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Clicks and Clippings: Onward and Upward

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Tuomo Ruutu battles effectively for position along the boards Wednesday night vs the Atlanta Thrashers (photo by LTD)

After it all sorted out last night, the Carolina Hurricanes still sit at 9th in the Eastern Conference, or maybe tied for 8th if you're not picky about tie-breakers. All we fans can hope for is that as they go onward, they will also go upward. Here's a look at what they're saying in these parts as the Canes get ready to take on the Capitals in Washington Friday night.

Local Links


BREAKINGCarolina Hurricanes Recall Drayson Bowman - Canes Country The Carolina Hurricanes announced this afternoon that they have recalled forward Drayson Bowman from the Charlotte Checkers. 


Canes Aim to Start How They Finished - Paul Branecky, Tracking the Storm Blog Pleased with how his team finished its 3-2 overtime loss to Atlanta, Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice will retain adjustments that helped them get there

Canes Now - Trendy Canes looking for points Defenseman Jay Harrison was among the players who said fighting back from a 2-0 hole against Atlanta and gaining one point against the Thrashers wasn't enough. "We're going into Washington and we need to have our best game," he said. "We need those points, no matter where they come from — home, road, teams above us, teams below us. It doesn't matter this time of year. It's got to be wins."

Canes Now - Bodie finally rewarded with first Canes goal Maybe it was surrendering his long locks for a good cause. Maybe it was simply because of his hustle and determination. Or the extra shooting work put in before practice. Or maybe it was simply that he was overdue.

Paying the Price Early deficit haunts Canes in OT loss - For the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Atlanta Thrashers – worth one point in the standings – was unfortunately what they deserved.


After the jump, a cornucopia of links and headlines including the audio from Joe Corvo from his Canes Corner, a must-read email from Jeff Skinner written last November to his Juniors' coach in Kitchener, scanning the club's NCAA D-prospects, and the nature of hockey in places where the ponds will never freeze. (And nary a word on Chara/Pacioretty - you're on your own there.)

Audio you need to hear


There is no one who is more the straight talker among the Canes than this guy. Joe Corvo on Canes Corner with Mike Maniscalco from February 24th (with many thanks to CC regular Raccoon Fink for uploading for us). Teaser quote, referencing Jeff Skinner; "There's a lot about this generation that we don't know."

Carolina Hurricanes Official Podcast 03/09/2011 The Canes' own insiders Paul Branecky and Kyle Hanlin once again do an outstanding  job as they tackle fan questions and topics like the role of newcomer Derek Joslin and others on the Defense, lineup choices, the playoff race and goaltender assignments.


Looking to Friday's game in Washington


You may have seen that I've been dabbling a bit over at a league-wide hockey blog called Red Light District, led by Ryan Porth out of Nashville. Today I was asked to look at the suddenly resurgent Washington Capitals. My thoughts for your perusal are here:  "im back!!!!" : Have Ovechkin and the Caps figured it out? The team's stunning collapse in the 7-game series against the 8th seed Montreal Canadiens in the first round of 2010 turned out to be the coup de grace of the run-and-gun.

This piece takes a hard look at the strained relationship between the Caps fanbase and the team's owner, Ted Leonsis. Capitals' Entitlement Town: D.C. Hockey Fans Feel They're Owed a Stanley Cup - Washington City Paper Wyshynski does, however, see a potential danger in Leonsis' optimistic soothsaying: If the Caps don't bring home some hardware soon, serious resentment will set in.

How a new cell phone changes everything: D.C. Sports Bog - How Alex Ovechkin got back on Twitter 


The Stretch Run


Former pro player and current hockey blogger Justin Bourne had a great piece on what it's like to be in the room this time of year: Coaches and players finding their rhythm down the stretch -

Every good hockey team reaches a point in the season where the learning, teaching, and coaching comes to a grinding halt, and expectations skate to the forefront. Welcome to that point in the season, unofficially sponsored by the coaches' slogan: "You should know this by now."


