Kukla's Korner

Red and Black Hockey

Entries with the tag: erik cole

Pitkänen re-signs for three

This summer has already been pretty crazy for the Hurricanes, and the free agency period hasn’t even begun.  With daily ebbs and flows regarding the progress (or lack of same) being made with contract negotiations, certain players have been generally regarded as “as good as gone” while others have been viewed as “sure-thing renewals”.  Today, for the milllionth day in a row, there was a big wrinkle.  One that I never expected. 

Defenseman Joni Pitkänen was written off by most fans.  He was the one player who most believed to be the one who was being the most difficult with his negotiations.  And then today, he of all people was the first of the four “big” UFAs to re-sign.  He has signed a three-year contract renewal at $4.5M per season.  Although the particulars aren’t available just yet, we’ll assume that it’s $4.5 in each season, rather than 4 / 4.5 / 5 or something like that.  This is, incidentally, the same salary that Pitkänen got last season (with a cap hit of $4M).

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, chad+larose, erik+cole, free+agency, joni+pitkänen, jussi+jokinen

Free agency news in Carolina

The other day, I wrote about how Carolina’s thriftiness would make it difficult to reach the new salary cap floor of $48.3M.  Compounding that was their lack of any progress with any of their own prospective UFAs.  Since the draft, things have taken a turn and it seems like at least three of the four key UFAs will be re-signing. 

Also, the Canes made a bit of an unexpected move by not offering qualifying sheets to RFAs Jiri Tlusty and Troy Bodie.  The 5:00 pm deadline came and went and they are now officially on the market, waiting for the bell to ring on Friday. (Nearly) everybody else got qualifying sheets.

First, a quick word about the RFAs, then a look at the UFA situation.  Then something about Sutter.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brandon+sutter, carolna+hurricanes, chad+larose, cory+stillman, erik+cole, free+agency, joni+pitkänen, jussi+jokinen

With Free Agent talks stalling, Canes looking to trade

On Sunday, Canes fans were told that a player signing was imminent.  We hoped that it would be Jussi Jokinen or Erik Cole.  Of the seven UFAs, those are the two who are generally regarded by Caniacs as the most important.  Today, we’re being told that they aren’t even close with any of the UFAs.  With the free agent market opening in two weeks, the Hurricanes have decided to shop the rights to those players instead of letting them walk away. 

I can’t even begin to guess who the trading partner or the player coming in this direction might be, Paul Branecky of Hurricanes.com says that a trade is close to completion.  One that would have “a power-play quarterback who can play among the top four defensemen – an immediate Pitkanen substitute - ” coming to Raleigh.  The Canes are looking to deal one of their two second round draft picks or even a prospect to make a deal happen. 

Jim Rutherford says ““We’re exchanging ideas, and something could happen any time.”

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, free+agency, joni+pitkanen, jussi+jokinen, trades

Surging Canes very much in the race

A week ago tonight, I gave last

rights

rites to the Hurricanes after their home loss to the Lightning.  They were five points back of eighth place with a tough week ahead of them.  Since then,  all the Canes have done is win three straight games while Buffalo and the Rangers lost.  Suddenly, the Canes are just one point behind the eighth place Rangers and very much revitalized.  On Saturday, the Canes got another huge win on the road against a hot Islanders team.

Carolina was behind 2-1 after 40 minutes, and this was exactly where the Isles wanted to be.  They’re the third hottest team in the league since Christmas and they’d only lost one regulation game all season when leading after two.  Joe Corvo, Erik Cole and Eric Staal had plenty to say about that as they each scored in the third to give the Canes a 4-2 win.  Corvo had three points on the night and Cole had another game-winner.  He’s been Mr. Clutch in the second half and is looking more like the Cole we knew from before the injury. 

As I write, the Caps have just forced overtime against the Sabres, so Buffalo will be at least two points ahead of Carolina going into tomorrow’s enormous matchup at the RBC Center. 

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, joe+corvo, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, playoffs

Cole paces Canes to important win, but Buffalo offers no help

On Friday night, the Hurricanes were again in “the most important game of the season”, and they emerged with a huge 4-3 regulation win over the Lightning.  Jeff Skinner scored his 26th of the season, Eric Staal scored his 30th and Erik Cole added two.  Cam ward made 18 saves.  Unfortunately for the Canes slim playoff hopes, Buffalo also won its game.  With eight games remaining, the Hurricanes remain three points behind the eighth place Sabres.

