and get in as an 8th seed. That paid off real nice for the defending Stanley Cup Champion last season, eh? Nothing like a first-round matchup with the Slugs to cap a schizo season.

Friday, December 08, 2006

John Lennon, 26 Years Later

So play the game "Existence" to the end,
of the beginning, of the beginning...
image: (beatlesuk)

I was sitting in a dorm room -Anderson Hall at Miami University - 26 years ago today with some pals watching Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell broke the news about John Lennon's murder. At the time, I was deeply saddened and actually pissed that I had to listen to that old blowhard tell me about the importance of Lennon. WTF did he know from John Lennon?

I went through a phase in high school when I morphed from having no interest in music at all to discovering the Beatles (and Steely Dan, to be honest). I bought a knock-off violin bass (Univox) and a crappy old bass amp with a bad tube that would fade out after around 10 minutes, just because I wanted to be Paul McCartney.

I had a pal in college and flight school who I used to debate whether Paul or John was the greater Beatle. Was the melody more important or the lyrics? I was a Paul guy. I still dig the melody and rhythm more than the lyrics to most tunes.

But the Lennon songs remain the most edgy and adventurous- Strawberry Fields and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and the two versions of Revolution, just to name a few. If you are not a Beatlemanic, you may not know the song, "Tomorrow Never Knows" from Revolver. To me, it is the quintessential John Lennon Beatles song. I don't think Beatles songs are available on ITunes, and it looks like you can't even sample it on Amazon or B&N, but you all may know of another way to get the song or the whole album via the Web.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Adversity Time, Break it Down

Rod Brind 'Amour seemed to be floating throughout much of the second period. And he was "unavailable" for the third period. Rod's had a lingering injury issue for awhile, but I can't seem to find anything about the nature of the injury or how long he will be down. Knowing the Warchief, he may well find a way back out there tomorrow night - whether he should be playing or not. We'll have to see how the Hurricanes respond to this new adversity.

The Editorial Board here at CB thinks it's time Eric Staal took the next step in his development. He's got Joe Thornton-like size, hands and vision, but he's got to start dominating play. He's got the speed and strength to do what Erik Cole does on the puck, but I have yet to see speed and strength this season.

Adversity often serves up opportunity. If Roddy is gonna be out for awhile, somebody has to step in and fill the leadership void. I think it's time for Eric/k to step up. Somebody has to be groomed to don the "C" in a post-Brind 'Amour world, now might be the time to see who that might be.

Me thinks Mick McGeough's helmet is too tight. What little oxygen his brain used to get has now been shut off. He misses a blatant trip off a faceoff (and JW's embellishment). He raises his hand to call a penalty, but seems to forget why his hand is up. Somebody on the board said it best. "We got Mc'Gooed."

But McGeough's incompetence is no excuse for the Canes loss last night. He's just a tragi-humorous side story. The real story is just where is the heart on this team. The Canes are great front-runners this season. Great when they have the other team on the ropes, great when the game plan works from the drop of the puck, but they are so easily taken out of their game and so inept at making between-period's just maddening.

Just a Thought
If Rod's absence will be lengthy, how about moving Andrew Ladd to #3 center? He's got great hands and has already proven a deft passer. Getting him off the wing might also lesson his collisions along the sideboards and keep him off the IR. Plus, Cory Stillman should be in the lineup tomorrow night. Need to make room at wing.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

So How Long Does Poutine's Revenge Linger?

Despite Her Majesty sticking up for poutine as premiere comfort food, I still think I was pretty much dead-on right yesterday. The Canes played last night like somebody dropped hallucinogenic mushrooms into their damn poutine. I predicted that Roddy Brind 'Amour would have a good night since he said nay to the poutine, but all he had to show for his dietary discipline was a -2 and blocked shot.

The boys were at least a step behind all night in Calgary. There was a Flamer stick, leg, skate, bum, torso, etc. in every passing lane. Erik Cole tried to improvise, and the Canes scrambled like a pack of rabid squirrels, but by the third period it was too late. Mikka Kipprusoff was on and it was over well before it was over.

Back to Edmonton
Night two in Alberta tonight. Not much venom seems to linger from last year's Stanley Cup Championship victory by the Carolina Hurricanes among our Oil-Blog cousins. Expect the volume in the building to be at the "11" level (still riffing on Spinal Tap). Imagine what tonight would be like if the Canes picked up Chris Pronger when he decided to go Irsay on the Oil.

