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Paul Maurice


C - Ron Francis, Keith Primeau, Jeff O'Neill, Kent Manderville. RW - Ray Sheppard, Sami Kapanen, Kevin Dineen, Robert Kron, Andrei Kovalenko, Craig Macdonald. LW - Gary Roberts, Martin Gelinas, Paul Ranheim, Bates Battaglia. D - Paul Coffey, Steve Chiasson, Glen Wesley, Curtis Leschyshyn, Sean Hill, Dave Karpa, Nolan Pratt, Marek Malik. G - Trevor Kidd, Arturs Irbe.


Steve Chiasson, d (bruised shoulder, indefinite); Kevin Dineen, rw (groin strain, day to day); Robert Kron, rw (groin strain, day to day); Paul Coffey, d (being old, day to day).


Traded Adam Burt, d, to Philadelphia in exchange for Andrei Kovalenko, rw. Recalled forward Craig Macdonald, rw, from the AHL. Assigned left wing Bryan Ritchie to the AHL. Assigned defenseman Mike Rucinski to the AHL.


2/24 at Toronto   T 2-2
2/26 at Vancouver L 1-0
2/27 at Edmonton  T 2-2
3/03 Boston       W 2-1
3/06 at Florida   T 2-2
3/08 Buffalo      W 4-1


Southeast Division  GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA   
  Carolina          65  29  23  13    71  168  158  
  Florida           63  23  23  17    63  165  170  
  Washington        63  27  31   5    59  167  168  
  Tampa Bay         63  15  43   5    35  136  230


by Chris Schilling, Carolina Correspondent

The Hurricanes ended February with a losing record, going 4-5-4 which includes a loss to the Canadian equivalent of a natural disaster in the Vancouver Canucks. Despite this horrible loss, the Canes have gone 2-1-3 in their past six games, which is more than enough to run even farther ahead of the Bure-d Panthers, who have lost their star scorer to a knee injury.

Despite their eight-point lead, which is almost comfortable enough to sleep on, the Canes' players have been trying not to look back. Playoff vet Ronnie Francis told reporters, "I always look ahead. I never look behind. It's you guys [evil reporters] who always ask me about the teams behind us." Playoff newbie Nolan Pratt added, "We're thinking about who we can catch, not just who can catch us."

Yeah, I thought the same way when I played tag in the 5th grade. Except I always realized just how slow I was when I got caught. Just a reminder, guys: don't overlook Florida.

OH CANADA: The fall of the Canadian dollar isn't the only thing Canadian franchises are worried about. Despite a poor showing against Vancouver, the Hurricanes are 8-2-3 against teams north of the border. Four of the remaining Canes games fall against teams in Canada.

One reason for this could be that most of the Canadian teams play an open-ice style that fits in well with the Canes' speedy offense. Or you could just blame the economy.

GLOWER PLAY: Paul Maurice's looks when his team is on the power play definitely represent his team's success. Despite trying to look like a younger Scotty Bowman, he can't help but look like he sat on Paul Coffey's curved stick whenever his team is proving that even a team with a winning record can underachieve with the man-advantage.

The Hurricanes still are the favorite for bookies on which team will decline a penalty first. It seems their league-worst power play finds new ways to suck every single game.

But in case you missed it, the Carolina power play has shown (relative) signs of life. Thanks to some sharp thinking by Paul Coffey and some deft passing, the Canes went two for three (that's right, two for three) on a power play in Florida Saturday March 6th. No, I didn't slide my hand from zero to two on the keyboard. Sami Kapanen and Ron Francis netted the goals in the 2- 2 tie.

Paul Maurice, the king of the "angry parent" look, says "[It was] the right time for the power play to kick in tonight," he told the Greensboro News and Record. "We save our power play. Once every 30 games or so we kick it in, grab a point and get out of town."

While some local newspapers took that as a joke, I think that's been the plan all along. How else do you describe the skyrocketing climb from last in the league to 26th (ahead of ailing Phoenix?) The percentage now stands at 11.8, which is less than half of league-leading Anaheim's 25.3% power play.

For those of you who actually think the Canes might quit underachieving and play like, say, the incredibly talented Tampa Bay squad on the power play, I say to you leave them alone. Underachieving never hurt anyone. Just ask Alexandre Daigle.

