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Friday, October 31, 2008

Hansbrough, Fan Base Suffer Stress Reaction

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 11:49 AM

And just like that, the narrative for UNC basketball changes heading into the season. Late Thursday night, the Tar Heels issued a solemn press release stating that superstar big man Tyler Hansbrough had been diagnosed with a stress reaction in his shin and would be out indefinitely. Depending upon one's generalized perspective, the news can be inferred as a potentially devastating setback or as a mere blip on the way toward a great season....

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Hurricanes polish off Blues, record second-best road trip in team history

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 1:19 AM

Tuomo Ruutu scored the only goal of the game after six fruitless power plays midway through the third period, and the Hurricanes were able to hold on for the win. The ‘Canes took revenge on the St. Louis Blues for a stinging 1-0 loss in January by beating their Central Division opponent by the same score.   The game turned out to be a satisfying win, but it could easily have turned into a particularly miserable loss. The ‘Canes managed to stay out of the penalty box during most of the first two periods (two of the Hurricanes’ four penalties...

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shootout woes continue: Hurricanes lose 3-2 in SO

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 1:12 AM

Defenseman Anton Babchuk tallied his first of the season and Matt Cullen salvaged the extra point with his fourth, but once more the Hurricanes made it past the extra period and the shifty moves of their high-scoring forwards didn’t translate into shootout success. After managing to kill off an entire Montreal Canadiens power play in overtime after Eric Staal went off for slashing, the ‘Canes limped into the shootout, where they haven’t had much success in the past two years. Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen, Peter Laviolette’s go-to guys, failed to score, and Staal took Erik Cole’s place, (Laviolette will...

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No baseball tonight. Does anyone outside of Tampa and Philly care?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 7:57 PM

Depressing piece from the Times' Harvey Araton, who calls this Series a "turkey." That's in response to Bud Selig's wan assurance to fans that the Series will be concluded, "even if we have to celebrate Thanksgiving." In a gloomy assessment, Araton bemoans the obvious, that the days of baseball being America's pastime are long gone. Even before Monday night, the television ratings were indicating that the Fall Classic continues to drift from the nation’s consciousness. Granted, this is an anomalous year, with the Series being played during the stretch run of what feels like a momentous presidential election. But if...

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Any room at the inn for the Rays?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 12:01 AM

Tonight's baseball game was the sort of riveting spectacle that is made just for television. Like the Ice Bowl, it was something to watch from afar, as the Rays and Phillies stumbled through a steady, near-freezing rainfall. Down 2-1 in the 6th inning with the game in danger of being declared over, B.J Upton singled with two outs, somehow stole second through the mud, and scored on Carlos Peña's single. Immediately after the inning, the grounds crew pulled the tarp over the infield—a pointless act, actually, considering the condition of the field. It was quickly obvious that there would be...

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Crowded ACC football field leaves UNC-Georgia Tech start time TBA

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 5:19 PM

The ACC table is crowded these days, with 10 of 12 squads sporting overall winning records (you can count yourselves out, State and Clemson) and three teams with one conference loss and seven with two. There are lots of big games coming up, including some unforeseen ones, like Miami versus Virginia and Duke versus Wake Forest (?!), and some expected ones, like Georgia Tech versus Florida State.  With so many contenders, expected and otherwise, the remaining football schedule is in flux, as far as anticipating the stakes of each contest.  So, it was fitting that the UNC media office announced...

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Late Night with Roy: Tipoff of the most pressure-packed season this decade

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2008 at 3:10 AM

North Carolina's 2008-09 edition presented itself to the public for the first time on Friday night, as the annual Late Night with Roy—these days, I guess 8 p.m. is pretty late—spectacle entertained an adoring crowd at the Dean Smith Center. The event typically marks the opening of practice, but UNC officials pushed this year's event back one week to accommodate students, who were on fall break last weekend. As always, there were skits—the best of which featured senior guard Bobby Frasor impersonating Roy Williams—and player introductions and, finally, a brief scrimmage. But while the action on the court, basketball and...

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Scott Stevens effect

Posted By on Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Clearly, the Weight hit has elicited a strong response from hockey fans. Although it has been all but cleared by the league because it was an open-ice hit and Doug Weight was admittedly sorry afterwards, this unfortunate event raises the same old questions: should hits like this be allowed? If a hit is not completed when a player’s back is turned, accompanied by a direct blow to the head, or with noticeable intent to injure, (how one gauges that is anybody’s guess) it gets a stamp of approval. Players such as Scott Stevens thrived on this rule, circling the neutral...