Among the Oil blogs today you will find the obligatory jab at Roddy's chiseled good looks from Andy Grabia at Battle of Alberta. And Tyler at MC79 is still breaking down the Edm/Van game of the other night:

Despite that, Edmonton got outshot from inside 30 feet by a margin of
exactly one. That's unbelievable. From outside 30 feet, Vancouver outshot the
Oilers by something like 15 shots. Given that shots from that far out, you're
lucky if they go in 5% of the time, it becomes a bit easier to see how Edmonton
won last night.

You all know anybody covering hockey down here in the lower 48 who brings that level of agonizingly detailed statistical analysis? They could have used Tyler on that Warren Commission. Then we'd know who really killed JFK. I'm Howard Hughes part deux well before I get to that point.

Nothing yet from the crew at Covered in Oil. It's probably around day three of the suicide watch up there after the Smyth injury and the loss to the suddenly Full Metal Jackets, so after the crushing victory over the Nucks on Monday, they should be springing back into manic-mode later today. Expect some Braveheart caliber bravado this afternoon, followed by ugly binge drinking, arson and cruelty to small animals should the Canes prevail.

1. No poutine allowed in the clubhouse for the remainder of the roadie
2. Canes wake up and realize they aren't on an exhibition road show
3. Canes win in OT on a Justin Williams breakaway goal with 28 seconds left.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Whooo Hoooo I'm #23

Found this at James Mirtle's site today. He's got a link called "Top Blogs," and when you click on it, you go to a Google/Technorati spreadsheet list of hockey blogs ranked by some Technorati algorhythm involving number of sites that link to each blog.

I've known for awhile that CB was oscillating between 44 and 55,000th in the world (hit that 44k mark right around June... wonder why?), but 23rd among hockey blogs?

That being said, Red and Black is king of all Hurricanes blogs with a sweet #9 overall ranking. And yes JP, Japers' Rink is the top SESO blog affiliate at #12.

Here are the top five with my bitterness-laced commentary:
1. Off Wing Opinion (connections, connections)
2. James Mirtle (sensing shameless self-promotion here)
3. Kukla's Korner (talk about insider trading!!!)
4. Battle of Alberta (fratricide sells)
5. Vancouver Canucks Op-Ed (smart and funny chicks are way sexy)

He's Baaack

Yes Wink, I'll take Stillman and around 70 points

They haven't been in the lineup at all this season, so it's easy to forget the Canes have been without two huge offensive weapons all year. According to the CBC, they'll get one back tonight when Cory Stillman makes his return to the Hurricanes. Frankie Kaberle is a bit further off, but it will be great to see Stillman in the sightless eye once again.

Bubba, over at Canes Country believes we'll only see Stillman sparingly and on the PP.

UPDATE: Luke DeCock says the other reports are wrong - it's gonna be Friday. We'll see.

Using food as a weapon

Ummmmm Poutine

I'm all about discovering new things about alien cultures. A couple of weeks ago in New Orleans, I learned that you don't "suck the heads" on prawns, just crawfish.

Canadians continue to prove themselves refreshingly foreign in the category of cuisine. Last year it was Tim Horton's spicy southwest chicken sandwich combo...comes with coffee and a donut (no longer on the menu?). This year it's something called poutine. Luke DeCock and Lorenzo Perez have Lord Stanley's Blog up and running again and in today's post they have a recap of Justin Williams playing the role of team caterer after Monday's practice in Calgary. He bought the boys sacks of burgers and poutine.

So what is this poutine stuff? It's a wicked mix of fries, gravy and cheddar cheese curds. I've never heard of cheddar cheese curds. The only curds I've ever encountered have been in cottage cheese...I hate cottage cheese. According to Wikipedia:

"After twenty-four hours, they have lost the marks of freshness entirely. They
have not become unwholesome or distasteful, but they are not fresh cheese curds
any more—they are simply insufficiently aged cheese."

I can think of no better way to sabotage a visiting club's chances on the road than thru the use of insufficiently aged cheese as a weapon. It happened to Warren Sapp in Tampa, and I fear Justin Williams has unwittingly opened the door to it in Calgary.

According to Luke, only Rod Brind 'Amour declined the Quebecois delicacy. Look for Rod to have a great game, and the rest of the boys to make multiple trips to the head.

