The Canes came out with vengance on their mind after the season ending loss only months before. Instead they fell into a 2-0 hole to start the first thanks to an old friend. But the Canes were resiliant and kept at it. After a powerplay goal by Ruutu and a dazzling move by Whitney near the end of the first the Canes have all the momentum. Brindy would put them up 3-2 but would be answered a few minutes later by Dvorak. Joni was being Joni again tonight and put the home team up to stay with just over 5 to play in the 2nd. Despite a late comeback attempt and some, shall I say “questionable” calls, the Canes stood solid and emerged victorious 6 to 4.
So here’s some thoughts on the game. Defense:
Pitkanen – Gleason was solid, real solid. They compliment eachother extremely well and very well might be the best top pairing in the southeast. Dare I say it they could very well be among the top 2 or 3 #1 pairings in the east when all is said and done if they can carry this play over to future games. But they weren’t the only ones doing their part from the blueline. Frank Kaberle was back in fashion tonight and after doing the matador routine on the Panthers first goal had an otherwise solid night. Corvo didn’t produce but he didn’t look bad by any meens either despite his -2 so that’s a wash to me, he should put up the numbers this year regardless. Seidenberg impressed looking like he really wants to be a part of the Canes long-term plans and he deserved the 21+ minutes of ice time he got. Fantastic feed by him on the powerplay to Ruutu. Wallin was also a very pleasant surprise making the nicest play I’ve seen him make since the 05-06 playoffs to set up Lacouture for his first Hurricanes goal.
The Staal line was dominant despite Eric not ending up on the scoresheet. He was dangerous all night, Whitney is still the Wizzard and Eaves looks like he could easily have a breakout season alongside those two. The Brind’Amour line was not at its strongest even strength but they more then made up for that on the powerplay contributing both goals. Ruutu showed some glimpses of why he was considered the best prospect in hockey a few times tonight. The Cullen line was alright, shut down the Panthers forwards and pestered their D all night but didn’t produce until an empty netter at the end. The line that impressed me the most was actually Brookbank-Sutter-Lacouture. Generated a lot of action in front of Vokoun and the end result was a goal for Lacouture and Brandon’s first NHL point.
This powerplay is lethal, period. The Pitkanen-Corvo setup on the point will generate more then it won’t and having the Brind’Amour setup with what looked like a resurgent Kaberle on the 2nd unit ensured that if the Panthers focused on stopping the 1st unit they would get burnt in the end. It happened, twice.
The PK… I’m still not sold on. It should improve over last season by simple law of averages, but there were only 3 players iced tonight that I would consider putting on a PK with Gleason, Wallin and Seidenberg. That said, the Canes new attacking attitude with the forwards will pay off and ensure that the PK improves. Sutter especially was impressive there, this kid has Selke written all over him, just such a cerebral defensive player at such a young age.
Dave’s 3 stars:
3 – Ray Whitney
2 – The Pitkanen-Gleason pairing… yeah I know it’s a copout, so sue me
1 – Brandon Sutter
Hairy Gelrose to replace Fidel Tortorella as Lightning Coach – Toronto Star by way of TSN
The Leafs fans on TSN, of course, are hoping that Tortorella comes to coach the Leafs–boy, won’t they be in for a shock when they realize after the first season and a half that Fidel is a coach whose half-life is measured in Planck Time. I mean, really. His harsh uber-disciplinarian style has a distressing tendency to grate on the players, and after a while all but the most fanatical will simply stop listening to him go on and on and on about La Revolucion Gloriosa because they just flat aren’t interested anymore.
Mind you though, they were all over having Chairman Mo as their coach three seasons ago, and look at how that turned out–there’s just no telling those Leafs fans anything, I guess.
Anyway, about MulletMan–sure, the guy took the Kings to the Finals in 93 (where they choked a series lead to the Habs, who SUCK…just sayin’), but aside from that he has done bobkes except for sit and rap about hockey for Bristol. Sure, The President of the Show may be a buddy of his, but c’mon; I am really not seeing that this is an upgrade coaching-wise for the Lightning.
