The Carolina Hurricanes' Paul Branecky confirmed earlier that Joni Pitkanen, who was stung by puck to the leg in last night's game vs the New Jersey Devils, will sit out for Thursday's game in Philadelphia. In his post, Pitkanen Likely to Miss Thursday's Game, Branecky wrote that "the Hurricanes are expected to make a defensive recall from Charlotte on Wednesday evening," and suggested why it might be either Bryan Rodney or Brett Carson. When the word came down, it was Brett Carson.
John Forslund and Tripp Tracy mentioned in last night's pregame comments that Jussi Jokinen, who stayed behind on this roadtrip to rehabilitate a re-aggravated lower body injury, would be skating here in Raleigh today and may return as soon as Sunday's game vs Atlanta. Nothing official elsewhere that I can find.
When compared to the announcements of long term injuries, season-ending surgeries and two multi-game suspensions around the league today, Canes fans should be grateful that the Carolina club continues to dodge the worst that might happen. KNOCK ON WOOD.
Here's the list of who's out of the game, as of today.
New York Rangers: Andrew Gross tweets: Chris Drury (left knee) will be out six weeks. Will undergo surgery. Gross had tweeted earlier that the Rangers have only won three times in regulation in the 18 games played since January 1st.
New Jersey Devils, who are not giving any indications when Martin Brodeur will return after tweaking his knee Sunday have now lost the defensive services of Anton Volchenkov for the next three games while he is suspended for blindside elbow to the face of Zach Boychuk last night. Here's Volchenkov's response as reported by Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice blog: Volchenkov disappointed to be suspended, but understands NHL ruling
After the jump, Zach Boychuk makes a splash on twitter, Jeff Skinner setting "youngest player since" marks, trade deadline speculation, and other links from around the blogosphere.
Zach Boychuk is a Twitter Natural
If you're not on twitter (still?) then you missed the most inside look we've ever had at what the Hurricanes do on their off-days on the road. Thanks to the chatty @Zach Boychuk on Twitter,those of us who are among the 3000 followers Boychuk acquired (in less than 24 hours) were distracted most of the afternoon with blurry though effective photos captioned as such:
Staaler hit the double jackpot on wheel of fortune. The tickets just keep on coming. It never ends http://yfrog.com/h5cyqpsj
@TroyBodie skinny and sutts battling in basketball. Bodes with the win. Has to be the height adv http://yfrog.com/h4xqkjuj
(For the uninitiated, those yfrog links are the photos)
More substantive were the tweets he put up after the game last night while riding the team bus to Philadelphia indicating he had passed the initial evaluations for concussion and appeared to be good to go despite the nasty hit from Volchenkov earlier in the evening. He also had to manage the DVD's as part of his rookie duties.
Skinner and company making their mark
With two power play goals last night, Jeff Skinner reached the twenty goal threshold in his 54th career NHL game. Some context and comparisons were provided via twitter.
Mike Sundheim: Jeff Skinner is the 9th-youngest player in NHL history to reach 20 goals (18 yrs, 268 days). Crosby has record (18, 149).
This is one more factoid: Youth is served in win over Carolina - New Jersey Devils All five goals in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime win over Carolina were scored by rookies. While that hasn't happened since 1975, the Devils franchise was involved in both.
The upcoming opposition
Philadelphia Flyers (Thursday, 7pm) Flyers' Shelley lays out five rules of fighting | Philadelphia Daily News Shelley, one of the most respected players in the league, opened up about the NHL's unwritten and unspoken "man code" in a recent interview.
Tampa Bay Lightning (Saturday, 7:30pm) So far, Vinik doing things right as owner of the Lightning | Tampa Bay Tribune When Lightning owner Jeff Vinik started talking last week about plans to spiff up the Forum, my hand involuntarily moved toward my wallet.
Atlanta Thrashers (Sunday, 5pm) The strength of their defense | FoxSportsSouth.com When the Atlanta Thrashers were sitting atop the Southeast Division at the end of December, much of the reason why was because of the outstanding play of their defensemen.
Plus this background story from CNN in Atlanta: CNN.com - NHL team melts away sport's race gap HLN's Richelle Carey explains how the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers are leading the way in the sport's goal of diversity.
The Trade Deadline is 19 days away
Official Podcast: The Hurricanes Report, 02/08/2011 Paul Branecky and Kyle Hanlin looking at areas of improvement and possibilities at the trade deadline - since that was what most of the questioners wanted to know.
Scott Cullen: Trade Deadline Playbook: Eastern Conference The Eastern Conference playoff picture is relatively clear, making it easier to determine which teams will be buyers and sellers as the February 28th trade deadline approaches.
B's should target puck-moving defenseman - ESPN Boston "We're obviously going to have some flexibility now with replacement players, so in the next few weeks prior to the trade deadline, we'll be busy," Chiarelli said.
It was noted that the Hurricanes were among several teams with scouts at the game in Sunrise last night. In case this actually means something: Panthers GM Dale Tallon says he'll listen to all offers - NHL.com
The Panthers have seven players in the final year of their contracts, including goalie Tomas Vokoun and captain Bryan McCabe, who is on injured reserve with a broken jaw. Both have a no-movement clause, but would be able to help contending teams. So, too, would veterans Cory Stillman, Radek Dvorak, Christopher Higgins, Marty Reasoner and Darcy Hordichuk.
"We're having good talks," Tallon said. "It's starting to heat up. We're optimistic and excited."
There was also a major trade today out of Toronto: Spector blog - Maple Leafs Ship Beauchemin to Anaheim The Maple Leafs shipped Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim in exchange for winger Joffrey Lupul, college defenseman Jake Gardiner and a fourth-round pick in the 2013 Entry draft.
Cam Ward is good
Goalie Stats for 2010-2011 from NHL.com tell us that Cam Ward has now faced more shots against and made more saves than any other goal tender in the NHL this season.
I just loved this story from Saturday as the Nashville Predators shut out the Detroit Red Wings. Preds On The Glass: Only in Nashville... Alice Cooper and Vince Gill Rock at the Predators Game
Plus the more serious considerations: Do the NHL's Original Six franchises receive special treatment? - On the Forecheck An analysis of 130 NHL suspensions over 5 years seems to indicate that the Original Six teams enjoy a privileged status.
Another podcast: Why Is This News?: Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski - Yahoo! Sports this was last week, post ASG weekend, with Greg Wyshynski talking about the Raleigh hockey market. Some notes I made when listening:
- Really loyal passionate fans.
- A small town culture.
- Disconnect between television perceptions and the festival you feel being on the ground.
- Hockey treated with such reverence was so refreshing, can't be critical.
NHL viewership trends tied to hockey tradition, Northern exposure - SportsBusiness Journal (Note: Viewership data for Carolina, Nashville and the NHL's six Canadian teams was not available.)
Finally, because it just seemed relevant, somehow (thank you Paul "something cooler, like Ozzy" Maurice) this from the Super Bowl extravaganza Sunday via YouTube - Extended Best Buy Ad with Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne