The Hurricanes were shut out by the Atlanta Thrashers last night, 3-0. I'm naming this post "Slow Ride" because it seemed to me like everything was in slow motion for this game. The passing was too slow, the shots were too slow, and the hitting was slow or soft or non-existent, whatever term you might prefer. No disrespect to Johan Hedberg, but that had to be the easiest shut out that he ever earned in his entire career. It certainly was the easiest I ever saw. When I say that the shots were "slow", I mean that some of them literally rolled up to the Thrasher's goalie, and they were probably counted as shots on goal and saves. Ridiculous. The loss gives the Canes a losing division record of 4-5 and now makes their home record a not so intimidating 5-3-1. Those aren't exactly the numbers of champions. What's so frustrating about this team is that they look like they're unbeatable one game, then look totally inept the next. Fans would understand if the team lost a hard fought, close game. All teams do that. But this team goes to such extremes from one game to next and it's just mind boggling. Why is the team so inconsistent?
For one thing, the injury situation certainly doesn't help. Andrew Ladd played tonight, but he didn't look game ready. Scott Walker has been out awhile and of course Erik Cole is still out. They have yet to win a game without Cole. The question is, can they win without him? You wouldn't think that one player could affect a team that much, but they have looked like an entirely different team the past 2 games without him. Nic Wallin has also been out. Bottom line though, every team has injuries and they all have to play their way through them. The good teams survive, the not so good ones use them as excuses while they lose.
Around the Caniac Nation some Eric Staal bashing has started up again. Granted, Eric needs to step up his game. Tonight I thought he started out skating well, but perhaps he got frustrated and fizzled out as the game went on. But losing this game wasn't his fault anymore than it was David Tanabe's. Where were Justin Williams, Matt Cullen, Ray Whitney, and Cory Stillman? What did they do that was any better than what Staal did? Where was the Captain? Speaking of slow motion shots, it almost looked like Brindy was trying not to score a couple of times in the 3rd period his shots were so slow. It seemed to me that most of the team just had one of those nights last night, including Eric Staal. The team wins as a team and loses as a team, and I think all of that is usually beyond what one player can accomplish alone. (except for the goalie) Do they need to try harder to work their way through this slump? Do they need to pick up the physicality and try to punish the other team a bit instead of letting them skate around unimpeded? In my opinion, yes they do. As close as this game was, I thought that it was extremely boring. From the sound of the very quiet crowd during the game, IÂ probably wasn't alone with my thoughts. But we all have bad days, even professional hockey players earning millions of dollars. Hopefully, the boys will figure out what went wrong and fix it before tonight's game against the Panthers.