The more things change, the more they stay the same between the Thrashers and the Hurricanes. Not only did the Canes continue their domination over the expansion club by winning last night's game 5-2, Bob Hartley sent his goon squad out in the final meaningless minute of the game to crack a few heads. Sound familiar? So while improving their lifetime record over the Trash to 25-7-4-1 and this year's record to 3-0-0, they were lucky to leave Phillips Arena without any injury. There were clean shots handed out by both teams throughout the game, but for some reason Hartley always seems to want to send a message when the game is almost over. He's done the same thing ever since he's been coach of Atlanta and you would think the league would grow tired of cleaning up his messes. Maybe if someone got seriously injured, the league would finally step in with some heavy fines. I can't find a record of how many suspensions his team drew last year, but they had more than a few and should have had more.
Last night Mellanby drew a 10 minute misconduct with a whole 19 seconds left in the game. Exelby ran over Cam Ward, leveling him and only drew a 2 minute charging penalty. Craig Adams dropped his gloves with Vigier and they went at it both drawing 5 minute fighting majors. All of this with 19 clicks left. My question is, why bother to hand out these penalties if the culprits never have to serve them? A 10 minute major in the final seconds of a game is a joke. It should be carried forward to the next game or there should be a suspension, especially for repeat offenders! What if Exelby would have hurt Cam Ward last night? He would get a 2 minute penalty which he would serve a whole 19 seconds of, all that for taking out the most important player of a rival team? It doesn't seem fair or make sense to me.
These tactics are why the dirty birds will never make the playoffs. They will end up taking out a key player for some team who will end up taking out one of theirs in retribution, then you'll hear Hartley whine and cry all the way from Atlanta. If the Thrashers lose Lehtonen, Hossa, or Kovalchuk, they are finished. They shouldn't be using these dirty tactics because what comes around, goes around. Ask the Leafs and their fans if they want a bit of payback to the Thrashers this year. Major penalties at the end of games that never get served have always bothered me. The rules should be changed and more should be done.
Okay, enough of the rant and on to the game. It was a weird one last night with the Thrashers out shooting us 42-17. Marian Hossa had 16 shots alone for Atlanta, almost out shooting us single handedly! We took way too many bad penalties but our penalty kill was top notch and Cam Ward was on top of his game. Ray Whitney had two beautiful, seeing-eye goals. Rod Brind'Amour had 2 goals and a 4 point night giving him 999 for his career and setting him up for a huge night tonight at the RBC. Scott Walker had the other goal on a nice slapper that Lehtonen would probably like to have back. The defense had a very good game and even though they allowed several shots, not very many of them were wide open, high quality chances. Bubba's star of the game is Rod Brind'Amour who not only got his 999th career point, also played in his 1200th career NHL game! Congratulations Rod! Honorable mention goes to Mike Commodore who played a physical game when we really needed it last night. Commodore, Craig Adams, and Scott Walker seemed to be the only ones willing to stand up to those dirty birds. Someone had to do it.
Tonight the Canes return home to play against the Habs who will be looking for revenge for eliminating them in last year's playoffs. The Canes have to endure yet another 2nd game of a back to back (5th so far this season), and I feel they will be tired after the extremely physical game last night. Rod Brind'Amour could get his 1,000 career point so we should be loud and proud tonight, Caniacs! Let Rod hear it if he gets his point, and let's give the Canes a bit of extra juice and make the RBC rock tonight! Go Canes!