Friday, June 16, 2006

The Pending Game Six Lineup Juggle

Doug Weight is definitely out for game six and AWard looks like he's in. This might seem to open a spot for a foward, maybe Chad LaRose. I think Chad will sit and Lavvy will add Tverdovsky to the blueline as insurance should AWard take an ill-timed Torres whack. Without Weight the Canes can still put five solid centerman on the ice (Rod, Staal, Vasicek, Cullen, KAdams).

The bigger problem might be lack of comparative depth when one of these guys gets pushed to the wing. Vasicek has the size to play wing, but he's been slowed by the knee reconstruction, and often lacks the necessary desire to knock somebody on their can. KAdams has grit enough in spades, but he's had hands of stone these entire playoffs. Cullen is a playmaker who needs to quit holding the puck so friggen long...but he needs to play center.

Cory Stillman will be looking to avenge his self-described "bonehead play" tomorrow night. He also has generated the most road points during these playoffs. I look for him to come up big. I also look for Andrew Ladd to emerge from his funk. If Vasicek and Ladd come out fast and physical, we could be in for a pleasant night.

Most of the Canes top producers are studs on home ice. There is more home/road balance among the Oilers. Pronger, Pisani (both 2x as many road points), and Hemsky have been more productive on the road. Smyth, Horcoff and Samsonov are more productive on home ice. I'd feel better if Smyth was on the previous list.

The Hurricanes only generated two shots on goal in the third period of game five and registered zero in the OT to the Oil's seven. If Mike Peca is right and the Oil can live up to his claim of owning 5 on 5 hockey, it might be long night. But that assumes that dynamics he counts on to make that claim remain unchanged. The sting to team pride of a bad loss, two days off and away from hometown media, veteran leadership and a proven ability to bounce back can work to change those dynamics in the Hurricanes favor.


mrbossman said...

Cole is playing!

CasonBlog said...

Took a fantastic shot to the head from Moreau and finished his shift.