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Badlands

The Carolina Hurricanes are playing the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, and it hasn't usually been a very good place to be for the Canes. So far this year, the Lightning have won games by the scores of 5-1 and 6-1, but Carolina won the last meeting 4-3. That win required a strong 3rd period comeback, so in essence you could say that the Boltz have pretty much outplayed the Canes in 8 of 9 periods so far this season. That's a trend that Carolina needs to stop tonight.

The Canes are coming off two Jekyll and Hyde performances, one where they lost to Buffalo 8-1, and the next when they beat the Rangers, 4-0. Which team will fans see tonight? Mike Commodore and Nic Wallin are both still nursing their injuries and are not expected to play. Cam Ward will be in goal. The team practiced yesterday using the same new lines displayed in New York, so look for those lines to continue. The Lightning have one extremely potent line of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and Vaclav Prospal. The logic would seem simple, stop that line and you can beat Tampa. But, as Scott Walker so aptly mentioned in his Canes Corner interview this week, "easier said, than done". The game has a later than normal start time of 7:30, with pre-game shows beginning at 7. It should be another good one tonight!

In the meantime, there has been a lot of conjecture recently about the Hurricanes possibly tweaking their line up. As we mentioned a day or two ago, Mark Recchi has been placed on waivers by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He cleared waivers and now is being placed on "re-entry" status. This is significant because whatever team claims him now would only have to pay him half of his salary, the Pens would be responsible for the other half. Recchi has certainly lost a few steps, but he's a known quantity in the room and might fit in well here. The Canes would have to cut someone to make room for him though, and they might not want to take on the extra salary anyway no matter how good number 18 might look in red.

"Mr Decisiveness" himself, Scott Neidermayer has finally decided to rejoin the Ducks. That means Anaheim GM, Brian Burke needs to do some tweaking with his line-up himself. Could it be that a reasonably priced solid defenseman like Francois Beauchemin would soon be available? Several hockey pundits seem to think it's a strong possibility, but who would the Canes have to trade in order to get him? Are they ready to give up on Andrew Ladd? Ladd played junior hockey in Calgary with Anaheim star Ryan Getzlaf. Burke would probably love to reunite those two, but I would hesitate to trade Ladd myself. Interesting scenarios for sure, we will be watching!!

Bruce Springsteen