In case you haven't heard, there will be plenty of extra traffic at the RBC tonight. NC State will be playing a basketball game against Clemson starting at 3 and of course the Hurricanes will be playing another important division game against the Florida Panthers starting at 7.
That means a couple of things. First, it's going to be a pain to get to the rink tonight because thousands of people will be leaving at about the same time that thousands will be arriving. Second, the ice is going to be like crap. Thanks of course goes to television and the almighty dollar because we all know that money is more important than the integrity of the game itself. Nothing is new with that. Oh well, both teams have to suffer with it. I guarantee a sloppy game with a bouncing puck which I think favors the Panthers.
If you are wondering if it's even possible to change over the arena from a basketball court to a hockey rink within 2 hours, the answer is yes. I believe that the previous change-over record is about 80 minutes. They'll probably have to better that record tonight as the first game won't be over until 5ish while the hockey players will need to be warming up by 6:30. Good luck Donnie MacMillian and crew!
In the past when dual events were planned on the same day, the hockey start time was pushed back to give the crew more time. But according to Dave Olsen, GM of the RBC Center, the Canes "missed" the closeness of the start times. Nice job by somebody!
Okay, on to the game itself. One of the sick Carolina defensemen must be healthy again because Joey Mormina has been re-assigned to Albany. From what I have seen in today's pre-game skate reports, Joe Corvo will make his debut on his new home ice tonight. Tim Gleason is still questionable, but possible. Bret Hedican will remain out.
The forward situation is even more cloudy. Matt Cullen and Patrick Eaves both practiced this morning without their yellow jerseys, meaning they could be hit like everyone else. The team obviously needs them, but let's hope they don't rush back too soon. I suppose it's a possibility that they could play tonight, but I wouldn't count on it yet. The lines will probably look like this....
That's my best guess! Cam Ward will be in net again, I'm sure. Watch the bouncing puck Cam! The game is another huge one with 1st place ramifications. The Canes are tied with Atlanta but Florida and Washington are just 2 points back. Good luck in getting to your seats by 7!