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Doug Weight steamrollers Brandon Sutter; 'Canes win 4-3

Posted By on Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 10:07 PM

Chad LaRose scored his first of the season and Eric Staal and Rod Brind'Amour tallied goals for Carolina in the team's 4-3 over the New York Islanders Saturday night, but the story of the night was Doug Weight's borderline-dirty hit on Brandon Sutter, who had just helped to give the 'Canes the lead. The 19-year-old rookie was knocked unconscious and had to be helped off the ice. Weight, who was an invaluable part of the 'Canes 2006 cup run and iconically lifted the cup with one arm after injuring his shoulder in game 5, is by all accounts a...

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Boosterism

Posted By on Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 7:05 PM

As a "sports blogger," I'm not really sure what ethical parameters are supposed to guide me. I guess if a UNC athletic department official offered me $20 to say that Boston College's cheerleaders smell like bourbon, or that I heard that Randy Shannon huffs amyl nitrite and drinks PBR, I wouldn't do it. I might take the money, but I'd never write anything I knew to be false. I am, however, fairly certain that I don't have to pretend to the same kind of impartiality that news reporters fake. I'm free to be a fan. At first, this didn't...

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‘Canes need to rebound from tough loss

Posted By on Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 5:48 PM

After a smarting defeat on Thursday in which Carolina carried a one-goal lead into the third period and then allowed the Pittsburgh Penguins to pull ahead with two goals in 32 seconds, the Hurricanes will try to patch up their defensive play and move on in time for tonight’s game in Long Island. Sidney Crosby and Ruslan Fedotenko scored in a rapid-fire manner and turned what looked like a sure thing into a scary situation. Max Talbot added another goal and Evgeni Malkin potted an empty-netter, sending the ‘Canes home miserable and igniting a flurry of “what went wrong?” discussion....

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Penguins host the Hurricanes tonight

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 2:53 PM

First off, who is this scoring machine named Niclas Wallin, and where did he come from?   Oh, that’s right. He’s been on the team for eight years, but he has only decided to dazzle us with his dormant offensive ability in the last few games. Wallin is playing like his job is on the line – and who knows, it could be? With he and Frank Kaberle  (who fractured his leg in the Los Angeles game, yowch) possibly on the trading block, Wallin, who normally saves his scoring touch for overtime in the playoffs, is now second...

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

There are no moral victories: Miami 49, Duke 31

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 8:45 PM

Standing on the sideline at Wallace Wade stadium Saturday, I watched Miami’s Matt Bosher get off the best punt I have ever seen, a booming 76-yard kick in the third quarter that left the 32, 011 on hand for the game momentarily silent and the Blue Devil return men scrambling to catch up as the ball sailed overhead. Coach David Cutcliffe would later call this the play of the day. And while it’s unusual for a punt to be singled out in such a way, it wasn’t at all surprising. Prior to Bosher’s kick, the game was Duke’s. Deft play-calling...

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Nolan Smith impresses, and other notes from Duke's Blue-White scrimmage

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 6:05 PM

A day after their first team practice, and a week before facing Virginia Union in the season opener at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke hosted a highly competitive "Blue and White" scrimmage before a near-capacity Cameron crowd. The intra-squad match-up featured two 15-minute second-half scenarios, which included subs, inbound passes and a persistent full-court press. There were no uncontested shots, and players were not shy about blocking teammates who took too long to shoot, or fouling them hard on breakaways. Players fought through picks, big men dove for loose balls-and, in the case of Martynas Pocius, the junior swingman practiced his...

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Price Non-Negotiable

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 1:44 AM

Last night's deciding Game Seven of the ALCS Championship Series had the crisp, taut feel of classic October baseball. Both teams' starters pitched well, especially the Rays' Matt Garza. (Garza was acquired in the trade that sent former Bulls' malcontent Delmon Young to Minnesota.) In the eighth inning, Tampa manager Joe Maddon started playing the bullpen-matchup game, and I was telling a friend of mine that one of the few holes in the Rays' roster was at the spot where an intimidating late-inning reliever should be -- someone who could come in and throw flaming daggers. Since veteran closer Troy...

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

On an interesting side note…

Posted By on Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 11:19 AM

There are a few oddball preferences that showed up in the Hurricanes’ personal info section, on the website and in the media guide.   Courtesy of CBS Tuomo Ruutu lists his favorite food as reindeer and mashed potatoes, a Finnish dish. (Yum?)    Ray Whitney, who clearly had fun with his interview, said the most played song on his iPOD is “Oh Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble” by Mac Davis. Fitting, for a man who can’t stop making faces the camera during other players’ pre-game interviews.   Moscow native Sergei Samsonov’s first hockey team, at age 6, was sponsored...

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‘Canes give up two-goal lead to Kings, lose in OT

Posted By on Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 2:14 AM

The Hurricanes have a few things to work on: namely, getting a lead and keeping it. Carolina earned one point in the standings but dropped the first game in a 6-game swing that will take the team to Anaheim, Pittsburgh, New York, Montreal, and St. Louis. The Hurricanes scored three goals in quick succession in the second period, but allowed the Kings to climb back into the game. Michal Handzus scored his second goal with 1:79 left in overtime to give Los Angeles the win. The Kings went to 2-2 and the ‘Canes dropped to 2-1-1.   Cam Ward looked...