Canes in Calgary tonight and Edmonton tomorrow. I'll be watching how Mike Commodore plays vs. his old club and how the Canes handle the speed and pain Calgary delivers for 60 minutes. Should be a nice match-up. The Canes have also delivered a lot of speed and pain the last two games. The Dion Phaneuf/Erik Cole/Eric Staal battles along the boards might be tasty as well.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sowing the Seeds of Controversy

Tim Thomas - Finland Elite League Legend and Smackmaster

Sorry Canuck MSM blogosphere, but there is no goalie controversy in Hurricane world. Sportsnet's "Hockey Hearsay" blog on Friday included a post titled, "Ward losing grip on No. 1 spot." Not sure who the author of this blog is, but he/she contradicts him/herself in the first paragraph of the post:

"Carolina goalie Cam Ward is on the receiving end of what he did to Martin
Gerber last season. Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said at the start of
the season that he doesn't have a No.1 goalie and he is sticking to that

So how can you lose the #1 spot if there is no assured #1 spot? Cam Ward and John Grahame will share the load until one breaks out as clearly superior. That's the way Lavvy ran it last year, and that's the way the league is heading right now - to a two goalie, merit rotation system. It's working in Anaheim and San Jose. The Hearsay poster is correct in pointing out that Cam has just not been that good. I made that point last week as well. Look at Wardo's goals allowed (second most in the league) and save percentage (less than .900), and you'll see a goalie unworthy of a #1 billing....yet.

Luckily, the Canes are sixth in the league right now in goals scored per game. Scoring lots of goals can cover for spotty goaltending, unless you have to play ATL, Buffalo or Anaheim.

In Other News
The Canes/Bruins game the other night was a thing of beauty. The red wave just smothered the Bruins in the third period. I'm still looking for the video highlight of Erik Cole's blocked shot, sprint to recover the puck, out-skate and out-muscle of two Bruin defenders, cut across the front of the crease, make the beer league goalie to flop, top-shelf goal finish. Just keep your head up Colsey, you're not quite Superman.

Speaking of Tim Thomas, David Lee over at Red and Black has a take on some interesting beer league smack Thomas laid on the media after Saturday's loss.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Stillman's Coming

Double up on the finger foods

You are hearing more buzz over the past two weeks about the impending return of Cory Stillman to the Canes lineup - maybe next week? Now deciding who sits on the Carolina blueline has become a no-brainer. David Tanabe and Andrew Hutchinson, enjoy the complimentary chips, salsa and Thai chicken on a stick. It's a bit more difficult to decide who sits among the corps of forwards. I see five candidates who might join Tanabe and Hutch at the buffet:

  • KAdams

  • CAdams

  • Chad LaRose

  • Andrew Ladd

  • Trevor Letowski
Going just by the stats, it should be Kevyn Adams. He's been an absolute liability at even strength. But does Lavvy keep him for the PK and faceoffs during penalty kills? So maybe it will be Trevor Letowski. He's not buring things up either. My guess is that he'll alternate KAdams and Letowski in the hostpitality suite.

The more interesting lineup shift will occur later in the season when Frankie Kaberle returns. I think Anton Babchuk has earned a permanent spot. To me, that puts the spotlight on Tim think he likes chicken satay? Time to step up Timmay.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Calling out some underachievers

Read in the News & Observer this morning that Coach Lavvy had a series of one-on-ones with players after practice. Here are a few who may have had a rough time in the principal's office:

  • Kevyn Adams: -10, least amount of TOI/G among the regulars, 15 penalty minutes.
  • Eric Staal: -2, 28 penalty minutes, and still crappy in the faceoff circle (43%).
  • Tim Gleason: -7, 4th on the team in TOI/G, but only has 3 points. When paired with Eric Belanger's 9 points and -2, it looks like the Canes are still waiting to realize the upside of the Jack Johnson deal. Wouldn't it be a pisser if JJ were to leave Michigan after the Wolverine's season and out-stat these two combined by the end of the NHL season?
  • Cam Ward: Well below the .900 mark in save percentage- the lowest save percentage among goalies who have faced 500 or more shots, and the most goals allowed in the league. The only good news is that Kari Lehtonen is right down there with him.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Coyotes GM Barnett Makes Bold Sideways Move

After weeks of rumors about impending bold moves, even one involving Jovocop for Nabokov, Coyotes GM, Mike Barnett, took a step sideways in today's deal of Mikael Tellqvist for Tyson Nash and a fourth round pick in 2007.

