The Carolina Hurricanes have an extra day between games following last night's disappointing 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Tomorrow the team gets set for a 5-in-8 stretch against five more Eastern teams, four of whom are currently above them in the Conference standings. Specifically:
|Opponent (current W-L-T)
Seems like we'll know a lot more about the Hurricanes 2011-12 season as we watch the story unfold over the next 10 days. Stay tuned.
What's in the works after last night's loss made it 3 in a row:
Another day and line changes on the way - Chip Alexander, Canes Now "We could go back to the way we were when we were winning hockey games," Maurice said. "Before (Jokinen's) injury we were playing well. So that would be my first inclination. My second is more drastic but I think I will hold on to that one." ★★★★★
Twitter / @KyleHanlin: Six @nhl_canes players (13,22,27,33,36,37) hit the ice Wed at beautiful Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers. Photo link. More about the unusual setting where they will practice again Thursday: Sky Rink Facilities - Chelsea Piers
This afternoon was a team-bonding tour of the World Trade Center construction in lower Manhattan. NHL.com writer Cory Masisak was providing a live tweet photo journal of the scene. Sample: Jeff Skinner signing one of the
steal beams steel columns on the 77th floor of 1 WTC. Photo link. For all his photos, click here. ★★★★
Mailbag responses at ESPN.com: Rant answers - Pierre LeBrun, Cross Checks Blog - ESPN "my sources indicate your GM is trying to help your team as we speak. The Hurricanes have been chatting up the trade phone lines. I think Jim Rutherford is trying to get something done. I think Paul Maurice is OK for now, but that leash won’t last all season long if the Hurricanes continue to struggle."
Recaps of last night's loss - none of which could be described as Sunny or Cheery
Devils snap Canes for third straight loss - NewsObserver.com Sometimes, a close loss is tougher to handle, accept and digest than a blowout loss. The Canes did a number of things right against the New Jersey Devils. But not enough to win.
Hurricanes 3-2 loss to Devils chips away at confidence - Raleigh Sports | Examiner.com The loss, the Hurricanes’ third in a row, now leaves the players, coaching staff, management, and fan base all looking to one another for some reassurance that it will get better
Canes' losing streak at three after late Devils goal | Chris Vitello, Indyweek.com In the "What's Wrong With Eric Staal?" department, the captain had another good but pointless game. One draw shy of even in the circle, he put four shots on Brodeur and backchecked well all night. But the chemistry that Maurice was hoping to see by putting Skinner on Staal's wing just hasn't happened. And Staal hasn't made himself available to the media after any of these losses—an odd sign of leadership.
What's eating Eric Staal?
Did You Know? Eric Staal could make plus-minus history | ProHockeyTalk Carolina's captain is minus-16 through 14 games. But he's got a long way to go to set the record.
NHL.com's Dan Rosen led off with a post about 40 minutes after the Hurricanes landed in Newark Monday. Seems the stream of stories on the theme of "Eric Feels Badly about Concussing Marc" isn't wearing thin in the Big Apple.
- Hurricanes’ Staal Reflects on Check That Injured Brother - NYTimes.com Carolina’s captain is off to a poor start, but he says it is unrelated to the hit that gave his brother Marc a concussion.
- Eric Staal unsure of what to expect Fri vs. Rangers - Katie Strang, ESPN New York Eric Staal is unsure of what to expect Friday when he bring his struggling Hurricanes club to play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It will be the first time the 27-year-old captain faces the team since his devastating hit on younger brother Marc resulted in a concussion last February.
- Maurice: No explanation for Staal's struggles - Mike Morreale, NHL.com Said Maurice: "Eric doesn't play a perimeter game and he pushed his offensive game to places he had a hard time recovering from early on this season … but he hasn't done that the last five or six games." ★★★★
From the Fantasy Stats perspective....Don’t Worry Too Much About Eric Staal | DailyFaceoff.com Now the million dollar question is what can we expect from Staal for the rest of the season? First of all, his respectable Corsi Rating and the unsustainable shooting and save percentage numbers tell me that Staal is not going to finish the season with a -82 rating (surprise!). His true talent level is more in the -5 to -10 range over 82 games. ★★★
Ryan Murphy updates
There are plenty of stories up there, even in the Czech Republic, but few with details of how Ryan Murphy himself is recovering. Here are a few posts, in reverse chronological order, following the game Saturday in which the Canes' 1st round pick was leveled with a high hit behind the net in an OHL game:
IceDog suspended 20 games for hit on Rangers’ Ryan Murphy - Waterloo Record Murphy’s return is up in the air. "We don’t know how he’s going to respond," said Spott. "There is no pattern for these types of injuries." ★★★★★
Raising the Bar (on the 20 game suspension) - Damien Cox. Toronto Star His agent, Ian Pulver, said Murphy is improving slowly.
