Greetings fellow hockey fans!
First of all, please accept my apology for not having written a hockey related article since October. I got caught up in a bit of cynicism and could not bring myself to write another single word about the lockout. But all's well that ends well and it is time to move on and get back to work. I thank you all for continuing to visit the site even during it's dormancy and promise that we will soon be back to posting updates daily.
Once the season starts, we will have our typical game previews, open game threads, and post game reports, along with player interviews, stat analysis, and other business as it comes up. Until then we will cover training camp, offer general analysis, and talk about some of the Hurricanes related news found around the hockey world.
Sunday was a perfect day...
For those of you who came to the PNC Arena to watch the Checkers game on Sunday, could things have gone any better? The Zac(h)'s put on a show and looked like they could fit right in on the Hurricanes. Zach Boychuk was buzzing the entire game, though he did not get a point to show for his efforts, and Zac Dalpe earned two points, (1G 1A), and looked good doing it. The place was brimming with optimism with the news of the end of the lockout, which broke earlier in the morning.
Jim Rutherford was going to speak to the media after the game, but decided to release a statement instead. A press conference, which will now include coach Kirk Muller, has been scheduled for 11 a.m. on Thursday. Here is what the GM had to say:
"We are obviously pleased that the framework for a deal is in place, and that we should be able to start our season soon. This has been a frustrating time for all of us involved in hockey -- the owners, the players, the fans and all of those who depend on the games financially.
"My first year as a general manager was the 1995 season, which was a 48-game season. The intensity of those games was like playoff hockey from the start right through to the Stanley Cup Final. Hopefully this season turns out the same and we work hard to heal the wounds we've created over the last six months."
I will be covering the press conference and will have more about that later.
Jeff Daniels named as coach in the AHL All Star Classic:
The AHL and the Charlotte Checkers announced on Wednesday that Checkers coach Jeff Daniels, along with Syracuse Crunch coach, Jon Cooper, were named to the coaching staff for the AHL All Star Classic. Daniels has done a great job this year and the Checkers have been one of the top teams in the league all season. Currently, they are in first place in the Southern Division with a 20-11-2-3 record.
For more details, see Go Checkers.com.
Checkers Run Down...who stays who goes?
Speaking of the Checkers, former Hurricanes writer and now Checkers beat guy, Paul Branecky, has an interesting article of who he thinks has the best shot to make the Canes. See that story here.
Jeff Skinner: "Insurance Issues" kept him out of Charlotte
Still think the NHL is just a game? Tell that to Jeff Skinner, who claims that "insurance issues" kept him from reporting to Charlotte this fall. The NHL's one time rookie of the year was eligible to play in the AHL during the lockout, but never showed up to the Checkers training camp. We will see if he is game ready when the puck drops in a little over a week. Michael Smith has the story for Carolina Hurricanes.com.
Bates Battaglia is back on prime time?
Reports are out there that former Hurricanes forward and all around nice guy, Bates Battaglia and his brother Anthony, are contestants in the upcoming Amazing Race. This should be good.
Here is one such report in the News and Observer.
Dear Mr. Fantasy...play us a tune...
I have gotten numerous requests for the return of Canes Country Fantasy Hockey. I believe last season we had six leagues and about 70 participants. It is much work to run these, but I will start them up again within days, so look for emails from Yahoo. If you do not get an email by Sunday, email me personally and I will hook you up. I know I owe people trophies yet and I have not forgotten...(well, yes I did forget). But please give me a a bit more time and I will announce winners and get the trophies in the mail. Game on!
(A reluctant congrats to last year's media league champ, Mike Maniscalco, who could not wait to tell me Sunday he was looking forward to defending his championship. We will see Mike.)