The Coyotes shed a little used grinder with consistent injury issues and a draft pick for yet another mediocre goalie. The Maple Leafs lose a goaltender they have lost faith in and gain yet another aged player to fill the Tie Domi role - just sans any scoring touch.

Yes, the loss of a draft pick here and there can be recovered in subsequent dealing, but the loss of a pick to a team on the verge of blowing things up and going young might not be such a good decision. Here is a list of late draft picks-4th round and beyond, who have gone on to become superior NHLers:

  • Nic Wallin (90th pick)
  • Pavel Datsyuk (171st pick)
  • Danny Markov (223rd pick)
  • Pavol Demitra (227th pick)
  • Martin St. Louis (undrafted)

I know I'm probably missing others, but you get the point. Pissing away picks when you are a franchise on the verge of re-inventing yourself could imperil to your next "decade in the desert."

In Other News:

TSN is reporting that Marty Gerber will get the start tonight in Raleigh vs. the Canes. Should make for some drama. If that doesn't motivate the former Cane, nothing will.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Great Kevyn Adams Disappearo

Kevyn Adams was began Friday afternoon's game against the Bruins centering the third line with Andrew Ladd and Craig Adams. Early in the first period however, Adams took a bad hooking penalty, and then didn't see much ice time for the remainder of the game.

At one point, I recall seeing Kevyn at the beginning of a shift chase a puck into the corner and lose his stick. By the time the play flowed back into the Carolina defensive zone, Ladd and Craig Adams were backchecking without their center. Did Lavvy yank Kevyn after one rush and a lost stick?

For the game, Ladd registered over eight minutes of ice time, and CAdams logged over seven. Kevyn played just under four minutes.

Over the last three games, Kevyn's ice time has dropped from thirteen minutes to eight minutes to less than four. For the season, he's only averaging more TOI per game than Ryan Bayda (5 games), Keith Aucoin (1 game) and David Gove (1 game).

Folks who read this blog know I'm a huge Kevyn Adams fan. He's a character guy, a guy who plays with broken limbs, and he's a fellow Miami Redskin errrrr Redhawk. For those who are blessed with the opportunity to be closer to the team, please tell me what's going on here? We've all heard the rumor about Kevyn being in Lavvy's doghouse, but is that going to be a season-long sentence to hockey purgatory?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

...I thought turkeys could fly

Happy Thanksgiving all. For those of you too young to remember, WKRP in Cincinnati is a cult TV classic of the late '70's early 80's. Here's a YouTube cut of the turkey bombing episode for your holiday enjoyment.

The classic line is at the very end: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

Answers to the Dad Weekend photo album pre-test from yesterday:
1. Bret Hedican
2. Papa Brind 'Amour
3. Papa Commodore
4. Papa Walker
5. Papa Lavvy

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mike Sundheim's Dad Weekend Photo Album

This is great stuff, especially for all us fathers of sons out there. Mike Sundheim has posted pictures of the Hurricanes' dad weekend on his "The Guy Behind the Guy" site.

Here's your 10 second photo album pre-test:
1. Which son has a Richard Nixon widow's peak that matches his dad's? (remember, Recchi now is back with the Pens)
2. Which dad looks like he just spilled that 9th vodka tonic down the front of his shirt?
3. Which dad looks like the guy on the TV commercial who wants you to learn how to use your computer by using his free CD?
4. Which dad looks like that older Borat-like Russianish guy on those discount travel TV commercials they play during every Center Ice TV timeout?
5. Which dad has a Donald Trump comb-over working real nice?

Answers tomorrow

The Chuck Kaiton Euro Pronunciation Guide

Yesterday's trade between the Canes and Rangers involved young Czech, Jakub Petruzalek. It got me thinking about the strange way Chuck Kaiton pronounces the names of many Eastern Euros. Radim Vrbata is Zad-im Vuh-bata, Marek Malik is Mal-ek Mal-eek, Alexi Kovalev is Alexi Kov-all-yev. Maybe Kaiton is sticking to the slavo-euro-phonetically correct method of pronunciation, but his way is definitely not standard across hockey media.

Now I didn't catch Chuck's radio call of the game last night, and if he mentioned the trade, I don't know how he presented the name, but I'll hazard a few guesses in this forum. Readers are encouraged to either let me know how he did it or offer their own takes. Here are mine:

  • Yey-koob Pah-true-za-leck
  • Jay-cub Pet-ro-zahlek
  • Nic-0h-lie Chow-shesh-que
  • Bore-at Sagg-die-yev

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Darryl Reaugh Uncut

Real Men Embrace their Feminine Side, Right Razor?

