What's that smell? It's not the turkey in the oven. If you happened to watch the Canes/Islanders game last night, you couldn't help but notice something odd emanating from the Canes locker room. Maybe the Canes were sick. Maybe it was something they ate. That had to be about the worst I have seen Carolina play since 2002-03. After one period the shots on goal were listed as Islanders 20, Canes 1. After two periods the shots listed were Islanders 37, Canes 7. It didn't get much better. This game could have easily been another 9-0 shellacking that we took from Atlanta last year. At least in that game we were able to get the puck out of our own zone occasionally. Last night it was just constant pressure for 60 minutes by the Islanders. Poor John Grahame deserved better. He gave it his all and played a good game. Thank you John for your effort, you deserve a star. You also deserved some effort in front of you and you probably would have seen somewhat fewer than 48 shots. Maybe next game.
Coach Laviolette was obviously perturbed. Other than Brind'Amour, the highly paid superstars were sitting the bench for much of the 3rd period. I got my wish and Ladd played this game, but only for about 6 minutes. Good for Nic Wallin who was the only player that finished in the plus, with a plus 1. Chad LaRose had the second most playing time for a forward, playing about 20 minutes, probably his NHL career high. Coach was happy with his effort. In the first period the Canes could not get the puck in the Islander zone to save their lives. They turned it over in the neutral zone time after time after time, almost looking like a minor league team in terms of skill with their passing. The sad part about it all was that they were still in the game thanks to Johnny Grahame right up to mid way through the third but still couldn't take advantage of that. Kudos also to Craig Adams who dropped the gloves once again in an effort to provide some spark. But even that seemed to garner very little interest from the bench. Is it just me or is Craig getting better at fighting? Oh well, enough about this game and on to the next.
We play in Boston at noon on Friday against a Bruin team which is playing good hockey right now. This could easily be another laugher/yawner as Carolina seems to have agreed to take off this road trip and leave all their desire to win hockey games back in Raleigh. Are they trying to send Lavi a message? Usually when he calls, they respond... but not so right now. It's weird how they can look so good one game and so bad the next, but I guess that is par for the course for most teams in the new NHL. Buffalo didn't get that memo though. Speaking of Buffalo, I recorded and watched a good deal of the Leafs/Sabres game and what a barn burner. Both teams put forth maximum effort and both fan bases should be pleased. The back and forth action was non-stop! What a game!
We did get some good news as trainer Pete Friesen was interviewed between periods and reported that Cory Stillman was about 3 weeks away from playing and Frank Kaberle was 6-7 weeks away. Cory will be taking off the blue (don't touch me) jersey and will be practicing for real starting next practice. I can't wait to see him in action again! The man just has a way to make everyone around him play better.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there and if you don't celebrate it then happy Thursday! Hopefully the Canes can enjoy theirs even though it's away from family. Peace!