THE TANK ROLLS IN: Andrei Kovalenko was acquired for long-time Whaler and Hurricane Adam Burt in a deal inked last Saturday.

The 5'11, 215-pound Russian winger didn't even get the customary optimism treatment by Canes GM Jim Rutherford. He garnered quite a reputation for a die-hard partier who cares only for his paycheck, and his limited ice time in Philly coupled by the fact that he's been traded more often than a Playboy in junior high gives him a lot of baggage.

He came through, however, scoring the first goal of the night in a 4-1 thrashing of Buffalo March 8th. He was also voted the first star.

Burt was fearful of being traded after being made a healthy scratch for a whole bunch of games. With six defensemen playing and one still injured, who could blame the Hurricanes for wanting to get rid of one? And Philadelphia's defense was poor enough to need a hockey vet like Burt to rescue them from being scored on more than Lindros AND LeClair can keep up.

Best of luck to Burt in Philadelphia. For all the years he stayed on this losing franchise, he deserves to play on such a consistent winner as Philly.

TRADE RUMORS: With half of Jim Rutherford's premonition to get a winger who could score and a defensemen who could move the puck fulfilled, one must only guess that one of the Canes' 14 current forwards will be traded.

The natural choice would be Robert Kron, who has seen a steep decline in his numbers after being stuck on the third line. He has proved to be a solid checker when Ray Sheppard is the target as well, taking both out of commission in the Vancouver game February 26th. However, he continues to be out with a groin strain, missing four games since leaving the ice early at Vancouver, and he has been given a no-trade clause.

The next one on the block is anyone's guess. It also could be one of the Canes' goalies, either the young, slumping Kidd or the older, UFA-to-be All-star Irbe.

Regardless, don't expect the Canes to trade Irbe. His play is too good and Kidd's too awful as of late for the Canes to give him up. Remember when Mike Fountain took over last year at the end of the stretch? He gave up more points than someone betting on Duke.


Toronto 2/24 2-2 T: The battle of two speedy offensive giants ended in a 2-2 tie thanks to a late goal by Alyn McCauley of the leafs. Primeau and Kapanen scored for the Canes, one goal of which was on the power play. Hey, accidents happen.

Vancouver, 2/26 1-0 L: The Hurricanes regained their form on the power play, going 0 for 10 against the pitiful Canucks as Paul Devorski ruined a perfectly good game by interrupting it every two minutes. Gary Roberts' apparent goal tipped under Garth Snow was ruled no goal despite constant TV replays showing it went across the line.

Edmonton, 2/28 2-2 T: Red-hot Steve Passmore, fresh from Hamilton in the AHL, made some incredible saves but wasn't quick enough to stop Ron Francis' fluke goal. It careened off Passmore's skate after Francis shot from behind the goal. The Canes pulled their goalie after being denied on multiple scoring chances by the talented rookie. Well, I guess this one should count as a power play, if only because it involved enough luck for our power play to get it.

Boston, 3/3 2-1 W: Thanks to Arturs Irbe's usual all-star goaltending and a goal by former 30-goal scorer Martin Gelinas, the Hurricanes swept by Boston after returning from a lengthy road trip that sent them wandering around Canada. Irbe stopped 23 from all over, making the net more empty than the Greensboro Coliseum's upper decks.

Florida, 3/6 2-2 T: Even though the Hurricanes scored two, yes, two power-play goals tonight, it was not enough to put away the Bure-less Panthers. Sami Kapanen and Ron Francis scored for the Canes who melted down in the third period, letting in the tying goal on Florida's power play just over eight minutes into the third. Irbe made 33 saves, and should be credited with another one, saving the Hurricanes from returning Florida to the Southeast playoff race in the last period.

Buffalo, 3/8 4-1 W: The Russian Tank, Andrei Kovalenko, scored his first goal as a Carolina Hurricane less than three minutes into the first and the Canes added three goals in the first two periods, putting away the Hasek-less Sabres, including one on a beautiful 2-on-1. Gary Roberts passed it right on the wood to Sami Kapanen at full speed when Kapanen swished it in. Credit Marek Malik with his 2nd goal, which was coincidentally scored on his own net with a beautiful tip in against Arturs Irbe. Note to self, Malik: Move ass from crease.

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