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It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing

There has been a lot of speculation about Bret Hedican's health this summer. Not only did he miss 32 games last year, but many of the games that he was able to play in, he was playing injured. He failed to score a single goal all year long and finished with a total of just 10 points, the lowest total since his rookie year back in 1992. It's no secret that he has had chronic hip problems, could his back or other issues be acting up as well? While a physician did clear him for training back in July, he wasn't necessarily given a clean bill of health either. Both John Forslund and Chuck Kaiton have been less than reassuring when asked about Hedican's progress in interviews on 850 The Buzz during the past few weeks. I believe they said that there have been "setbacks" or something like that. Last week I created a poll asking what you readers thought about the situation and your answer was loud and clear. About 50% of you felt that Bret would be unable to play in 40 games this year. 24% responded that he will play from 55 to 70 games while 22% feel that the range will fall between 40 and 55. Only 4% of you feel that he will be able to play in more than 75 games. While most of us are obviously less than optimistic about what Hedican will be able to bring to the table this year, neither Bret or the Hurricanes organization is doing anything to inform us that we are wrong. The Hurricanes have been mum on the subject and Hedican has yet to show up for a single on ice session at the RecZone this pre-season. By itself, that's not entirely unusual because several players are not in town yet, but given the questions all summer about his health one might think that he would show up early, if not only to reassure the Canes front office, but most importantly to confirm to his team-mates that he is injury free and ready to go. Of course I have no idea if he is working out daily at the RBC and everything is fine with him or he is skating everyday at his home in Minnesota, but the longer the questions about his health go unanswered the more fans will doubt his ability to play, or at least his ability to play at 100%. Of course, Caniacs will be watching with keen interest at Hedican's progress during training camp. Until then, all fans can do is hope for the best and guess about his condition. I agree with what Casonblog posted last week, can't local reporters at least make a phone call to ask about his progress? Luke DeCock, where are you?

As I just mentioned, several of the Canes are not back in town yet, including Eric Staal. The good news is, Eric has been playing hockey daily with his brothers, Trevor Letowski, and other players at a local rink in Thunder Bay. The Chronicle Journal ran a story about them on Friday. Most of the article is about the development of Marc Staal and his hope to make the Rangers this year, but the reporter also writes about how hard the Staal brothers were working and that at the end of the workout they were the last ones off the ice. This is great news, isn't it Caniacs? Hopefully with hard work, Eric can return to his 2006 form again this year. The reporter also mentions that Staal's cousin and ex-Hurricane Jeff Heerema signed to play in Germany this year. Good luck Jeff! By the way, Eric lost a bet because his team lost the scrimmage. I wonder if he had Letowski on his side? *L*

Over the weekend I added a couple of new things to the blog. One of them I labeled "Tube of the Week" which is found on the right sidebar. This week's selection is a short video of highlights from the Oilers series in 2006. Great memories! Every week, I'll look for a new clip, or I might even put up one of my own! I also started a new poll. Which Canes defensman will score the most points this year? Now there's a real crapshoot! Mike Commodore led the charge last year, but the team's defense scored the fewest points of any blueline in the entire NHL that year! Being the leader of that sorry group is nothing to be too happy about. Will Kaberle lead the charge this year? One would have to think that Wallin, Hedican, and Wesley will all be near the bottom since all are offensively challenged at the best of times. Tim Gleason might come alive, but he showed us very little offensive prowess last year. So who have we got, Commie, Kaberle, Seidenberg, or maybe Rutherford has an ace up his sleeve? What do you think?

Shania Twain