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Carolina Hurricanes

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mr. Semin goes to Washington, Canes lose again

Posted by on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 8:10 AM

FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS (TV)—Players switch teams all the time in hockey. Free agents put themselves on the open market in droves every summer. Teams toss prospects over the fence in exchange for draft picks. At the trading deadline (on April 3, this year) it’s not uncommon for a player to change cities and then play his old team within a week. It’s the business, players say.

Alexander Semin, seen here in an earlier tilt with Tampa Bay, couldnt make a difference against his former team Tuesday night.
  • Photo by Chris Baird
  • Alexander Semin, seen here in an earlier tilt with Tampa Bay, couldn't make a difference against his former team Tuesday night.
But these changes aren’t always run of the mill, and this is a big week for them for the Hurricanes. Last night, Alexander Semin played his first game back in Washington D.C. after seven years with the Capitals. And tomorrow night, Jordan Staal faces his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, for the first time in Raleigh.

Hopefully Staal’s reunion goes better than Semin’s.

Semin was booed every time he touched the puck on Tuesday at the Verizon Center. The Caps’ Troy Brouwer had fired up the negativity by dissing Semin’s work ethic to reporters on Monday.

“Some nights you didn't even know if he was going to come to the rink,” Brouwer griped. “It's tough to play alongside guys like those because you don't know what you're going to get out of them.”

Well, Semin is the fifth-leading scorer in Caps franchise history. But certainly, Brouwer’s 50-goal seasons must be imminent.

The negative vibes didn’t appear to affect Semin’s game much, but Braden Holtby, the Caps’ netminder, did. Holtby’s 33 saves kept the scoresheet clean. The Russian finished with four shots on goal, two misses and a -1. One of those shots was a shorthanded breakaway when the game was still scoreless, but Holtby parried Semin’s wrist shot with his glove. The Verizon Center crowd would have made an interesting noise had that shot gone in.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Ward hands one to the Jets, Canes drop second straight

Posted by on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM

PNC ARENA—Kirk Muller is a ruthlessly positive man. If you fell down the stairs, he would shout down at you, “Now you don’t have to dust.”

But after last night’s 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, in which Cam Ward looked below average, Muller sounded like he was trying convince himself about his starting goaltender.

Winnipeg had gone seven games without scoring three goals. Until they faced Cam Ward last night.
  • Photo by Rob Rowe
  • Winnipeg had gone seven games without scoring three goals. Until they faced Cam Ward last night.
“He’s a good pro. I’m sure he’s going to look at a couple of them. It probably feels like he had the opportunity to make a couple more saves there but this is where we are as a group.”

Thanks, coach. But this is his second straight game in which he allowed three goals the third period. Isn’t that a problem?

“I think he was hoping to come back with a big game after the last game in Montreal. But we win as a team and lose as a team and we just didn’t close the door at the end as a group.”

So coach, will we see Dan Ellis in net Saturday night against the Lightning?

“I’ll generally sleep on it tonight and come back tomorrow. It’s a new day. I thought we had a good game tonight. It’s not all down and negative. And we’ve got a big game coming up. So I’ll talk to the coaches and sleep on it tonight and make a decision tomorrow or the following day.”

In the peculiar language of coaches, that’s about as definitive a “yes” as you’re going to get. And truthfully, the Canes are still in first place in their division even after these losses.

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  • Pin It
    Seven years removed from a dazzling rookie run that ended with a Stanley Cup win and a Conn Smythe trophy, is Ward still an elite goalie?

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Canes gel on the road to lead division

Posted by on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 7:27 AM

FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS (TV)—Remember grumbling about the Hurricanes a couple weeks ago? In a word, they were middling. They'd win one and then lose one, very Jekyll and Hyde.

It turns out that they just needed a little trip.