For the first time since the Truman administration, the Hurricanes tallied two power play goals in the same game.  The power play has been one of many weak points for them this whole season, and it will probably be the one thing that we blame if/when the Hurricanes end up on the outside of the playoff mix. 

Carolina has now won three games in a row, but the harsh reality is that they’re going to have to be blazing hot down the stretch.  “Warm” won’t cut it.  They’ll probably need to get twelve of the sixteen remaining points available.  Every game matters, and they’d like some outside help from the Sabres, or even the Rangers.  The Canes are five points back of the Rangers with a game in hand.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, erik+cole, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, tampa+bay+lightning

Canes/Thrashers go to overtime again

For the fourth time out of five meeting this season, the Hurricanes and Thrashers needed extra hockey to determine a winner.  In every previous game, the Canes emerged victorious, and it was Erik Cole who scored the overtime winner twice.  This time, the celebration was on the other side, as Tim Stapleton scored the overtime winner for Atlanta.  It was the winger’s second goal of the season.  The single standings point puts Carolina at 72 points, which ties them with Buffalo, but the Sabres have tiebreakers, so they get eighth place. 

This was a game from which Carolina needed to emerge with two points.  While there are still 15 games to play, these are the games that they have to win.  No questions asked.  You have to beat all of the teams below you in the standings and steal some points from the teams above you in the standings.  Now they will have to make up for this loss by winning on the road against the Capitals on Friday.

With 21 games to play, I said that the Hurricanes were going to have to treat their remaining schedule as if it was three series of seven games and that they would have to “win” each of those series.  After six games of the first “series”, their record is 3-2-1.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, tim+stapleton

Brind’Amour night a big success

On Friday night, the Hurricanes sent Rod Brind’Amour’s sweater to the rafters, where it will hang alongside Ron Francis and Glen Wesley.  New NHL regulations dictate that sweater retirement ceremonies must take place before the pre-game skate, and the pre-game skate can be no more than 30 minutes before puck drop.  So the ceremony was at 7:00 and the game at 8:00.

The ceremony was excellent and Roddy handled it very well.  He doesn’t enjoy being the center of attention, but he handled himself and the spotlight quite well.  During the pre-game skate, every player from both teams wore special sweaters with Brind’Amour’s name and number.  It was appropriate since Brindy played all but a handful of games for the two franchises.  Still, I thought it was a display of tremendous class from the Flyers.

Carolina had great jump coming out of the gates, and they got off to an early 2-0 lead.  Philly pushed back, killed a ton of penalties, climbed back in it and got an equalizing goal late in the third.  It looked like the game was headed to overtime, but Erik Cole brought the over-capacity crowd to its feet with his second game-winning goal in the last three games.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, chad+larose, erik+cole, jeff+skinner, philadelphia+flyers, rod+brind'amour

Sutter and the Canes climb into eighth

On Saturday night with an opportunity to climb into the playoff picture, the Hurricanes seized the moment.  Sort of.  While any win at all would do the trick, they would have preferred to have won in regulation against the Thrashers.  It marked the third time this season that the teams have played each other, and each game has gone into extra time.  Carolina has earned the extra point each time, but it has also allowed Atlanta to get the consolation point.  This could come into play at the end of the season. 

Both Cam Ward and Ondrej Pavelec were outstanding in nets.  Both goalies faced 37 shots. Both made spectacular saves.  Both played well enough to win. 

Erik Cole’s coast-to-coast play was capped by a wrister from the right circle to win the game for the Canes at 2:48 of overtime.  It was Cole who also scored an overtime winner the last time the teams met, and the final score was the same—4-3.  Brandon Sutter had a huge goal and a really good night in the faceoff circle.  After the jump, I’ll detail the reasons that I had him as my first star.  Jiri Tlusty also had a big goal and the Captain scored his 26th of the season to start things off for the Canes.

With the Circus in town, the Hurricanes will now embark on a five game road trip that begins and ends in New Jersey.  They’ll hope for six out of ten points on the trip, but will settle for five.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, brandon+sutter, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, ondrej+pavelec

Peters, Canes win again

On Sunday afternoon, the Hurricanes won their second straight game, extending their points streak to seven games.  Since Boxing Day, they have earned 12 of 14 points and have kept themselves in position to climb inside the playoff picture.

