ON A LIGHTER NOTE...Favorite 'Cane 2011

So at this point in the season with the team DESPERATE for a playoff birth, thought it might be good to pause and reflect on the HIGHS of this past season, specifically who are everybody's top 10 Favorite 'Canes of this season. True believers in positive energy bringing positive results, follow my lead here...

10. Tuomo Ruutu - never stops hitting. Ever. And when team was going through dry spell, he stepped it up and played a bunch at center. An effort guy with an edge and some skills.

9. Jamie McBain - several flaws have poked through during the season but this kid has a tremendous upside and some serious skills. Very bright future, nice kid.

8. Jiri Tlusty - finally a health Tlusty shows what he can do. The upside on this kid is very, very promising. Does whatever he is told on the ice.

7. Jay Harrison - what a surprise on the back end! And not just because everyone else back there is having an off year. Harrison fought when he had to early on to gain his teammates' respect, and has become a key player in our own end. Has room for improvement, but the effort and attitude is there.

6. Erik Cole - a leader without the "A" Colesy has rounded his game back into shape this year, providing plenty of highlights game after game. Pointing to Brindy's banner when he skated out for the 3 stars after Philly game gave me chills. (go ahead, poke fun)

5. Jussi Jokinen - steady eddy on whatever line he is on, never complains, hustles and, when hot, is extremely dangerous. All around nice guy off the ice, very giving of his time.

4. Jeff Skinner - holy crap, what an injection of life, energy, and personality into an otherwise forgettable season on the ice. Can you imagine this team WITHOUT #53 this year?!?! The sky is the limit for this fierce competitor and all-around fun-loving, nice kid.

3. Eric Staal - every night the other team comes after him with double and triple teams. His own coach double shifts him to the extreme. He works on a line without a true complimentary scoring winger. Yet he still bangs away and his leadership in hosting the All Star Game will not be soon forgotten.

2. Brandon Sutter - underrated and often overlooked, this guy does whatever is asked of him, taking on the inglorious role of shutting-down the opposing team's best player on most nights.

1. Cam Ward - never, ever a bad thing to say about anybody, 100% effort night in, night out, absolutely no complaints about this outstanding All Star ambassador for the franchise.

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