Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 09/19/09 at 11:35 AM ET
On Friday night, in front of a sparse crowd, the Hurricanes lost their preseason opener 4-2 to the Nashville Predators. While some of the stars sat this one out, Eric Staal, Erik Cole, Tuomo Ruutu, Ray Whitney and Cam Ward were among the Canes regulars who suited up for the exhibition. All reports indicate that some of these guys were in season form while some of the younger guys were definitely not.
Erik Cole scored the first goal of the game on the power play late in the first period. The Canes had a woeful time on the power play, converting only one of seven opportunities.
The Preds score three unanswered goals to open up a 3-1 lead, but Eric Staal banged in a rebound to make it a one goal game.
The Preds added an empty net goal to account for the final score of 4-2.
I didn’t go to the game and it wasn’t televised. I listened on the radio, and it surely sounded like Eric Staal was in game shape. Tuomo Ruutu’s name was called a lot, even if he didn’t make his way onto the scoresheet. It sounds like the two of them are more than ready to go.
Unfortunately, it sounds like Zach Boychuk and Brandon Sutter are nowhere near ready to go. Boychuk committed a bad turnover leading directly to a Preds goal. In seasons past, these guys would be sort of expected to contribute in Raleigh, but the Canes are deep enough now that they won’t be needed. They will both be returned to Albany by the end of camp.
There are some people who say you don’t learn anything in the preseason games. In this case (after one game, anyway), the lesson is that Boychuk and Sutter aren’t ready. They both played NHL games last season. Sutter, out of necessity, played 50 games. We’ll all agree that he wasn’t, and still isn’t ready to make that jump. If it makes him feel any better, Patrick Eaves wasn’t ready either. As I said, though, Carolina has been plagued with a lack of depth over the past six or seven seasons.
Carolina’s split squad will take on Atlanta on Sunday.
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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.