Since Cam Ward is nursing a minor undisclosed injury, Justin Peters got his second start in a row, and although it was closer than it should have been, he got the two points and the Hurricanes are looking good as they hit the halfway mark of the season.

Although the JET line wasn’t paired togethter today, they were again the stars.  Tuomo Ruutu had a goal and an assist, rookie Jeff Skinner got his 14th of the season, and Erik Cole notched the overtime game winner.  Cole also was at the center of a controversial play that could have been a goal, but instead he was penalized for interfering with a Thrashers defenseman.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: altlanta+thrashers, carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, jeff+skinner, justin+peters, tuomo+ruutu

Canes eat Panthers’ lunch

On Friday night, the Hurricanes played the Panthers for the second time this week, and it had a familiar theme.  The Panthers got off to an early multi-goal lead, then watched it evaporate.  On Monday, the Canes stormed back from a two-goal deficit in the third period to force overtime and steal a point with an overtime loss.  On December 15, the Canes overcame a three-goal deficit against the Panthers to win in regulation, stealing two standings points.  Last night, they were behind 2-0 in the second, but scored five unanswered goals to run away with a win and two stolen points. 

Rookie Jeff Skinner was by far the best player on the ice, with two goals, an assist, and a couple of skating clinics.  Tuomo Ruutu had three assists and Erik Cole added two goals.  The JET line wasn’t together for the whole game, but they collectively had eight (4/4) points. 

Justin Peters got the nod in nets because Cam Ward came down with some “undisclosed” concern.  He probably would have started anyway, but now it looks like he could get two starts in a row.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, florida+panthers, jeff+skinner, justin+peters, tuomo+ruutu

Canes snatch consolation point from the jaws of defeat

On Sunday afternoon, the Hurricanes traveled up 95 North to take on the Capitals.  Simultaneously, the respective American League teams were battling in Hershey.  Paul Maurice was unable to earn a win in his 1000th game, but the Hurricanes were able to emerge with one standings point.

The Capitals were off and running with two goals in the first period off the sticks of Marcus Johansson and Alex Semin.  They dominated the first period, and it looked like it would be a long afternoon for the Hurricanes.

After playing their way back into the game and pulling Cam Ward in the final minute of the game, Eric Staal forced overtime with less than three seconds to go in the game.  Overtime solved nothing, and Carolina’s shootout shooters couldn’t find the net.  Ovechkin scored in the first round of the shootout, and that’s all they needed.

Meanwhile, the Checkers were thrashing the defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears to the tune of 5-2.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, erik+cole, washington+capitals

Skinner has big night in Canes win

On Friday night, the Hurricanes traveled to Madison Square Garden to play the Rangers on the front end of a back-to-back set.  18-year old Jeff Skinner, who was Carolina’s first round pick in this summer’s draft with the seventh overall pick, had a massive night for the visiting team.  He had two goals and an assist, including a real highlight reel play for his second of the game and third of the season.
All four goals came from the second line of Skinner/Tuomo Ruutu/Erik Cole, and that trio also added four of the seven assists.  With play like that, they might become the top line.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, jeff+skinner, new+york+rangers, tuomo+ruutu

Canes lose critical matchup against Bs

In order to keep their ridiculously slim playoff hopes alive, the Hurricanes knew that they would have to beat the Bruins in regulation on Tuesday night.  Instead, they lost in regulation 5-2 and now find themselves ten points back of the eighth place Bruins.  There were four points in the balance, and anything other than a regulation win would be bad.  This is not a death blow, but the fat lady is warming up in the wings.  With thirteen games left, it’s just too much ground to cover.

The game was over before it even started.  Patrice Bergeron scored just 23 seconds in on the first shot of the game.  This isn’t the way of a team trying to make the playoffs.  This is something else. 

Five different Bruins scored one goal and Tukka Rask made 30 saves to get the win.  On the other side of the ledger, Erik Cole scored two goals and Manny Legace stopped 32 of 37 shots in loss.  There wasn’t much to cheer about for Canes fans and this loss has to deflate the hopes of even the most unrealistically optimistic fan. 

