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.
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.
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.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
...you 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?).
Posted by M15D at 12/28/2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Posted by M15D at 12/24/2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
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
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.
NOTE TO ANTON: YOU NULLIFY YOUR PRO-ATHLETE ALLURE WITH THE FOXES WHEN YOU SPORT THAT SERIAL KILLER BLANK STARE ALL THE TIME.
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.
Posted by M15D at 12/20/2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
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,"
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
Posted by M15D at 12/18/2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
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.
Posted by M15D at 12/15/2006
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.
Posted by M15D at 12/11/2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
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.
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.
Posted by M15D at 12/09/2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
So play the game "Existence" to the end,
of the beginning, of the beginning...
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
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 letsgocanes.com 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 adjustments...it'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
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
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)
"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."
Monday, December 04, 2006
"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
- Chad LaRose
- Andrew Ladd
- Trevor Letowski
Posted by M15D at 12/02/2006