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Trade talk a-swirlin'

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 1:36 AM

On the local, less important scale, Rutherford is once again dropping trade hints. A trade is currently in the works, according to Paul Branecky, the ‘Canes webmaster.   To sum up Rutherford’s statements, the team is currently carrying too many defensemen, and if one more forwards succumbs to injury, the ‘Canes are in serious trouble. Signing a free agent that is still floating out there quasi-NHL Never-Never Land would be ideal, but the ‘Canes don’t have the cap space to do so. Frantisek Kaberle, whose production has dropped steeply in recent years, has been rumored to go – the...

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"Siberian Express" passes away at 19

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 12:27 AM

Alexei Cherepanov, a 19-year-old top prospect for the New York Rangers, passed away on Oct. 13, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death have become a hot-button topic around the globe.   Cherepanov, nicknamed the “Siberian Express” by the press, played for Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. As a rookie, he broke the rookie scoring record, previously held by Pavel Bure, and was selected 17th overall later that year by the New York Rangers – although he was ranked higher going into a draft, many teams feared that there would be future contract disputes with the Russian Hockey...

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Open tryouts for RailHawks; new coach to be in place by December

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 12:37 PM

Looking for a pro soccer gig next year? The ’Hawks are having open tryouts Dec. 13-14 at WakeMed Soccer Park.  The date provides a deadline for the hiring of a new coach, and the team confirmed that it plans to have one in place by then. Immediately following the team's open tryouts, the ’Hawks staff will head to Charleston, S.C. for the USL’s league scouting combine, set to take place Dec. 14-16.  Last year, Richard Perdomo, Brian Levey, Chris Lemons and Nathan Zuzga earned spots on the team via the tryouts.  Space is limited to 50 participants and the cost...

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Déjà vu for Conklin, Corvo, and 'Canes

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 10:54 PM

Cam Ward stopped 34 shots and was named the second star of the game, but it wasn’t enough, as the ‘Canes lost their first game of the young season, 3-1, to the Detroit Red Wings.   “We were in the game for most of it,” Ward said after the game. “We tried to keep the puck in their zone, but they play so strong defensively, it was hard to generate anything.”   The team was almost unrecognizable in their new, jet-black third jerseys, but its old habit of allowing the first goal continued. 20 seconds into a Ray Whitney penalty at 13:05...

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Dean Smith stands tall for Obama

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 1:37 PM

 The One (before The One) From Daily Kos:  "Linnea and I respect all that Senator McCain has done for our country. However, we feel strongly that it is Barack Obama who offers the real leadership our nation needs to tap its potential as a land of opportunity -- even as we face difficult times at home and abroad. Senator Obama is a patriotic American, a committed Christian, a good family man, and a man who shares the bedrock values that most North Carolinians have in common: fairness, hard work, respect for others, and personal responsibility."...

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Thank you, Brandon Tate

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 1:22 PM

 Brandon Tate  Brandon Tate's injury in the first quarter against Notre Dame was much more serious than it initially appeared. From the UNC Sports Information office: "An examination by UNC Sports Medicine revealed a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL).  An MRI on Sunday night confirmed that diagnosis. Tate will miss the remainder of the season and will undergo surgery at UNC Hospitals later this week." Tate is a senior, so this is the end of his UNC career. According to the news release, he finishes "as the NCAA’s all-time leader in combined...

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Carolina Hurricanes: raising the Triangle’s blood pressure since 2005

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 2:40 AM

The first two games in the Hurricanes’ schedule – both thrilling, come-from-behind wins – have been exhilarating, albeit stressful. It shows that this year’s squad has an incredible amount of character, in that they were able to erase a 2-0 lead against Florida and then a 3-0 lead in Tampa Bay on Saturday, but the one thing that the ‘Canes have yet to prove that they can do? Win the old-fashioned way. Those wins were unbelievable (for those that stuck around…those of you that clicked over to baseball after the second period probably feel pretty silly right about now!) and…dare...

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Fighting Tar Heels, plus a moment with Roy

Posted By on Sun, Oct 12, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Alright, this'll have to be quick, mainly because I wasn't able to go to the game, and a TiVo malfunction precluded me from watching the whole thing. In fact, I think I'll supplement this summary with a Roy Williams anecdote, seeing as how basketball season is within sniffing distance. The Tar Heels beat storied Notre Dame to continue their surprising season Saturday. OK, they didn't exactly triumph over the Notre Dame of yore, but Charlie Weis' team, after suffering through a hellish '07, was 4-1 coming into Saturday's game, and looks to be on the up. So, another win...

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