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  Tags: boston+bruins, carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, tukka+rask

Canes lose tough one

When the day started, Carolina was nine points out of eighth place, desperately clinging onto the hope of making a run to the playoffs.  They were about to finish a three game road trip through the Southeast division and they seriously needed a win against the best team in the league.  They ended up with a 4-3 overtime loss, which would be a good outcome most nights, but when every game is a “must win”, it’s a little heartbreaking. 
I know, as I knew in November, that this team isn’t going to make the playoffs.  However, they’ve played very well since the new year and actually made the impossible seem possible. 
They also learned early in the morning that Erik Cole was suffering from flu-like symptoms and would be unavailable tonight.  In other seasons, that would be devastating news, but to be brutally honest, I’ve actually forgotten that he’s even on the team this season.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brandon+sutter, carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, oskar+osala, washington+capitals

Cole gets hat trick as Canes snap five game skid

Erik Cole potted three goals this afternoon as the Hurricanes beat the visiting Canucks 5-3.  Ray Whitney contributed a goal and two assists and Eric Staal had two helpers of his own.  Matt Cullen couldn’t stretch his goal streak to four games, but with one assist, he extended his points streak to five games. 

Manny Legace let in a soft goal in the first, then two great Canucks goals in the third made things a bit tense, but in the end the Canes prevailed.

Carolina remains in the NHL’s cellar, 12 points out of eighth in the East.  They are about to embark on a four game road trip, and the road hasn’t been kind.  They are 0-10-3 away from the RBC Center. 

Cam Ward is hoping to return next week, possibly as early as Monday at Pittsburgh.  The timing could be perfect, for a number of reasons…

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, manny+legace, vancouver+canucks

Ruutu, Cole and the Canes snatch victory from the jaws of defeat

On Thursday night, the Hurricanes hosted the Maple Leafs with a good chance to stretch their points streak to four games.  Although things didn’t go well early on, they battled back.  Although they gave up a would-be game winning goal with 30 seconds remaining in the third, they never gave up.  Erik Cole scored with two seconds remaining, and then the Finns took care of business in the shootout.  Carolina emerged with a gutsy 6-5 win and they have crawled out of the Eastern conference cellar.  Baby steps.

The Canes spotted the Leafs one goal, allwing Matt Stajan to score on the Leafs second shot of the game at 1:01 of the first.  Lee Stempniak added one at 14:21 and Mikail Grabovski another at 18:26.  Things, seemingly, were about to fall apart.  However, as they have done repeatedly this month, they refused to let a two or three goal deficit cancel their will to compete.  Instead of folding like a rented futon, they displayed a little sisu and fought back.  And won.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, sisu, tim+gleason, toronto+maple+leafs, tuomo+ruutu

broken legs and broken records for Cole.

Erik Cole has played a lot of games for the Carolina Hurricanes.  He has also missed a lot of games with injuries.  He plays hard, and sometimes he plays recklessly.  Even after his gruesome neck fracture in March of 2006, he continues to play and hit hard, which leaves him vulnerable to injury. 

We all know all about Cole’s fracture of the c-5 vertebrae.  He missed a total of 45 games (22 regular season, 23 playoff), and returned for games six and seven of the SCF.  When he returned, he hadn’t lost any of that recklessness, and it made us all a little nervous.  Nervous because we know how Cole plays and we know that he could get hurt again at any second.

There’s a long list of injuries that Cole has suffered throughout his career.  Most of them normal, some of them freak.  This latest one, unfortunately, is a familiar injury for Cole.  It’s also beginning to sound like a broken record around here.  “Erik Cole was injured in the game…  Erik Cole was injured in the game…  Erik Cole was injured in the game.” 

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole

Broken leg will sideline Erik Cole for 4-6 weeks.

The Hurricanes announced today what we all knew without needing the confirmation:  Erik Cole suffered a broken bone in his left leg after a nasty collision with the Bruins’ Dennis Wideman on Saturday night.  Wideman’s check was clean, but it unfortunately resulted in yet another injury for Cole.

Tuomo Ruutu will slide up to the first line right wing, then some other shuffling will leave a vacancy on one of the fourth line wings.  Tim Conboy, who can play on either wing and also on defense, will be the short-term solution.  The former Albany River Rats captain is known more for pugilism than for his offensive acumen, but will have an excellent opportunity to prove that he has earned his one-way contract.  If you’re in a fantasy league that rewards PIMs, go ahead and snatch up Conboy.  He’ll be good for at least 4 penalty minutes per game. 