The best Center Ice experience has to be a Dallas Stars broadcast. Yeah, there are more high-profile hockey broadcasters out there, but nothing compares the night at the Improv that is Reaugh/Strangis. Maybe hockey broadcasting could be Kramer's next gig, he seems to handle unscripted moments pretty well, eh? Anyway, for some reason on Stars broadcasts, they rarely show actual commercials during the TV timeouts, chosing instead to leave the cameras running (including 2 minutes of Rod Brind 'Amour circling near the Canes bench like the Rainman), looping replays and hot mics. At one point during a penalty-rich first period of play, Ralph Strangis set up a TV timeout, and almost immediately after they were "out," you could hear Reaugh clearly say, "Man, the officials in this league are just awful." Throughout the night, it was fun to hear the off the air banter amongst the broadcast team and between the team and those in the truck.

During the second period intermission, Reaugh had John Forslund in the booth for a little ad lib session on the strangest event they ever called. Forslund described MC'ing Mike Commodore's haircut for charity, and Razor riffed about some event I can't describe or recall with any detail. That's probably because he made no sense at all. I think Forslund was equally confused, and the whole thing just fell apart at the end. After they went to break, you could hear the two busting out in laughter.

Look for yet another troubling reunion of the former Whale broadcast team tomorrow night when they pair for a Versus broadcast. Now those outtakes outta be YouTube worthy.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Three Minutes of Dominance

Through the miracle of teenage decision making, I only saw the last 3:21 of the Canes/Caps game last night. The good news is we have a nice high school romance movie starring Freddy Prinze Jr. saved for posterity in its place. Like we needed another one. For every hockey game there are 20 Pokemon and 20 teen angst movies on the hard drive.

JP nailed it in his game keys over on SESO when he said the Caps needed to contain Roddy's line.

Sick Stats

  • AO registered only 3 shots the whole game - all three in the third period.
  • Eric Staal logged only 1 minute more ice time than Andrew Ladd. Is somebody being sent a message?

The Stars are in Raleigh tonight after rubbing out the Thrash last night. See Kari Lehtonen get yanked last night? The wheels on the Thrash bus might be going wobbly. Don't look now, but the Canes are now only two points behind the Cinderellas of the season's first month.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Speaking of Anton Babchuk

At the risk of jinxing our budding star, I just wanted to post this follow up to my thoughts on Anton. He was traded last year for Danny Richmond and a swap of 4th round picks. Here's one look at who got the better of that deal (from's player profile):

Danny Richmond
Transactions / Injuries / Suspensions
03-Nov-06: Assigned to Norfolk (AHL)
21-Oct-06: Recalled from Norfolk (AHL)
01-Oct-06: Assigned to Norfolk (AHL)
14-Apr-06: Recalled from Lowell (AHL)
13-Feb-06: Assigned to Norfolk (AHL)
26-Jan-06: Recalled from Norfolk (AHL)
20-Jan-06: Re-assigned to Norfolk (AHL)
20-Jan-06: Acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes

Anton Babchuk
Transactions / Injuries / Suspensions
12-Mar-06: Recalled from Lowell (AHL)
03-Mar-06: Assigned to Lowell (AHL)
20-Jan-06: Recalled from Norfolk (AHL)
20-Jan-06: Acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks

Danny's accumulated enough frequent flyer miles from a trip to Mars and back.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Irony, Clanging Pipes and Carolina Blueline

About Last Night
Irony was in the house last night. The Hurricanes clanged a slew of shots off the iron, and then scored the game winner off the crossbar. Ironic that the defensive stalwart we are all missing right now, Aaron Ward, Oleged the puck along the end boards to Justin Williams who then fed Roddy for the game winner - all while Matt Cullen stood like a matador and watched.

I also found it interesting that during Tripp's pre-game interview with AWard, who do we see stretching in the background? None other than Kevin Weekes. The 2002 run to the Cup finals might never have happened without Weekes 40 save game and point blank stop of John Madden in OT of game five. Weekes still can't get any love. Bubba says in his blog today that the crowd booed Weekes last night. That's too bad. Weekes is a class guy.

