Scotty Bowman himself could have been behind the Carolina bench last night and it would not have mattered. The Hurricanes turned the puck over, gave it away, mis-handled it, and couldn't keep it out of their own net. They pretty much kept on doing what's been happening all too much, all year long.
At least new coach Paul Maurice got a chance to see what's been going wrong, up close and personal.
The Canes fell behind again, (for the 11th game in a row), and didn't grace the scoreboard until the Pens had built a 3-0 lead. By the end of the second period, the game was as well as over and the scoring had been completed, 5-2.
Tuomo Ruutu took a nice pass from Sergei Samsonov, made a slick move, and shot in his ninth goal of the season, and Matt Cullen fired in a rare powerplay goal to complete the home team's scoring.
The Hurricanes did out-shoot the Penguins, (36-22) but many of the shots were harmless shots from the point with no traffic in front of the net. Surprisingly the Penguins, (who had played and traveled the night before) out-hit the Canes, (who had three days rest), by a margin of 28-20. One might have thought that the home team would have come out with more physicality in an attempt to impress their new coach, if not their fans.
Justin Williams was on the ice for about 13 minutes and did well, for not having played in so long.
Frank Kaberle went down with an injury and it's not known when he will be able to return.
Kevin McCarthy was the "odd coach out" on the bench. He moved upstairs with Tom Barrasso. Tom Rowe stayed with the defensemen, Ron Francis was with the forwards, and Maurice was giving tips and advice throughout the game.
If Jim Rutherford felt that he was going to energize the fanbase with his re-hiring of Maurice, his plan seems to have back-fired. Before the game, the "new" coach was introduced to a mixture of boos and cheers. There was a sparse crowd of 14,559, many of whom were faithful Penguins fans. One might have thought that the announcement of a brand new coach would have inspired more fans to come, out of curiosity if nothing else.
Next up for the Hurricanes will be the Flyers on Saturday night.
(Thoughts from the peanut gallery-)
Josef Melichar might need to take a break. He had two consecutive turnovers, the second of which ended up in the back of the Hurricanes net. It's not the first game this has happened. The Canes tried putting him on waivers, but he went unclaimed. That is no surprise because what team wants to pick him up with his million dollar salary? This is one mistake Jim Rutherford needs to own up to and rectify somehow. Could exchanging him with Tim Conboy be any worse? At least Conboy would bring some edge to his game, even if he does make mistakes. Melichar was supposed to be a physical defenseman, and fans have yet to see any of it.
Team captain Rod Brind'Amour is now at -20. That is not a typo, -20. Something needs to change here. One can make all the excuses in the world for him, but when the next closest Hurricane is Ray Whitney at -8 and it's the worst plus/minus in the entire NHL, that glaring stat is more than just bad luck. Not only is he team captain, he is one of the high earners of the team at 4 million this year. This franchise really needs more out of him.
Who was supposed to answer to the likes of Hal Gill, Brooks Orpik, and Eric Godard if they acted up? Was Brandon Sutter supposed to fight them?
Michael Leighton needs to be better if the Canes have any chance of winning their next two games this weekend. By the end of the second period, the Pens had scored 5 goals on just 14 shots. While some of those were tough chances, the goalie looked out of position at times and allowed too many rebounds or loose pucks.
Tuomo Ruutu and Matt Cullen continue to be bright spots for the team.
I took some video of a Justin Williams interview after the game and a portion of Paul Maurice's first post-game press conference.
Hall of Fame announcer Chuck Kaiton will be at Legends Autographs to talk hockey and sign free autographs tonight, (12/5) from 6:30 to 8PM. For more information, check out this link.