Habs at Canes - Gameday Preview

The Montreal Canadiens are visiting Raleigh and will take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at the RBC. Both teams are coming off shootout victories in their most previous games. The Canes won 3-2 over Tampa Bay, and the Habs took the Blues by the exact same score.

Strangely enough the last time the two teams met on October 28th, the Canadiens won by shootout once again by the same score, 3-2.

The Hurricanes have lost three of their last four and are 4-4 at home while Montreal has lost two of their last three and are 5-2-2 on the road.

Cam Ward will be in net for Carolina and we assume that goalie sensation, Carey Price will assume the position for the Habs. FYI, Cory's recent article about Price has been linked to by several Montreal media outlets including Habs Inside/Out, and we have had over a thousand visitors so far today from that site alone. Welcome all.

Hopefully, the article doesn't make it's way to the visitor's dressingroom to be used as bulletin board fodder. : -)

The hot player for Carolina has been Rod Brind'Amour who has points in five straight games.

There will be no local television tonight, but if you can not make it to the RBC check out Center Ice or 99.9 FM for the radio broadcast. I will be posting "live updates" from the rink between periods here on the blog. The puck drops at 7:05.

By the way, if you are undecided about coming to the game, get to the rink! If you bring in two or more cans of food for goodwill, the Hurricanes will reward you with a two-for-one ticket voucher good for tonight's matchup only.


Scoring goals is problematic-

While many people have been concerned about the Hurricanes defense and goaltending issues this year, the scoring, (or lack there-of) has been the primary difference so far between this year and last.

After 18 games last season, the Canes had scored 68 goals and allowed 53. After 18 games this season, the team has only scored 49 and allowed 55.

Of course the multitude of injuries didn't really hit the Canes until after the first two months of last season, while this season the injuries have hit earlier and harder, but still the difference is remarkable. It boils down to individual production.

Eric Staal has been "shouldering" much of the blame for the scoring woes, but there is plenty of blame to be shared by the rest of the team. Sergei Samsonov has yet to score a goal. Matt Cullen has been scoreless since his return to the lineup. Patrick Eaves and Scott Walker have also missed games due to injuires, but they have had trouble finding the scoresheet as well.

No single player is at fault here, this is a group failure.

Just for comparison sake, I did a little research to see how a few of the Hurricanes stacked up against some other players in the league, some good, some not so good. The players who really stick out are the ones costing over 1 million per point. That's not very good value, even though it is still early in the year.

I don't know what's going on with Chris Clark, team captain for Washington. He only has one point so far this season.

Recently, Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish went off on Oilers forward Dustin Penner, publically calling him out and indicating that he was a waste of money. Apparently, "Mac T" went to the John Tortorella school of public admonishment. Will the tongue lashing work?

So far, coach Peter Laviolette has not resorted to throwing one of his players under the public bus, even though he is on the hot-seat himself. We will see what happens.

(these numbers are all as of November 17, 2008 and based upon the annual salary for the 2008-09 season)

salary points dollars per point
Staal $ 5,000,000 10 $ 500,000
Cullen $ 2,800,000 4 $ 700,000
Samsonov $ 2,300,000 3 $ 766,667
Walker $ 2,500,000 3 $ 833,333
Eaves $ 1,100,000 2 $ 550,000
Getzlaf $ 4,500,000 22 $ 204,545
Kovalchuk $ 7,500,000 16 $ 468,750
Bergeron $ 5,000,000 10 $ 500,000
Roy $ 3,500,000 10 $ 350,000
Iginla $ 7,000,000 21 $ 333,333
Havlat $ 6,000,000 15 $ 400,000
Byfuglien $ 3,000,000 6 $ 500,000
Ladd $ 1,450,000 7 $ 207,143
Nash $ 6,500,000 15 $ 433,333
Modin $ 3,250,000 7 $ 464,286
Huselius $ 4,750,000 12 $ 395,833
Smyth $ 7,250,000 10 $ 725,000
Sakic $ 6,000,000 12 $ 500,000
Tucker $ 2,200,000 7 $ 314,286
Richards $ 7,800,000 13 $ 600,000
Penner $ 4,250,000 4 $ 1,062,500
Cole $ 4,000,000 5 $ 800,000
Horton $ 3,500,000 10 $ 350,000
Stillman $ 3,600,000 9 $ 400,000
Spezza $ 8,000,000 15 $ 533,333
Fisher $ 6,000,000 6 $ 1,000,000
Kelly $ 2,500,000 4 $ 625,000
Vermette $ 2,525,000 4 $ 631,250
Lecavalier $ 7,167,000 12 $ 597,250
Prospal $ 3,500,000 11 $ 318,182
Vrbata $ 3,000,000 3 $ 1,000,000
Malone $ 6,000,000 3 $ 2,000,000
Blake $ 4,500,000 8 $ 562,500
Clark $ 2,750,000 1 $ 2,750,000

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