Right now the Canes are skating against the wind. They have lost 3 out of the last 4 and the losses were not even close, they were ugly. Coach Peter Laviolette held closed door meetings with groups of players yesterday and the subject matter was kept secret as the only comment the coach made about it was that "different things were said to different players". Hopefully the meetings will accomplish their objective because tonight the Montreal Canadiens are in town and the last time they were here they won easily, 4-0. Habs goalie Christobal Huet is ranked at the top of the NHL with a GAA of 1.93. His overall stats are an outstanding 9-2-0 with a save percentage of .940. The Canes have still yet to beat a playoff opponent from last year. Will they finally turn the tide tonight? They will need to skate hard and give 100% effort, something that has alluded some players at times this year. I do look for more effort tonight and it should be a very good game.
I expect Cam Ward to be back in net for the Canes, although as usual Lavi is mum about his starting goalie. Stillman is progressing and is practicing at full speed now but will be scratched again along with Kaberle. Look for "Hab-killer" Erik Cole to pick up his game tonight. He usually plays lights out against Montreal, but hasn't done much if anything noteworthy against them yet this year. I look for a big game from him tonight though. I also look for Lavi to shake the lines up. Will it be enough for a win? Stay tuned!
Make sure you are not late getting to the rink tonight, Katherine Fritsch will be singing both National Anthems and that is sure to be a treat! The 8 year old knocked our socks off with her powerful voice earlier this year before a game against Tampa Bay. It has been reported she has learned the verses to "Oh Canada!", so she is ready to go international! If we win this game she will be considered a new good luck charm because the Canes beat the Lightning and scored 3 goals in 43 seconds which set a new franchise record the last time she sang. Good luck Katherine, I'm sure you will do fine!
In other news The Canes did more shuffling of minor league players and traded Derrick Walser to the Blue Jackets for fellow defenseman Mark Flood. Walser had played for the Blue Jacket organization before and apparently they wanted him back. I know nothing about Flood other than he played with Eric Staal on the Peterborough Petes and that he has an appropriate last name for the Hurricanes. His stats have not been sterling for the Syracuse Crunch though. He's just played 8 games and has 2 points. Maybe he has been hurt? Personally I liked Walser and enjoyed watching him play during training camp and this preseason. Good luck Derrick, better luck to Mark, and best of luck to the Canes tonight! Go Canes!