Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 02/03/09 at 09:53 AM ET
Tuesday night, the Hurricanes will begin their three game western swing with the unenviable charge of playing against a team who has lost eight games in a row. And they’ll have to do it in a very uncomfortable time zone.
The Vancouver Canucks are struggling. Badly. They’re 0-5-3 in their last eight games and they haven’t won a home game since December 28. This, frankly, is scary. Nobody wants to play against a team in that kind of situation. Everyone knows that the Nucks are going to pull out of this slump sooner than later, and nobody wants to be a slumpbuster.
This may be the perfect situation for the Canucks. They’ve been able to score goals just fine, but they’ve been in these “track meet” kind of games and they’ve found themselves on the short end of 6-5 games. Carolina is simply unable to participate in a track meet. Carolina needs to play a pre-lockout style of 2-1 game to have success.
Add to that the 10:00 (eastern) start time. That’s way past Brandon Sutter’s bedtime. He might show up to the rink in his jammies and ask Rod Brind’Amour to tell him a story during the first intermission. Seriously, though. Because of the unbalanced schedule, Carolina never had to venture beyond the Central time zone last season. The last time they went to the Pacific time zone was in December of 2006 as part of a three game western swing. After losing two Moutain zone games, they went to Vancouver and were beaten 4-3 in overtime.
This season, Carolina has already been out west once with games in Los Angeles and Anaheim. With a 10:30 eastern time drop at the Kings, they lost. With a more east-coast friendly 8:00 drop at Anaheim, they won.
You have to go way back to that magical 2005-06 season to find a game that the Hurricanes won in the Pacific time zone with a 10:00 drop.
So the point is that although they’ve been few and far between, the 10:00 drop hasn’t been a good thing for the Canes. More importantly, it’s never a good thing to play against a good team who has lost a bunch of games in a row.
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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.