Red and Black Hockey
Entries with the tag: anton babchuk
On Wednesday, the Hurricanes pulled off a major trade with the Calgary Flames. When they acquired rugged forward Troy Bodie on Tuesday, it looked like a trade might be on the horizon, but I didn’t expect this. The Canes sent mercurial defenseman Anton Babchuk and reliable fourth liner Tom Kostopoulos to the Flames in exchange for defenseman Ian White and forward Brett (cousin of Brandon) Sutter. The new players are not available and defenseman Brett Carson has been recalled from Charlotte.
Brett Sutter, who is the nephew of Flames coach Brent Sutter and the son of Flames GM Darryl Sutter has been in the papers recently, but not for the right reasons. In his best imitation of Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane, he was arrested for punching a cab driver in Arizona. Neither his assignment to the AHL nor this trade has anything to do with the incident. Apparently, this has been in the works since late October.
I like this trade. I like it a lot. Carolina gives up something to get something, and they end up taking on some salary cap, but I really like it.
On Saturday night, the Hurricanes played the final game of a seven-game, 15,000 mile road trip. Just for fun, they took the final game to overtime. It was, at times, a beautiful game. It was, at times, a game reminiscent of the 14-game slide last season. In the end, though, the Hurricanes got the two points in Phoenix with the 4-3 win. On the road trip, they earned eight of a possible 14 points and will head for home on an overnight flight.
The mercurial defenseman Anton Babchuk potted the game winner in overtime after the Coyotes rallied from three goals down to force the extra session. In total, the Canes blueliners accounted for four of the nine scoring points in the game.
Although the Canes squandered the lead by giving up three quick goals in the third, they didn’t fold up the tent. They stayed focused. Cam Ward made some quality saves down the stretch, and they played aggressively in the extra frame.
The first game of the 2010-11 National Hockey League season was played in Helsinki this afternoon, and the Carolina Hurricanes emerged with a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. The same two teams will go at it again on Friday at noon, with Carolina playing the role of “home” team.
Carolina had about 375 fans make the trip from Raleigh to Finland with the team, which is more than were in the Greensboro Coliseum some nights when the Hurricanes played two seasons here.
Brandon Sutter, who had a great sophomore season last year, potted two goals including the game winner. The other stars of the game were the Hurricanes power play and specifically the mindset of the defensemen.
Jim Rutherford and Peter Karmanos promised that Carolina wouldn’t be active in the free agent market, and they’ve followed through on that promise. On Monday night, they announced the re-signing of backup goaltender Justin Peters. He committed to a two-year two-way contract which will pay him the NHL league minimum of $500k in 2010-11. The following season, his NHL salary will be $550k. In each season, the AHL salary would be $105k. Of this, he is guaranteed $225k in 2010-11 and $250k the following season.
This solidifies what was already pretty clear. Peters will be the backup and Manny Legace will have to move along.
So far this summer, Carolina hasn’t made any signings other than to renew the contracts of its own. After the dust settles, they might acquire some role players from the FA pool, but no major moves are expected.
Even though there haven’t been any major announcements, the Hurricanes look like they have answers to the big questions about the defense lines for 2010-11. There’s been talk for several weeks about the return of the mysterious Anton Babchuk, and that looks more and more real every day. They’ve signed Jay Harrison to a bargain basement one year contract renewal and they’ve pretty much ruled out a return of Brian Pothier.
The Pothier talk isn’t surprising to me at all. Getting him from the Caps in the Joe Corvo trade was a salary dump, and they can do even better by letting him become a free agent on July 1. For the amount of money they save by being off the hook for Andrew Alberts plus the money they’ll save by letting Pothier walk, they can re-sign Babchuk, re-sign the RFAs (Brett Carson, Casey Borer and Alex Picard) and still come out looking pretty from a bottom line standpoint.
Babchuk has been a player that the Caniacs have loved to hate and hated to love for the past three plus seasons. More after the jump.
On Saturday, Carolina extended their winning streak to eight games and their home streak to eleven games by beating the Penguins 3-2 in overtime. It was a hard-fought game, and in the end it was once again Anton Babchuk who scored the winner.
Babchuk’s goal from the top of the right circle went through a screen and past M-A Fleury for his 14th goal and his fourth game-winner of the season.
Cam Ward won his eighth straight game and his 38th of the season. The latter ties a franchise record set by Martin Gerber in 2006.
Most important, the win clinches a playoff spot for the Hurricanes. The way things are looking, there’s a fair chance that Carolina could even get home ice advantage in the first round. Sadly, due to budgetary restraints at La Maison du RBH I’ve exercised the right of refusal on playoff tickets. I’ll be watching from home, but I have an opportunity to rent a seat on a per-game basis.
On Wednesday night, two of the three hottest teams in the Eastern conference went head-to-head at the RBC Center. The Senators had won five games in a row and eight of their last ten while the Hurricanes had won four in a row and had gone 7-1-2 in their last ten. It was a tense game, but Carolina won 2-1, extending their overall winning streak to five and their home winning streak to nine. The latter matches a franchise record.
One of the hockey clichés that I despise the most is “you need your best player to be your best player”. There’s no doubt that Eric Staal is Carolina’s best player, and there’s also no doubt that he’s been playing very well lately. However, any number of players could be called Carolina’s “best player of late”. Cam Ward, Rod Brind’Amour, Ray Whitney, Tuomo Ruutu, Eric Staal. Anton Babchuk.
What was that last one?
Babchuk, a 24-year old Ukranian defenseman was the Blackhawks first round draft pick in 2002 and was acquired in January of 2006 in exchange for defenseman Danny Richmond. Since then, “Babs” has had his ups and downs with Carolina including a demotion to Albany, a failure to report there, a subsequent suspension, a year spent in what is now the KHL. His return to training camp this past fall was met with lots of skepticism from the fans, but he earned a roster spot and has surprised even his harshest critics. Lately, he’s been one of the Hurricanes’ best.
The Hurricanes have trimmed their training camp roster to 33 players, and with the regular season just 10 days away, there are still quite a few lineup issues to be resolved. The most intriguing issue is the blueline. There are still nine defensemen in camp, and only three of them—Joe Corvo, Tim Gleason and Joni Pitkänen—are guaranteed roster spots. And this doesn’t count the enigmatic and AWOL David (aka “Avi”, aka “Snuggles”) who has not shown up for camp and claims he is still concussed.
The News&Observer has opened the floor for the debate: How will the defensive pairings be filled out? Everybody agrees that Gleason, Pitkänen and Corvo are in the top four. The debate is about who among Anton Babchuk, Tim Conboy, Frantisek Kaberle, Josef Melichar, Dennis Seidenberg and Nic Wallin will play every night, who will be a healthy scratch, who will be relegated to Albany, and finally who will be traded to Los Angeles. To make matters more confusing, free agent Bryan Rodney is among the last men standing after another round of cuts on Sunday.
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Tags: anton+babchuk, bryan+rodney, carolina+hurricanes, david+tanabe, defensemen, dennis+seidenberg, frantisek+kaberle, joe+corvo, joni+pitkanen, josef+melichar, nick+wallin, tim+conboy, tim+gleason