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Canes drop KHL exhibition

On Monday, the Hurricanes played their final preseason game, an exhibition against SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.  The Russian team won 5-3 in a game that has been described as “chippy”, “dirty” and “a joke”.  For safety reasons, coach Paul Maurice had to bench Canes captain Eric Staal in the third period.  Cam Ward was also taken out of the game for precautionary reasons. 

There was a series of incidents in the middle stanza where the SKA players were apparently targeting Staal.  After a few knee-on-knee occurrences, Tim Gleason took matters into his own hands and pummeled Alexei Petrov.  This resulted in ejections for both players.  Later in the game, Jay Harrison was also ejected for the same.  I didn’t watch the game, but I’ve been told by decidedly biased Canes fans that the officiating was lax and the SKA players were blatantly attempting to injure Carolina’s star players.

It was a game with a lot of promise for cross-league promotion.  It could have set the table for games like this to be annual.  After this, though, there’s little chance that the Hurricanes or any NHL team will want to schedule this type of exhibition.  Too much risk and not enough reward.

The Canes fell behind 2-0 in the first period after a couple of strange deflection goals.  The first was off the skate of Jussi Jokinen and the second off the leg of a SKA player. 

In the first, with the score 1-0, Jeff Skinner showed some of that razzle-dazzle stuff on a breakaway spin-o-rama.  It was a stunning display of skill, even though he didn’t score.  In the third, he finally did score, and he was named the Carolina player of the game.  Fellow rookie Zac Dalpe also had a great breakaway chance, but he was robbed once by Nabokov and once on the rebound chance by a diving SKA defender. 

Tuomo Ruutu got the Canes first goal early in the second on a nice backhand pitchfork as he was being shoved down.  Just a couple of minutes later, Pat Dwyer got the equalizer with a rebound tip in from the low slot. 

Alexei Yashin scored on a nice and patient play down low after a horrible defensive zone turnover by Jay Harrison. 

Skinner got his goal a few minutes later by controlling a pass in his skates, kicking to his stick and shoving it in for the power play marker.

Maxim Sushinski scored twice in the third period to close out the scoring. 

Eric Staal was withheld from the third period, Cam Ward had been lifted, Tim Gleason and Jay Harrision ejected.  Joe Corvo was out with a minor injury since the first period.  By the end of the third, Carolina was down to two defenseman and no captain. 

Carolina’s coaching staff was frustrated by the chippyness and the refusal of the officials to control it.  They did the right thing by pulling Staal off the ice.  The way some Canes fans tell it, the coaches considered pulling the entire team from the ice. 

The regular season will get underway Thursday at noon eastern time.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, jeff+skinner, ska+st.+petersburg


SYF's avatar

Totally disgusting exhibition of gutless hockey by SKA.

Yeah, I agree, David.  The cross-promotion with the KHL is dead.  No way the NHL does this again with the KHL.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 10/04/10 at 07:01 PM ET

Coastal Coyote's avatar

Sounds like the Broad Street Bullies to me…

Posted by Coastal Coyote on 10/04/10 at 08:29 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

As with everything, there’s a Rocky metaphor to be had here.  Tony, in Rocky IV, after Creed took a round 1 beating at the hands of Drago, and before his eventual tragic passing in the following round when The Stallion hesitated instead of throwing the towel…“It’s only an exhibition!”.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 10/04/10 at 08:32 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

“It’s only an exhibition!”

The SKA players are just like Popeye, they eat spinach every day.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 10/04/10 at 09:14 PM ET


I watched most of this game as it was broadcast live stream on NHL.com.

I was expecting an all-star like game: no hits gentlemanly play and wide open. This was not the game at all. The assessment from everyone was totally correct. The Russians were not playing an exhibition games. It looked like they were trying to enact revenge for the miracle on ice.

Dirty hits, cheap shots, holding, mugging and overall unprofessional play even for a “real” game. All the while the Rusk-ies were laughing and smiling about it all.

I wish Maurice would have not sent the team out for the 3rd just to send a message.

Disgusting display for any team.

If I was any owner or the NHL, I would never let my team go there for a game if that is how they wanted to play.

Posted by Nbr1Caniac on 10/05/10 at 12:41 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

SKA St. Petersburg is THE poster boy team for the KHL—their president, Alexander Medvedev, who also is also a higher-up in one of the world’s most powerful corporations and Russia’s biggest business in natural gas exports via Gazprom, a main sponsor of the league, happens to run the KHL as well—and they were going to win any way they possibly could to “prove” that the KHL was on even footing with the NHL, even though SKA’s loaded with NHL players that only SKA’s petro dollar-fueled sponsorship budget can afford. 

The fact that they tried to injure the Canes in order to beat them doesn’t surprise me, and it DOES have something to do with Soviet hockey revenge, because many of the oligarchs who own and/or sponsor the KHL’s biggest-market teams as the ultimate “big boys’ toys” (KHL teams don’t make money off ticket sales, and the sponsorships generally allow them to subsidize their payrolls, but teams like Metallurg Magnitogorsk and SKA are ultimately playing for the ego-stroking of their management, even if they lose money to do so) made the mints that allowed them to scoop up controlling interests in the giant factories or natural resource-dealing companies that fund the KHL’s biggest teams because they were successful businessmen or governmental officials during the last days of the Soviet Union.  The Russian Hockey Federation is also where old hard-line Soviets go to roost, so…

This was, for a whole bunch of substantive reasons, exactly what the Chief suggested—Rocky vs. Drago, and the Russians were going to “break” the Canes for propaganda’s sake. 

Welcome to 2010.  In post-Soviet Russia, you don’t play hockey, hockey plays you.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 10/05/10 at 01:22 AM ET

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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. 

David has contributed to CBC.ca for their Stanley Cup playoff coverage in 2006 and to the New York Times Slapshot blog for theirs in 2008. Red and Black Hockey was founded in July of 2005.