Saturday, August 19, 2006

A M*A*S*H Unit to Start the Season?

Corey Stillman might be out until sometime after Christmas. Heddy is coming off thumb surgery...after hip surgery earlier this summer, and basically says preseason might not be on his schedule. Frankie Kaberle is back in Raleigh to have an ailing shoulder examined - surgery possible here too.

Coming off the '02 Cup run and going into the 2002-2003 season, the Canes were banged up. Many wondered how they would bounce back from the physical toll of a run to the finals. They finished that season with a paltry 61 points and only 22 wins - worst in the NHL. They were physical wrecks from day one and they seeemed mentally elsewhere all season. Couple this with a glaring lack of team depth, and you have the disaster that was '02 - '03.

Now this is not the same group as the '02 squad. Jeff O'Neill is gone. Ron Francis, who was never the same after game one of the Wings series has retired and Sami Kapanen took his pervasive orthopedic issues and moved on to Philly. That being said, these late-summer lingering injury issues bug me. Why are these guys waiting the better part of the summer to take care of these things? Heddy is quoted as saying he hoped his torn thumb ligament would heal itself. Do torn ligaments heal themselves? Do they heal themselves in two to three months? Do they keep healing while you chug bubbly from the Stanley Cup and begin playing hockey again? So, it appears obvious that Bret is not going to retire. He's gonna have hip and thumb surgery, miss the preseason and then jump right into the flow? Riiight... No hating on Bret. He's a warrior. Just questioning how he and some of his pards are spending their summer vacations.

I've been blabbing about the need for a third line centerman. Maybe that's gonna have to be Trevor Letowski. I'm now thinking the club needs help at wing. David over at Red and Black speculates about adding Anson Carter and some lineup juggles the loss of Stillman might force. Anson and his 50-60 points could be a difference maker.

I have heard no rumblings about JR moving Oleg Tverdovsky. At $2.5 mil he'll be tough to move, unless the move gives some other club bottom line salary cap relief. So who's a $3-$4 mil guy out there that some club might be looking to move and maybe even share salary on? I'd love to see a deal worked that would bring Brian Gionta or Scott Gomez to Carolina. Devils are thin along the blueline and might still see value in Tverdovsky. Can't see JR paying some late addition more than team cornerstones Roddy, Colesy or Eric Staal.

Prediction: The player the Hurricanes will most miss this year will be Aaron Ward.


d-lee said...

I really don't think Heddy is going to be that big of a deal. If Kaberle continues to have shoulder issues, then we've got a problem. I think that Anton Babchuk will be a heck of a d-man, and we'll see some increased icetime for Hutch.
Given the potential loss of Kaberle to surgery, I no longer see trading Tevvy as a necessity. Unless, of course, we can get a good defenseman in return.

I'm not so sure that I agree with you about AWard. Certainly we'll miss him. A lot. However, I think that it'll be Matt Cullen who is missed the most. Our "depth" at forward isn't exactly of the NHL-calibre variety. On the other hand, our defense has good NHL-level depth.

CasonBlog said...

I think AWard is coming into his prime. He and Cullen will make the Rangers a lot tougher draw this year.