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Click and Clippings: Hows 'bout them River Rats?



With the Hurricanes playing on "Mountain Time" tonight, facing off against the Avalanche around 9:10pm, Canes Country GM Bob Harwood has made the call to put up a live game thread here at Canes Country for the AHL affiliate Albany River Rats 7pm start against the Rochester Americans. For readers who don't venture far from the main posts, a couple of bloggers (glovetaps to Caniac1026 and caniacgirl) have shared the link to watch the Rats play live, over the internet - and tonight is AHL LIVE free preview night. What a great opportunity to see the kids in action.

So skip the Ritalin for once, puckheads, and get ready to watch one AHL game online (as the future of your Carolina Hurricanes) and the NHL game in Denver (in HD on FSN), while you simultaneous keep up the banter with the game threads of both. We expect our under-30 blogging crowd to shine!

After the jump, a few stories from our home teams (both from Raleigh and Albany) and around the NHL.

So the Canes take their 4-game losing streak to the Pepsi Center in Denver tonight, where they haven't won since they were the Whalers in 1996. (Thought you'd like that little tidbit.)

Here are some previews from the Canes perspective:

Canes Now - Gleason likely to miss Avs game with some relatively upbeat comments after Thursday's late-day practice from Coach Paul Maurice:

"There's still room for improvement....I thought after the first [period in the Wednesday's SO loss to the Islanders] we did start to skate, start to forecheck, start to get in the offensive zone time we've become accustomed to. ... There were things we'd like to keep, things we think we can replicate: driving the puck down low, doing things like that we just didn't do in the first period. Right now we're looking for any positive we can to build off of. We made some plays around the net, a couple of nifty passes. We want to shoot every puck and drive the net. We've been concerned about the tightness with the sticks, so it was good to see we tried to make some plays."

Canes radio voice: Staal needs to be offensive leader  Chuck Kaiton with The Insiders on 99.9 FM The Fan ESPN Radio late yesterday discusses what ails the Canes and previews the game vs the Avs.

Puck Drops by Brian LeBlanc - "Is it panic button time yet?" Speaking of panicking and dire measures, I was checking the derivation of the term "bagskate" and found our own Paul Maurice had a part in the saga. (Important history lesson at the end, for those of you who weren't following the Canes before the lockout .)

Ward, Staal aim for Olympics - News & Observer Chip Alexander looks at the Hurricanes two contenders for Team Canada. Related quip on Penguin's goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to get your gander up, from Talbot Spits Some Truth On Fleury And Gonchar, "It is certain that in [Fleury's] mind he wants to be in the Olympics and he notably won his duel against Cam Ward last week."   

A little late, but from yesterday, after the Islanders game: Canes still struggling on road -  News & Observer

From the Colorado point of view, many interesting pieces exploring this October's unexpected success of the team that most "experts" around the NHL expected to be taking a top pick in 2010 draft with a bottom place finish in April. It's still early (duh), but the delight and confidence of the Avalanche followers in inescapable.

Road Trips, Revelations and Realism - Mile High Hockey Great overview of who and how they have ended up at the top of the Western Conference, (right ahead of the other perennial stalwart of the West, #2 Phoenix Coyotes who, in case you missed it, beat the Red Wings in overtime last night. Yeah, really.)

As Chuck Kaiton mentions in his conversation with Mike and Mark (above), the success of their rookies are the story for the Av's this year. Here's a back-story on #3 draft pick Matt Duchene you might like from TSN. Duthie: Boyhood pals Duchene and Hodgson now a world apart.

Tomorrow night, the Hurricanes will travel to play a tough back-to-back against the Minnesota Wild. where the mood is considerably less positive. The Wild is at the bottom of the Western Conference with only 2 wins and 4 points. Here's some in-depth exploration of what's wrong in the State of Hockey. Tom Powers: Wild create 18,000 puzzled viewers -

The Hockey News: From The Point:  The view from below Covers the Islanders, the Maple Leafs as well as the struggling Wild.

Related to the Wild, I can't resist this piece Puck Daddy highlighted yesterday from the very clever marketing team for the Blackhawks. Video: The Wild Things are in pain, thanks to Dustin Byfuglien - Puck Daddy

Albany River Rats

Looking to Albany for some stories prior to their back-to-back nights against the Rochester "Amerks" (The Panthers affiliate) and fierce rival the Flyers' affiliate Adirondack Phantoms on Saturday, check out both the Rat's site and  the Infestation. Rat Byte is also reporting the winger Michael Ryan, who suffered a concussion in a pre-season game with the Canes in Raleigh in September, has been there skating with the AHL team while the Canes are on the road trip. I put it in comments for Harwood's morning story, but it is interesting to see the conflicting points of view on where the franchise's ever-thinning blue-line depth belongs.

Last, a couple stories from around the NHL

Messier, Richter and Devellano honored - - Messier, Richter, Devellano receive Lester Patrick Award the  for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. Well done gentlemen.

Check out this 190-foot goal by Cap's D-man Jeff Schultz last night in Atlanta:

This was his first goal of the season on a 3-point night (earning him the first star of the game), as the Capitals hang on to beat the Atlanta Thrashers in what some NHL hype-sters were previewing as the "Battle for the Southeast Division." (ouch!)

If you're one to follow goalie mask designs around the NHL, here's an in-depth piece for you with a chance to vote for Cam Ward's pirate-themed head-piece. NHL on asks: Who has the best mask?

The Hockey News took a look around the NHL and put together a list of the "Top-10 Bargain Players" for this year. Check out #1 here. (hint: his pricetag goes up next season)