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Leafs 3, Canes 2

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RALEIGH -- Good or bad teams, Eastern or Western Conference, American or Canadian, the Carolina Hurricanes do not discriminate when it comes to losing.

The Canes dropped their 11th straight on Friday night, a 3-2 disappointment to the equally generous Toronto Maple Leafs, who are riding high in 29th place in the NHL standings compared to the basement the Canes inhabit.

Jason Blake's power-play goal in the third period completed a two-goal comeback for the Maple Leafs, who doubled their win total at the hapless Canes' expense.

Carolina, which has won twice in 15 games — and not since Oct. 9 — after reaching the conference finals last spring, has dropped consecutive games to the two other teams drifting with flotsam and jetsam at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

The Canes started Friday's game, just their fourth home date in a month, like a team intent on jump-starting their season, or least giving Toronto the last-place anchor. Even without front-liners Eric Staal and Ray Whitney, the Canes scored the first two goals of the game and generally dominated the first period.

The 2-0 lead disappeared when Toronto returned the favor in the second period, which set the stage for Blake's game-winner at 11:36 in the third.

If there is a bright spot in the franchise's worst start (2-10-3) since moving to North Carolina in 1997, Brandon Sutter continued to be a bright spot in a gloomy fall for the Canes. The second-year center scored his third goal in four games, a sweet backhand finish at 7:51 in the first off a redirected pass from Rod Brind'Amour.

Sergei Samsonov made it 2-0 on a rebound of a Andrew Alberts slapshot from the left point at 17:22 in the first. Then the Canes' offense went on hiatus without Staal, who missed his second straight game with an "upper body" injury, and Whitney, who was still feeling the after effects of a cross-check from Wednesday's loss in Florida.

The Leafs cut into the Canes' lead just 72 seconds into the second period with center John Mitchell's one-timer from the right point.

Alexei Ponikarovsky's pass off the boards, around Canes defenseman Aaron Ward and winger Jussi Jokinen, gave the winger a head of steam into the Canes' zone and his centering pass hit winger Nikolai Kulemin on the tape in front of the net at 7:23 in the second to even the score.

The one-goal loss represented progress for the Canes, who had been out-scored 19-4 in the previous four losses, and none closer than three goals.


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Waiver Wire; Every failure contains the seeds for future success

I wondered if anybody knew where the real time actual NHL waiver wire transactions could be found? Jim Rutherford has done a marvelous job of helping the team through claiming players off waivers. I googled the topic about every way I could think and still can't find a link for the NHL waiver wire. On only a slightly related topic, the irony for the team's current situation is that the team relies heavily upon Staal. Staal was a high first round draft choice in the 2003 Reentry Draft and was only available to the Hurricanes because the Hurricanes had a truly terrible season the year before Staal was picked. Staal, along with Ward, is a franchise player. Already Boychuk and Sutter are showing that first round draft choices really do tend to have skill levels that rise above their peers. In my view, as horrible as this season has been, if at the end of the horrible season, the Hurricanes are able to draft next year a franchise player -- and some scouts put players like Tyler Seguin (Plymouth - OHL); Taylor Hall (Windsor - OHL) and LW Kirill Kabanov (Moncton - QMJHL) as game changer players -- the entire make-up of the team would change. With Staal, Cole, Sutter, and Boychuk, the Hurricanes would become one of the fastest teams and most explosive skating teams in the NHL. It just shows how every failure contains the seeds for future success. Without the failed year before the 2003 Re-entry draft, Staal would be playing elsewhere and the entire history of the Carolina Hurricanes would be inexorably changed. I doubt the Hurricanes would have won the 2005-2006 Stanley Cup without Staal. In short, this season is just one season along a long line of future seasons. The last thing Hurricanes fans would want is for the attendance at the RBC to drop and for the Hurricanes organization to lack the budget to bring in a couple new players who are critical needed on a team that has enormous potential. It's like qutting a marthon ten yards from the finish line.

las night

First, who is Noland? The Canes are starting to play better these past two games. If they continue this play good things are going to happen. This losing streak for example will finally end. Boychuk played great. Too bad he was snake-bitten on three chances to score. Keep him here for a while to get the playing time and maturity of the game. He will be a great asset to this team. After last post -game interviews on the radio, there was talk of some of the players very angry and throwing things in the locker room. This is good, finally the veterans are speaking out on how things are going. Hopefully this will carry over to tonights game and will produce a win. One thing to remember the Capitols were in last place 2 years ago and after some personnel changes were the hottest team in the NHL and made the playoffs. Stranger things can happen.

Playoffs? Did you say playoffs?

The numbers are now daunting. For the Cane's to have a reasonable chance, they need 95 points (and that is not a guarantee).


