The Carolina Hurricanes are up in the Great White North visiting the friendly shores of Lake Erie for a match tonight with the Buffalo Sabres. The Hurricanes have won 5 games in a row and have a record of 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. The Sabres on the other-hand are having a tougher time of it and have a 2-5-3 record in their last 10.
Some sportswriters across North America have been writing about Buffalo's injury crisis. The poor, poor Sabres have 4 defensemen out with injury. How can they possibly be expected to be competitive with that many replacements? Let me just ask, where was this concern and understanding when the Hurricanes and other Southern teams struggled with injuries this season?
Carolina has been missing 3 of their top 4 forwards from last year for several games now. Ray Whitney, Rod Brind'Amour, and Justin Williams accounted for 91 goals and 232 points last year. Do you think those injuries might have been a factor in the Canes rough patch earlier in the season? But instead of seeing articles about how the Canes have suffered from bad luck, all we see is the same old dribble about the "Southleast Division" and how the division champions shouldn't be given top 3 status in the Conference.
The Hurricanes have actually used these injuries as an inspiration to help them play the best hockey that they have played all year long. They have done it with almost a band-aid lineup consisting of 4 AHL players and a waiver pickup. Where are the articles about that?
In my opinion, Buffalo's problems are their own doing. The have bungling management who just traded away their best defenseman before the trade deadline. Now we are supposed to feel sorry for them because they are low on defensemen?
Two years ago they faced a similar crisis in the Eastern Conference Championships. Supposedly, (if we listen to the experts from up north), the only reason they lost that series was because of all their injuries. But guess what? The Hurricanes had injuries as well, but instead of sitting on their wallets and whining about it, at the trade deadline they went out and acquired quality depth. No one stopped the Sabres from making some blueline additions at the trade deadline. They made their bed and they had to sleep in it. They were out-managed, out-coached, and out-played in that series. All the whining in the world won't change those facts.
The mis-management has continued on. Last year, when they had another legitimate shot to win the Cup, they lost their best gritty players, Mike Grier and Jay McKee, the ones who were the most suitable for playoff success. When the year was over, they negotiated their way into losing Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, either of whom probably would have stayed in Buffalo, all things being equal. Instead, the Sabres ended up having to match a ridiculous, over-priced offer sheet for Thomas Vanek.
Now, they have traded away their best defenseman, Brian Campbell. Is anyone shocked that they are now having trouble manning the position?Â Perhaps the title of this thread should read - "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow, or Drink the Buffalo Koolaide".
All right, enough about Buffalo. Ray Whitney and Wade Brookbank are still out. Of course Rod Brind'Amour, Justin Williams and Chad LaRose are all out long term. The lineup will be the same as it was against Chicago.
Cam Ward will start in goal for the 11th straight game. Gametime starts at 7:30 and will be on FSN.
F rank Zappa