The dust is still settling after the surprise (and safe-to-say universally welcome) news that Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford had made a trade this morning, sending Tomas Kaberle to the Canadiens in exchange for Jaroslav Spacek. It was a gameday trade for both clubs and both 30-something defensemen were seen hurrying to the airports to join up with their new clubs, both of which play road games tonight.
The Hurricanes are in Winnipeg, for their third appearance at the MTS Centre (including a preseason match) since the Atlanta club relocated to Manitoba during the off-season. The Jets are looking for their fourth win in a a row, having stunned the defending Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins, with a 2-1 win on Tuesday. It was the B's first regulation loss since late October.
The Canes have yet to earn a win over the Jets this season, with the last meeting back in Raleigh, November 25, that you will recall was a regrettable effort on the part of Paul Maurice's team. Maurice was let go two days later. Carolina also lost when they played the Jets in Winnipeg in October. The Jets backup goalie Chris Mason got the win in both of those, and he will again be the starter tonight.
Cam Ward will be net for Coach Kirk Muller, while Mike Murphy remains with the team and will be manning the gate.
After the jump, the lines, video and a few stories from the North Woods.
Carolina updates and game news
Carolina's morning skate ran LONG and broke into a lot of smaller groups. Lots of teaching going on with the Canes this morning. Definitely not a leisurely skate. Muller was very actively involved, too
Chip Alexander confirmed that Pitkanen was not playing tonight, nor will he be in Toronto Tuesday . He has returned to Raleigh following an unspecified UBI suffered during the Calgary game.
We also heard that Brian Boucher will be out a couple weeks with a lower body issue. Chip added the following on twitter: "Murphy will stay with Canes as backup although could flip with Justin Peters, Rutherford said."
- Patrick Williams had two stories from Winnipeg this afternoon. This first previews the team about the game (and just disregard those lines): Canes coming off big win, trade
- Then this second post, focusing on the trade with quotes from Muller and many of the players: Kaberle-for-Spacek deal latest change in Carolina - Patrick Williams, NHL.com
Jets wary of new-look Hurricanes - The Globe and Mail [Muller] added that, “I took this position because I thought it was a great opportunity. Anytime you can start with a team that has great goaltending and you’ve got a leader like Staal, young players like Skinner and Sutter, I think you are off on the right track.”
The Kaberle Trade - David Droschak, HurricanesBeat.com In quick order, the Corvo-for-Kaberle decision turned into a colossal disaster, both financially and on the ice, where Kaberle’s indifferent play and seemingly cavalier attitude toward careless turnovers became a major drag on the defensive unit and the team’s overall play.
- If you're looking for milestones, trivia, statistics and streaks, you can page through the Game Notes from CanesPR.com (40 page .pdf)
Finally, here's video from Winnipeg, courtesy of the Jets official page, talking to Muller, Staal and Skinner after practice:
We haven't seen any confirmation of the lines for tonight, but let's assume that the win Wednesday means Muller will maintain the status quo, or:
The Jets (12-11-4) sit at 12th in the Eastern Conference, but only 2 points out of a playoff spot. They head out after tonight's game for the second half of a back-to-back vs the Red Wings in Detroit Saturday night
Evander Kane has been setting the pace with 14 goals and 21 points in 27 games so far. Kyle Wellwood and Bryan Little are also contributing. On the back end, rover Dustin Byfuglien leads among the defensive corps with 5 goals, and 18 points.
Centerman Nik Antropov is expected to return after missing 3 games.
According to Williams, look for these lines and pairings from Coach Claude Noel:
- Our SBN affiliate over at Arctic Ice Hockey has this Game Preview: Hurricanes visit the Hangar
- Evander Kane success is making headlines lately: Kane has contract on mind- Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
- Jets know they can't overlook Hurricanes - At the Rink blog "We're certainly going to be aware of Carolina," Noel said. "I'm not taking them lightly, especially after the [Tomas Kaberle-Jaroslav Spacek] deal they made today. That will get the attention of the players."
- Somehow, we overlooked the budding Alex Burmistrov-Patrik Elias feud | ProHockeyTalk Cagey vet doesn't care for youngster's yappy ways.
Planning your Evening
The game is set for 8:30pm ET and will be aired as usual on TV by FSCarolinas with the radio broadcast at 99.9FM. We'll have the Canes Country gamethread open for business around 8pm