Their record from here on out has to be something like 40-19-8.


That's gonna be really tough, although doable, if they start a turn around NOW.


People keep looking to Washington of 2 years ago as inspiration. OK. That's fine, they were about where the Canes are now.

But here's what happened in Washington:

1) They won the division, not a wildcard. Why? Because the team ahead of the, the Canes, collapsed with 92 points. This year, Canes have WAS in front of them already with 22 points. The division is gone. It is going to have to be wildcard, which is at least 95 points, maybe more.

2) Ovechkin. Face the facts. The Canes do not have a play of this caliber.

3) Coaching change. Everything turned around for Washington with the coaching change. Looks like JR/PK won't change coaches.

Now it's

Time to look at Columbus...let's hope that what few "sparks" there were will continue & grow !!

Go Canes !!!

In my opinion

Brind'Amour is a fourth line player now. Game winning goal comes after his penalty in the 3rd period. I have to think that the team has been harping on NOT taking penalties late in the game. Nice leadership there. He needs to be bought our or traded.

LaRose is invisable, was okay on the penalty kill, but is doign nothing to earn that new paycheck. Wallin, Whitney (when on the ice), Yelle, A Ward, Alberts, and Cole look old and slow. The team as a whole seems slow on the ice, we consistantly get outworked (and it's been years since I remember that happening). Sutter and Boychuk looked good. They were really skating. Ruutu, Jokinen, Samsonov and Cullen look ok, and are skating pretty well and generating chances. Our defense is hardly ever a threat to score, and is giving up way too many goals


While better was...

good, but tonight was NOT good enough. You can't accuse the Canes of NOT trying. Sutter played really well, and despite some misses it looked like the Canes were hitting the net more. While i agree with many of the previous posts here. Several of the players who did try and get the puck in the net despite their failure shows this fan, that better while Good is NOT Best ! The best players tonight that i saw were:

Sutter for his speed and ability to get to the net.Boychuk for out hustling the leaf players who tried to tie him up on the open ice. His weakness was trying to muscle his way around the boards, but with more experience at NHL level, he too will be like Sutter who has and is a better and more complete player than last season. While others still want to trash Rosie for what seems to be a missing something as in points or goals thus far, remember in last season he only had 19 goals all year. so if one was to divide 82 games by 19 goals, Rosie is NOT that far off track/pace if at all. He still hustles his booty off and can dig and muscle better than some of the older players can. The Juice & Ruutu while fanning on a couple of shots to the net did and was passing better. never gave up.

Ovewr all the team as a whole, played better...but over all i felt the canes were out hustled over all and the defense they had along with the "Monster" in goal was just one step better than the Canes were tonight. Yes, somebody had to lose, but if the canes could have score in the 3rd with between 9mins down to 3 mins to play in regulation, the canes could have won...but that was just my general observations.

Go Canes !!! Please !!!!!

Ha ha.  We had a great

Ha ha.  We had a great view of Ruutu's fan, and it was ugly.  I swear he missed it by 2 ft.  It happens. 


Anyway, the brat and beer were pretty good.  :-)

Toronto confirms they made the right move-Fire Maurice

JR did too but then he changed his mind and here we are again! 11 in a MO's on a Roll...dead last in the NHL!!!!! Well his system is consistent...stinks where ever he takes it!


AFTER we fired him the FIRST time.