OBTW, could you just tell from his repeated Freudian slips that AWard kinda regrets leaving? Think he likes being in a clubhouse with Jagr and Shanny? No ongoing clash of egos there, I'm sure. Maybe Aaaron's confessed nervousness got the better of him and led to that sucker punch on Kevyn Adams in the first. Like Kevyn needed that after seeing his name in the trade rumors sections of nearly every news outlet and blog. However, he does get some props from's Shawn P. Roarke.

Two guys on the rise and one stuck in neutral
We all heard what a scoring stud Chad LaRose was during his rise from obscurity. Well he's still a role player on the 4th line, but you've seen flashes of the scorer inside that is dying to get out over the last couple of games. His one-timer off the Trevor Letowski pass Saturday vs. the Pens was slick. I don't recall ever seeing Chad get a shot from such an open position. He's usually playing with his back to the opposition net.

Moving on to Anton Babchuk. Buy this stock now. His ice time is on the rise, he's killing penalties and logging PP time. And he's not just playing it safe. He's joining rushes, banging slappers, making crisp outlet passes and playing responsibly around the net. You can see the confidence welling in this kid, and it looks like he's earning the confidence of Lavvy. His flick over the glass in the second was called by Chuck Kaiton a panicky move, but when I watched it on the DVR, it looked more like a simple physical error.

David Tanabe reminds me more every day of Kenny from South Park. You just know he's gonna get killed every night. Glen Wesley and Bret Hedican have that instinctual sense of when to sidestep and avoid the full force of a blow. Tanabe just gets plowed every time. And I find myself waiting for the rats to run out and swarm his melon after each one.

In Other News
I'm adding Carolina Blueline to the Daily Reads. Can never have too many solid Cane blogs. Trying to figure out why he has a picture of a strangely still alive looking Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys on the site today...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Old Homey's Week

Welcome Back AWard and Matt Cullen

The line at the top of his unofficial fanzine Website reads, "Whatever he hits, he destroys." Uhh, right. Come on, we all know yer a big softie there AWard. And I've got the picture to prove it.

I've had this pic since September of last year. At the time AWard was the Oleg Tverdovsky of that Carolina Hurricanes era. Not that he was soft, puck spitting and prone to un-diagnosable mellon ailments, it was just that he was the Hurricane most often mentioned in trade rumors.

Then Aaron showed up post lockout in Dolph Lundgren shape and proceeded to have an outstanding season in '05-'06. Aaron blocked shots, took the body and scored timely goals (see SCF, game 7). He had such a good season, JR couldn't afford him (Blogger's note: BS, yes he could have afforded to keep him).
Tomorrow night the Hurricanes welcome AWard and Matt Cullen back to the RBC. The Rangers have had an up-and-down season thus, but it ain't because of AWard and Cullen. Nope, much of that blame is going to Jaromir Jagr's shoulder, Marek Malik and an inconsistent Henny Lundqvist.
So who does AWard seek to destroy first? I say Justin Williams.

Rumor Milling

Say it ain't so JR!?!
There are some really sexy SE Division players out there being bandied about as trade bait. Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier are all pricy and potentially available. The Hurricanes up-and-down season to date seems to be feeding the trade rumor mill as well, but the names aren't nearly as sexy.

Paul Kukla links to a column by Bucky Gleason in the Buffalo News on the topic of Kevyn Adams future with the Hurricanes. Wasn't "Bucky Gleason" Captain America's sidekick? But I digress. Gleason points to Kevyn's lack of ice time, buzz about Adams being firmly ensconced in Lavvy's doghouse and that way overblown scrum Kevyn had with Bret Hedican at an early season practice.

After the Cup finale, we all expected old, battered and bruised Bret Hedican and Glen Wesley to retire. After all is said and done, maybe Kevyn Adams is the one who the game is leaving behind. Moving Kevyn would be a shame. He's a class act and a gutsy team-first guy.Another name out there as trade bait appears to be little used backup John Grahame. Spector discounts Grahame's value by pointing to his "craptacular stats." This one bothers me much less. With solid prospects Kevin Nastiuk, Justin Peters and Craig Kowolski in the system, letting Grahame go for prospects or picks would be just fine.

So where are the deals? Jim Rutherford can work in stealth mode with the best of them. Granted, the Jack Johnson fisaco would be a big exception. But one obvious trade partner might be the Phoenix Coyotes. The Yotes need goaltending help and can't seem to swing a deal with Buffalo or San Jose. So, is John Grahame an answer to Coach Gretzky's dilemma? Probably not, but he is a goalie with playoff and Stanley Cup experience. So what about tossing Kevyn Adams into the mix? Think the Coyotes would benefit from a solid clubhouse guy who lives, eats and breathes work ethic and team first?

