If November was all about the phenomenal numbers achieved by Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal, so far December appears to be the month in which franchise centerpiece goal tender, Cam Ward, will turn some heads. Reminder: still plenty of time to place those All-Star Votes, friends!
Case in point: Tweets from Hurricanes Media Director Mike Sundheim following Saturday's shootout win by Canes over St. Louis began here:
This Cam Ward fellow is playing okay right now. #NHLAllStar
This is what happens when the PR guy opens the room too quickly after a win RT @nhl_canes: Cam Ward: http://bit.ly/e7x8Nl
and continued the ASG campaign this morning:
Cam Ward earned his 150th win Sat., & has allowed just 15 goals in his last 9 starts (1.61 GAA, .950 sv%) #NHLAllStar....
Cam Ward is now 6th in the NHL in save percentage this year (.925). Only Hiller, Price & Bryzgalov have more total saves.
More stories focusing on Ward's recent stretch of game-stealing work in goal:
With Canes Struggling to Score, Ward at his Best - Paul Branecky, Tracking the Storm Blog Cam Ward's goaltending has helped the Hurricanes win some low-scoring games.
Canes Now - Ward: 'I'm seeing the puck really well' | Canes coach Paul Maurice admits it: it's easy taking goalie Cam Ward for granted.
Finally, this heads-up that Cam Ward will be talking to EJ Hradek and company tomorrow: Twitter / Mike Sundheim: 12:30pm TUESDAY, Ward to join @NHLLive (NHL.com, NHL Network, XM 204, Sirius 208)
Hockey stories from near and far and videos out the wazoo including pop star Mariah Carey's new favorite hockey team, after the jump.
Other local stories
from Raleigh, Charlotte, and wherever Canes Head Scout Tony MacDonald is working this week.
Chip Alexander: Canes Now - Francis addresses power-play shortage | The Canes are 0-for-their-last-20 on the power play over the last six games, which now has officially been deemed a power-play "slump."
Brian LeBlanc: Puck Drops Road Trip: Charlotte Checkers 5, Hershey Bears 3 (Includes .mp3 audio downloads from the postgame talking with Zach Boychuk, Zac Dalpe and Head Coach Jeff Daniels - scroll to the bottom of the story). Writer Brian LeBlanc asks these guys their thoughts on playing (a lot and very well) in the AHL instead of up with the NHL club.
NHL.com's Mike Morreale: MacDonald explains how Hurricanes got their man How did the Hurricanes decide on Jeff Skinner at the 2010 Entry Draft? Hurricanes Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald explains it to NHL.com.
Bob asked me to relay this reminder: Get your entries in now - the drawing will be tomorrow night! For what, you ask? See here for details: Canes Country Giving Away A New Carolina Hurricanes Designed Flip Camera
Last Tuesday, the Hurricanes' Annual holiday visits out in the community had the players going out to bring some cheer to many, especially those who could use an extra lift this time of year. Here are Tuomo Ruutu , Jussi Jokinen, Joni Pitkanen, Cam Ward and Tim Gleason bringing some good feelings to patients at a local hospital.
Target Shopping Video - 'Canes players Erik Cole, Brandon Sutter, Justin Peters and Patrick Dwyer help a few children with their Christmas shopping. As the veteran in the group, Cole knew from experience that little boys shop a lot quicker than little girls. (Hockeymom has no problem confirming that statement.)
Familiar Captains in the headlines:
When Rod Brind`Amour was on the ice for practice last week at the RecZone, he caught up with the N&O's Chip Alexander on what life is like now that he's not playing NHL hockey anymore. In Canes' office or on ice, ex-captain teaches, learns - NewsObserver.com There are days, Rod Brind'Amour says, that give him a taste of being in the NHL while also reminding him he's no longer playing in the NHL.