Future Owner Oren Koules (who shall henceforth known in this space as FOOK) is reportedly barracking for this sea change in order to sell hockey in a market where home games already sell out much of the time–which just tells me that dudeman has his head up his ass even more than I originally thought, given that Tampa is currently 8th in the League in attendance.
Sorry Lightning fans–expect more rough seas ahead, but be glad…at least you’re not playing at the Trop anymore.
Laviolette keeps job — LSB
After keeping us all on pins and needles for weeks after the end of the season, JimR has finally made it official–Peter Laviolette is staying on as coach of the Hurricanes.
I had gotten some juicy rumours dropped on me regarding possible replacements (Chairman Mo was NOT one of those possible replacements), as well as a possible destination for our beloved coach (conjecture was that ATL would have had him on their payroll inside of 36 hours). But since I couldn’t substantiate them I didn’t feel comfortable posting them–after all, I’m not charging all y’all $texas for the “privilege” of reading complete and total codswallop and made-up “CONFIRMED TRADE IN THE WORKS” stories that are cribbed from message boards.
So, yeah. The Samsonov signing should have been a sign, but of course it wasn’t. Great Leader wanted to rap with the coach, and word around the campfire is that PK told Lavi that the ball is rather firmly lodged in his court–so Lavi was the master of his own fate. He loves it here, his family loves it here, and he wanted to stay–and so Great Leader let him stay.
I just hope that we can avoid a “three months of suck” this time around, because…well…that sucked.
Wow, somebody in Atlanta Spirit’s brain trust has (apparently) finally pulled his/her head out and realized that they need a GM with a clue for the Thrashers.
Of course, this being Atlanta I’m sure there’s going to be some kind of strange-ass soap opera surrounding all of this (and the hiring of the new GM).
Also, Versus was kind enough to release their Conference Finals schedule:
Set your DVRs.
Let me keep this short and sweet:
1) Christobal Huet is not the answer for the Caps. He got pwned on that dribbler of a first Pflyers goal, and he got pwned on the series-winner in the exact same way that Cory Stillman pwned him in 2006.
2) I liked how Ovechkin and Kolzig stayed out to applaud the fans after the handshakes–I didn’t, however, like how the fans just kept their hands in their pockets. C’mon kids, your team went from dead last at Thanksgiving to the third seed in the East, they battled back from being down 3-1….and you can’t even give ‘em a little love?
3) Better luck next year. Except, of course, against the Hurricanes.
On to Round 2. Give ‘em Hell, Harry.
…I’ll be planted in front of the t00b watching the Habs (who SUCK…just sayin’) take on the Bruins in a Game Seven. Why? Because it’s a Game Seven, and because I want to see the Habs fans’ heads implode if Carey Price can’t steal the game. Either way, it will be a barn-burner.
And I’ll be checking on the score of the Capitals game, to see if they manage to take their series to a seventh game or if they choke it like a chicken (which is what I think will happen).
I suspect that if the Caps pull it out tonight, that moronic little twerp capsfan88 will be back like a bad yeast infection to try trolling it up again.
Meanwhile, over in the Western Conference, everything that has happened before will happen again. And that’s all I’m saying about that.
Yeah, so I watched regulation and half of the first OT in last night’s Caps-Flyers game.
The Caps, barring a miracle, are toast. Pahtoleipä. Труп. Erledigt. You get the picture.
The problem the Caps had last night is best summed up in the following video:
Not penalties per se–but sloppy penalties.
Now, I will freely admit that the penalty that Kimmo Timonen drew on Kozlov in the third was (as Ed Olczyk put it) a wrong call, and the interference call on Eminger in the first was iffy–but That Hasenfratz Putz was working the game, so I expected at least one or two blown calls. But the rest were just sloppiness on the part of the Caps. Two Too Many Men penalties are possibly the most glaring sign of a lack of cohesion on the Capitals’ bench right now. The Caps are in complete disarray right now, Huet is once again showing that he’s not really playoff material, and I expect the Pflyers to close them out on Saturday.
Memo to occasional (not to mention unintelligent and uncreative) troller capsfan88:
Yes, playoffs are fun–but actually winning a series? That’s even more fun.
