As Tuomo Ruutu so eloquently phrased it in his post game video last night (1:05 mark), these are emotionally taxing times for those of us who want to see the Carolina Hurricanes make the post-season. Half-lamenting, half laughing at the predicament: "It's so tough right now to be honest, I haven't slept too well these last couple nights.Watching those other games, it's tough, so I decided not to watch them anymore, cause I'm gonna have a breakdown or something...."
Canes Now - Some praise for Ward, Skinner, Cole [General Manager Jim Rutherford] also praised Cole, saying, "This is the best year he's had. The way he has played the game, being a good all-around player and being a threat on the ice all the time, this is his best professional year."
Cam Ward Nominated for King Clancy Trophy - The Carolina Hurricanes today announced that Cam Ward has been selected as Carolina’s nominee for the 2010-11 King Clancy Memorial Trophy. Here's Bob's focus piece on Ward's efforts.
We should be hearing who the local Professional Hockey Writers Association chapter nominates from the Canes for the Masterton Trophy soon as well. (The Masterton honors the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey)
Canes season sheds light on questions - WRALSportsFan.com, Mike Maniscalco on Monday writes: A year that started with uncertainties for this team now has plenty of answers, playoffs or not.
Carolina Hurricanes Official Podcast 04/04/2011 From Monday afternoon, Paul Branecky and Kyle Hanlin discussing everything that was on the Canes fans minds. (about 35 minutes)
Chip Alexander calls in to Winnipeg radio's Illegal Curve hockey show from Saturday afternoon, starts at 49:30 mark (about 10 mins)
Other recaps of what happened Wednesday:
Cory Stillman called into NHL Network's On the Fly post game
Win keeps Canes' playoff hopes alive - NewsObserver.com Maurice could smile and joke about Bowman's high-sticking call after the game, saying if the Wings had scored, "We'd probably lose a forward there because Drayson probably would have snuck out the back door and not come back to the bench."
KuklasKorner : Beasts of the Southeast : ‘Canes Still Alive (Here’s How They Get In) The hockey world thanks you, Carolina Hurricanes, for being one of the scrappiest damn teams in this league. Had you listened to the odds at any point during your playoff chase, you’d have bowed out, oh, eleven times or so by now.
Detroit Unable to "Raleigh" Past Carolina: Canes 3 - Wings 0 - Winging It In Motown So, that Jeff Skinner is pretty good, eh? He scored his 30th goal of the season to give the Canes a 2-0 lead, and was dangerous every time he touched the puck. I've seen Logan Couture play a bit this year, but I think that Skinner should be the Calder winner. He plays with far less overall talent than Juicy gets in San Jose, and has 1 fewer goal.
Zetterberg to miss final two games - Detroit Red Wings After firing the puck into the Hurricane’s zone, Zetterberg fell back and landed awkwardly on his left leg after he was stood up at the blue line by Carolina defenseman Bryan Allen. The Wings’ All-Star needed help up from the ice before he skated to the bench. Zetterberg skated one more shift before he left the game in the first period and did not return.
Plus this from yesterday afternoon was a great read, with quotes from Tim Gleason, among others Wednesday prior to the Detroit game: Carolina's annual all-or-nothing playoff prayer - Yahoo! Sports Nicholas Cotsonika The Hurricanes are confident in their postseason possibilities. The challenge, as usual, is qualifying for the spring fling in the first place.
Jeff Skinner is still good at hockey, oh, and he can skate too.
This maybe a bit of a surprise to a few around the country, but there's no doubt it's Skinner and Logan Couture in a two-horse race for the Calder Trophy: The Hockey News: THN's Calder Trophy Winner: Jeff Skinner There were plenty of rookies expected to explode this season, but in the end, our top three candidates really came out of nowhere. It was another close call, but Carolina's Jeff Skinner is our pick, with two other worthy runners-up.
Carolina's Jeff Skinner reaches 30-goal mark - NHL.com - includes video of the wraparound beauty, and a look at who else has reached the 30-goal mark at the age of 18 years old. As you might expect, it's one short sweet list.
Featured : Jeff Skinner 1-on-1 Video with Skinner and Gino Reda on TSN's That's Hockey Tuesday (about 2 1/2 minutes) . In which Jeff learns that he looks a lot younger than 18. He also talks about his linemates being so good, Ward coming up big, and no, he never saw this coming. (Bless his heart!)
Skinner's Figure Skating Video - from FoxSportsDetroit to introduce Jeff Skinner to their viewers. No telling if this was before he scored the 10-2 wraparound in the 2nd period.
