Red and Black Hockey
I started writing the Red and Black Hockey blog back in July 17 2005. It started out over on the blogspot platform, spawned out of another blog that I had created to write about music and movies and things like that. More than six years have passed, and while there have been a lot of good times, I’ve reached the end of the line. I no longer have the time or emotional energy to devote to keeping this blog going.
When I started out, I thought it would be nothing more than an outlet for me to spew my thoughts. I didn’t expect anyone to read the dang thing. To my surprise, things sort of took off. I was writing every day, a few times a day. Not just about the Hurricanes, but about the NHL in general. People were reading, and in what was then a small community of hockey bloggers, I was holding my own. And then some. The thing grew pretty quickly, and I was having a great time. More than six years later, I’ve lost the passion for blogging.
Here’s how I got to this decision:
On Friday night, the Hurricanes beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in the home opener at First Niagara Center. They were poorly disciplined, but the special teams stood tall. They got shorthanded goals from alternate captain Brandon Sutter and newcomer Tim Brent. Defenseman Jay Harrison also scored a goal that was technically even strength, but it happened just as a penalty to Tyler Myers was elapsing. Initially it was declared a power play goal, but after a while, the ruling was changed and it was deemed even strength. Jeff Skinner added a power play goal late in the third.
Carolina had several excellent short-handed scoring chances in the game. In addition to the two shorthanded goals, Sutter hit a post, Eric Staal was stopped on a breakaway, and Ryan Miller made a couple of really good saves to keep his team in the game, even when they had a manpower advantage.
On Thursday, the Hurricanes decided to return defenseman Ryan Murphy to the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. The 2011 first round draft selection survived the final round of roster cuts, and was a healthy scratch in all four Hurricanes games so far.
Because Murphy is just 18 years old, and non-European, and did not play collegiate hockey, he isn’t eligible to play at the American League level, so Charlotte wasn’t an option. Because he played in less than ten games (he didn’t play in any games), he can be returned to Kitchener and the meter doesn’t start running on his professional contract until next season.
Carolina is now down to a roster of 22, which is where they usually are. I don’t think they’re done adjusting the roster, though. At least I hope not.
On Wednesday, the Hurricanes finally got their first win of the season with a 3-2 regulation win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. The Hurricanes got goals from Joni Pitkänen, Anthony Stewart and Jiri Tlusty, while the visitors got markers from Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin.
The Hurricanes converted one of four power play chances, while shutting down the Bruins power play. To be fair, Boston has struggled mightily in that department, but it was still a great night for the special teams.
Defenseman Jamie McBain made his season debut, while rookie Justin Faulk was one of three healthy scratches on the night.
Carolina is now 1-2-1 on the young season. They’ll start a four-game road trip on Friday in Buffalo.
On Saturday, the Hurricanes had a much better showing than they did on Friday. Against the defending Southeast Division champion Capitals, they forced overtime to earn a standings point.
For the second game in as many days, the Hurricanes scored the first goal, but couldn’t put one in the “win” column. For the second game in as many days, Jussi Jokinen took a penalty that ended up being really costly. Apart from that, it was a very different game from the one against the Lightning.
The Hurricanes made some personnel changes on the bench and on the ice over the summer. There are a lot of new guys, but the result of the opening night game was pretty much the same as a lot of games from the last two seasons. They worked hard and looked great in the first period. They lost the edge in the second, and then they just got outworked in the third. Penalties, poor special teams play and lack of focus all added up, and the sum was a 5-1 loss at the hands of Tampa.
Jeff Skinner scored the Canes’ only goal at 8:07 of the first and was really the best thing the Canes had. He and defenseman Joni Pitkanen were good. Justin Faulk was good. Everyone else was either invisible or was noticed for the wrong reasons.
After Martin St. Louis tied the game early in the second, the Canes still had plenty of chances to pull ahead in the middle frame. Late in the period, when it looked like it would be a great game, the wheels fell off for Carolina.
The Hurricanes have announced the opening night roster for tomorrow’s home tilt against the Bolts. There’s a bit of intrigue to it. Ryan Murphy, the highly touted 2011 first round draft pick, survived the final round of cuts and was kept on the roster. Strangely, he’ll be a healthy scratch for opening night. The expectation was that he would play in the first nine games, then get sent back to the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL as if nothing had happened. If he plays fewer than 10 games, his newly signed contract will roll over until next season.
My money was on forward Riley Nash to survive the final cut and make his NHL debut this week. That’s going to have to wait. Frankly, I’m at a loss as to why the Hurricanes would keep Murphy around just so they could scratch him.
On Wednesday, Jim Rutherford announced that the Carolina Hurricanes were returning forward Riley Nash to Charlotte of the American League. This, frankly, came as a bit of a surprise. For now, it means that Carolina is done with their roster cuts. They have gotten down to the league mandated 23 players. I still think there will be one more cut, but time will tell.
When Nash survived the last round of cuts and he and two defensemen were among the last men standing, I assumed that he would survive. It only makes sense to have 13 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies. Nash had impressed a lot of people in camp and it looked like he was headed for the opening night roster. Ultimately, Nash will play some games with the big team, and I was really hoping that he would be there on Friday, but the Canes top brass have other plans. Those plans include defensemen Ryan Murphy and Justin Faulk.
Due to the overwhelming response to my plea for more managers to fill a league, I’ve opened up a second league. I have a few invitations already out, but anyone who is interested in joining a league at the last minute, now’s your chance.
Yahoo league # 77593. Password: stanleycup Draft is set for Wednesday October 5 at 6:30pm eastern.
Same as the other one. It’s on Yahoo. It’s a weekly roster. 12 teams, 16 players per team. Head-to-head. One “win” per stat category per week in the following: G, A, +/-, SOG, FOW, PIM, PPP, SHP. Goalie stats: W, SO, SV%, GAA.
WEEKLY roster. If enough people are interested in “making it interesting”, we might have a little bit of money (and a prize) involved, that’ll be taken into consideration.
Jump in now, and invite your friends if you want.
I’m looking for a few more fantasy hockey managers to round out a 12-team fantasy hockey league. I run a weekly league with pretty basic settings. 2 players each at C, LW, RW, D, G, plus 2 “utility” players and 4 bench positions. A total roster of 16 players.
The draft for this league is scheduled for Wednesday October 5 at 8:30pm eastern. This is a WEEKLY roster league, and it doesn’t cost a dime.
If you’re interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you an invite.
About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.