Canes v. Leafs; Back from the Game

It is truly like the movie "Groundhog Day." Game after game, the same kinds of mental lapses from the same veterans occur and ultimately sink the team. On a positive note, Sutter is the real deal. He has tremendous knowledge of the game to go with excellent speed and hands. I also thought Boychuk played extremely well and particularly for his first game. Sutter and Boychuk had much better speed, quickness, and puck-handling skill than many of the veterans. Boychuk has blinding speed and quickness and once he adjusts to be comfortable with the speed of the NHL game, he will be awesome. Sutter and Boychuk I thought were the two best forwards for the Hurricanes tonight. Cam Ward's first goal was indeed very weak. The power play again was powerless. Brind'Amour's lack of speed and quickness was painfully evident when contrasted to Boychuk and Sutter. Samsonov/Jokinen/Ruutu played hard and intelligently. Cullen is moving well; although it would be great if he could make some goals. Cole seemed to be skating hard and was helping Boychuk. On defense, the same issues arise. Gleason, Corvo, and Pitkanen play a solid defense. Alberts made some mistakes, but from my recollection, those mistakes didn't wind up costing a goal. Aaron Ward still doesn't seem to be jelling; and the puck handling in the Hurricanes back end was dubious at some times. I'm really surprised Aaron Ward has not been more of a noticeably positive factor for the Hurricanes, but I don't recall any turnovers that resulted in goals. To me Wallin seems slow and confused much of the time. Sutter made a beautiful play on a breakaway and laid the puck back to LaRose (I think) but he didn't convert the shot. It's been that kind of season for LaRose thus far. When the Leafs started cycling the puck in the third period and Brind'Amour was having to chase the puck behind the net, I knew what was going to happen; and it did. I also knew that if Sutter were the one doing the chasing, he had enough poise and hockey intelligence not to get that penalty. It was entirely predictable that Brind'Amour was going to be the one who lost his willpower and got the key penalty in that shift. All in all, most of the Hurricanes were busting their chops. The crowd was trying to fire up the team; and actually the crowd was larger than I feared it might be. I hated that the Hurricanes lost, but it was a fun game and for the most part it was a well-played game. It was telling to me that Sutter and Boychuk were the players most obviously hustling each and every shift. They both are excellent skaters and know how to find the soft spots in the defense. The Boychuk/Cullen/Cole line is very fast and they will do well. As for me, I don't blame the coaches for (1) Cam Ward letting in a marshmellow goal; and (2) Brind'Amour being weak on the ice behind his own net and getting a holding penalty. I would be ever so grateful, however, if they benched Wallin and if they would put Brind'Amour onto the fourth line. When a team is in last place in the entire NHL after being in the Conference finals, it is time to sit some people. I would suggest, it is time to make some select changes in personnel. Jim Rutherford doesn't need to blow up the team; but he does need to make a couple of trades. In conjunction with sitting some slow, non-productive veterans, it might work wonders for a team under-achieving at remarkable levels. One thing about being at the absolute bottom is any changes can't be worse than what is already happening. Despite everything, I am convinced the Hurricanes have a very talented team; but the gaps in talent at a couple key positions are costing the Hurricanes games. Once the powers that be come to grips with two or three tough decisions about benching players and trading one or two players, the wins will start coming again. It may well be that given the hole dug by the Hurricanes, even those changes will not occur not soon enough for the playoffs this year; but in the long-run facing the reality now and a slight re-tooling will yield top tier teams for a long time to come.


AD, you nailed it. It's no mere coincidence that Sutter is scoring — he's young, skilled and going to the net. Boychuk may be the only Cane that can keep up with Cullen — and he seems to be inspiring Cole. Jokinen, Ruutu and Samsonov are making things happen — and Pitkanen, Corvo, Gleason and Alberts are solid. Ward is going to be fine, but he needs a more reliable backup so he doesn't have to think it's all on him all the time. Along with Staal, there's your core team. LaRose is basically non-existent. Wallin and Brind'Amour are candidates for assisted living. Whitney is our only valid trade bait and, if JR makes a move, he's gone. Betcha something happens this week.

especially IF

The Canes lose tonight ! And the funny thing is the Rats won last night but it took a extra innings to do it i think the score was 5-4

 Go Canes !!!

Good analysis

AD, that's pretty much what I saw too.  Nice analysis.


We normally sit in the upper section, but last night we were behind the glass.  Sutter and Boychuk both offered a lot of tangible excitement.


I have no idea why LaRose has lost his typical "bug in the bonnet" spark.  It's gone.  That along with Brindy's stultifying play have me mourning what was.


Changes have to be made.



Ted Nolan v. Maurice

I dont mean to be rude and this is a serious question.  I assume you mean Ted Nolan.  If I am incorrect, I apologize.  As for me,  I have tremendous respect for Ted Nolan.  I was thrilled when Laviolette was fired.  I knew that Ted Nolan was available and was hoping against hope he would be hired by the Hurricanes.  I was not at all excited that Paul Maurice was rehired; but I thought Maurice did a great job last year.  I think Maurice has earned the right to try his system at least for this season and probably into next season.  Paul Maurice really can't be blamed for the travesty that is Rod Brind'Amour.  He also didn't cause injuries to Pitkanen, Cole, Staal, and Whitney.  I don't know that his system will work long-term; but I think he should be given the chance to get the kind of players he needs for the system to work.  For example,  Sutter and Boychuk have the kind of puck skill with hockey intelligence, speed, and intensity that will thrive in fore-checking, crash the net, offense.  The point is, if the Maurice experiment fails,  I would strongly favor Ted Nolan as the Hurricanes coach -- unless Ron Francis would take the job.  I don't think it makes sense for the Hurricanes organization to change coaches every six months.  If I were Maurice,  I would be begging Jim Rutherford to obtain through trade a forward with size and speed who can finish.  This team is at rock bottom but it is only one or two players away from being a great team for years to come.  I have no doubt that Ted Nolan could take this team and turn it into a consistent playoff team.  I don't know whether or not Maurice can; but he deserves a full chance to show what he can do.

