The image burned into my mind from Wednesday night's tilt vs. the Flyers is the one of Derian Hatcher doing a Rick Mahorn box-out of lil Frankie Kaberle for the Flyers first goal. In keeping with the spirit of the season, it was the Bumble vs. Hermie, and the Bumble wasn't going to be moved out of the pivot. Of course it didn't help that the entire cadre of skating Canes left big ole Hatcher deep in the defensive end. Both Hermie Kaberle and Nic Wallin got boxed out by the two Flyers camped out in front of Cam Ward. Not that Wardo gets a pass. He's coughing up pucks like his name is Ozolindovsky.
On two of the Flyers goals (I think the Mike Knuble goal in the third was the other), Cane forwards got bunched up along the sideboards near the blueline. It looked like a kindergarten soccer game where the little scrum around the ball moves slowly around the field like a planchette (cool word eh? had to look that one up) on a Ouija board at the height of an Elvis seance. Hard to play team defense when time and space belong to the enemy.
Since this summer, I've been calling for new blood on the blueline. A big, responsible, physical presence who can skate and at least keep the puck in play. That being said, defense is team commitment. If yer not gonna play defense, then you gotta score in bunches. The Canes forwards don't seem to want to play team defense. I don't want to root for a red, black and silver version of the Thrash. Oh yeah, that Ovechkin kid is in town tonight. Rumor has it, he likes to freelance with the puck. Might want to take away some of the boy's time and space.
As for the recent Hermie vs. von Seidenberg discussion on Canes Country and in Lord Stanley's Blog? Give me the Baron. At least he's not a smurf. He's played ten less games and still has better numbers. So he gambles a bit. I'd rather have Jack Sparrow than Shaggy manning my blueline. And Andrew Ladd doesn't want to go hard into the boards for a puck right now. Mr. #4 pick in the whole freaking draft is proving to be as brittle as two-week old Tim Horton's donut.