As Harwood led off in his story here this morning, guess who's coming to play tomorrow night? Sidney, Geno and Uncle Jordan have already arrived in Raleigh to face-off against the Hurricanes for the first time since that painful sweep last May, and you have to believe our boys in red would like to give the Penguins a special night they'll remember for a long time to come. Opposing goalies Cam Ward and Marc-Andre Fleury have a little extra riding on this one as Team Canada's decision makers will likely be watching from the northern provinces.
Wednesday's re-match has the potential to be the much-needed momentum changer for Carolina, to set the standard for the rest of month as the Canes take off after this one for their annual "State Fair" roadtrip . For the next 4 games (and 5 of the next 6) they will be the visitors as they travel from the Devils to the Avalanche, wrapping up October with the Flyers on Halloween night (with way too much "orange and black" for me to contemplate that evening).
Hockey fans: this is your call to get your tickets to Wednesday's game to rally the troops against the Penguins tomorrow night. Think what a Wednesday sell-out crowd of screaming Caniacs would do to inspire the hometown team! Believe me when I say: we need More Cowbell!
(Is it too early to say "must win"?)
Thinking outside "The Box":
The theme of the day for the Hurricanes media on Monday seemed to be understanding the Penalty Problem. We looked at it here Sunday night and Chip Alexander, Paul Branecky and Paul Maurice all offer up great statistics and insight in the following links:
Canes Now - Maurice: penalties 'major problem' for Canes
Discipline a Cause for Concern - Tracking the Storm
Penalties are mounting too quickly for Canes - News & Observer This piece from this morning goes further and compares the Canes numbers to other teams around the NHL.
Late add: The Big Tailgate :: Puck Drops following up on their conversation with Harwood yesterday: "PK or PP: What's the Real issue on Special Teams?" by Brian LeBlanc.
More from practice today, Albany and across the NHL after the jump.
Both Eric Staal and Joni Pitkanen are sitting out practice today, according to CanesNow. However, Eric's father (AKA Parker's grandfather) Henry Staal is in the seats at the RBC, wearing a Canes jersey. (Thanks to the LGC twitter feed for that visual.)
UPDATE: Joni Pitkanen will not play against Pens, Maurice says. Staal will play.( thank you ice_chip for the news - I guess )
Glad to hear that Jussi Jokinen is back on the ice so Ron Francis doesn't need to pretend he's a 26-year- old Finnish wing like he did yesterday when the Hof'er filled in the lines (thanks to ice_chip on that one, too).
Here's a piece on Jordan Staal's increasing responsibility with the Penguins from the Hockey News. If you don't hate watching and listening to the Pens stars, check it out. Otherwise, avoid at all costs.
There are about 4 sources for Weekly Power Rankings I haven't included because they serve no useful purpose except to require we all go refill our Zantac prescription. However, this one really got me. Again from The Hockey News: Ranking the Hurricanes at #22 (up from #26 last week!), their added comment: "Would anyone be really surprised if these guys missed the playoffs?" GRRRR.
American League highlights from New York (and I don't mean my NY Yankees)
For more on the very exciting Albany River Rats, check out the always helpful The Infestation: News & Notes from October 12, including a link to see highlights of Friday's win on Youtube. I so enjoyed seeing and hearing all those names (Zach Boychuk, Brandon Sutter, Jamie McBain, Patrick Dwyer, Brett Carson, for starters), I embedded it here to be sure you didn't miss it. You can really see the chemistry developing in the highlights.
I'll keep an eye out for Saturday's blow-out win over the Amerks with Mike Murphy in goal and put it up as well.
With Harwood's celebrity appearance on the Podcast known as "Puck Drops" yesterday, I thought I'd link you up with a few other hockey podcasts. If you haven't discovered this yet, you can subscribe to an RSS feed or through iTunes and find these automatically downloaded to your portable device to listen to on your next trip to the gym or long drive to work. Very easy and different from your usual iTunes fare.
Over at the Hurricanes offices, blogger Paul Branecky and media handler Kyle Handlin do a great job with their weekly discussion called The Hurricanes Report.
From TSN.ca , you can find a variety of weekly podcasts by Bob Mackenzie and others, though they may seem a little too Canadian for your tastes.
At ESPNRadio, Barry Melrose talks about the NHL on Hockey Today. (this is a link to the index for all the available ESPNRadio podcasts - you'll need to search for hockey to get to the appropriate hook-up)
This list doesn't begin to scratch the surface of everything hockey that's out there as a podcast. If you all have another one you find that you like, please share in your comments below
Around the NHL
If you thought hockey in Raleigh got no respect from Versus, check out this: Versus.com blogger Adrian Dater: Music City Off Beat for NHL "It’s a tough thing to say, but it needs to be said: the Predators should get the heck out of the NHL. They’ve been a charity case team the last few years, needing revenue-sharing money from the rest of the league just to stay operable." Ouch!
What We Learned: Contraction talk? Must be that time of year - Puck Daddy - Ryan Lambert gives his weekly synopsis of 30 teams and rails on the ridiculous premise of the Versus article.
Last word on the topic is from Predator's blogger Dirk Hoag who pulls out all the stops as he makes his rebuttal over at the SBN blog On the Forecheck : Denver columnist Adrian Dater calls for Nashville to "get the heck out of the NHL"
Finally, read what the NHL is telling its players about the nasty pitfalls of the unpredictable and way-too-risky (risque?) internet: Blogs With Balls reminder; NHL scares players about Internet - Puck Daddy . I wonder if this is how Dick Clark felt when he started American Bandstand in 1952? The more things change.....