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Draw the Line

The time is up, so now it's time to review the results of last week's poll! Of course the question was, which players would you like to see on the 3rd line playing alongside Matt Cullen? Over 50% of you answered, Scott Walker and Andrew Ladd. That is the answer which probably leans more toward conventional wisdom. I'm assuming that most of you who made that choice prefer the other top lines to be Whitney/Brind'Amour/Williams, and Cole/Staal/Stillman. While there is little doubt that the Brind'Amour line will be potent again this year, there are some questions in my mind about Cory Stillman. He never seemed to return to form last year. Can he return to being the consistent point a game player he has been throughout most of his career? Perhaps the 16% of you who voted for Walker and Stillman are thinking the same thing? It seems many of you would like to see Andrew Ladd step up and play on the same line with Staal and Cole. What a powerful line that would be!! The only potential problem I can see with those three is that there is not a bona fide passer in the bunch. Stillman is usually very crafty with the puck and has a knack of finding an opening. 22% of you voted for Whitney and Walker. Ray and Matt certainly had good chemistry together 2 years ago, but who do you put with Brindy and Williams then? Maybe it doesn't matter. In any event, finding the right spots for those top 9 forwards will be an interesting "problem" for coach Laviolette to solve. Obviously there are no right or wrong answers at this point. I expect that the coach will be mixing and matching freely until some chemistry develops or the players define by themselves where they will be placed in the line up, by how they perform during camp and the pre-season. (Those of you wanting to see the poll results again, click on the "poll archives" link under the current poll).

Reporting some exciting news for me personally, I have accepted an invitation to participate in a multi-team, division rivalry blog called the "Southeast Shootout!" For those of you unfamiliar with the site, it's a blog that consists of two bloggers from each team in the Southeast Division. In just one year of existence, the "Shootout" has amassed a tremendous following which should only continue to grow with the coming season. I look forward to representing the Hurricanes with pride alongside my Canes partner over there, Casonblog. Do the other bloggers stand a chance against the two of us together? I have a feeling that not only will the Canes dominate the division this year, the Canes' bloggers will dominate as well! Let the trash talk begin! For the next poll question we will keep with the division theme and ask, "Who do you think will come in last place in the division this year?" I'll try to be patient and leave this question up for a week as well and we'll review the results next weekend.