Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rutherford not hopeful of signing Cole and LaRose

It sounds like from the press releases that Erik Cole and Chad LaRose are as good as gone. I really thought Cole would sign based on his good fit here and the way his year went in Edmonton. He helped get our team over the hump and into the playoffs. He didn't score a goal in the playoffs but was a factor with his grit. Chad LaRose had a career year with 19 goals and 4 playoff goals. Chad was a spark plug for the Canes. He deserves a raise but obviously wants more than JR is prepared to play. I hate to see these players go but thats the way it goes with small market economics.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Penguins sign Guerin and Adams

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed potential free agent Bill Guerin to a 1 year deal. Guerin helped in their quest for the Stanley Cup but usually players his age are signed as rent-a-players. In another gesture of "Post Stanley Cup Winning Loyalty" the Pens signed 32 year old Craig Adams to a 2 year deal. He did a good job as a role player in the playoffs but 2 years? Will these moves work out for the Pens? Only time will tell.

Canes sign Jokinen to 2 year deal

The Hurricanes made a wise decision in locking down versatile Jussi Jokinen to a 2 year deal today. He can play center or wing and proved in the playoffs that he excels in high pressure situations. Some players fold come playoff time but not Jussi. I'm glad to see that the "Finisher" will be back in a Canes jersey in the fall!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Maurice and staff to stay

JR in my opinion made a wise decision in keeping the Canes coaching staff intact. They did a great job getting us to the conference final this year. It will be interesting to see how they do having the team from training camp and being able to decide which players will make the team. I wouldn't be surprised to see a River Rat or two make the team. (The Rats are our minor league affiliate from Albany) One of the biggest questions is how Brind 'Amour will respond after a sub-par year coming off his 2 knee surgerys. I personnally think he will come back healthy and eager to prove he still has gas in the tank. I think Ruutu should definitely be resigned. Cole and LaRose will be back if the price is right I would expect.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Draft, Free Agency, and Trades

Now that hockey is done for the year the only thing of interest for me is who we might draft in on June 26th, which players sign with new teams during free agency, and any trades that might occur before free agency begins on July 1st. I'm mostly interested in which Canes Jim Rutherford resigns and who he might bring in new via trade or free agency. Its pretty much a given that we won't be making in big splashes but JR has been know to make some good moves that were under the radar. Corey Stillman in '06 comes to mind. Jussi Jokinen is a recent example. The biggest trade is recent history in my mind was trading rookie Jack Johnson. I think Tim Gleason has paid off for us.

It will be interesting to see where Heatley ends up now that he has asked for a trade out of Ottawa. To much heat in the kitchen for you Heatley? Ottawa should get a good return for him.

Philly is giving trouble goalie Ray Emery another shot. He spent last year out of the NHL when no team was willing to bring a potential troublemaker into their fold.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Penguins skate the cup in hockey town!

I guess it just makes sense that the Pens return the favor and skate the cup on Detroit's home ice after watching it in agony last year. Wings fans and players now know first hand just how much it hurts to be so close to winning but tasting defeat instead. I admit I was cheering for the Wings but I have to say after seeing Crosby go out with an injury and try to gut it out in the 3rd period unsuccessfully I decided maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to see them skate the cup. After all didn't they do to Detroit what my Canes did to Boston in winning a game 7 on the road? They outworked the Wings and Fleury silenced his many doubters. (many of whom were Pens fans) I enjoying seeing J. Staal hoist the cup-Malkin and Orpick not so much.

Last dose of hockey til Fall

Finally game 7 is here but it is bittersweet for hockey fanatics like me. Yes, we finally get to see the Stanley Cup awarded after several months of nail biting hockey but then comes months without any hockey at all. I always tear up when I watch the post series handshakes and see the cup awarded. I really feel for the team that fought so hard to win the cup and to get so close yet go home empty handed. I started out as a Caniac about 8 years ago but I gradually transformed into a hockey fan after watching the playoffs one season. The guts and determination these athletes showed in their quest for the cup. I started not just watching the Canes games but other teams as well. Now when playoff time rolls around I am tuned even if my Canes are out of it. My best memory of hockey will always be that glorious '06 run when we won the cup.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Game 7 Winner drinks from the cup

