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That Smell

The Carolina Hurricanes laid another stink bomb on their home ice last night, and the fanbase is frustrated. One problem is, it's not the first time that it's happened this year. Another problem is, there doesn't seem to be an easy fix. By the end of the 1st period, they were down by 3 goals. By the end of the game, many of the frustrated fans had already left the building. The final score was, the Ottawa Senators 6, your Carolina Hurricanes 0. The team now is in a very bad stretch where they have lost 9 of their past 14 games. While Carolina is still in first place in their division, it's only a matter of time that they will relinquish that position if they continue this slide.

So what's wrong and who is to blame? Many things seem to be wrong, and the blame can shared from the top of the organization to the bottom. We'll start at the top. Obviously, Jim Rutherford has done a lot of positive things over the years, but when things aren't going well it's time to look at some of the negatives. Do you think he's happy about handing out all of those "no trade" clauses in his recent signings right about now? He's already tried to trade Nic Wallin, but Nic put the kabosh on that. In my opinion, mediocre defensemen like Nic Wallin should never be given "no trade clauses" under any circumstances. Half of the team seems to have this benefit and it literally handcuffs management into trading guys that they might not really want to trade. It makes things especially difficult when a team gets into situations like the Canes are presently in, when a trade seems needed to shake things up.

The coaching staff can certainly share the responsibility for some losses. For instance last night, at one point the 4rth line was on the ice playing against Ottawa's 1st line. Most of the fanbase could sense something was wrong with that scenario and sure enough the result was an easy goal for Jason Spezza, right before the end of the 1st period. On your home ice, there is no excuse for that matchup because the home team has last line change. Also, could the coaching staff be changing the make up of the lines too much? It seems that could be the case because the players seem out of synch and the lines have been mixed up a lot lately. The team's play has been very inconsistent for almost 2 months now. It's the coaching staff's responsibility to figure out what is wrong and fix it. So far that has been lacking.

The players are next on the list. I'm not going to focus on any single individual or group. They all need to play better. They all need to play as a team. The highest paid players need to step up and earn their big paychecks. That's what frustrates fans the most, the superstars aren't playing like superstars. Perhaps all the endorsement appointments, the advertising photo shoots, the All Star campaigning, and all the other individual, chest pumping activities should be put on the backburner for now so that these individuals can focus more on what should be the most important thing to them? Like playing the game?

I received an email last night from a fan with some coaching suggestions. I'm just going to copy the email, (without the full name), in a comment to this posting. Thanks Ken for your feedback!

Speaking of coaching, apparently Peter Laviolette agreed with many Canes Country blog readers who participated in the current poll and scratched Frantisek Kaberle last night. Either that, or maybe Kaberle was shelved while waiting for a trade to formulate? In a weird coincidence, Justin Peters was brought up from Florida to Albany at the last minute last night to play instead of the number one goalie in the AHL, Michael Leighton. No reason was given for the change. Sometimes teams will bench players involved in possible trade negotiations, to make sure that they are not injured beforehand. The rumor mill is churning and Anaheim is another team who really needs to make a trade. We will see.

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Lynard Skynard