Looking forward to the display of hockey nostalgia known as the Winter Classic, guess who's lacing 'em up in the pregame alumni scrimmage? Lemieux, Coffey and Francis to play in outdoor alumni game - The Globe and Mail Hall of Famers Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey, Ron Francis and Bryan Trottier will suit up for a Penguins' alumni team against a Washington alumni squad led by Peter Bondra.
Proof that there is Karma in those pucks
Video: Bobby Ryan scores using Mikko Koivu's stick - Puck Daddy Just watch the video.
From the Washington Post, Capitals vs. Rangers: Washington routed, 7-0, its sixth straight loss and worst defeat since 2005-06 season The Washington Capitals fell, 7-0, to the Rangers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, a defeat that marks the first time since March 2007 that the Capitals have lost six consecutive games. Plus here's the post-game presser with Coach Bruce Boudreau where he talks about his players "feeling sorry for themselves". Time to break out the smallest violins in the world.
Not sure this is karma per se, but it sure seems completely obvious and fitting now that it's happened. Nabokov Quits KHL, Could Return to NHL | Spectors Hockey suggests the Tampa Bay Lightning's Steve Yzerman will be the first in line. Further details on how the situation played out in Russia from Dmitry Chesnekov at Puck Daddy here: Why Evgeni Nabokov left KHL; agent said signing wasn't 'mistake'
Keeping up with the Prospects
10 thoughts from Shaya, volume three | Checkers Chatter - Once again a great read from Charlotte as the Checkers have moved to third in the very tough East Division of the AHL with the win over Hershey yesterday.
2. Lots of line juggling for Charlotte during Friday night’s game and it bled into Sunday. My favorite combination was McFlikier-Dalpe-Boychuk…they combined for 10 points that game and Boychuk had four assists. Not bad. Boychuk was again the best player on the ice for either team.
NHL vet Barrasso helps develop Checkers goaltenders | Checkers Chatter A terrific video also from the Checker's radio voice Jason Shaya with Hurricanes Goal tending coach Tom Barrasso about his work with Justin Pogge and Mike Murphy, who also talk about their experience.
Blogging for the paper/site of the hometown of his Alma Mater in upstate New York, one of the leading scorers with the ECHL's Florida Everblades, Mike McKenzie, describes his life in the minors: Watertown Daily Times | Minor Updates with Mike McKenzie
Under the heading of "no such thing as bad publicity" ? Pass or Fail: Are Florida Everblades' holiday jerseys worst of 2010? - Puck Daddy This even went to the front page of Yahoo! for awhile yesterday meaning Jared Staal had a lot of eyes looking at him in this acid green assault to the eyes this weekend.
Cult of Personality
Four unrelated stories each presenting the media's take on why it is indeed okay for hockey players to show some personal flair and no it isn't disrespectful to the game, a topic which seems very much part and parcel of this new media age.
Michael Russo: BizNasty’s Tweet relief | StarTribune.com The second you sit down with Paul Bissonnette, you realize his Twitter alias, "BizNasty2point0," is no shtick.
Duchene Hopes Tweeting Bolsters League's Personalities - Adrian Dater The 19-year old star for the Colorado Avalanche, Matt Duchene, is now tweeting to over 6000 followers via @Matt9Duchene: "I thought to myself, ‘what can I do, other than continuing to try and help the team on the ice, to help it off the ice. This was something that came right away into my head, to try to reach out."
The Vancouver Sun: P. K. Subban benching a shame as NHL conformity wins out Hidebound National Hockey League doesn't take kindly to individuality.
Respect in the NHL - or the lack thereof - Cassie McClellan at From The Rink If a rookie [Linus Omark] makes an unnecessarily fancy move during an NHL shootout, and it doesn't go in, is it still disrespectful?
And finally, on the subject of hockey players showing off their personalities, there is no hyperbole in the following headline from Greg Wyshynski this morning. First see it at Youtube, and then put it on your Facebook page for all your friends to behold this hysterical styling of hockey holiday merriment. Even Mariah Carey was impressed. Take it, boys:
Greatest hockey music video of all-time, as the Belfast Giants dance to 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'