The playoff push: 90+ points or bust - The Globe and Mail Jame Mirtle calculates the projected record NHL teams need to have in order to make the postseason

The most oft-cited source, chock full of geeky charts and colorful graphs is still lives here: Eastern Conference Playoff Chances - Sports Club Stats 


Calder Conversations


MUST READThe Kid is Alright - Cassie Campbell-Pascall, But the most impressive thing I found out this week about Jeff Skinner is that he appreciates where he came from and who helped him get there. In November 2010 he sent a note to the Kitchener Rangers organization that eventually was read to the players prior to a game. The e-mail shows Skinner's passion for that organization, but more importantly shows that he is mature beyond his years.

Cory Lavalette presents the Pros and Cons in Why These 5 Rookies Should (And Shouldn't) Win The Calder Trophy - The NHL's top rookies do many things well, and some not so well. A look at the five top Calder candidates.

What is Skinner thinking? Calder Trophy could go to Cane's Skinner - "You can't really get away from it," Skinner said Monday. "I'm not going to go looking for it, though. It's not hard to put out of your mind when every day you come to the rink and it's a big game. To be in the hunt, to be in the playoff mix, that's what you're really want.

A whole different take: The Fourth Period :: Michael Grossi, The Real Rookie of the Year Even though the first-year pro has been a rock on the St. Louis Blues' defense, giving them the opportunity to ship former first-overall pick Erik Johnson to Colorado, [Alex Pietrangelo] will not win the Calder this year. The reason? A strange rule that determined that Pietrangelo isn't, in fact, a rookie. 



The Checkers and other prospects in the news


This just out: OHL Network Eastern Conference Coaches Poll where Justin Shugg finishes in the top three for "Best Playmaker" and "Best Shot".

You remember when Jim Rutherford told Mike Maniscalco last week that he hopes to sign one or two NCAA defensemen to join the Charlotte Checkers this month? This would match the timing we saw with Zac Dalpe (Ohio State) a year ago, and Jamie McBain (Wisconsin) the year prior. Here's one name that might be in the pipeline sooner than later.

Danny Biega

The Hockey News: The Hot List In our weekly list of players we can't wait to see in the NHL one day including Danny Biega, D - Harvard Crimson (ECAC) The Crimson swept Clarkson to earn a playoff date with No. 3 Dartmouth and Biega was an integral part of the attack. The sophomore has been a bright spot on an otherwise unremarkable team, leading Harvard in scoring with 17 assists and 28 points in 31 games

Over at U.S. College Hockey Online you can see more on Biega's numbers including chipping in 3 game winning goals, 5 of his 11 tallies coming on the powerplay.

Harvard's upset of Boston University in the Beanpot seems to be the catalyst for Biega finding his name in the spotlight. Here's another lengthy quote from his coach and biggest fan, Ted Donato, in this piece titled, As playoffs dawn, Harvard may be finally finding its stride ::

 A front-runner for ECAC Hockey’s defenseman of the year award (even if they call it the "defensive" defenseman of the year), Donato has even higher hopes for the third Biega through his system. "To be honest with you, who knows how it’ll play out, but … you could make a case that [Danny Biega] is the player of the year. If you look at the conference stats — which is really the only measuring stick, since we play less games than Union or RPI — first of all, I’m not sure when the last time was that a defenseman led his team in scoring. He was one of the league leaders in game-winning goals … he was probably [involved in] about 45 percent of our team scoring this season

. "From a points-per-game [standpoint], the percentage of the team’s offense, leading the team in scoring, the number of goals, the number of points, the number of game-winning goals, you can make a case that he could be player of the year. I understand that when your team finishes lower, you definitely get the short end of the stick, but to me, he absolutely should be the defenseman of the year. I don’t want to slight anybody else by that, but we certainly feel that way."


Plus here's a couple other NCAA defensmen to keep an eye on:

From University of Minnesota at Duluth,  Justin Faulk :: U.S. College Hockey Online 32 games 7 G, 17 A, 24 pts. 39 PIM. 

Boston College : 2010-2011:: U.S. College Hockey Online This page lists the entire roster of the defending NCAA Champions. You'll see where Brian Dumoulin finished the regular season 3rd on the team for scoring (highest among D and among all sophomores) with 2 G, 26 A, 28 pts, only 6 PIM. 




