Not only are the Carolina Hurricanes one of the hottest teams in
the NHL, but they're earning some respect by beating some top
quality squads around the league.
Perhaps one of the biggest wins of the year came on December 12
when the Canes blanked the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit
Red Wings, 3-0. To put the win against Detroit in perspective, it
marked the first time the Wings have been shut out on the road in
The win also set some new standards for the Carolina franchise.
It was the first time the Whalers/Canes held Detroit to no goals
since November 14 1989! The winning goaltender that night was
Not Stopping There
After coming off the emotional win against Detroit, the Canes
didn't let down one bit as three days later they blanked the
Edmonton Oilers 3-0. Three days after that, though, they were
downright awful, getting blown out by Ottawa 5-1.
What could have been disaster the following night, turned into
one of the most gutsiest wins a team could ask for when Carolina
edged Buffalo 3-2. Not only did Trevor Kidd outperform some guy
named Dominik Hasek, but the Hurricanes played much of the third
period with only three defensemen.
After Curtis Leschyshyn went out with a bruised sternum and both
Adam Burt and Steve Chiasson left with shoulder injuries, forward
Paul Ranheim was moved back to at least give Carolina two shifts
"I'm pumped, I've got to be bitterly honest with you," Carolina
coach Paul Maurice told the press after the contest said. "That's
the most I've been excited for a hockey game all year. I think
obviously Trevor played very well to win that game. The story,
really, I think is that we lose three defensemen and then Ranheim
has to go back and play defense. But I think we got a little
better as this game went on."
While it was far from dominating, it was a victory against
another outstanding team. The Hurricanes were holding on for dear
life, being outshot 40-20 for game.
It sure is nice to have two good goalies, isn't it?
For the most part Maurice has been going with the hot hand. It
was Arturs Irbe who blanked Detroit, making 35 saves for the
game, including 16 alone in the third period. The following game
Irbe was again between the pipes to pick up his fourth shutout of
But, it was Kidd who stopped 38 shots in beating Buffalo. The win
improved Kidd to 4-1-1 in his last six starts...
...so, what's the problem?
Well, right now there isn't one. I must admit, I'm not exactly a
Carolina fan, but I have been following the team a lot more
closely in order to be able to write about them. I am, however, a
Philadelphia Flyer fan, so I know a little bit about goalie
controversies come playoff time.
It's pretty safe to say, the Hurricanes will be making a trip to
the playoffs (knock on wood). I realize it's not even officially
winter yet, but I can't help but to compare this situation to
that of the Flyers two years ago.
First it was Garth Snow, then it was Ron Hextall and finally
Garth Snow...again. Terry Murray turned what should have been a
successful playoff run into a media mess. It goes to show, you
need to have a number one goalie by the time late in the season
Obviously, there is plenty of time to decide, and, anything can
happen in a four month span. But, if you had to pick right now...
Quite a Show
The December 12 game against Detroit was filled with many side
notes that could be talked about endlessly.
One of those is the fact that it marked the first time the
Greensboro Coliseum was sold out for a Carolina Hurricanes hockey
game. On that night 11,059 showed up to see what was an
impressive win by the locals.
It couldn't have come at a better time, either. If hockey is
going to succeed in the Carolina area, this could be starting
point. It was safe to say by the 3000+ empty seats for most home
games that hockey wasn't quite officially there. But, rather then
getting blown out by a Detroit team that clearly had more talent,
the Canes gave every fan their money's worth.
Hopefully, it's a sign of things to come.