Who Is

Nolan / And does Nolan really know anything concerning Carolina Hurricanes Hockey ? Nosey,snoopy and busy bodies are "just dyin to know" !!

 Go Canes !! P L E A Z Z Z !!!

Ohhhhh, That i understand who 7 whom we was talking about !! and AD...I fear you would be and while i respect the hell out of Mo, but I all but fell out of my power chair when i read and saw that Mo was back...but like a poker hand sir...we fans have to play with what is dealt huh ? well gots to "run" ;-} it be 23 mins. till face off time !! Go Canes !!!



Not there yet

It looks like they are setting slightly better each game. But there isn't time to slightly improve each game.

Again, they come out with jump in the first, only to stop playing in the second/third. As WAStout said, they just seem to be going into defensive mode. After the second goal, it didn't even look like they cared. I thought that they had given up. They let Toronto take control of the game. They needed to go out and try to score more.

Another thing that irked me. Brandon Sutter was given much more playtime, yet I don't remember seeing him in the final few minutes when they actually started playing (saving their energy for Columbus I hope). The Canes have scored 4 goals in the last 4 games, 3 of them by Sutter. So why not put him out when they need to score again? Instead they put out Rod Brind'Amour, a dead weight. He was making mistakes all night. Almost all of his passes were in the players' skates or behind them. He completely fanned on an opportunity to get the lead in the third. Clearly, his -23 was not a fluke last year, and he is halfway there again. Sutter was even taking some of the faceoffs for him during the game. What is this guy good for apart from that? Not leadership by the looks of things.

Yes, but....

We are getting closer, but look at the competition.  The second worst team in the Division.  Florida and Toronto is one thing. Boston and the Flyers is another.  Is Mo capable of changing the 'system' in response to what has transpired in the past month, or is he committed to playing the same way with the same players? Lavi was let go last year because he couldn't adapt. Hopefully Mo will have a different fate.....

I have another issue with ice time.

I keep hearing everyone talking about Brind'Amour.  What about Chad Larose?  He has been getting just as much ice time as Brind'Amour and has been more invisible.  What has he done to earn 18:21 in ice time?  And why is Kostopoulus only getting 10 minutes?  K-Stop is a bigger version of the Larose we all fell in love with.  Give him top 9 minutes and put Larose where he belongs on the 4th line. 

Tommy K

I think Maurice has a problem with giving the players who are actually doing something ice time. He needs to start giving ice time based on performance. Kostopoulus has looked really good the past few games. I agree that he seems to be a bigger version of last season's LaRose. And LaRose is invisible right now. If he continues to play the way he is, I wouldn't mind having him shipped out. He gets the money and loses his game. Funny.

Ice Time Based on Performance

I am glad I am not the only person watching the Hurricanes and wondering why Brind'Amour and LaRose are getting huge chunks of ice time when thus far this year other players are playing much, much better than they are.

Was i wrong in noticing?

A LOT more Sutter toward the end of the game? And Boychuck. So, it seems that MO was starting to get that message. 

Sutter looked absolutely head and shoulders above the rest (and Boychuck seems ready to break out). Those guys skated for real. There seems to be a kind of disease in the Canes locker room (I think, again, that it's Brindy's lack of confidence which leads to his lack of possible leadership). Those two seem to be avoiding it. Anyway, Sutter looked like a real standout. 

MO probably SHOULD go, in my opinion.  

Thank you!!!  Well

Thank you!!!  Well said!

God forbid we use what was working!

Comes down to be outdueled

Comes down to be outdueled in net yet again. Give Ward a break on the tip in, but the other one was weak. He is being outplayed night after night. We played well and deserved to win this game, and still lost.

Brind'Amour takes a pretty typical penalty for himself this season, they score and he's back out on the ice after the goal? Why is there so much loyalty? This losing streak is more important than keeping vets happy. Sutter was again our best offensive player. Boychuk looked good at times. Had some jump.

Good assessment

Their goalie was on top of his game, very impressive.  He is every bit as good as advertised.  The Brind'Amour penalty was really stupid in a very tight game.  Boychuk is going to be very good -- he looked a little lost at times but he's definitely got game.   This was Canes Hockey tonight, regardless of the outcome - first time I've seen it this year and that is encouraging.

FYI J.R. Regarding Your Girlfriend...

ANYBODY who does not think this is MO'S FAULT.....IS AN IDIOT.

He goes INTO defensive mode in the SECOND....and lets them come back!!!

MO - FYI - a 2 goal lead is NOT enough in TODAY'S NHL.


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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.