OHL.com: Tom Kuhnhackl - Nov 8 Disciplinary Action including a low budget version of a shanaban video explaining the rationale behind the suspension.
Young star lost to violent head shot; are the players listening? - Damien Cox, thestar.com Kitchener’s Ryan Murphy concussed, son of famed German star facing long suspension. ★★★★★
If you missed it, the replay of what happened: Ryan Murphy gets elbowed by Tom Khunackl
Boudreau vs Maurice
After similar and embarrassing losses at home to the Dallas Stars, which for both teams seemed to be culminations of poor stretch of games with a losing records, the coaches of Carolina and the Washington Capitals took decidedly different approaches.
Paul Maurice had a closed door meeting Monday, which by all accounts was blunt and vocal. With a somewhat better effort in the next game (depending on who you ask about last night), the coach didn't require the team skate today in New York, on a day that was originally scheduled to be a day off.
Up in Washington, Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau played the part of "the heavy", with a grueling bagskate as described here: A day after looking like 'a bunch of clowns,' Capitals pay price at practice - Sporting News On Wednesday, all 22 Capitals, including Knuble and goalie Tomas Vokoun, who didn't start against, took bag skates at the practice. The Caps have lost four of six after starting the season with seven wins and against Dallas, according to Knuble, looked particularly bad.
Very different ways of trying to bring some fire to their struggling teams, eh? Knowing what we do about these two coaches and these two rosters, my question is: Do you think an unscheduled bagskate would have been appropriate for the Hurricanes today? Why or Why not?
As Kyle Hanlin tweeted this morning, a few players (13,22,27,33,36,37) did participate in an impromptu skate today. Here's #37 Tim Brent teasing those who didn't attend: Twitter / @Brenter37:
More Coaching options
No denying this is at the very top of the list for a lot of Carolina hockey fans.
Who will be the next NHL coach fired (after Scott Arniel)? - Puck Daddy Hey, remember how the Blues fired Davis Payne right when they had a long stretch of games at home coming up in order to get some momentum? Beginning Saturday, the Hurricanes play nine of their next 12 games at home. Just sayin'. ★★★★
If Scott Arniel is done, now who will Columbus look to hire? | ProHockeyTalk Now that Columbus won't be able to hire Ken Hitchcock if they let go of Scott Arniel, who's on their short list now? Don't worry, we came up with our own. ★★★★
Checkers Coach Jeff Daniels was on Charlotte sports talk radio yesterday afternoon talking hockey. Audio link from 730 ESPN [10 minutes] ★★★★
Samson doing what he does best - Paul Branecky, gocheckers.com As an undrafted player, he doesn’t have the same pedigree of some of the Checkers’ other forwards, but there are none that can match his level of production.... That has Jerome Samson at a near loss for words as to why he hasn’t gotten more of a chance at the next level, his frustration clear. ★★★★★
AHL Suspends Terry for Two Games - gocheckers.com - including this link at YouTube showing the collision on the Griffins' goalie that got Chris Terry suspended. The homer commentary on the video is a bit much.
Wow! Special $11 tickets Friday 11-11-11 only comes around once every 100 years, and as such, we'll be offering special $11 tickets for November and December games all day Friday.
Around the rinks
Whispers that Sidney Crosby may return to action Friday, meaning he'd be here in Raleigh Saturday. Great read on what comes next: Grange on Crosby: Tentative approach - sportsnet.ca "I don't think anyone wants to see him out of the league again for that long," said Brenden Morrow, among the league leaders in hits this season, setting the tone for a surprising Dallas Stars team that takes the body at every turn. "I think I'm still going to finish the check, but it may not have quite as much behind it." ★★★★★
Try Hockey For Free Day Attracts More Than 11,000 Youths | The United States of Hockey Down in Greenville, N.C., 128 kids showed up to try hockey. Just last season, Greenville’s local youth hockey organization had just 31 registered players under the age of eight. This event has the potential to significantly grow the youngest levels of youth hockey in that area. ★★★★
Segues nicely to this hockeymom special on the Caps' Mike Knuble, hockey dad: Capitals winger Mike Knuble ‘the typical rink rat dad’ - The Washington Post For father of three and 15-year NHL veteran Mike Knuble, hockey is both a job and a lifestyle. ★★★★★