Eric Staal is among the league scoring leaders after Carolinas 4-1-1 road trip.
  • Photo by Chris Baird
  • Eric Staal is among the league scoring leaders after Carolina's 4-1-1 road trip.
The Canes completed their season-high six-game road trip last night in New Jersey with a flourish of muscle and skill, dumping the conference-leading Devils 4-2. Carolina's 4-1-1 trip pushes then to the top of their division at the quarter turn of the lockout-shortened season, as the inconsistency that plagued the Canes seems to have spread to the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning.

The trip started off with a familiar ring, though—a gutsy 5-3 loss in Philadelphia. Backup goaltender Dan Ellis, fresh off a shutout of Ottawa in Raleigh, earned a second consecutive start, raising murmurs about the depth chart in net. But Ellis gave way to Cam Ward after 40 minutes, and Ward's been in net ever since.

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    All they needed was a little trip. Carolina's 4-1-1 road swing has them flying high.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Hat trick for the captain; Canes win their first of the year

Posted by on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 7:22 AM

PNC ARENA—The first time the little boy threw the hat, it barely left his hand. The second time, held aloft by his dad, he bounced it off the top of the glass and it fell back in his arms. Finally he threw harder and got it onto the ice.

Third time’s a charm. Just ask Eric Staal.

Eric Staals 13th career hat trick paced the Canes to a 6-3 win over Buffalo, their first win of the season.
  • Photo by Chris Baird
  • Eric Staal's 13th career hat trick paced the Canes to a 6-3 win over Buffalo, their first win of the season.
The Carolina captain’s empty-net goal capped a hat trick, pacing the Hurricanes to a 6-3 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres Thursday night for their first victory of the year.

“I wanted the win more but once you get the puck on your stick and there’s no goalie, you always want to make sure you cash in,” a smiling Staal said afterwards amid the bedlam of a locker room that was both celebrating and packing up gear. The Canes complete a home-and-home series in Buffalo on Friday night.

The big guns were big guns and the role players played their roles. Jeff Skinner added a pair of goals and Justin Faulk scored shorthanded. Zac Dalpe, Joni Pitkanen and Jordan Staal each had a pair of assists. Even Bobby Sanguinetti, the young defenseman who had struggled throughout the first two games, made nice plays.

Cam Ward found his form in goal, counting several old-school standup saves among his 30 stops on the night.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why did the Canes hear boos? It's the lockout, stupid

Posted by on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 7:55 AM

PNC ARENA—In 1944, the poet William Carlos Williams published a crucial book called “The Wedge.” Wartime conservation had shut down his regular publisher, New Directions, so the tiny Cummington Press brought it out in an edition of 380, which was all the paper they could get their mitts on during the war. Williams’ famed preface opens with a blunt acknowledgement of the international—and individual—situation: “The War is the first and only thing in the world today.”

Jeff Skinner shoveled in the Canes only goal in a frustrating 4-1 loss to Tampa in the Canes home opener.
  • Photo by Chris Baird
  • Jeff Skinner shoveled in the Canes' only goal in a frustrating 4-1 loss to Tampa in the Canes' home opener.
This sentence should be adapted and drilled into the minds of all hockey players: “The Lockout is the first and only thing in the rink today.”

Paint it over the locker room doorways. Tape it on the weight room ceiling over the bench press.

Fans certainly know that sentence. They chanted it during the third period of the Canes’ 4-1 home-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Except, translated into the language of competitive frustration and economic hardship, it sounded like boos.

Sports is not an escape from daily life anymore. There will be no patience while the multi-millionaires figure their game out. They work for us, after all.

Back in the early weeks of the lockout in September, fans sided with the players. Hockey fans are overwhelmingly workers, not captains of industry. So: screw the owners, the players actually sweat and hit and play the games; pay them. Even well-heeled fans like to adopt hockey’s blue-collar identity. Though very few of us pull on work gloves and shape raw materials into goods anymore, we still ascribe labor’s nobility to our hockey players.

But as ignominious months ticked off, and especially as the scheduled start of the regular season passed, that nobility drained away. November’s near-resolution was torturous. It broke that nobility. These guys weren’t workers like us anymore.

