Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 11/02/09 at 09:29 PM ET
The Hurricanes, at 2-8-3, are off to the worst start in franchise history. They have now gone nine (0-6-3) games without a win, and in some of these games, they haven’t been very competitive. They’ve been plagued by lapses in focus, lack of presence in front of (either) net, defensive breakdowns, lack of discipline, and mostly, an inability to score. Some nights, the Canes have run into crazily hot goaltenders. Some nights they’ve squandered too many scoring chances. Some nights, they have bad luck. The bottom line is that the puck isn’t going in the other team’s net. All of this has led to a frustrated team and an angry fanbase.
A friend asked me today if I think the Canes have hit rock bottom. I immediately answered that things could be a lot worse, and that they haven’t bottomed out (yet).
So far, I explained, there haven’t been any fights in the locker room or in practice. None that we know of anyway. So far, I explained, these losses are not due to bad goaltending. So far, I explained, players aren’t calling each other out in the papers. At least they’re not calling Paul Maurice out in the papers. So far, nobody’s demanded to be traded. At least they haven’t been forced to do any bag skates. That we know of. So far as we know, these guys are still a unit. Not one that’s cranking on all cylinders, but a unit nonetheless. I’m hoping that none of the above things come to pass. I’m hoping that this team doesn’t turn on each other.
Today, Jim Rutherford took the blame for the slow start. He said that in retrospect, it was a bad idea to only play four preseason games. It was clear to all of us that they weren’t up to game speed on opening night, and this is the first time I’ve seen him speak about it. He also said that he is looking to shake things up a bit and has the lines of communication open with other teams. Earlier today, a rumor circulated that several players including Ray Whitney, Chad LaRose and Joe Corvo were on the chopping block. In a statement, he addressed the possibilities of trade and also of transitioning to a younger team. Carolina is the oldest team in the NHL, and the plan was to move some of the Albany guys to the big team next season, but that might be addressed sooner than later.
I will be talking to other teams more than I usually do at this time of the season, but you need to find a partner to do a deal. It’s disappointing for me to do this, but I have to be fair to our fans. It’s very disappointing to watch a team that has the ability to win find ways to lose…
We were in position to transition to a younger team in the future but maybe we need to accelerate that
Through all of this, Rutherford has stood behind Paul Maurice, who is his best friend in real life.
The Canes will be at Sunrise on Wednesday with a chance to snap their nine game slide. In their only other meeting this season, Carolina drubbed the Cats 7-2 way back on October 9.
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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.