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As sports fans, we have all been there. We have circled a date on the calendar and have looked forward to that date with much anticipation. When the magical date finally comes, we are at the event, ready, willing, and able to do our part. The only problem is, sometimes our favorite team forgets to show up. The first period of the game last night with the Sabres was brutal. It was painful. It had to be about the worst first period of hockey I have seen the Canes play. Maybe it just seems that way because we were playing a franchise that I don't like and I wanted to beat them so badly, but the Canes did not look good that first period in any way, shape, or form, or by any standard. Buffalo on the other hand looked like a well oiled machine. Their powerplay had direction, pinpoint passing, and confidence. They were a step ahead of our Canes most of the night and drew a ton of the penalties that we were forcing our opponents into taking last year. The hooking, holding, and interference type penalties that slower teams take while trying to keep up with faster teams. The second period was much better as the Canes cranked up the intensity and managed somehow to tie the game and give us some false hope. But the third period was much the same as the first, Sabres, Sabres, and more Sabres.

I'm not going to go into details about the game, but d-lee over at Red and Black Hockey does a good job of that. One thing that I will address is the hoopla being made about Erik Cole's questionable hit on Campbell. While Erik is known as an aggressive, hard hitting power forward, he's not known to be dirty. While I do think he intended to rough Campbell up a bit, I don't think he intended it to be dirty, but we are each entitled to our views on that. I base my opinions on watching Cole over 4-5 years. Also, I will agree that Williams encroached on Biron for our first goal. But I also think that Ward got bumped and pushed in the 1st period on a couple of plays. If it's open season on goalies, it goes both ways. At least that was one thing that the refs were consistent about last night.

Bottom line, the Sabres proved that they are the cream of the NHL crop right now, in this Blogger's mind anyway. They look deeper than us, faster than us, more focused than we are and more driven. They simply "want it" more than the Canes do right now and that's an intangible that's hard to manipulate. Things can change though, and time will tell if the Sabres can keep this going until next Spring. While "The Love" may hurt a bit right now, as with any sports relationship you turn the page and start over again next game. The Rangers will be a new target for the Canes and Caniacs tomorrow night.

Taking a quick look around the Canes blog roll, CasonBlog and The Acid Queen both discuss some trade rumors. Yep after last night's loss, the rumors have surfaced again today in full force. Kevyn Adams' name is mentioned more often than not. Bucky Gleason over at the Buffalo News interviewed Adams last night and discussed the possibility in his column. While Kevyn has had less than a stellar year so far, he is still loved by many here and several Caniacs would be upset if he was dealt. I think they would be even more upset though if the Canes fail to make the playoffs this year and while Kevyn Adams is "good people", he has not contributed at all this year for the Canes. While normally a very good 4rth line checking center and dependable penalty kill specialist, Kevyn's playing time has dropped off the map. Last night's 3 plus minutes is typical of what he has been playing lately. Something has got to give with that.

Cason mentions something that I think is a great idea, attempt to trade Tanabe back to Phoenix. David actually played pretty well there from what little I saw and he might actually be welcome back while it seems that no one in the east is interested. Throw in anyone else coming back and I think it would be addition by subtraction. Not that I am blaming all of our ills on Tanabe, but his "contributions" have certainly been more on the negative side of the ledger than the positive and he just doesn't seem to fit in here. I think we are dreaming if we think we will be able to trade John Grahame as Spector so aptly notes in his trade rumor section. Rutherford signed him to 2 years at 1.4 million per year. That's huge money for a guy who was ridden out of Tampa on a rail, has yet to win a game, and doesn't seem to have the confidence of this year's team or coach. Rutherford doesn't have the luxury of another Jack Johnson in the system to throw into deals to help him erase his signing mistakes. (see Oleg Tverdovsky) He's going to have to get out of the Grahame deal on his own merits, or we are probably stuck with him. It's still early, maybe Johnny Boy can still win a few games. I have a strong feeling we will find out sooner rather than later. Speaking of Tverdovsky, anyone prefer him over Tanabe? (timidly raises my hand)

Tomorrow I will look at the Rangers/Canes game tomorrow night and hopefully pick apart more trade rumors. Go Canes!

Nazereth