The Hurricanes are looking to start up a winning streak tonight. They are in the City of Brotherly Love, a city which has been on the wrong side of winning games lately. While the Eagles are recovering from a slow start and may still make the playoffs, the 76er's and Flyers have been down right abysmal with their play so far this season. The 76ers best player has demanded a trade and is waiting at home. The Flyers best player has had one ailment after another and has missed a ton of games himself. Just when Peter Forsberg thought he might be able to start playing again, "Alexander the Great" Ovechkin put a nice check on him last game and knocked him into another player which may have given him a concussion and leaves him highly doubtful for tonight's game against the Canes. The only bright spot for the team, which has been decimated this season by injuries and poor play, is that last year rookie phenom Jeff Carter is supposed to return to action tonight. The Flyers have lost 6 games in a row and if they lose tonight, it would be a franchise record. I doubt very seriously that they will want this to happen on their home ice, so I look for them to come out fired up tonight regardless of their horrible record!
The Hurricanes are enduring their own injuries and strife. Recovering players Rod Brind'Amour and Nic Wallin both practiced yesterday, skated hard, and looked good. According to John Forslund, both could/should play tonight unless they have an unforeseen set back during the pre-game skate. David Tanabe will not play and neither will Kevyn Adams. The Adams story is turning into somewhat of a saga and more than one Caniac has been wondering what's going on with the fan favorite. So far this year, Kevyn has seen his role with the team diminish along with his ice time. Could he be injured? Has he lost a step from his previous abilities? Has he fallen out of favor with his coach and some teammates because of the earlier altercation with Bret Hedican this year? Some information is finally starting to come public, but we fans still need to make assumptions or guess as to what is happening behind the scenes that is not reported.
Let's assume that the fight with Hedican truly has blown over and there are no ill affects in the locker room. Last year one of Kevyn's major responsibilities was to be a penalty killer for the team. This year, Eric Belanger seems to have taken that responsibilty from him, and I must admit Eric has done a good job overall. Matt Cullen did not kill penalties last year, so the addition of Belanger hurt Kevyn in this respect. Kevyn was also looked upon to be a fast skating "pest", someone who could enter a game, knock some people around, and provide a spark. Maybe it's just me, but this year he seems a bit slower. Also, Chad LaRose has been getting more ice time and seems to have taken over that role. Finally, Kevyn was looked upon last year to provide some offense. He's a good puck handler, has good moves, and has a nasty shot, especially his backhand. This year his offense has disappeared. What has also hurt him is that he has taken very bad looking penalties at times. Bottom line is he has not played smart hockey and he hasn't contributed very much. He has the worst plus/minus on the team. With his 4 point total and -10 rating, something has to give and apparently it did yesterday.
It's kind of ironic, after a reader (Biggie) left a comment and a question about Kevyn yesterday in the "Thunderstruck" post, there have been multiple articles about him since then. Biggie, we should have just waited another 24 hours! *L* In Forslund's blog, (above) he is mentioned and the News and Observer has had two articles about him. In the Lorenzo Perez story, we can read conflicting theories about Kevyn's reduction in playing time.
" He's been playing not at 100%. We'll wait and see how it goes with the doctor's today." coach Peter Laviolette said.
But Kevyn seems to contradict that with his statement.
" I feel like I've been trying to battle through it and trying to figure out what's going on," Adams said. "But there's a lot of games this year where I'm only playing a couple shifts, and injuries haven't been an issue."
Adams said his health had not been a topic of conversation with his coaches before Monday.
"My ice time is not what it has been in the past, and in part, it's a coach's decision," Adams said. "If at the end of the day what I do isn't what they're looking for, then you just have to deal with that."
It sounds like at the least, Kevyn is confused about the reasoning for his benching. Then first thing this morning, Luke DeCock reported in his blog that Kevyn would be getting surgery on his wrist and will be out for about 2 weeks. This news, after Kevyn flew with the team to Philadelphia yesterday. I guess we will all have to sit back and see what happens next as this unfolding drama plays out. As much as I have disagreed when some fans have said this season reminds them of 2002-03, the year the Canes imploded and went from 1st in the East to dead last in the league, I will admit that we haven't seen this kind of team drama since that forgetable season in which fan favorite Arturs Irbe made his infamous public announcement of "play me or trade me". To Kevyn's credit, he has been quiet so far about his situation. Hopefully, this scenario doesn't turn into something that will divide the team and the fanbase the way Irbe's statement did back in the "good ole days". As fans, all we can do is watch and wait and hope for the best!
Back to the game tonight, as I said in my opening I think the Flyers will come out juiced up tonight not wanting to set a negative record. The Philly fans are always ready to go, regardless of their record. I expect a barnburner which the Canes should be able to win if they come with their "A" game or even their "B" game. Anything less than that will probably mean bad news for Carolina.
Let's Go Hurricanes!!
The Rolling Stones