(“High Hopes”, by Pink Floyd. From their 1994 Album The Division Bell)
This is about how I feel right now. I honestly think that it would have been better if the Hurricanes had just imploded when the Warchief went down. It would have hurt less that way, because we at least would have known, going into the last day of the season, that all our dreams were torn asunder.
But no. We had to give it up to the Florida fucking Panthers. Nathan fucking Horton said after the game that it was nice to be in a position to decide who goes to the playoffs–and I knew at that moment that they were going to as good as throw the game tonight just to spite us.
I was not disappointed. Perhaps I’m taking it a little hard. I’m sure that by the end of the summer I’ll have a far more rational viewpoint. But right now, at this moment, you cannot in any way shape form or fashion convince me that the Panthers did not deliberately tank that game tonight to twist the lemon juice-coated salt crystal that they plunged into our hearts Friday night.
A couple weeks before the World Series in 1986, Bill Buckner sat for a TV interview–in that interview, he said that he thought the RedSox would win the WS, and he said that something crazy would have to happen like Mookie Wilson hitting a grounder between his [Buckner's] legs with the bases loaded for them to lose.
We all know what happened. I am feeling like that right now, because I had to open my yap back in the middle of March and say that the only way the Capitals would win the Division is if Raleigh were obliterated by a 10MT surface burst. Neither Buckner nor I caused the events that we spoke of, of course–we were simply the messengers, as it were.
Friday night, the bomb hit. Tonight, what didn’t get vapourized got levelled by the shockwave.
So let’s recap:
Yesterday morning, everyone in the Caniac Nation was all up in teh dramaz about the Caps pwning face on us. I slapped around some dumbass who got all up in the whiny because I said that Alex Ovechkin can be a dirty bastard–and yes, he can be–and then I took a shot at people that were claiming that there’s some kind of Sooper Sekrit Conspeerohsee going on to get the Caps into the playoffs at our expense.
Yesterday afternoon, EJ Hradek decided to clown on my coach’s meltdown behind the bench in DC. And, admittedly, it was funny–though really my coach is far less nebbishy-lookin’ than EJ is (not, yanno, that there’s anything wrong with being nebbishy-lookin’. Just saying.)–but I knew that the ‘Canes were going to get it together against the Lightning that night…and my favourite Spicy Italian, John Tortorella, gave us a lil’ hep by putting Mike Smith in goal.
Mmmm…..Spicy Italian. *ahem* sorry.
Then a friend of mine leaves me a ticket at Will Call–and my car is out of gas. Hubby was at work, clear out on the other side of the Containment Area for Relocated Yanquis. So I was stuck in my “AQ has no cash and can’t call a cab to take her to le jeu” living room for the night, which didn’t make me very happy–but what can you do, right?
So I settle in to watch the game–and 32 seconds in Eric freakin’ Staal shows why he is The Chosen One by scoring on a breakaway while practically wearing Vinny Lecavalier. I knew then that it was going to be a fun night. Merlin decided, at that point, to decamp to the foyer for some odd reason. The rest of the cats (including Jasmine the Feline Mute Button), however, parked their furry butts on the couch and watched the game with me. Martin St. Louis scored a few minutes later while Keith “Tater” Aucoin was in the box for tripping, and I bellowed “STOP SCORING ON US, YOU LITTLE VONTZ!”
Jasmine, tiny little dainty kitty that she is, then jumped on my chest and nipped my chin to let me know that I was too loud and needed to be quiet.
Then Chad LaRose, the Chuck Norris of Hockey, scored at 16:10 to put the ‘Canes up 2-1–and on to intermission we went!
Now, the second period was kinda surreal. Rosie scored again (and there was much rejoicing. YAAAAAY!), Andreas Karlsson hooked Trevor Letowski in the wedding vegetables, and then a few minutes later there was a knock at my door. I opened it, and there was Scott Walker. “Hey there, Your Infernal Majesty,” he said, “Mind if I come in for a moment?” How could I refuse one of my tribesmen, right?