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  • Pin It
    The lockout is the first and only thing in the rink today. Millions and millions of dollars turn out to be awfully heavy if you can't win a game.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Canes look rusty in season-opening loss to Panthers

Posted by on Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 10:56 AM

FSN CAROLINAS (TV)—We waited through a four-month lockout for this?

The Carolina Hurricanes opened the shortened 2013 season with a whimper, surrendering four first-period goals in a 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers. Mercifully, this was Florida’s home opener, so Canes fans didn’t have to pay for tickets to see their team’s meager display.

Eric Staal was rusty in a 5-1 season-opening loss in Florida.
Caniacs do have to dish out cash for Carolina’s home opener on Tuesday, as the Tampa Bay Lightning visit Raleigh. Tampa hung six goals on the Washington Capitals in their opening victory Saturday night. The lesson: there are no easy games.

Jonathan Huberdeau, playing in his first NHL game, scored in the opening minutes of the game, notching two assists before it was done. Brian Campbell put a puck over each of Cam Ward’s shoulders and Alexei Kovalev—the 39-year-old Russian whom many figured was out of hockey—added a goal and two assists.

Patrick Dwyer had the Canes’ sole tally. Cam Ward lasted a period. Dan Ellis replaced him after the first intermission and surrendered only Kovalev’s trickster goal.

Anyone who took chemistry in high school knows that sometimes, when you pour the chemicals together, nothing happens. That was the case for Canes coach Kirk Muller’s line combinations on Saturday night. Instead of assembling two lines entirely of high-end talent, he mixed one green winger in with two veteran stars on the top two lines. It didn’t really work.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Caniacs rejoice! Hockey's back!

Posted by on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 6:37 AM

RALEIGH—Caniacs will be smiling today. After 113 days, the National Hockey League lockout is over.

Cam Ward and the Carolina Hurricanes will return to the ice now that the lockout is over.
  • Photo by Rob Rowe
  • Cam Ward and the Carolina Hurricanes will return to the ice now that the lockout is over.
Sunday brought that happy news as well as an unfamiliar sight to PNC Arena. Men in red and black uniforms, on ice skates, were already slinging a puck around. The Carolina Hurricanes' American Hockey League affiliate Charlotte Checkers coincidentally played a long-scheduled game in Raleigh, defeating the Norfolk Admirals 3-1.

The first-place Checkers took the ice just hours after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players' Association executive director Donald Fehr announced that the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement had been finalized. At 4:40 a.m., to be exact.

There are still many unknowns at this moment. The official start date of the season hasn't been determined. Team schedules haven't been made yet. Hundreds of players are hurriedly packing their bags to depart the European and Russian league teams that they've been playing for during the lockout. They have flight schedules and visas and work permits to deal with.

Oh, and they still have to write the actual CBA. "We have to dot a lot of I's and cross a lot of T's," a bleary Bettman said in his pre-dawn announcement Sunday at the Manhattan hotel where the final stretch of negotiations had been held. "There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agreed upon. We have to go through a ratification process and the Board of Governors has to approve it from the League side and, obviously, the players have to approve it as well."

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Carolina pays its Calder Kid

Posted by on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Does Cheerwine come in champagne bottles?

Jeff Skinner, seen exulting two seasons ago during a game against the New York Islanders
The Carolina Hurricanes locked up another component of the team’s core by inking 20-year-old forward Jeff Skinner to a six-year contract extension. The deal keeps the gifted scorer in the red and black for the next seven years since it begins after his current deal expires in spring of 2013.

It also shows a hockey franchise making every effort to run with the big boys.

The 2010-2011 Calder Trophy winner will pocket $4,350,000 in the 2013-14 season and then $6 million per season through 2018-19. He has one year remaining on his current entry-level deal that will pay him $900,000 this coming season.

Nice raise, Jeff.

“It’s nice to be a part of the organization for even longer,” Skinner said in a conference call with media this afternoon. “Obviously I’m very grateful to them for selecting me in the draft and, today, for showing the confidence to have me around long-term.”

