Carolina plays the Los Angeles Kings tonight who are in last place in the Pacific Division with 47 points. The Kings have been playing more like queens for the most part this year, but the Canes can't afford to take them lightly especially after losing to the last place Flyers who are the only team in the league who have fewer points than the Kings. Also, I am sure that Laviolette is reminding the team that the Kings are coming off a huge 4-1 win over the top team in the league on Saturday night, the Nashville Predators. The Kings are led in scoring by Alexander Frolov with 57 points and Michael Cammalleri with 55 points. Keep an eye on Anze Kopitar, an amazing young player who has 50 points. Another player to watch would be the only player from North Carolina ever selected in the NHL Draft, Patrick O'Sullivan. Patrick was born in Winston-Salem while his father played in the minors. A couple of familiar faces will be back at the RBC, Oleg Tverdovsky and Sean Burke. Neither of these players have been regulars this year, but they could very well take the ice against their former team. Burke got the win against Nashville while Tverdovsky was scratched.
The Canes are still fighting injuries. Stillman will be out and Cole is day to day but doubtful. Brind'Amour and Walker are among the walking wounded but will both play. John Grahame could very well get the start tonight because he did a decent job replacing Ward in Minnesota Saturday night. Ray Whitney leads the team with 67 points and Eric Staal has been red hot of late. The Hurricanes are coming off a decent 2-1 road trip but returning home where they were 0-3 the last 3 games at the RBC. They need to correct that mojo ASAP. The team's good luck charm, 8 year old Katherine Fritsch will sing the "National Anthem" before the game. Carolina has a record of 4-0 when she sings and they will certainly try to extend that record and get back on track at home. We look forward to hearing Katherine sing again! If interested, you can read more about her on this page.
In other news, Anton Babchuk was "unsuspended" yesterday and finally reported to Albany as he was directed to do last week. I would bet that his time left in this organization will be short. Ironically, Cory Stillman was recently put on injured reserve so there is an open spot on the roster right now. See that Anton? If you would have reported to the River Rats last week like you were supposed to, chances are that you would have been back with the Canes today. Oh well, hopefully Rutherford will be able to get a decent return for him if that's the plan.
In the latest rumor news, "The Fourth Period" has a neat listing of the top 25 players supposedly available for trade and the teams interested. The Canes are listed as being interested in Peter Forsberg, Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Doan, Keith Tkachuk, Eric Brewer, and Bryan Smolinski. In my opinion, Carolina should be more interested in Guerin than Bertuzzi, but that's what the listing says. It's the first time I have heard that the team is interested in Brewer and I like that. Check out the entire listing here. What do you think? Also, they are reporting that Martin Gelinas is willing to waive his no-trade clause to be traded to a contender. If anything new develops for the Canes, I'll update the blog as soon as I can.
Hopefully, Carolina shows up tonight. They need the 2 points. Go Canes!