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Give a Little Bit

The Canes are off for a couple of days, so there's not much going on at the moment here in "Carolinaville". So let's take a quick look at a little bit of this and a little bit of that around elsewhere. Remember Michael Leighton, the goalie who seemed to be pushing and sometimes outplaying John Grahame at training camp? He's been doing very well recently, including just pitching 2 shutouts in a row for Albany over the weekend. As a matter of fact, he was named AHL player of the week! Friday night, the River Rats bested Wilkesbarre/Scranton 1-0 then on Sunday they beat the Hershey Bears 2-0. The back to back shutouts, along with time from his previous game, broke the old Albany record for the longest ever shutout streak of 148:15. I'm sure that Albany fans are thrilled, but this is great news for the Canes as well. Team management will probably be looking for Leighton to be Cam Ward's backup next year. John Grahame will be up for a new contract, and there's no way that Carolina will want to pay him his current salary of 1.4 million again when they can sign Leighton for considerably less.

Could Jim Rutherford be sharing my concerns about how tough this team is? According to Spector's Hockey Rumours, the Canes contacted Ottawa about the availability of Chris Neil. Spector says that Neil isn't going anywhere, but that doesn't stop teams from asking about him. Tough players like Neil, who can garner another team's attention in a physical way as well as contribute points somewhat consistently, are tough to find. Sean Avery is another example, but I can't see the Canes trying to get him. It kind of surprises me that Rutherford would ask about Neil, and of course this is just a rumor, so it's totally unsubstantiated. But Spector's site usually holds a bit more validity than some others out there, so who knows? The Hurricanes 4rth line of Letowski, Adams, and (normally) LaRose or Hamilton certainly isn't going to strike fear in the hearts of anyone. It will be interesting to see if Rutherford continues his search, if he really is searching.