Is it just me or do the Canes still seem to be a bit out of synch? Last night the play-making and passing was off at times, but the hustle was there when it needed to be and Carolina managed to beat Los Angeles, 2-1. The Kings were able to clutter up the neutral zone and really made it tough for the Canes to generate any odd man rushes or break-aways. There also seemed to be a bit of clutching, grabbing, and even tackling going on, but for the most part all the refs were able to muster were a couple of hooking calls. I'm completely mystified by the inconsistencies in the reffing this year, but I'll save that rant for another day. Something for players to keep in mind though.Â If you are trying to stop someone going for an open net you are much better off throwing your body into his legs to trip him than you are touching him with your stick. One infraction will be called much more often than the other and the results are not logical.
Ray Whitney continued his hot streak and scored the game opening goal on a beautiful feed from Rod Brind'Amour late in the 1st period. Justin Williams didn't have the greatest game in the world last night, but Brindy and Whitney continued to looked very good. The Wizard did give everyone a scare though after he crashed into the boards on an attempted forecheck early in the game and limped slowly back to the bench. I don't even want to think where the team would be without Whitney. To his credit he shook off the injury and came back to play hard the rest of the game. The Kings tied the game on a powerplay goal in the 2nd, but after getting a pass from Vasicek who was along the boards, Scott Walker skated around to the front of the net and rifled in what turned out to be the game winner. While the game lacked offensive continuity, the Canes did play good defense and limited the Kings to a total of 22 shots for the entire game with only 10 of them being taken in the first 2 periods. Obviously, Cam Ward was solid in net. Bottom line, it was a win and the team earned the much needed 2 points. It's hard to complain about that! In the meantime, Atlanta lost again, (they have lost 6 out their last 7) so the Canes are just 4 points out of the division lead. Tampa Bay won again, and they are only 3 points out of the lead now. It's going to be a real dogfight from this point on and every game is crucial.
I thought Vasicek looked pretty good last night. He didn't have a great night, but he played decently. It was nice to see him stick up for himself and a team-mate when things got a bit physical behind the net in the 2nd period. For some reason he got the lone roughing penalty when multiple Kings and Canes were hitting each other during the brief melee'. I guess the ref only saw Vasicek's punch and no one else's? Craig Adams played well, especially on the penalty kill. Finally, David Tanabe had a very good game, and I'm not just saying that because he got 2 assists. He led all defensemen in ice time with over 20 minutes played and had a few pinches where he came close to creating some good offensive chances. In addition he played very solid defensively. I'm starting to gain more confidence in the guy!
Anton Babchuk is officially in Albany and loving every minute! NOT! Here's an interesting quote from the Albany paper. " For me, it's disappointing,â€ Babchuk said. â€œTen defensemen, 11 defenseman, six defensemen; it doesn't matter. If you deserve to play, you should play, no matter how old you are or how much experience youâ€™ve got or what kind of contract you have. I understand the situation, but it's kind of a little bit unfair. If someone has a one-way contract, but he is not better than you, because you have a two-way, you have to go down and he gets to stay in the league. I'm just going to keep working hard and stay in shape, and still play the best that I can. It's better than nothing, you know?â€ Aww, poor Babchuk. It sounds like he needs to mature, which isn't surprising for a 22 year old. Speaking of maturing, who would have ever thought that David Tanabe would be the voice of reason regarding Babchuk? Apparently, David contacted Anton several times during the past week and offered words of encouragement to his road trip room-mate. This information was taken from the News and Observer. TANABE TALKS TO BABCHUK: During Anton Babchuk's five-day suspension for refusing to report to Carolina's AHL affiliate in Albany, N.Y., several of the 22-year-old defenseman's teammates on the Hurricanes tried to reach him to tell him not to get discouraged.
The Hurricanes lifted their suspension after Babchuk relented Monday and agreed to report to Albany. Babchuk's roommate on Hurricanes road trips, Carolina defenseman David Tanabe, said he spoke to Babchuk several times the last few days.Â "It's a tough situation, because I think Babs got a taste of the NHL and got a taste of what it feels like to be here and playing a lot," Tanabe said Tuesday. "The biggest thing I told him was hockey is a small world and to be careful of your reputation. You can lose your reputation in a second. He has to do what he thinks is best, but [by] the same token, as a player in this league, you need to be really aware of the fact that you just have to watch how people perceive you. ... "We've all been through adversity at times as players dealing with the business aspects of hockey, dealing with playing in the minors and things like that. For me personally, I'm just trying to help him out."
Good for David! This almost seems like bizzaro world with David Tanabe playing very well, leading the defense in minutes played, and offering words of wisdom to his younger team-mates. What's next?
Finally, Katherine Fritsch sang the "National Anthem" and did a marvelous job again last night. Obviously the Canes won again, so that makes them 5-0 now when she sings! The good luck continues! Good work KK!
We'll keep an eye out for trades and make updates as needed. Happy Valentine's Day everyone and Go Canes!