I don’t mind seeing Conboy in the lineup on a game-by-game basis, but I’m a little frightened by the prospect of seeing him as a regular.  I’m much more into the idea of bringing up Zach Boychuk or Drayson Bowman from the Rats.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, injuries, tim+conboy

Canes lose ugly game.  Cole hurt.

On Saturday night, the Hurricanes traveled to Boston and left with a lot of cuts, bruises, and possibly a break.  They also lost the game 7-2 to the Bruins. 

The first period did not go well, as the Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Marc Savard, Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler.  After that, it went from bad to worse as Cam Ward was chased, no fewer than five different Hurricanes players ended up getting cut.  One was Eric Staal, who left the game, bloodied, in the second period after being hit in the ear by a teammate’s slapshot.  Erik Cole suffered an ugly-looking knee injury late in the game.  Carolina managed to score two goals, but if you’re a Canes fan, there really isn’t anything good to take from this game.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, erik+cole, marc+savard

Erik Cole re-signs for hometeam discount

Even though it seemed like the Erik Cole chapter was finally over, it continues.  Today, the Hurricanes and Erik Cole agreed to terms on a two year deal that will pay him $2.8M in 2009-10 and $3M in 2010-11.  The 30-year old right wing was paid $4M in 2008-09. 

I gave up on him a long time ago, and I’ve written in a number of ways and on a number of times that I’m not a big fan of his anymore.  Now I’ll be forced to either stand my ground or eat my hat.  Honestly, I hope I’ll be eating my hat, but either way it’s a good sign that he agreed to take a pretty significant pay cut.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole

Still no progress with Canes UFAs

Today is the last day for teams to re-sign their potential UFAs before they enter the market at noon on Wednesday.  Everyone in Raleigh was hoping that an announcement would come that the team had come to terms with Chad LaRose.  It didn’t.  As expected, there was also no announcement about Erik Cole.  Jim Rutherford has made it clear that he will not initiate any more negotiations with them.  He has put “final offers” on the table.  Ryan Bayda has also declined Carolina’s “final offer” and will test the free agent market.  Although no doors are permanently shut and no bridges are burned, this has ruffled Jim Rutherford’s feathers.

“If they go into tomorrow then they’re obviously making the choice to go somewhere else,” he said. “We’ve given our best offer within our budget to try to keep them, and at this point it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.”

Contrast that quote with one about Jussi Jokinen, which I’ll point to later in this post.

Rutherford has also pledged not to be aggressive in the FA market and might wait until August to sign anyone.  He went as far as to tell Puck Daddy that the only thing he’d be signing on July 1 would be a birthday card to his cousin.  ...

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, chad+larose, erik+cole, free+agency

Canes off-season.  The forwards

So we’ve got a few days before the Awards Show, then another week before the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.  Carolina will have the 27th overall pick, and most prognosticators are saying that Carolina will draft a defenseman. 

A few days after the draft, the real fun begins.  The free agent signing period.  Carolina has never been a big spender in the FA signing period, and I don’t expect them to be this summer.  Their primary focus will be on re-signing the guys they have, then picking someone up in the bargain bin.  Last summer, they were inactive in the FA market, but made the blockbuster trade with the Oilers, sending Erik Cole that way for Joni Pitkänen.

This summer, while some people are dreaming up elaborate ways to get Dany Heatley here, I expect little if any activity from the Hurricanes camp.  At least not as far as the forwards are concerned.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, chad+larose, erik+cole, free+agency, jussi+jokinen, tuomo+ruutu

Carolina’s game two lineup changes

With each cryptic update of the injury situations with Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole, it seems more and more evident that neither will suit up for tonight’s game two at Mellon Arena.  Ruutu’s

right ankle

umm…  “lower body” sounds like it’s worse than it looked and Cole’s

left knee

umm… “lower body” sounds like it might not be as bad as it looked. 

The updates are cryptic, confusing and contradictory.  One hour, they’re saying that Ruutu is definitely out and Cole is a gametime decision.  The next, they say that Cole is doubtful and Ruutu is out.  The next, they say both players are hopeful.  No details have been released about the MRI results for either player.  I’m going to assume that neither player will go tonight. 

There are a load of different lineup options which have been outlined by Luke Decock.  Here’s what I think:

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, injuries, pittsburgh+penguins, playoffs, tuomo+ruutu.