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  • Pin It
    The young scorer's 6-year, $34.35 million extension shows a franchise frustrated with the B-list.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Mercurial retrograde? Hurricanes ink Alexander Semin to one-year deal

Posted by on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 8:43 AM

You often encounter the word "mercurial" in the world of sports. Sports journalists slap the adjective in front of the names of inconsistent players. Mercurial athletes tantalize you with second-to-none play in one moment and devastate you by vanishing into oblivion the next. They're more than streaky; they're hair-losingly maddening. And they tend to wear out their welcome.

Why the long face, Alexander Semin? The Carolina Hurricanes are giving you a second chance.
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Why the long face, Alexander Semin? The Carolina Hurricanes are giving you a second chance.
The Canes have just signed such a player. The Russian winger Alexander Semin, who sniped 197 goals in seven seasons with the Washington Capitals, scrawled his name on a one-year deal with Carolina this week.

Semin's talent is hard to figure out. He scored 40 goals just a few seasons ago, seeming to have come of age into an elite scorer and point-a-game player, the kind of guy whose name you etch onto trophies. But over the last couple of seasons, his effort has waxed and waned. Coaches have benched him here and there to try to motivate him. Caps fans had come to jeer him more than cheer for him. He netted just three goals and one assist in 14 playoff games this year.

Many hockey fans would tell you there's something mercurial in the Russian nature. Alexei Kovalev, Alexander Ovechkin and former Cane Sergei Samsonov all fit the profile: wingers who appear to have the talent to score at will and skate circles around opponents, but that are as likely to turtle after a big hit and simply drift around the ice or need a map to find the defensive zone. Sometimes you forget that they're playing. Other times, they make you forget that anyone else is playing.

For Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford, it's a high-risk, high-reward move. Or is it? The risk is, in hockey terms, minimal and exactly quantifiable: $7 million. Semin's one-year deal makes a divorce easy if he underachieves, i.e. pots fewer than 35 goals.

Because that's what Semin does. He scores goals. He's not coming to Raleigh to vie for the Selke Trophy as best defensive forward. Jordan Staal's now here to combine backchecking with goal-scoring. Semin's here to uncork his incomparable wrist shot and pump his fist when it goes in.

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  • Pin It
    Semin's the hot sports car with undiagnosable engine trouble. Carolina has kicked Semin's tires and slapped N.C. plates on him.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Canes acquire Jordan Staal on draft day

Posted by on Sat, Jun 23, 2012 at 6:24 AM

Cue up Sly and the Family Stone, Canes marketers. It's a Staal family affair in Raleigh.

In the league's biggest deal on the first day of the draft in Pittsburgh, Carolina acquired center Jordan Staal from the Penguins for center Brandon Sutter, minor league defenseman Brian Dumolin, and the eighth overall pick.

First and foremost, Carolina makes one of its franchise cornerstones happy. Jordan is the third Staal in the organization now. Younger brother Jared plays for the Canes' American Hockey League affiliate in Charlotte.

Given how dreary a year captain Eric had this past season, when the locker room could at times be mistaken for a buffet-less wake, the morale boost expected here is significant. Carolina has certainly been missing some kind of spark. This might be it.

In a more concrete respect, Carolina also upgrades their offensive punch. Given the second-line minutes he never got in Pittsburgh, 35 goals is a realistic target for Staal. He potted 25 this past season in 62 games. Staal's career high is 29 goals during his rookie season six years ago.

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  • Pin It
    Expect the Canes to lead the league in mussed hair and noogies. In a draft-day deal, Jordan Staal joined his older brother Eric in Carolina.

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Gaffe-r is right...he f8cks up all the time. "A lot of success over the last 3 years"....less smoke blows out …

by DonGarbageBlows on Colin Clarke returns as head coach of Carolina RailHawks (Sports)

OMG HAHAHA GREAT hire HAHAHAHA such a record of success :D

by DonGarbageBlows on Colin Clarke returns as head coach of Carolina RailHawks (Sports)

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