Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/04/10 at 06:04 PM ET
On Monday, the Hurricanes played their final preseason game, an exhibition against SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. The Russian team won 5-3 in a game that has been described as “chippy”, “dirty” and “a joke”. For safety reasons, coach Paul Maurice had to bench Canes captain Eric Staal in the third period. Cam Ward was also taken out of the game for precautionary reasons.
There was a series of incidents in the middle stanza where the SKA players were apparently targeting Staal. After a few knee-on-knee occurrences, Tim Gleason took matters into his own hands and pummeled Alexei Petrov. This resulted in ejections for both players. Later in the game, Jay Harrison was also ejected for the same. I didn’t watch the game, but I’ve been told by decidedly biased Canes fans that the officiating was lax and the SKA players were blatantly attempting to injure Carolina’s star players.
It was a game with a lot of promise for cross-league promotion. It could have set the table for games like this to be annual. After this, though, there’s little chance that the Hurricanes or any NHL team will want to schedule this type of exhibition. Too much risk and not enough reward.
The Canes fell behind 2-0 in the first period after a couple of strange deflection goals. The first was off the skate of Jussi Jokinen and the second off the leg of a SKA player.
In the first, with the score 1-0, Jeff Skinner showed some of that razzle-dazzle stuff on a breakaway spin-o-rama. It was a stunning display of skill, even though he didn’t score. In the third, he finally did score, and he was named the Carolina player of the game. Fellow rookie Zac Dalpe also had a great breakaway chance, but he was robbed once by Nabokov and once on the rebound chance by a diving SKA defender.
Tuomo Ruutu got the Canes first goal early in the second on a nice backhand pitchfork as he was being shoved down. Just a couple of minutes later, Pat Dwyer got the equalizer with a rebound tip in from the low slot.
Alexei Yashin scored on a nice and patient play down low after a horrible defensive zone turnover by Jay Harrison.
Skinner got his goal a few minutes later by controlling a pass in his skates, kicking to his stick and shoving it in for the power play marker.
Maxim Sushinski scored twice in the third period to close out the scoring.
Eric Staal was withheld from the third period, Cam Ward had been lifted, Tim Gleason and Jay Harrision ejected. Joe Corvo was out with a minor injury since the first period. By the end of the third, Carolina was down to two defenseman and no captain.
Carolina’s coaching staff was frustrated by the chippyness and the refusal of the officials to control it. They did the right thing by pulling Staal off the ice. The way some Canes fans tell it, the coaches considered pulling the entire team from the ice.
The regular season will get underway Thursday at noon eastern time.
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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.