Cole Ruutu doubtful for game two

The headline of the article in the N&O says that Erik Cole and Tuomo Ruutu are “questionable” for Thursday’s game two with Pittsburgh.  The text of the article suggests that it’s worse than that.  Canes GM Jim Rutherford and head trainer Pete Friesen both said that it “doesn’t look good for either player”.

Both players suffered knee injuries in game one resulting from questionable hits by the Pens.  Mark Eaton was not penalized for his play on Ruutu (which some people are wrongly calling a slew foot).  Nor was Matt Cooke for his knee on Cole.  Neither player will be facing supplemental discipline.

The officials and the league got it wrong with Ovechkin v Gonchar, and they have gotten it wrong with Cooke v Cole.  I’m not calling Cooke a dirty player, but the play was very dangerous and it resulted in an injury.  If they don’t tighten up their officiating and disciplinary standards, things could get really ugly.  Frontier justice is not a pretty thing.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: erik+cole, injuries, playoffs, tuomo+ruutu

Canes lose game one, Ruutu, Cole

For the third time in a row, and the fifth of the last seven, Carolina has lost game one of a playoff series.  In every other series, Carolina has come back to win the series.  More important than losing the game is that they may have also lost Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole to knee injuries. 

Miro Satan, who wasn’t even in the lineup when the playoffs began, got things started for the Pens at 9:17.  He stepped out of the penalty box, where he had been sitting for being found guilty of holding, accepted a pass from Matt Cooke, and was off to the races.  He came in alone and ended up lifting a backhander past Cam Ward.  Hal Gill picked up the secondary assist.  Those kinds of goals are always a little more painful, and it was certainly a tone-setter.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, injuries, pittsburgh+penguins, playoffs, tuomo+ruutu.

Erik Cole is terrible against everyone except Jose Theodore.

Carolina has gotten scoring from Eric Staal, Ray Whitney and Chad LaRose (who’d have predicted that??).  Each guy has seven points.  Newcomer Jussi Jokinen has five.  They’ve gotten some great scoring from the blueline.  Joni Pitkänen has five, Timmmmmaaaaay Gleason has four, and Joseph Corvo has three.  Fourteen different players have at least one point.  Conspicuously absent from that list are Erik Cole and Rod Brind’Amour.

Brind’Amour has had a very disappointing season, and I’m not at all surprised to see his points total at zero.  Erik Cole, however, had a great stretch run after coming back to Raleigh.  His lack of points is a complete surprise.  But then, maybe it isn’t. 

Against teams not named Montréal Canadiens and against goalies not named Jose Theodore, Cole has had very little success in the playoffs.  His drought goes way beyond these eight games so far this postseason.  He’s been pointless in the last 21 playoff games.  And it gets worse…

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, jose+theodore., playoffs

Staal, Canes destroy Tampa

On Saturday night, the Hurricanes scored a season high nine goals in a rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Eric Staal had a career high six (4/2) points, which matches a franchise mark set by Ron Francis back in the Hartford days.  Carolina did all its scoring in the first 40 minutes, then eased off the throttle, settling for a 9-3 final.

Staal’s six point night was huge, but his first line mates also had huge nights of their own.  Tuomo Ruutu pitched in with five (2/3) points and Erik Cole had four (0/4).  15 points out of the top line is one heck of a night.  There was way too much scoring to enumerate the goals, but it was one shorthanded goal, two power play goals and six even strength markers.  When it didn’t matter, Tampa scored two unanswered goals in the third.

On Carolina’s current three-game winning streak, they’ve scored 20 goals and given up just six.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, erik+cole, tampa+bay+lightning, tuomo+ruutu

Canes rout Flames

On Friday night, there was a lot of excitement in Raleigh surrounding the visit from the Northwest leading Calgary Flames.  Not the least of which was the return of Erik Cole to the Hurricanes lineup after a 63 game stint with the Oilers.  Added to that, the Hurricanes longtime nemesis Olli Jokinen was just traded to Calgary.  Added to that was the fact that Carolina desperately needs standings points.  Even an overtime loss would have been acceptable.  The 6-1 rout by Carolina was beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.

After the meltdown in Atlanta last week, Carolina has beaten two of the top teams in the league, and beaten them convincingly.  First, there was a 5-2 win on the road against the Southeast leading Capitals, then this blowout over the Flames.  The hard part now will be to keep that mojo going against a considerably less formidable opponent tonight in Tampa.