Justin Faulk and the Frozen Four
The semi-finals start today at 5pm on ESPN2 live from St Paul Minnesota. First up, University of Minnesota - Duluth against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on skates.
Frozen Four Preview: Minnesota Duluth | The United States of Hockey While Notre Dame boasts two of the hottest producing freshmen in the country, UMD has perhaps the best freshman defenseman in the country and one of the best pro prospects playing in the Frozen Four in Justin Faulk.
Inside College Hockey | Frozen Four: Coaches Takes including this on UMD: Their power play is formidable. You take those top three then put Faulk with them and it’s an extremely skilled group on the ice. Those four kids are obviously extremely skilled.
Speaking of power plays, you'll enjoy this piece, not related to Faulk or the Canes per se, but, well, it's just so nice to see this executed so well. Video: The unequaled joy of the perfectly executed power play - Puck Daddy This clip is for anyone who has suffered through the singular frustrations of an inept power play. For those whose teams spend two minutes with the man advantage chasing the puck back into their own end. For anyone that has silently prayed for their team to simply decline the penalty and play 5-on-5.
News from Charlotte
This is something we haven't seen in North Carolina before: Charlotte Checkers Playoff tickets are on sale. The Calder Cup Playoffs are upon us and tickets are on sale for the first two first-round home games at Time Warner Cable Arena.
From yesterday's charity golf event, VIDEO: One-on-One: Checkers' coach Jeff Daniels - News14.com At least one North Carolina winter franchise has earned a spot in the post season. The Charlotte Checkers will battle in the American Hockey League's Calder Cup Playoffs. (3 1/2 minutes). Including updates on Mike Murphy's return to the team to lead off the story.
Your leading goal scorer playing for the Polar Bears of Carolina hockey: One time defender leads team in goals scored - CharlotteObserver.com Last season, fresh from junior hockey, Chris Terry played on a defensive line for the predecessor Albany River Rats but nevertheless scored 17 goals in his rookie year in the American Hockey League.
"He definitely gets himself into a zone," fellow Tips defenseman Ryan Murray observed. "He doesn't say too much and he's quiet. You try and make him laugh sometimes, but there's no chance he will."
Explained Rissanen: "I like to focus. I don't really talk a lot, I do my own thing. It's been my thing my whole career."
Both Justin Shugg of the Mississauga Majors and Austin Levi, Defenseman for the Plymouth Whalers, have advanced to the second round of the OHL playoffs. We'll be keeping tabs to see how they perform. These two were drafted in LA last June.
Weekes, Fast look back on the NHL's last tie - NHL Insider Brad Fast scored one goal in his NHL career, and it forced the final tie in NHL history. Seven years later Fast and Kevin Weekes remember the game.
We've located Brett Carson. Yes, he is alive and well in Calgary:
Around the League
Sad and unexpected news today: McGuire inspires Central Scouting right to end - NHL.com E.J. McGuire, the respected Vice President of NHL's Central Scouting, died Wednesday evening after a five-month battle with cancer. NHL.com also just released this video tribute.
Not that we're playing the Rangers anytime soon, but I thought maybe you'd be keeping tabs anyway. With Callahan Out, Gaborik and Drury Need To Step Up - Blueshirt Banter
It is impossible to replace Ryan Callahan in the lineup. He brings more to the table than his stat line, which says a lot considering his stat line makes him a top-two scorer on the team in goals and points. The hits, blocked shots, power play points, and short handed minutes are what makes Callahan one of, if not the most important Ranger skaters. His loss is going to hurt this team in the playoffs, but it also provides an opportunity for two veterans to step up and lead this team during it's potential run.
7. I like being in Carolina in the playoffs. There are more heralded hockey destinations, but none as less self-consciously exuberant. The Hurricanes might not serve the largest market or savviest fans, but they do boast the supporters with whom you'd most like to share a Bar-B-Q sandwich. Before dismissing Commissioner Gary Bettman's dodgy "southern strategy" out of hand, visit Raleigh.
A super write-up and interview with the newest Finnish goalie to be getting a lot of notice in the NHL: Red Light District: Rinne’s steady rise to elite status "He loves being on the ice, he competes like a son-of-a-gun," said Korn, who works with Pekka Rinne daily, "yet, it’s like an oxymoron. He’s so competitive and tense, but so laid back and comfortable. He’s able to be intense when he’s playing and not take it off the ice."