The Carolina Hurricanes are in Sunrise, Florida tonight to take on the last place Florida Panthers, but don't expect a cakewalk for the Canes. They could be skating into a hornet's nest.
Florida's coach Peter DeBoer and general manager Jacques Martin have both recently called out the team and put them on notice. Big changes could be coming if they can not right the ship. Management recently placed Wade Belak on waivers. (He cleared the waiver wire and is available if they want to play him).
The big question is, could superstar defenseman Jay Bouwmeester be shipped out soon? The Panthers need scoring and they are having trouble signing this player. They will certainly trade him before the trade deadline, rather than risk losing him to free agency and get nothing in return when the season is over. But how long will they wait to pull the trigger?
If the team doesn't turn itself around soon, Bouwmeester might not be the only Panther shipped out of town.
Cory Stillman is injured as is Nick Boynton for the Floridians. Both are recovering from concussions.
For Panthers news, On Frozen Pond is calling this a "Big Week" for Florida, Floridapanthers.com is offering up "5 Things Everyone Should Know about Tonight's Game", and "Whale4ever" of The Litter Box is telling Caniacs to take a chill pill. According to him, the Canes has come to the right place if they need to break a one game losing streak.
We will see, whale-lover, we will see.
The Hurricanes played a disappointing game yesterday and will be looking for more energy in tonight's affair. They also suffered a couple of new injuries they need to recover from.
The team will definitely be minus one Patrick Eaves for this contest. Today they recalled Patrick Dwyer to take his spot. Dwyer has played seven games with the Hurricanes already this season and has yet to register a single point. He does fill in nicely on the penalty kill though.
I still do not have word about Tim Gleason as of yet. I have to assume that he will not play and that both Melichar and Babchuk will be used. Supposedly, Frank Kaberle is still about a week or so away from game action.
I also expect to see Michael Leighton in net, since this is the back end of a back-to-back situation. So far this season the Canes are 3-0 when faced in these situations, a huge reversal of year's past when they had a dismal record playing that second consecutive game.
Which Hurricanes team will show up for this game? The one which out-played Montreal and Phoenix, or the one that laid down in home games against Atlanta and Nashville? Game time is at 7:30 and it will be broadcast locally on FS Carolinas.