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Be My Number Two

Two wins in a row, mark it down! Last night the Canes owned the Flyers everywhere but on the scoreboard. While Carolina refused to allow a goal during the entire 1st period for the first time in recent memory, (okay, so I have short term memory loss), they were called for the first 3 penalties of the game which was all too familiar. The good news is, the Captain was back and the penalty kill was also back to being the well oiled machine it has been in the past.  After the penalty kills, the Canes drew a couple of infractions on the Flyers and went to work in the Philly end for a bit. While the power play was still somewhat off, the 5 on 5 play was all Canes. Justin Williams opened the scoring with a nifty redirect of an Andrew Hutchinson blast from the point. 1-0 Canes.

Carolina totally dominated the 2nd period, but only had Anton Babchuk's slapper to show for all their hard work. 2-0 Canes. On the scoreboard it looked like a good, nip and tuck game, but on the ice it was anything but that. The Canes hit the post multiple times and had Antero Nittymaki thinking he was back playing with Finland in the Olympics.  The  goalie was literally diving back and forth in the crease, making save after save, and doing everything he could do to keep the Flyers close. In the meantime, Cam Ward was his steady self, almost always in perfect position, almost always on his skates standing tall in the net. He made the saves when he needed to, which didn't seem often until the 3rd period. Wth about 6 minutes left the Flyers did get one past Wardo, but try as they might they couldn't get another by him. Quite fittingly, Cory Stillman hit the post on an empty net attempt near the end of the game.  It's still 2 points for the Canes and we'll take it! Canes win 2-1!

Overall, I think everyone played well last night, especially the defense. Perhaps it was because the Flyers are one of the slowest teams in the league, but somewhat maligned defensemen Andrew Hutchinson, Anton Babchuk, and Tim Gleason were all over their targets all night long. I thought Babchuk played especially well, and in my opinion has actually been improving steadily game to game other than his one step back against the Leafs last week, which was just a bad game for him. If Hutch and Gleason can continue to improve and play like this, it bodes well for the team's chances as they move forward.

Mike Commodore has a funny entry in his blog today!  Would anyone else but me like to play cards with him, Whitney, Letowski, and Williams? I would bet that the Wizard does his fair share of bluffing. Mike, try to make an entry more than one time a month! People would love to hear what you have to say.Â

These are wild and crazy times in the Iron City. Mr. NHL, Gary Bettman put the hammer down on billionaire businessman Jim Balsillie with some last minute deal breaking requirements on his bid to purchase the Pens, including a stipulation that the team would stay in Pittsburgh, no matter what. Hello? Since when is making a promise like this a requirement for owning an NHL team? Good thing Pete Karmanos didn't have the same mandate, as well as the previous owners of the Nordiques and Jets! In my mind, these negotiations have "lawsuit" written all over them. How can Bettman legally require Balsillie stipulations that other owners don't have? On top of these shenanigans, the casino group who had promised to build a new arena with 100% non-public funds (the Isle of Capri) was shot down by the state gaming commission today. If you're interested there's more information in the ESPN Scott Burnside article and the TSN article . You have to feel for Penguin fans and one must wonder how the team will deal with the constant distractions. Be happy fellow Caniacs!

Joe Jackson                      Â