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Hello Kitty Kat

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Tonight the Canes find themselves in Sunrise, Florida again to take on those howling kitty cats. The teams are 1 and 1 so far this year, with both of them beating each other by the identical score of 4-2. The start time for the game is at 7:30 and it will be broadcast on the Versus network. Tonight would be a good night to try the Hurricanes "Coolbars" promotion since they will be televising the game and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony simultaneously at the Carolina Ale House in Cary! The players to watch on Florida are Olli Jokinen and goalie Tomas Vokoun. The Canes are coming off a nice win in Atlanta on Saturday night and are looking to try to string a few wins together. They have a 3-3 record within the division so far while Florida is 3-4. The injuries and lineups are probably the same as last game for Carolina. Andrew Ladd and Scott Walker will not play, although Ladd is supposedly getting closer. John Grahame might get the start in place of Cam Ward, but "Wardo" was excellent against the Thrashers. Will there be any diving calls this time? The only time this year the Canes were called for that penalty was the last time they played in Sunrise, and they were called for it twice. Mysteriously, that just happened to be the day after some very public complaining in the media by the Panthers and their coach. Hopefully, the refs won't read the papers before this game!

While Ron Francis will be in the Hall of Fame after tonight, I read some interesting premature conjecture between Luke DeCock and Ken Campbell about whether Rod Brind'Amour deserved to be in the HOF. Luke was pro while Ken was against. Perhaps Rod is not worthy at this moment, but his career is not over quite yet. I'd have to say that if he can continue at his current production and get his name on the Cup another time, he'll have no trouble making the Hall when the time comes.

I forgot to mention last week that the NHL Network has finally reached local Time Warner Cable homes! It's on channel 330 and is available as a free preview for all digital cable customers until the end of November. After that, customers will have to purchase access to the channel which is included on the "Sports and Games" tier. The tier also has some other Fox Sports networks, (college hockey), the Game Show Network, and a few other sports channels, all for $2.95 per month. Wasn't it TWC that had the commercial about getting nickel and dimed to death?

Last week's poll garnered some interest. The question was "If the Hurricanes added another defenseman, which of the following would be the best choice?" I see that Aaron Ward is still popular around here. He captured 50% of the votes! As long as the Bruins continue winning and remain in the playoff race though, chances of re-acquiring Aaron before the trade deadline would be little to none. Speaking of Aaron, he was the recipient of a nasty hit to the head last week against Montreal. It was a scary moment at first because he was very slow getting up, but it seems that Ward will be okay and back on the ice again soon. He's having a very solid year so far up in Boston.

Will the Canes come out firing in the first period? Will the refs be looking for dives? Will the Panthers pull their traditional 3rd period disappearing act? Versus will have the answers tonight! By the way, we'll have another great "Take Ten" feature tomorrow after the game recap.

Smashing Pumpkins