I let Remo in, and–after paying the Pet Tax to Merlin–he ripped off this shot from atop my coffee table while Mike Smith was off at the Cook-Out on Western Boulevard to get a huge Cheddar-Style with double extra onion and a side of hushpuppies. “Thanks,” Walks said merrily before reaching down to pick Merlin up. “C’mon little buddy, we’re going to need you later.” Then he left, and I went back to watching the game just in time to see Jeff Halpern attempt to use Ryan Bayda as a missile weapon against his own goalie…and then try to re-enact a scene from “OZ” while poor Mike Smith is dopeslapping both of them with his blocker and hollering “GET OFF ME WITH THAT SHIT MANG, THAT AIN’T MAH SCENE.”
Then the phone rang. It was my husband. “As your lawyer,” he said to me, “I advise you to keep the noise level down so that we don’t get tossed from our apartment.” And Jasmine nipped my chin again, punctuating it this time with a meow. And the neighbours upstairs started trying to loudly remind the world that they like to engage in conjugal relations from time to time. Point taken, I turned down the TV in the living room and ChuckandtheletterK in the computer room.
Tuomo Ruutu went off for hooking, and I wondered ‘How long can we maintain?’* The answer was “as long as we have to”.
Vinny Lecavalier got dinged for a double-minor at the end of the period after he got called for interference and then decided to tell the refs what he thought of their parentage, and I knew that it was about to get surreal. More surreal. Something like that.
I was not, I assure you, disappointed.
Bishop Ruutu canonized a shot from the faceoff circle that beat Smith like a rented mule, Halp thought he was a Cap again and managed to score, and then the Chuck Norris of Hockey, Chad fuckin’ LaRose, got his hat trick.
It was at that point that I saw Merlin firmly ensconced on the top of John Tortorella’s head, and I decided that fatigue had definitely gotten the better of me and that it was time to go to bed. I walked over to the TV set and turned it on to a dead channel-white noise at maximum decibels, a fine sound for sleeping, a powerful continuous hiss to drown out everything strange*. Then I went into the bedroom and collapsed into bed surrounded by four furballs and seeing my team as monster reincarnations of Horatio Alger: men on the move and just sick enough to be confident*.
(This post inspired by (and the asterisked lines cribbed from) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Good night Hunter S. Thompson, wherever you are.)
OK, let’s clear a few things up about last night:
1) THERE IS NO FREAKING CONSPIRACY ON THE PART OF THE NHL, THE OFFICIALS, OR ANY OTHER ENTITIES TO GET THE CAPITALS INTO THE PLAYOFFS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE HURRICANES. SO STOP COMMENTING AND SENDING ME E-MAULS WITH THAT SPECIOUS ARGUMENT, BECAUSE IT HOLDS ABOUT AS MUCH WATER AS A LEAKY SIEVE.
2) I shouldn’t have to write that in all-caps, but nothing gets on my tits more than whining about officiating after a loss.
3) Alex Ovechkin is a fun player to watch and he has leet skillz, but he can be a dirty bastard who gets away with a lot more than he should.
4) Scoring overcomes crappy officiating.
5) The Hurricanes were outplayed from the first puck-drop to the final buzzer. So stop whining.
6) The Hurricanes hold their destiny in their hands.
7) Meredith in Richmond can bite me–and on Friday, I’m going to kick her of the top of Pilot Mountain Jet Li style to drive the point home.
8 ) EJ Hradek can bite me. Him and that damnable towel of his. *shakes fist*
9) I’m going to do my work today and let the Hurricanes do whatever it is that they’re going to do.
10) I’m cutting my hair. Those of you who know me well know how significant that is.
Canes take on the Lightning at 7:00 tonight. Be there or be square.
Those of you who know me know that I have high hopes for the Southeast every season. I want them to be a competitive division, rather than a clone of the Central. I’m not talking “competitive with each other”, I’m talking “competitive with the rest of the League”. I’d love to see all five SE teams in the playoffs–if for no other reason than that it would royally piss off the rest of the League, especially if one of those five teams wound up winning the Cup. It’s a big-picture thing for me. I want this division to be good and competitive for a long, long time so that they can get out of being perceived as a latter-day Norris division.
