Where oh where is our shoot-out star? Last year we had Matt Cullen. When Ray Whitney was healthy, he was great at it. The Hurricanes had an 8-2 record in games that were decided by a shootout last year, fourth best in the NHL. This year we have yet to win a shootout and have only had one player make a single shootout goal. This compared to 17 shootout goals scored last year. Granted, we have only been in 2 shootout games so far, but this is a concern. Anton Babchuk, wanna give it a shot?
Last night in New Jersey the Canes took a 2-1 lead into the final minute and gave up a game tying goal. Ouch! After a very exciting overtime where both teams had a chance to win, the game came down to a shootout which the Devils won on a shot by John Madden in the 6th round. The game was played in typical Jersey style which doesn't lend for the most exciting game to watch but the Canes did manage 28 shots to Jersey's 20. The shot total is a bit deceiving though as the Devil's kept the Canes from any really good scoring chances until the OT when Brodeur stood on his head. Eric Staal had a sweet power play goal on a rocket from the point while Rod Brind'Amour scored the 2nd goal for the Canes off of a flukey bounce. It was still a good road game though for the guys and can be considered more positive than negative. A point is a point on the road and even though you might think you deserved better, sometimes you just have to grin and take it.
The trade rumor mill is turning again and while the Canes haven't been mentioned by any national pundits as seeking a deal, there is certainly local conjecture about a possible trade coming. The Versus crew mentioned that 18 NHL scouts were in the stands last night in Jersey. Could any of them be scouting a Cane? Hurricanes messageboards have been buzzing with various possible scenarios the past few days. Could fan favorite Kevyn Adams be a possibility? Kevyn is a career 4rth line center who always brings high energy and is decent on the PK. He can score when he's hot, netting 2 hat-tricks last year, but normally isn't considered a scorer. To fuel the rumor fire a bit, Kevyn has not played as many minutes in recent games as he normally does and has not played the PK at all lately. On the other hand, he might just be battling an injury which isn't known to the public or could just be in a slump. Ever since his public fight in practice with Bret Hedican, Kevyn has seemed more quiet and hasn't played the same, in my opinion. I don't think he could bring much if anything in return though and would only be traded as part of a package deal, if he's traded at all. At this point I doubt he is traded.
Other players being mentioned by the messageboard "trade experts" are David Tanabe, Andrew Hutchinson, and Anton Babchuk. Any of these players are possibilities with Babchuk being the most sought after because of his size and potential. I have a feeling the Canes would love to deal David Tanabe right now who has been very shaky so far. (healthy scratched last night) But I wonder, who would take him? Spector announced on his site Spector's Hockey that Sami Kapanen is the Flyer most likely to be traded. I always liked Sami. His hustle and work ethic is beyond question but his salary is still a bit high, (1.5 million) for his production. Tanabe for Sami would be interesting though for a couple of reasons. The two mixed it up back in 2003 right after Sami was traded to Philly. After both were sent to the box for roughing calls, the animosity continued as both ex-teammates shouted at each other from their respective penalty boxes indicating that their was a bit of bad blood history there. It would be a weird twist of fate if they were traded for each other at this point in time. *tingles while hearing Twilight Zone music in the background*
One never knows for sure about trades until they actually happen and I don't mention these specific rumors because I necessarily think they might happen. I certainly don't intend to turn this blog into another Eklund rumor site. But I do think it's interesting conversation, bears mentioning, and is worth thinking about. For myself, I doubt we will trade anyone for awhile as long as we keep winning. If we go on another losing streak, all bets are off!
The Brind'Amour tribute page is still a work in progress. I'm having technical difficulties with my video transfer software but will keep working on it again tonight. The Canes are back home and will start a homestand tomorrow night against AO and the Caps. I'm going to try to make it to the pregame skate and will write a report tomorrow.