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Only Worse - Senators at Hurricanes Pre-Game

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, it was announced today that Matt Cullen has been re-injured and is listed as day-to-day. He will not play in this afternoon's game against the Sens. Cullen has been fighting concussion-like symptoms since late December's hit by the Ranger's Colton Orr. He took another nasty hit in Chicago on Wednesday night where he was upended and landed on his head.

Cullen can join the long list of Carolina wounded. Rod Brind'Amour, Justin Williams, David Tanabe, and Chad LaRose have all been out long term. Ray Whitney and Wade Brookbank were both recently put on the IR as well. Whitney had recent surgery and will be out for 2-3 more weeks. Brookbank could be back in a week. Patrick Eaves has also missed some time and reportedly could be questionable for today's game as well.

Patrick Dwyer and Joe Jensen have been recalled from Albany to fill in. Dwyer has never played in an NHL game, and Jensen has the one game in New Jersey under his belt, when he had to leave the game early because of stomach problems. If you are wondering why Brandon Nolan hasn't been recalled, he has missed games recently because of concussion like symptoms as well.

Jeff Hamilton is also on his way back, but is going through the re-entry process. He could very well be picked up by another team at half of his regular salary (400K), so chances are that he may never make it back to Raleigh.

This is a huge game for many reasons. Since the Canes lost to Buffalo on Friday night, and both the Panthers and Caps won their respective games, Carolina's division lead is just a mere 5 points. Both of those teams are also in action today.

Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore both return to face their former team for the first time since the big trade about a month ago. Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves get to exchange pleasantries with their former mates as well.

I expect the Carolina lineup to be as following...

  • Staal-Cole-Ruutu

  • Letowski-Eaves-Samsonov

  • Aucoin-Walker-Bayda

  • Jensen-Conboy-Dwyer

  • Gleason-Hedican

  • Wesley-Wallin

  • Corvo-Kaberle

Cam Ward will start in goal for the 11th or 12th straight game, I lost count.

This will be a tough one for the Hurricanes today. Roughly half of their forwards are AHL quality. Can they continue to play on emotion and keep the outstanding 10-1-1 home record going? Game time is at 3 and there is not any local TV coverage. Remember, get there early to receive a Cam Ward figurine.

Randy Travis