Since the trade deadline on Wednesday, the entire league has been talking about how the Flames top line of Mike Cammalleri, Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen were the best line in the entire league.  Carolina contained that line, holding Cammalleri and Jokinen to zero shots each and Iginla to three.  Iggy scored a meaningless goal at 16:11 of the third.  Aside from that, the “best line in hockey” didn’t do anything. 

Instead, it was all about Ray Whitney, who tallied three goals for his third career hat trick and his 300th career goal.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: calgary+flames, carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole, ray+whitney

Cole excited to be back (in more ways than one)

The big news on Wednesday was about the return of Erik Cole to Raleigh.  Loads of fans get their favorite player back, Eric Staal gets his BFF back, the locker room gets its deejay back.  And then there’s something else. 

The Raleigh News and Observer ran a few stories today about Cole’s return.  They sent staff photographer Chris Seward to practice, and one of his photos was attached to a story about Cole’s reaction to the trade.  There’s nothing special about the story, but there’s something quite special about the photo.  It’s unintentionally funny and creepy and, umm…  suggestive. 

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, erik+cole

Canes reacquire Cole in three-way

I was working all day and the only trade news I was getting was through the very slow NHL.com text message updates.  When 3:00, then 3:30, then 4:00 rolled around, I assumed that the Carolina Hurricanes stood pat with what they had.  Then a buddy called me and dropped a ten megaton atomic bomb on me.  And it played out like a horrible game of fortunately/unfortunately.

Carolina sent one of my favorite Canes, Justin Williams (whose sweater I wear) to the Los Angeles Kings for Patrick O’Sullivan.  SCORE!!!  Sad to see Willy go, but that’s a great deal.  I’ve been watching him for a little while, partly because he’s the only player in the NHL who was born in North Carolina.  Young kid on the rise, destined to be a 30 goal scorer, with two years of reasonable salary remaining on his contract.  Of course that wasn’t the end of it.  Of course it was part of a three-way deal, and my excitement quickly turned to nonplus, then instantly to anger.  Lots of cuss words. 

O’Sullivan was immediately dealt to Edmonton, and I didn’t need to wait for the rest.  I knew who the other player was and I actually cringed.  Not that I dislike Erik Cole, but I just don’t like this deal.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, edmonton+oilers, erik+cole, justin+williams, los+angeles+kings, patrick+o'sullivan., trade

Canes - Oil, Oilers get some home cooking on the road

Today, the Hurricanes will be facing the Edmonton Oilers.  It’ll be the first time since October 13 that they’ve played at home.  Thankfully, I got a personal phone call from Scott Walker to remind me that today’s game was a 3:00 matinee.  Okay, so it wasn’t so much a “personal call” as a recorded message sent out to all season ticket holders, but there’s no need to split hairs. 

Carolina returns home after a successful six game roadtrip, during which they earned eight of a possible 12 points (3-1-2).  After winning their first four games, the Oil have lost five games in a row.  This is the second of seven straight road games for Edmonton, who won’t return home until November 13.  Being on the road for that long sucks, but the Oilers got a little bit of rest and home cooking this weekend when they stayed at Erik Cole’s home in Raleigh.  On Friday, he and his wife Emily hosted the entire team for dinner at the house he still owns in Raleigh. 

Cole was a fan favorite here, and his homecoming will be bitter-sweet for everyone. 

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, edmonton+oilers, erik+cole

Erik Cole to make Oilers debut tonight

Tonight, Erik Cole and the Edmonton Oilers will play their first game of the season, at home against the Avs.  I will be among the Caniac nation keeping an eye on our boy.
The Oilers fans have high hopes for him, as well they should.  Cole spent six seasons here in Carolina electrifying fans with his speed, skill, creativity and toughness.  Cole scored 129 regular season goals for the Canes and six playoff goals, all of which came in 2002.  By far and away, the biggest goal he’s ever scored was the game-tying goal in the Miracle at Molson.  If Cole doesn’t score that goal, the Habs would have gone up three games to one in the Eastern semifinals.  Instead, the Canes tied it, forced overtime and won.  That absolutely killed the Habs.  Carolina won the next two games easily to win the series, then beat Toronto  in six games en route to losing the Stanley Cup to Detroit in five games. 

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: edmonton+oilers, erik+cole

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