Babchuk a hit with Flames - Calgary Herald Over the last couple months . . . Anton Babchuk's responsibilities defensively have certainly improved," says Flames coach Brent Sutter. "It’s allowed him to have the puck more. He is one of the those guys who wants the puck on his stick, especially along the offensive blue-line. And he’s been a very dependable guy for us defensively. Babs has worked extremely hard."

No White House Visit for Ladd and Buff | Blueland Blog    Andrew Ladd, who won the Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 as a rookie, has made the visit to the White House before and says it was a great experience to meet the President (it was George W. Bush when he was there).    


Non-traditional Hockey markets


Another Hockeymom special from Tuesday: Red Light District: Wishful thinking The NHL's marketing gurus are at it again, priming the pump for the emotions of hockey fans to spill out (shamelessly) as we anticipate the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The situation in Phoenix with their Coyotes has gotten way more complicated than it needs to be. Here's a report from the fans at Ground Zero. No, This Situation Is Nothing Like Winnipeg, Quebec or Hartford - Five For Howling Thanks to the internet anyone can denigrate fans of other teams with ease and without real consequence. 


The arm of USA Hockey responsible for finding the best teen talent in the States and putting them all together in one place for the highest level of training is the National Development and Training Program,  based in Ann Arbor, MI. Yesterday, they announced the list of 45 invitees from those born in 1995. Thirteen states were represented including Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. For the first time there was a native of North Carolina on the list. NTDP Tryout Camp Roster Announced | The United States of Hockey

Another prospect that really intrigues me heading into this camp is defenseman Charlie Pelnik of Cary, N.C. Pelnik is born and trained in North Carolina and has already verbally committed to the University of North Dakota, which has produced its fair share of elite defensemen. Pelnik stands in at around 6-foot-4 and the interest he drew from several top colleges would lead one to believe he’s got the goods to make it at the NTDP. It should be interesting to see how the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes product stacks up against the nation’s elite talent.


which segues nicely to ....

Hockey in the Community


What to look forward to at the 2011 Carolina Hurricanes Casino Night and Wine Tasting this Sunday evening at Community: Casino Night - via the Carolina Hurricanes  Many enticing items that will be up for bid this weekend are listed in this post. For some reason one item jumped off the page for this mother of 3.

"maybe you’d prefer 2 hours of unlimited go-karting, putt-putt and laser tag with Brandon Sutter and Jeff Skinner."

Here's a similar item that was auctioned off earlier this year . "VIDEO : Finns and Pins"  (Disclosure: High Ruuuu Quotient)

We also have video of how the USO effort the Canes are supporting this week with the BOGO ticket offer played out with Tim Gleason taking the lead Monday at RDU. 


Don't miss this effort to raise Breast Cancer awareness and funds for research presented by the Charlotte Checkers. Pink in the Rink, a special game with unique jerseys will be held this weekend, on Saturday night. (DVR alert: The game will be televised for TWC customers on Channel 520 in the Raleigh/Durham region and Channel 519 in other regions of the state)

Big Buck$: NHL All-Star Weekend Generates $11.4 Million in Direct Visitor Spending and $49 Million in Media Value - News  The 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend, Jan. 28 – Jan. 30, 2011, generated an estimated $11.4million in direct visitor spending for Raleigh and Wake County 

Who doesn't like a Price Freeze? Canes freeze prices for season-ticket holders - The Carolina Hurricanes announced Tuesday that season-ticket pricing for the 2011-12 season at the RBC Center will remain unchanged.

Check out the story of a great hockey event that's been happening for years here in Raleigh, yet was entirely new to me. Hard Hits feature: Windsor police - Canadian Club These Windsor cops visit Raleigh annuallyfor Hurricanes hospitality at RBC Center By David Droschak



If you're a fan of flow charts, this one was as convoluted and funny as I've seen in a while. Originally linked in Puck Daddy, sort your way through the  NHL Fan Flow Chart. (Click on image to see at full-size)