Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 09/22/10 at 09:16 PM ET
Carolina played its first preseason game last night against the visiting Florida Panthers, and they looked a lot like the early season Canes from last season. It’s only the preseason, so there’s plenty of time to work on things, but in the 4-1 loss, two things stand out.
First, the Hurricanes gave up goals in bunches. That was the theme of the entire season last year, and in the first period on Tuesday night, they gave up three goals in 1:54. When the Canes lost 14 games in a row in October and November, that was the common denominator.
Second, Carolina was 0-5 on the power play. This is completely unacceptable, and is also something that Canes fans remember from the first half of the 09-10 season.
Carolina’s only goal of the game came shorthanded off the stick of Anton Babchuk. The big Ukrainian is back for his third try with the Canes after spending a season with Avangard Omsk of the KHL. He also had three blocked shots in the game and was one of only a few bright spots for Carolina.
The newly signed Jeff Skinner had an uninspiring game. Centering the top line, he had more ice time (17:31) than any forward not named Chad LaRose (17:47). He registered two shots and won five of 20 faceoffs. This is not cause for alarm, though. From what I heard from people who actually saw the game, he looked okay. Nervous maybe, but okay. The numbers will come.
Patrick O’Sullivan was described as “the best player on the ice for Carolina”, which is really encouraging. I didn’t realize until it was too late, but there was a streaming feed from the video scoreboard. I didn’t see the game, and I listened to only half of it, but he got one of the assists on the shorthanded goal. It sounded like it was a pretty nifty pass from the newcomer.
Chad LaRose, Tuomo Ruutu and Tom Kostopoulos were the only full-time Canes in the forwards lineup last night, which gave the coaches a great look at all the young guys. Eric Staal, Jussi Jokinen and Brandon Sutter have nothing to prove to the coaching staff. Erik Cole and Sergei Samsonov were held out with injuries. All five will be in Thursday night’s lineup, as the team prepares for three games in three nights with travel each night. The coaches have said that it isn’t likely that anybody will play in all three of the back-to-back-to-back situation.
To make room for the veterans, LaRose, Skinner, Jon Matsumoto, Zach Boychuk and Jerome Samson will be sitting this one out.
On the defense, Tim Gleason, Bobby Sanguinetti, Babchuk and Casey Borer will sit out while Brett Carson, Joe Corvo, Joni Pitkanen and Bryan Rodney suit up.
Cam Ward will sit while Justin Peters plays. Justin Pogge will remain in the lineup, but will probably sit on Friday night.
With Staal and Sutter in the lineup Thursday at Nashville, we should expect for the faceoff winning percentage to be a little better for the Canes. On Tuesday night, it was 38% We should also expect the power play to be better.
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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.