I'm breaking the tradition and using an album title instead of a song title today because I think it's fitting. The Carolina Hurricanes pretty much controlled the hockey game last night against Atlanta except for a couple of momentary lapses. The first one was when Cam Ward allowed about the most flukiest of goals that you will ever see. The Canes were on a power play and the puck was iced down to the Cane's zone. Marian Hossa raced down to get it, beating Eric Staal to the puck. Surprising everyone, including Cam Ward, he fired the puck at the net from the corner. It hit Ward's skate and bounced in the net. You can blame Eric Staal, you can blame the Hockey Gods, you can even blame Henry Staal for fathering Eric, but quite frankly Cam has got to be more aware in that situation and has to make that easy save. In my opinion, that play changed the tone of the game. The Canes had pretty much contained the Thrashers the whole game up to that point. That goal gave Atlanta the hope they needed and gave Carolina a sudden cloud of doubt. I know after that goal I started to have doubts that we would win the game, am I alone?
Shortly after that play, the typical Thrasher goonery surfaced as Andy Sutton speared David Tanabe right where it hurts the most. Of course, not a single Cane made a motion to Sutton in retaliation. The ref called the infraction a slash, disagreeing with the 16,000 plus fans who saw the play for what it was, a vicious spear against an innocent player for no apparent reason. But the refs couldn't see it I guess. While I am not an advocate of violence, especially dirty play, it bothers me that this "team" does not stand up for each other. You would think that somewhere along the line during the game there would be some attempt at retribution to someone on the Thrashers, but nope, none of the Canes seemed to care that one of their own got "cheap-shot".
The Canes then had 40 plus seconds of a 5 on 3 advantage but couldn't score. For the game they went zero for whatever on the power play against the worst rated penalty kill in the league. What does that say about the power play?
The next momentary lapse came with about 2 minutes left in the game. Rod Brind'Amour, who had played a good game up to that point, sent a weak, blind pass across center ice. Marian Hossa jumped all over it. He didn't have to think twice what to do with the puck as "Mr. Cherry Picker" himself, Ilya Kovalchuk was already streaking in towards the blueline. He took Hossa's perfect pass in stride and rifled a bullet of a shot over Ward's glove for the game winner. Two momentary lapses quickly erased about 50 minutes of good hockey and the frustrated home fans endured another disappointing home loss. Speaking of home losses, there have been a ton of them lately. The Hurricanes have dropped 5 out of the past 6 home games and 7 out of the past 10. As a matter of fact going back to the New Year's Eve meltdown against the Flyers, the team has only managed to win 4 out of the past 14 home games. We wonder why many Caniacs have become surly lately? If by chance they do make the playoffs, it looks like they would be better off without the home ice advantage.
The Canes are home again against the Flyers tomorrow night and have the pleasure of taking on the dirty birds again in Atlanta Saturday night. If they lose both of those games, I would have to think that Rutherford should consider trading some assets to get some draft picks or prospects, rather than to get a rental for the playoffs. This team's prospect cupboard is bare. When Ryan Bayda is the franchise's best option to call up from Albany, there is a problem. Nothing against Ryan, but I would not consider him to be a prospect at this stage in his career. At this point, he's probably a career AHLer as is Willis, Aucoin, Boulerice, and our other options at Albany. While most other teams have younger players on the fringe of making it to the bigs, who does Carolina have? It would be a very unpopular decision, but Ray Whitney could garner some valuable draft picks or propects if he was on the market. Packaging him with a defenseman would probably be what is best for the franchise in the long term, but would Rutherford dare to do it? I doubt it. JR has put all his marbles into one basket, and that goal of course is making the playoffs this year. I doubt he will change course now, even if the team goes on a devistating losing streak.
Oh well, enough negativity for one day, have a good one!