UPDATE : A Death in the Tank (What to do with our Fish called Babchuk? )

Sept 4, 2009

CHAPEL HILL (Canes Country): The fish named for Hurricanes' owner Peter Karmanos has died suddently, after 38 months in the Canes tank. He will be buried tomorrow in the garden, nearby Eric Staal-fish, who passed on in May (see story below). "Big Pete", as he was affectionately known, was a golden chinese algae eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri) similar in likeness to the one shown below. In his later days, he frequented the sunken army tank where his constant companion was the exotic Zamboni fish.


No cause of death was immediately apparent. Foul play has not been ruled out at this time. The large plecostomus, who represents the "guy who sits next to you in the penalty box" , appeared to be missing a chunk from his dorsal fin indicating a potential skirmish between him and Karmanos. To eliminate the most obvious suspect, the tank was immediately sealed off and searched to confirm that no Balsillie-fish had attempted to break-in to the tank. (Public aquarium records in Phoenix have inconclusively shown that Balsillie-fish frequently display untrustworthy and sordid behavior and are typically ostracized when attempting to establish a new habitat.). An un-named source disclosed that the financial records of the Pleco are being analyzed after it was discovered he had the new Blackberry Tour hidden in his large jowls. Please contact authorities if you can offer any information associated with this incident.

The family indicates that no decision has been made as to whether Big Pete will be replaced. They also urge Mr Karmanos, who resides year-round in Michigan, to maintain a cautious and circumspect lifestyle over the next few weeks, due to the strange and unexplained history of their Canes fishtank.

Following up on a previous post, Anton Babchuk -fish continues to thrive as if he didn't have a care in the world. Also, fish for Chad LaRose and Matt Cullen still need to be selected. Given this unexpected loss today, that purchase will be delayed until the cause of death has been identified.


I've mentioned our family's Hurricanes-themed fish tank a few times here at CC. As the count-down clock moves slowly to the start of training camp, we are seeking the counsel of other Caniacs about what to do with the Anton Babchuk fish.

Normally, I wouldn't think this was a big responsibility, but apparently our tank has a supernatural connection to the goings-on within the Canes organization. Almost every trade or injury (or firing in the case of Peter Laviolette) has been anticipated by the life cycle of the appropriately named fish in our tank. Justin Williams, Erik Cole, Lavi, Rod Brind`Amour 's season-ending injury in 2008 (actually our Brindy-fish has died twice - we've retired his name - hint, hint), Tuomo Ruutu's lower body injury vs the Penguins- all happened first in our tank. Even our moss-ball jumbotron failed and sank to the bottom the day before they dropped the old one at the RBC.

Two notable exceptions

1- Twice our Cam Ward fish has died. Both times they were elaborate and exotic looking species (expensive too!) and not exactly hardy, so we have chosen to not get another; the risk is simply not acceptable.

2 - Chad LaRose the Fish died this spring, days after we brought him home. We spent the first week of July, before Rosey was signed, feeling guilty that we hadn't replaced him, and worried that due to our error in judgment, now his namesake might be wearing a Blueshirt in the fall. You can imagine our relief when we heard the good news! We haven't yet replaced him but will do so before camp.

More on Eric and Erik

Our oldest fish, at least until this past April, (other than the Zamboni/African knife-fish which has an expected lifespan of 8-10 years if well-maintained), was Eric Staal. An albino Cory catfish, Staalsy was acquired the summer of 2006 as one of a pair.


The other was of course, Erik Cole. They zipped around the tank, fast and powerful, indistinguishable, and never far from one another. Until one of them, apparently Erik 26, died in the June of 2008. Given the uncanny connection between our tank and the franchise, we were not all that surprised to hear his namesake was headed to the Edmonton Oilers. Lonely Eric 12 continued to swim bravely and grew quite large, though perhaps not as fast or with the same confidence. Finally, when the good news came that Cole was back in Raleigh, we went right out and got a new cory catfish. The older, large one (Eric 12) was SO HAPPY! The two, large and small, swam together like old buddies, and we could see the joy return to all the fish in the tank.

Then the Canes made it to the playoffs; next, the Shock at the Rock vs New Jersey Devils, thanks to Staal's GWG. The morning following that amazing game, I was startled to discover the large albino laying lifeless at the bottom of the tank. Three years is old for the species, and we interpreted this turn of events this way: Eric Staal was no longer simply an up-and-coming "young gun", but had established himself unquestionably as a team leader and, with that series, and that shocking rocket of a goal, was ready to begin a new phase of his career. We promptly went out and got a replacement. And, out of respect for his seniority and value to the tank, the original Eric is the only fish that has received a proper burial, in the garden among the petunias, rather than the simple flush.

The Defensive corps

Which brings me to fish-Babchuk. We have four Golden Danios, the Top-4 D, which dart along just below the surface of the water (we consider that the defensive zone - most of our forwards are usually closer to the gravel, except Ray Whitney who enjoys hanging out in neutral water, near the bubbler and the storm squad). Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen seem comfortable at all depths. The smallest Golden Danio is Joe Corvo, who is most likely to pinch, drifting down near the gravel seeking a goal food. The other two would be Joni Pitkanen and Tim Gleason. Truth be told, we can't tell the three large ones apart. They're all strong and blond.


This is the first time in 3 years that a fish has remained alive longer than its player has stayed with the team. With Babchuk apparently out of the line-up and veteran Aaron Ward returning to Carolina, we need your help to determine the most appropriate and safest course of action. We'll keep the voting open for a couple weeks, but plan to make the move before training camp begins. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.

Please vote: