Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk, Tom Brady, Shawn Kemp, or disgruntled power forward X, it makes no difference. Bottom line is this - If this clubhouse doesn't want it bad enough, there is no missing link or little blue pill that will make the Hurricanes a feared opponent this season.
The Canes record since Christmas has been nothing short of flaccid. Take a look at the 25 game stretch thru last night and you will find a case study in mediocrity. The Canes have averaged slightly less than three goals per game and given up slightly more than three goals per game since Christmas. Included in that string are two home shutout losses to the Coyotes and Lightning and a road shutout loss to the Pens. Home ice losses to playoff bridesmaids-to-be Philly, Phoenix, Washington, Boston, and to playoff fence sitters New York and Toronto, are lost opportunities the boys in the sightless eye can ill afford at a point in the season where most playoff contenders have at least two games-in-hand.
At times this winter I've been jazzed about the trade possibilities for the Canes. I'm not so jazzed anymore. The worst move right now would be to deal for a rent-a-forward if the Canes have to give up Andrew Ladd, a first rounder or a goalie prospect. As Bubba points out today, the Canes prospect cupboard is already pretty bare.
The only deals worth doing are investment deals in real difference-makers - guys who the Canes would commit to for two or three seasons. I see only two difference makers in today's rumor mills - Olli Jokinen and Ryan Smyth. And they ain't gonna be cheap. I see no difference -makers among the names of defensemen currently being bantered about.