Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 11/10/08 at 09:21 PM ET
On Sunday, the Thrashers came to Raleigh and completely embarrassed the home team in a 5-2 romp.
The scoreless first period was the most boring hockey I’ve watched in quite some time. The game came alive in the second period, but Carolina was only there for about five minutes. Ray Whitney scored a nifty breakaway goal at 5:50 to give the Canes a 2-1 lead, but it was a steep downhill road after that. Offensively, defensively, and most importantly, in net.
Cam Ward has been shaky for most of this young season, and it was certainly no different against Atlanta. Not to discredit the Thrashers, but Ward had a very manageable puck bounce off his chest and roll down his back. He had horrible rebound control, often sending stuff back into the slot instead of covering or sending to the corner. He let in one soft goal. Sure the defense let him down once, but he wasn’t anywhere near the top of his game. He only faced 22 shots and let five of them in. That makes for an abysmal 0.773 save %. I think he’ll sit on Wednesday against the Caps.
To be fair, the forward lines weren’t exactly jumping. Aside from a few bursts of good team play in the second period and late in the third, they looked confused, lethargic, unfocused, and so forth.
There is absolutely no question that Michael Leighton should be the starter for at least the next game. If for no other reason, then to shake things up.
There are reports that Matt Cullen is ready to return from his injury and that Brandon Sutter is practicing and almost ready to return. This is good news. What’s important right now, though, is that the Canes have two days off before playing on Wednesday. They’ve just played six games in a nine day span and could use a little rest.
The big question remains: ¿Donde esta Eric Staal? Lately he’s been about as functional as a chastity belt on prom night. He’s now gone four games without a scoring point. I dunno what his problem is, but he’s going to have to earn his “A” by stepping up and taking control of some games. Whether he likes it or not, everyone is looking to him.
The Caps, who trail Carolina by two points in the SE division have two games in hand, but are in action tonight against the Bolts.
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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.