It was reported in the paper this morning that Dennis Seidenberg has some sort of immigration issue and needed time off to straighten out his VISA mess. Hurry back Dennis! Apparently, Seidenberg took the rest of the Hurricanes defense with him when he left town because they never showed up at the RBC last night. Unfortunately, the forwards took half the game off as well.
So, how can Seidenberg suddenly have a VISA issue that he needs to leave town for in the middle of the season? Don't they have lawyers for this type of thing? I admit that I am ignorant regarding the whole VISA process, but there's got to be a better way! This reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry's neighbor from Pakistan, Babu Bhatt doesn't get his VISA application in the mail and gets deported back to Pakistan. Weird! Maybe the application was mistakenly delivered to David Tanabe's mailbox, and David "accidentally" forgot to give it to Dennis?
Speaking of weird and a Seinfeld episode, last night was like "Bizarro World" at the giant ATM. Up was down and down was up. The rested team looked tired and the tired team looked fresh. The highest scoring team in the league was single handedly out-scored by a mediocre defenseman. Did Shane O'Brien look like an all-star last night or what? His 2 goals in one game matched the Hurricanes goal output from all of their blueliners this entire year! Out of 8 Hurricanes defensemen, Bret Hedican's 2 goals are it, period. The Canes can normally survive with minimal scoring from the defense, that is as long as they play defense. But neither happened last night. Seriously, a recurring weakness crept up into plain view again. This defense struggles mightily at times to get the puck out of their own end. They seem to need the forwards to come back and help them, or it just doesn't get out of the zone. There were long stretches in the 1st period where it looked like the Lightning were on a powerplay during 5 on 5 action and both the Canes forwards and defensemen were standing around watching.
I'm not going to single out any particular players for their poor play. It was a team loss and most of them looked bad. Wardo let in at least one soft goal on the short side which shouldn't happen, so even he shares some blame. Some of the guys just looked like pure crap. They couldn't pass, couldn't receive the puck, couldn't shoot, broke sticks on shots or just fanned on open nets. There was very little hitting or hard checking. It happens.
The loss leaves the Canes with a division record of 2-3, certainly not very impressive. Carolina can be a very good team, obviously, but the team has weaknesses as well. The defense is not limiting the number of shots on goal, even in decisive wins. The 19 shots on goal in the 1st period by Washington on Monday night is further evidence. If Cam Ward or John Grahame are not on top of their games, or if the offense doesn't score 4-5 goals or more, it could be a struggle for this team because for the most part, I haven't been impressed by the blueline. Maybe I'm hard to impress, is it just me?
The next game is in Atlanta on Saturday night. This will be yet another game where the opponent will be playing the 2nd game of a back to back while the Canes will be "fresh", waiting for them. Normally, that should be an advantage, but it certainly wasn't last night. We'll have to wait and see what happens. To their credit, the Canes have always rebounded nicely the very next game after a lethargic loss. They will need to do it again because the rest of the division is slowly creeping back within reach!