Pittsburgh was able to hold off the Wings comeback attempt in the final period to force a game 7 on Friday night. I am personally glad to have another game to watch but should the Red Wings choke on home ice they and their fans will look back on a failure to clinch in game 6. Fleury played his best game so far but Osgood kept the Wings close with some brilliant saves of his own. The Wings kept Malkin and Crosby from scoring but still managed to lose. The Wings had some golden opportunities to tie it thanks to Malkin but failed to convert on either power play. Hossa has to be more tense then the other Red Wings in that should they lose he will have chosen wrong in leaving Pittsburgh and the lucrative contract. It was admirable in that he chose what he thought was his best chance at the cup over dollars and a long term contract. I for one hope he is rewarded by skating the Cup. While not being a Red Wings fan I admire how they have fought through all their injuries to get to the SCF and hope they hoist it Friday night. Normally I cheer for the underdog but seeing Pittsburghs many cheap shots against my Canes and now again against the Wings makes me a big time Wings fan for one more game. Heres hoping class and determination comes through one more time.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Finish them off!

I am hoping the Wings will finish off the Pens tonight. Us Caniacs know better than most that anything CAN happen if you push it to a game 7. (See NJ and Boston) I'm sure the Pens will play much better tonight. The first 10 minutes will be key to who is going to win it. Should the Wings grab an early lead and take the crowd out of it I think you can stick a fork in the Pens. I'm sure Fleury will bounce back with a better game but will it be enough? I can't wait for the puck to drop to find out. It wouldn't hurt my feelings if the Pens push it to 7 because it would mean one more game of hockey but make no mistake-this Caniac is pulling for the Wings all the way!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

On the Brink

After 2 straight wins by the Pens it looked like the Wings might be running on empty. They bounced back last night with a convincing shutout by Osgood. Pittsburgh really came off their discipline and the Wings made them pay by putting the puck in the net. Crosby set a bad example with his slashes. You would expect more from the captain. Datsyuk was back after missing 7 games. He made a big impact and did not seem rusty. I look for the Pens to come out with a desperate effort and would not be surprised to see this series go 7.

Friday, June 5, 2009

After the Wings won the first 2 games of the series it would seem they were in the drivers seat. Now the Pens have evened things up in convincing fashion. The Wings seem very beatable now. It will be interesting to see how they respond to this confident Pens team back on home ice with the last change. Who will break serve first? Did Hossa bet on the wrong horse? Stay tuned-these questions will be answered in the next 2 to 3 games!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A season to remember

With the way the Canes season started it looked like we might be on the outside looking in again come playoff time. JR turned alot of heads by bringing in former coach Paul Maurice. I admit I was one of the many second guessing the move and thinking it was a mistake. Boy, was I wrong! Coach Mo got the team to be more responsible on the defensive side of the puck. We were cheating towards creating offense. Within a couple of weeks the odd number rushes were drastically cut down. JR also made a couple of moves that helped us down the stretch and into the playoffs. He traded some players not being used to Tampa Bay for Jussi Jokinen. Jussi was great in shootouts and was able to play center or wing. Around the trade deadline JR sent injured Justin Williams to L.A. and a 3 way deal that brought Erik Cole back to Carolina for another tour of duty. This seemed to spark Eric Staals offensive production. Going down the stretch we were one of the hottest teams in the East. We lost the last couple of games leaving us in the number 6 position for the playoffs. The Canes beat New Jersey in the Shock at the Rock in 7 games. We were down by a goal by less than a minute when Jokinen scored to tie it. It looked like overtime until Staal shocked the NJ faithful by streaking down the ice and scoring on future hall of famer Marty Brodeur. Of course no one gave us a chance now that we were taking on number 1 seeded Boston who had run away with the Eastern Conference. We went up 3-1 in the series with some hard fought wins after losing the first game of the series AGAIN. The Bruins battled back hard to send it to a 7th winner take all game in Boston. No one gave us a chance but once again the Canes prevailed in dramatic fashion with Scotty Walker scoring in overtime. Next came the Pittsburgh Penquins. Unfortunately the well ran drive for the Canes in this series with the Pens advancing after a 4 game sweep. The Canes accomplished so much in this magical run. I am proud to be a Caniac and look forward til next year.