Carolina: Doing their best to stay competitive (and if only they’d played in the middle of the season the way they’ve played since February, then the fans wouldn’t be scarfing TUMS like it’s going out of style now). Extremely stable environment, which is good but also makes it tricky in terms of team chemistry–sometimes things are too stable for the team’s collective good, which leads to complacency (and debacles like the one that existed from November through January).
Washington: Doing their best to be competitive–though in fairness, they’ve been doing that with varying degrees of success for several years now. Now GMGM has somebody that he actually can build a team around, a cat who wants to stay in Washington and (more importantly) is willing to work to win, and in the long term that will reap dividends for the Caps. Stable environment, despite the occasional bit of coaching turmoil.
Florida: They’ve got the potential in place–at least, as long as ownership doesn’t keep hiring Mike freaking Keenan every three or four years or so to destabilize things and ruin whatever progress may have been achieved since the last time he ran roughshod over them. And as long as they stop whining about Carolina’s constantly mugging them for their lunch money.
Tampa: Give this team a coach who is not a petty tinpot dictator like Fidel Tortorella, and they will start to get back to where they once belonged–this situation is still in flux, but I think that once the ownership change happens (and Feaster and Tortorella are gone) things will settle down and head back upwards…as long as Doug MacLean isn’t allowed to sit in the GM’s office or get behind the bench.
And then we have the Atlanta Thrashers. Oh, they had a good season last year. But that’s it. The doormats of the Southeast, yet again. So they’re stable–but not in the good way.
The more I watch the Atlanta Thrashers, the more I wonder how in the Nine Worlds that pitiful milquetoast Don Waddell has a job…and then I read comments like these from Atlanta’s braintrust ownership:
“Mistakes have been made and really good decisions have also been made. I think that this franchise is moving in the right direction.”
“It’s easy to point a finger (at Waddell) and say this is the source of all the problems. It’s always more complicated than that. It would be foolish and short-sighted to tear it down.”
“I think we know how to sign free agents. Does every free agent work out? Gosh no.”
(comments courtesy the News and Observer)
“Mistakes have been made”–yeah, like drafting Patrik Stefan (though in Waddell’s weak defence, the Draft that year was pretty sux0r). “…really good decisions have also been made.” Yeah, like…umm…err…uhh…yeah. Excuses, excuses, excuses. And things are only getting worse. Don Waddell, a man that I have absolutely zero confidence in, isn’t even bothering to ice a winning team. Friday night? The man got bitched at by Mark Recchi, who interrupted a bench-side tirade from Waddell to say (and I rewound the DVR to make sure I read Rexy’s lips right): “What the fuck are you doing?! Get somebody out on the ice!” Not even Paul Maurice would take that from one of his players, no matter how well-deserved it is.
The man has not just lost his mojo, he had none to begin with as he showed to the world with the roster he iced for the 2006 Olympic games in Turin (a roster about which I commented, back in 2005). With questionable drafting and a few even more questionable trades and signings (not to mention the man’s questionable attempts at coaching), the man’s doing the same thing to Atlanta that Doug MacLean tried to do to Columbus: running it into the ground.
Say what you will about Bob Hartley–yes, his Thrashers were cheap and dirty (and, as Friday night proved, they still are cheap and dirty), but at least the man got them to the playoffs. That Waddell allowed that team to so flagrantly turf their coach rather than sending a message by trading one of the ringleaders *coughHOLIKcough* shows just how he has lost this team and how he needs to be sent packing ASAP.
Of course, that will never happen as long as Atlanta Spirit keeps its collective head in the sand and continues to think that everything is fine in Blueland. My heart breaks for the Thrashers fans–they’re decent enough folks, they deserve far far better than what they’re getting.
Hurricanes take on the Capitals at the Phone Booth tomorrow night in a no-holds-barred deathmatch for the Southeast Division title. Puck drops at 7:00 PM.
Let me preface this by saying that I am not a William Faulkner “fan”. I appreciate the body of his work, I admire the beauty of his work and I do like his work. But I don’t geek out over the guy like I geek out over, say, Les Dorscheid‘s Battletech and Shadowrun artwork (which is some of the most amazing artwork I have ever seen–it breaks my heart that no Loren Coleman novel ever got a Dorscheid cover, even though my pet project got some).
