Great news for all of you David Tanabe fans out there! Lorenzo Perez just reported on Lord Stanley's Blog that Peter Laviolette said most likely that neither Erik Cole or Andrew Ladd will play tonight. Cole sitting I can understand, but it sounded like Ladd was about ready to go. Could coach Lavi be playing some games with the media and start Ladd anyway as a surprise? We can only hope because if neither Cole or Ladd can play that means new favorite Caniac whipping boy, Davey Tanabe will probably see time again at forward. The funny thing is that coach Paul Maurice played Tanabe at forward quite often during his tenure and reportedly even tried to get him to permanently change positions. Now, several years later it's like deja vu all over again! One can't help but wonder if Tanabe is volunteering to help out at forward? The good news about him playing forward is that he has a decent shot and he can skate well. The bad news is that there will be no forecheck. Good luck David, we hope you get a hat-trick!
John Forslund reported that John Grahame will probably get the nod in net tonight. For the moment, Johnny has quietly accumulated better stats than Cam Ward. Ward's save percentage is .914 while Grahame's is .917. Ward's GAA is 2.61 while Grahame's is 2.37. I'm not trying to start a controversy here, but this good good news and I don't blame Lavi for allowing Johnny a chance to get a win against his former mates. Grahame has played well lately and he'll need to be sharp again tonight because the Canes have lost 4 in a row to Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist. "Homer" has posted a GAA of 1.25 in those 4 games. I'm not sure why the Canes can't score against him, it seems like the rest of the division has no trouble!
Cory Stillman and Justin Williams are both red hot for the Canes. The offense continues to consistently generate tons of chances. If Cole and Ladd stay in the pressbox tonight, the lines could look something like this:
Or then again, the lines could look completely different! One thing you can count on. The lines will not stay the same for the entire game.
Can the Canes draw first blood tonight and score first, which has been a rarity lately? Can John Grahame shut up his old coach and show him that there is no such thing as a "25% rule"? Can the Canes finally light up Johan Holmqvist like the mediocre goalie that he really is? Game time is 7:30 with pre-game on FSN starting at 7.