So here's the deal from GM Me: John Grahame, Kevyn Adams and David Tanabe (I'm just tossing him in gratis -hoping they won't notice) for Matt Jones and Freddie Sjostrom. The Yotes get a NHL caliber backup for Cujo with experience, even if it is less than stellar. They would also get a character guy in their clubhouse who just happens to be a free agent at the end of the season. And if JR can get them to take Tanabe...well at least they already know what he's about. The Canes would get a defensive prospect/project from a team with three solid prosects already vying for ice time (Ballard, Michalek and Yandle), and a young and speedy grinder to join Craig Adams and Chad LaRose on the 4th line. This deal works for me, but I think Gretz and Barnett probably want to try and move big ticket guys like Morris, Doan, Boynton and/or Comrie once they commence operation let's blow the whole thing up and start over.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day

Read about Medal of Honor Recipient, Cpl Jason Dunham

All the American fighting man/woman really want is a clear mission, a defined enemy and the backing of a national will to see things thru to victory. The World War II generation had it right. War is hell, so wage it violently with every weapon in the arsenal and get it done. Find 'em, fix 'em, finish 'em.

Veterans of Korea, Vietnam and now veterans of the War on Terror didn't/don't enjoy the support provided by the greatest generation. To me, this makes the service of these American veterans even more special. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Thank you for enduring the second-guessing from armchair strategists, and thank you for enduring ineptitude from those on high.

New Orleans Trip and Canes Welcome Brooks Orpik

New Orleans still has a long way to go. When the Cafe du Monde is empty at 9 am, you know things aren't back to normal. There are still many broken windows throughout the French Quarter, and the gutter systems on most buildings are gone. It poured rain on Monday afternoon and water that normally would have drained off simply cascaded out of holes in the old gutters and into open windows. Many businesses are still boarded up. Mr. B's Bistro, the first restaurant I ate at in New Orleans 16 years ago, was still boarded up-but promising to return.

Many shops have gone without air conditioning since the storm because they need a crane to lift a new compressor to the third story roof. Cranes are still in very short supply.

Good news is the folks in the hotels and restaurants are more hospitable than I remember. The locals realize they need the tourists and conventioneers to return if they are gonna make a go of things. Driving in from the airport, a few billboards proclaimed the return of big conventions to the city. Next week, the realtors return. Many more billboards announced the reopening of the city's strip clubs. Nothing should stand in the way of bacchanalia's return to the Big Easy.

Pens at Canes
Orpik and Armstrong - Malkin and Crosby. Not sure which is the bigger story tonight. Expect a very physical game.Erik Cole will be in full Kamikaze mode tonight. Look for Mike Commodore to be in Sidney's grill all night. Letowski should also play with a bit more pop in his game. If Cam Ward ca keep it close, the Hurricanes depth and re-discovered full court press should mean a victory for the homies.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Big Easy and Canes Bounce Back

I'm off to New Orleans today for a conference. It should be interesting to see how Canal Street and the Vieux Carre' look. I haven't been there for two years. Any suggestions on where to dine? I've got Monday night to venture out...always liked Mr. B's.

I second JP's call on all to vote on Tuesday. Momentous times are upon us. Remember, all you Democrats, you are required to vote in this off-year election via butterfly ballot. That makes it easier for all those nice election day volunteers from Halliburton to identify and shred your ballots.

On to the Hurricanes
The box score won't show it, but Andrew Ladd was a force last night. He hit everything in black and his passing was artful and crisp. Ladd's ice time was up around four minutes and he even logged over 2 minutes on the PP. His breakout pass from the half-boards to a streaking Eric Staal was particularly sweet.

Erik Cole also had a break-out night with a goal and two assists. His goal from behind the net off Marty Gerber's rib cage was a thing of beauty. Wesley, Hedican, Wallin and Commodore - the core (sans Kaberle) of the Canes no-name Stanley Cup Champion blueline, are starting to gel. Still no Tim Gleason, but Anton Babchuk was solid. I just wish he'd plow somebody...just once. Is there even a place for David Tanabe on this squad? He played less than two minutes and coughed up a puck at the blueline. Looks like the young man might have some Rick Ankiel-ish issues.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Welcome Back Mr. Franchise

And welcome back Marty-Joe Gerber, the world's only Swiss redneck.