This gem from the Sports Illustrated archives is possibly the best “my first game” story that I have ever read, and it’s something that I plan to show to anyone who ever asks me why I like hockey:
Hurricanes take on the Capitals tonight at the RBC. Puck drops at 7:00 PM. Go Canes.
(Man, I wish I could write like that)
Tomorrow night, I’ll be a guest on The Frozen Showzen, talking about the Southeast Division and the playoff race. Show runs from 9-10 PM Monday nights, and I’ll be on between 9 and 9:30.
Justin Williams and Chad LaRose are skating again. However, I think it’s foolish to assume that JWillie will be back in time for the playoffs–if we make the second round his reappearance is more likely, but Rosie will be back long before JWillie.
After Thursday night’s win in Florida and a light practice on Saturday, the Hurricanes are off until Monday. They’ll face the Washington Capitals at the RBC Center on Tuesday night in a matchup that could wind up deciding the Caps’ chances at the playoffs.
First off: Let me just say that I love a goalie deathmatch. I do, I really do. But last night, not so much–most cos it was Florida, and they’re whiny bitches.
So yeah. First period was a little eh. Second period scared the crap out of me, with all the penalties. Our defence was completely invisible, the offence stepped out for a Cuban (mmm…Cuban) at one point–and only one thing saved our asses:
(photo courtesy hfboards poster Vulcan91)
Seriously, the boy was nails for us last night. When he flat-out stoned (STONED!) Olli Jokinen on what would have been a sure-fire gamewinner, I swear I saw half the fans in attendance calling Miami-Dade PD to report a robbery.
The shootout, by the way? That was funny–especially the winner, which made Vokoun look like Bill Buckner in Game Six. Thank you, Mookie Staal.
Next game on the 25th. Go Canes.
Great Wailing, Gnashing of Teeth, OH THE HUMANITY – hfboards.com
Yes, once again the vast majority of the Caniac Nation is up in arms over Scott Cullen’s “Rankings of Who I Like”. Nastygrammes have been written, whines have been posted in various places, and people are even bitching on the concourses at the RBC. All I have to say is:
Knock it off and stop embarrassing me, you drooling idiots.
I mean, really.
Are our e-peens really that damn small, that we feel the need to scream, holler, and send nastygrammes to some toolbox at Bristol North just because he won’t rank the Hurricanes where we feel he should rank them? Why should we even care what an acknowledged Sens homer thinks of our team? I mean, really–just because we torpedoed the Sens by trading them Mike Commodore and Cory Stillman, that doesn’t necessarily mean that dudeman is bitter.
(I was kidding about the torpedoing, Sens fans–please put the pitchforks and torches down)
I’ve said before and I’ll say again: Scott Cullen made it crystal clear in the Year of the Cup that he ranks teams according to his personal likes and dislikes, and that said ranking is only marginally affected by such things as the absolutely ridiculous “formula” that he so heavily touts on TSN’s website as if it were some sort of +8 Periapt of Proof Against Angry Fans. The Sooper Sekrit Foarmyooluh is a myth, kids. There is no possible algorithm yet invented that could possibly explain some of the rankings that this guy posts–anyone with half a braincell can figure that out–so I see no reason to waste any more time and effort whining about (or at) him. All it’s doing is making you look like you’re a bigger tool than he is.
….and at least we won and managed to shut up most of the ASBOs that showed up at the RBC tonight. Last night. Whatever.
As usual, the Sabres and most of their fans are blaming everyone except themselves for not being able to win despite 1) the Hurricanes falling asleep during the last half of the game and 2) Ryan Miller standing on his freaking head. Must be tough, being all perfect and stuff like that.
Anyway–the Hurricanes are at the top of the Southeast by a mere 7 points over Washington…and a mere 7 points out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Wow. They’re off until Wednesday, when they take on Chicago in Chicago. Should be a fun one–and don’t forget to set your clocks forward, otherwise you’ll be late to work on Monday.
Edit: Duh AQ, “Spring Ahead, Fall Back”.