It's that time of year. The weather in the Triangle is beautiful day after day, and the North Carolina State Fair is reporting near record turnout. So, hockey fans know this all translates to the Carolina Hurricanes annual October roadtrip.
After a perfectly scripted powerplay goal from Jeff Skinner to secure the win in the closing minutes of Friday's game vs the Buffalo Sabres, the team spent the weekend here at home. They'll head out to Boston this afternoon for a rematch against the Bruins Tuesday night. On Friday, they're in St Louis, to take on the Blues (our first AStewart vs CStewart clash) and then up to Manitoba for a Southeast division tilt vs the Winnipeg Jets, a game scheduled to be part of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday.
Notes from practice today
Brett Sutter nervous, excited about opportunity - Chip Alexander, Canes Now Sutter will play left wing on Tim Brent's line opposite Anthony Stewart. After practice, Brett Sutter talked about his plan for the Bruins.
"I just want to keep it simple, play an energetic game and be a reliable player. I like to play a physical game, be a little bit greasy, go to the net, put pucks there and create some chances, but be good in my own end, as well."
Meanwhile up in Boston, Hurt David Krejci skates, doubtful for Boston Bruins Tuesday - ESPN Boston
UPDATE: Call-Up a Chance for Sutter to Build on Strong Camp - Michael Smith, Tracking the Storm The numbers didn't work in Brett Sutter's favor during training camp, but now he has an opportunity to build on that foundation.
Jay Harrison was interviewed by Mike Maniscalco in the RBC Spotlight audio before the team headed up to Buffalo. (AUDIO 6:26)
Plenty more from near and far after the jump.
[Ed. note: I didn't rate them all, but the feature posts that are marked with ★★★★★ ratings are my Must-Read's for today. ★★★★ is worth making time for.]
More Hurricanes profiles and stories
Canes' Allen gathers respect, scars - Chip Alexander, NewsObserver.com Bryan Allen of the Carolina Hurricanes looks the part of a hockey player, and certainly a defenseman. ★★★★
Special Teams on the Rise - Michael Smith, Tracking the Storm The Carolina Hurricanes are on a two-game winning streak. Perhaps not coincidentally, their special teams play has also been on the upswing. ★★★★★
Hurricanes sightings - Mike Maniscalco, WRALSportsFan.com The Carolina Hurricanes are riding a two game winning streak, next game for the Canes is Tuesday night on the road against Boston.
About those silly Pitkanen rumors
Bob also addressed this in his post this morning - here is a sequence of links to fill you in one how this got started.
- Can Canes afford Pitkanen? - Luke DeCock - (Print) News&Observer.com You take the good with the bad with Joni Pitkanen. His talent tantalizes, which is why he was drafted fourth overall and has been traded for significant returns twice since. His inconsistency also frustrates, which is why he has been traded twice since. Later DeCock updated his story to minimize the impression he was advocating a Pitkanen trade was desirable over at Canes Now - Pitkanen at his best.
- First Craig Custance, from ESPN's Insider blog made the leap that Pitkanen might be available. Then Lyle Richardson took it one step farther.The Hockey News: Rumor Roundup: Peddling Pitkanen? Are the Hurricanes regretting signing Joni Pitkanen?
- With all this confusion, I thought a review of the Canes unusual surfeit of dmen was worth a closer look over at Red Light District: Carolina has good problem on defense I’m here to tell you, Pitkanen is not going anywhere. Yes, there is unprecedented depth among the D in Raleigh, but from GM Jim Rutherford’s perspective, for the foreseeable future, Pitkanen’s a keeper.
Southeast division stories
Coach cheering no longer - Winnipeg Free Press It wasn't too long ago - just over a week, more or less - when the biggest Winnipeg Jets cheerleader might have been the veteran hockey man stationed behind the bench. ★★★
Video: Witness the lightning glory of the Tampa Tesla coil - Sean Leahy, Puck Daddy But the coolest and most highly anticipated new addition to the Forum will be the two Tesla coils being hung that will shoot lightning bolts 20 feet each time the team scores. That's video of them being tested out. ★★★★
- Charlotte Checkers 2011-12 season preview - Cory Lavalette, Hockey's Future A look at the AHL prospects, top to bottom, courtesy of Jeff Daniels and Cory Lavalette ★★★★★
- Checkers sweep weekend series - Paul Branecky, gocheckers.com Recap and links to video highlights, postgame interviews and photo gallery. ★★★★
- Hurricanes recall Brett Sutter - Paul Branecky, gocheckers.com Sutter’s grinding style is an ideal fit for the Hurricanes’ current need. ★★★★
- TheAHL.com | Top scorers Jon Matsumoto's 9 points in 4 games is top in the AHL.
