Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 11/18/10 at 09:00 PM ET
Lately, the Carolina Hurricanes have, on alternate nights, scored seven goals or given up seven goals. On Wednesday night, they were the former. It might have had something to do with a parking space.
While the Canes are in the midst of Rebuild v2.1, the Sens were a team with a lot other than hockey on their mind. Because of the tragic events with the 14-year old daughter of assistant coach Luke Richardson, the team didn’t travel or practice according to schedule this week. They played with heavy hearts and minds elsewhere, but the Hurricanes had a job to do. And they did it quite well.
Behind a terrific five (3/2) point night from captain Eric Staal, the Hurricanes thrashed the Senators 7-1 and will take their show up to the Consol Energy Center on Friday night.
With Anton Babchuk and Tom Kostopoulos traded to Calgary, they were a different team than they’re used to being. The new players—defenseman Ian White and forward prospect Brett Sutter—were traveling, so the Canes had to dress Jiri Tlusty (who would have been a healthy scratch) and they also had to recall Brett Carson from Charlotte. As already planned, Patrick O’Sullivan joined the fourth line. I guess Troy Bodie wasn’t available just yet.
Bodie will play on Friday, and Tlusty probably will too. O’Sullivan might end up back in the press box.
That’s not all that was different, though. Before the game, Hurricanes color commentator Tripp Tracy absentmindedly parked his car in Eric Staal’s normal parking space. This forced the captain to park elsewhere, but wherever he parked…. that should be his new space. He had an epic night, scoring three goals, including his career 200th. He also assisted on two goals for a five point night and was the NHL’s top player of the day.
The Sens weren’t ready to play, and the Hurricanes exploded for four goals in the first 17 minutes of the first period. Of those, Staal had two power play goals, including the eventual game winner. This was enough to end Brian Elliott’s night before the first intermission.
Chad LaRose added two goals for the Hurricanes and Tuomo Ruutu added a late goal to convert the touchdown.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the JET line, but on Wednesday, Carolina’s top line was the star of the show. Eric Staal had five (3/2) points, Sharpie had four (2/2) and Sergei Samsonov had two (0/2). That’s eleven (5/6) points from the top line, and every team in the league will take that any night of the week.
It will now be Carolina’s job to ride the wave and take their mojo to Pittsburgh. Even if they don’t win on Friday, I’d be happy if they just play a good game (read: give up less than seven goals).
And from now on, for home games, Eric Staal should park wherever he parked on Wednesday.
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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.