I'd rather start with the good news. Legend Ron Francis has re-joined the club as director of player development. This from

“Ron’s knowledge of the game of hockey and his experience as a player go without
mention,” said Rutherford. “Having Ron in this role will be a true benefit to
the players and the Hurricanes organization.”

Last summer, the Bruins hired a old friend of Peter Chiarelli to be their director of player development. Here's a snip from his job description:

"...responsible for tracking the progress of all prospects in the
Bruins system at the AHL, junior hockey and college levels and scouting of
professional leagues."

To me that means long roadies and many nights in Motel 6's from Albany to Fort Myers. If the Hurricanes put Ronnie on the road to work hands-on with prospects and coaches and track the play of other team's prospects, it should be a nice boost for the Canes system. If "tracking the progress" means downloading spreadsheets from a desk in the RBC...we'll at least have our memories.

In Other News

Canes lose bad last night. Two shorthanded goals. Does Lavvy already have no faith in John Grahame? Is he holding him for the next game against the Chicago Blackhawks...sometime in 2010? I heard a discussion on NHL Live this am about concerns folks have in Narnia about the stamina of Ryan Miller over a full season. Is anybody thinking the same things about Cam Ward? And why is Erik Cole still not making a dent in the scoring column?

This kind of up and down play might only keep the Canes competitive this season with the Lightning... or maybe Saturday's opponent, the Ottawa Senators. Scout us some Ottawa blueliners there, Mr. Director of Player Development.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Habs try to end four game losing streak vs. Hurricanes

My little rant about last night is over on SeSo. See if you concur.

vs. Montreal
The Canenvy bitterness cup runeth over again tonight. First round opponents, the Montreal Canadians make the trek back to Raleigh with vengance on their minds. That crap works pretty good for Sabre-fan. Bitterness, the endless quest for retribution and down comforters keep Buffaslug fan alive.

Saku Koivu says he's not bitter about the Justin Williams high stick in game three. Let's see how the Habs man up vs. Justin tonight. I expect John Grahame to be in nets tonight. Cam Ward has earned a night off. Cristobal Huet is slated to play goal for the Habs tonight. Good...I need the fantasy points.

Note to Habs - The Thrash tried the physical intimidation thingy last night. It didn't work.

Final thought: How about Mike Commodore last night? That has to be the best near miss I've ever seen. He grazed "Kovvy" at the blueline and ended up vaulting into the bench. Like the way he stepped up for his pards last night. Ditto Scott Walker.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NEW a Weekly Coyotes Rant/Rave

I'm going to start doing at least one weekly rant or rave on the Phoenix Coyotes. I'm living out here in AZ, the Yotes are the closest NHL club, and while they are hard to love, it's impossible to hate this group of Bad News Bears. For youse guys back in Raleigh, bear with me. I'm going through some post-Cup separation anxiety.

Today's Episode - Bad Poker

Hardly noticed the other day was the Coyotes loss of Joel Perrault to the St. Louis Blues. Coyotes GM, Mike Barnett, took gamble after he signed free agent centerman, Yanic Perreault, to fill in for the injured Steve Reinprecht. Barnett tried to slip young Perrault thru waivers and back to the San Antonio affiliate. Bad Poker Mr. Barnett . The St. Louis Blues, who scarfed up Vladimir Orszagh, from under the Coyotes noses last year, snapped up the former 5th rounder of the Anaheim Ducks. Is Perrault a game-breaker and star on the edge of greatness? Probably not. Is he a young guy with size, speed and a scoring touch? Yes.

In David Vest's piece today, Coach Gretz' plays down the loss:

"I thought Joel played really well at the beginning," Gretzky said, "but the
last couple games, he wasn't quite the same."
He also goes on to say that if the Blues try and send him back down, the Coyotes might just return the favor. Sounds like a loss they didn't really expect to take, eh?

So the Coyotes system takes yet another hit. In filling a short term need, Barnett may have sacrificed at least a piece of the club's player-movement flexibility this season. In the worst case, he just gave away a bit of the Coyotes post-old guys who we'll have trouble shedding so we can get younger and faster like the Ducks and Sharks, future.

Now for something completely different...
Coast to coast with Freddie Sjostrom

(note that Owen Nolan appears to keep up with the speedster. Must be a YouTube illusion.)