Related: Checkers' owner Michael Kahn is investing in the Hurricanes
This was last week: Karmanos: Local investors understand Canes' value - WRALSportsFan.com Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. said his search for local investment partners for his team has been a success so far because leaders in the Triangle understand the value of the team. Karmanos said Friday that he has secured about $36.5 million in commitments and pledges and said he is looking for about $10 million more.
Murphy helps push Rangers past Attack - The Waterloo Record - It has been a hectic few days for the rearguard. Hurricanes' management told him he was cut after the team's 3-2 win against Boston Wednesday night. ★★★★★
"I was living the dream," said Ryan Murphy, who was roommates with fellow rookie defenceman Justin Faulk, who is still with the club.
"The lifestyle is so different. It was nice restaurants every night. You leave the rink and guys are going to see their kids ... and I'm going to see my parents."
Plymouth Whalers’ hair-raising effort to fight breast cancer - Puck Daddy in which Austin Levi is giving it 110%: You've really not seen a hockey fight until you've seen a guy with a breast cancer ribbon on his head in a hockey fight. ★★★★
Boston College 5, New Hampshire 4 - NCAA.com Junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin, who finished the contest with a game-high plus-four rating, opened the scoring on his first goal of the season just 1:30 into the contest.
Mark Alt convinces fans, father, of his blue line prowess - Jess Myers, 1500 ESPN ★★★★
"There were plenty of dinner table talks and convincing going on to get him to sign over the NCAA papers and hop on the support train," Mark Alt said. "But he knew that he needed to let me do what was best for me. He knew I had skill in hockey and had a promising future here, so he was good about it in the end, but there was definitely some convincing going on."
A Habs blogger asked Cory and I what they should make of their $4.5million/year third line winger. Erik Cole: Should We Worry? | HabsHQ
Vokoun laments Lokomotiv crash, loss of Vasicek - Washington Times Capital's goaltender Tomas Vokoun still looks at Skype on his computer and sees Josef Vasicek’s name — knowing he’ll never get the chance to talk to his friend again. He texts Vasicek’s fiancee, Michaela Jajtnerova, just hoping she’ll be able to recover after the tragic Lokomotiv Yaroslav plane crash on Sept. 7. ★★★★★
From the Puckwebz
With the frequent observation that Cam Ward's numbers (and reputation) are tarnished by the Canes porous defense, this statician takes Save % to the next level: There's No Defense for a Bad Goalie - WSJ.com Save percentage has long been considered the best way to evaluate NHL goaltenders, despite an obvious flaw: It does not account for the difficulty of shots the goalie faces, which is dictated largely by the defense playing in front of him. ★★★★
The 10-game rule and 30 Thoughts | Elliote Friedman, CBC Sports So, that's something to keep an eye on. If your team is two wins out of the playoffs at the beginning of November, the three-point games give it a seven per cent chance of recovery. ★★★★★
We've been discussing whether the Hurricanes are doing a good job developing our draft picks. Apparently this is a concern elsewhere, so this story from Boston compares all 30 teams: Stay-at-home players are a vanishing breed - The Boston Globe Build through the draft, right? Not in today’s 30-team NHL, especially not in the new NHL’s era as defined by the CBA that was crafted out of the 2004-05 lockout. ★★★★
Tailgating in paradise
Carolina Hurricane Tailgates Lead to Food, Drinks, Marriage - Naoko Funayama - NESN.com Fans in the colder parts of the country aren't very familiar with the idea of tailgating before hockey games, but the practice is alive and well down in Raleigh, N.C. NESN's Naoko Funayama took to the parking lots outside the RBC Center prior to Wednesday's Bruins-Hurricanes game, and she found tales of food, drinks and even love. ★★★★