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Red and Black Hockey

Canes finish February on fire

On Saturday, the Hurricanes defeated the Devils 5-2 to complete a sizzling hot month of February.  They have now won five in a row to go 5-2 in February. They also went 9-5 in January and are easily one of the hottest teams in the East.  Unlike a lot of teams, they’ll lament the Olympic break.  While it’s still astronomically improbable, there’s still a slim chance that these boys can qualify for postseason play.

Justin Peters got his second NHL start on the second Saturday in a row, and he got his second win.  Ray Whitney (who might still be traded away at the trading deadline) and Jussi Jokinen each scored twice while Zach Boychuk got his first NHL goal.  Martin Brodeur was chased from the nets early in the third with the score 4-0.

It looks a little bit like other teams are refusing to take the Hurricanes seriously, but the boys are having fun, and they’re refusing to give up.  As a fan, it’s amazing to watch, even if it’s a little bit frustrating.

On Friday, the Hurricanes dealt Matt Cullen to the Ottawa Senators for depth defenseman (with offensive upside) Alexandre Picard.  They also got a second round draft pick for this summer’s draft.  With the pick obtained from the Sharks in exchange for Nic Wallin, the Canes have three second round selections.  There’s a chance that they’re still not done.  Although the NHL has implemented a roster freeze during the Olympic break, there will be three days of heavy trading in March.  Ray Whitney is still considered to be a hot commodity and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if some Western Conference team made a trade for his rental.  If Carolina ends up with four second round picks, I would have to imagine that at least two of those will be parlayed into a first round pick. Whether Whitney stays or goes, Carolina should have lots of early round picks in the 2010 draft and will get to build for the future.

On that same note, Justin Peters again looked quite capable in nets tonight.  In his two starts, he’s given up a total of just three goa.  He appears to be ready to make the leap from the American League.  He was having a good season in Albany, and it’s quite possible that with the injury to Cam Ward, he could be on the big team for the rest of the season.  Manny Legace will probably carry the bulk of the load while Cam is out, but looking to next season, it makes more sense to re-sign the young Peters.  For Legace’s sake, I hope some team picks him up this summer as a backup.  He’s served the Canes well and has never complained about his limited role on the team. 

Eric Staal had two assists and a +2 rating, but he was shut down on two breakaway attempts and he was absolutely owned by Travis Zajac in the faceoff circles.  He’ll be headed to Vancouver where he’ll play one of the wing positions for Team Canada.  Tim Gleason will be representing the United States while Tuomo Ruutu and Joni Pitkänen will suit up for Finland.  It’s still a big head-scratcher that Jussi Jokinen was left off of that squad.

With 21 games to play, Carolina is nine points out of eighth place.  A big hill to climb, but there’s still slim hope.  However, it’ll take a stretch run of 16-0-5.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, jussi+jokinen, justin+peters, new+jersey+devils, ray+whitney, zach+boychuk

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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. 

David has contributed to CBC.ca for their Stanley Cup playoff coverage in 2006 and to the New York Times Slapshot blog for theirs in 2008. Red and Black Hockey was founded in July of 2005.