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Everything posted by SweepDaLeg

  1. Laviolette is most likely history. He was already on the bubble back in January for bringing a total lack of phyiscal play to the Canes game, and squandering a nice early cushion in the division. Not making the playoffs again will be intolerable to this organization....just ask Paul Maurice. After being only the 3rd coach in NHL history to miss the playoffs after winning the Cup, Lavi has followed it up with another non-playoff season, and this time snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the last week of the season. It may not be fair, but it is the way it goes at the Pro level. This team had plenty of talent, near the top in the NHL in goals scored, but the lack of physical play, inconsistent goaltending, and then losing 3 of 4 to turn the division over to Washington at the very end is a bitter pill to swallow. Screwing with the team chemistry in the last week was just absurd, and would normally be a no brainer for any coach...."i went with what got us here" is a much better sell than "I had to get back to the same guys who weren't getting it done from November to January". Once again, plenty of blame to go around, but you can get rid of all the players or you can replace the coach, and that choice should be an easy one. I know, I know....it's the players that are on the ice, not the coaches. Yep, but it is up to the coaches to set a game plan, make the right lineup choices, and to motivate the team. November through January was anything but motivational, and Losing 4 citical games down the stretch...2 to non-playoff teams in your division, and 2 to the team right behind you suggests a total failure to prepare this team to get into a "playoff" frame of mind. Sitting center ice down at home games down the stretch was just eery....a lack of physical play by the Canes and no one going down to block shots (other than Wesley of course). Surely the coach must have noticed this. The positives....Eric Staal was an animal for the past two months, and showed himself to be a real leader when it was needed. Brindy, Cully and Williams will be healed and back next year. Scott Walker brings it every single night, and you can see why he was a team captain prior to coming to the Canes. The additions of Corvo, Ruutu, and especially Samsonov form a nice new base going forward. Once we brought up the likes of Brookbank and Conboy, we showed the league that we can be physical and won't tolerate being pounded into submission. The Rat-pack showed some talent and some promise....no future HOFers, but some good energy, solid play and contribution. We need another solid Goalie to press Cam Ward toward consistency. Wesley and Hedican won't be back, so we will need some new defenseman...preferably guys who can help out our goalies by being physical infront of the net, blocking shots, and protecting our prize players. All in all, it was a fun season, with a disappointing ending. Half the teams in the NHL make the playoffs and we aren't one of them. I remember asking Mike Commodore how they felt missing the playoffs last year, and he told me "embarassed". I cannot even begin to imagine how these guys all feel this year. See you in September Canes.
  2. It's hard to make heads or tails of Cam's season this year. He had a great December and a nice stretch over the past 25 games...up until tonite. But in the middle, his 3.30 or so GAA was simply horrendous. He once again ends the year in the bottom third of starting goalies statistically, and before anyone blames our defense, keep in mind that Carolina generally outshot its opponents this year, so some unlucky goalie was getting it on the other side. Cam so much as said he struggled much of this year, and you've heard that quote from Forslund, Tracey, his teammates and Lavi at points in time during the season. Cam reminds me of the shortstop who leads the league in miraculous plays, but also leads the league in errors. Then a bunch of novice fans swoop in and blame the pitcher for allowing too many hard ground balls, or the field crew for not manicuring the infield properly. Cam seems to fight concentration period to period, and I often sense that he is at his worst when he is thinking vs. reacting to what is occuring on the ice. Cat quick when he wants to be, but then will forget to guard the post on a wrap around. I think his shootout woes bear this out....He has a lot of time to think about what the shooter will do and as opposed to reacting to the shooter, he is anticipating some specific move. So is Cam a young rising star in the NHL...Or a comet that burned brightly as it crossed the sky during the summer of 2006 only to fizzle out quickly barely to be seen again. Probably too early to tell. Barasso has done well helping Cam out of the horrific funk he was in during mid-season. And Cam has improved handling the puck behind the net, albeit it is still and adventure for him. And yes, he did win a shootout. Cam earned an A+ in December, and B+ the last 25 games of the season, and a C- for the balance of the season. Overall grade is B-, which is actually a bit better than his stats would suggest. In my view, nothing wrong with Cam that some good competition for the #1 job couldn't cure. Graham being his friend is no help at all. Cam doesn't need a friend, he needs someone to push him....everyday, to his limits.
  3. Yes, he was all over the ice and mostly ineffective. Bringing him back in no condition to play at a playoff level was a costly decision of magnitudinal proportions. He threw more passes on the power play into Corvos skates that I would have thought was possible....it left Corvo with no play other than to pass it back, and Whitney looked almost afraid to shoot. Nice pass to Samsonov, but many more passes that went to Florida. Do not get me wrong. I like Whitney, but he was no help to us down the stretch. 22 Minutes and ZERO, that's a big donut ZERO, shots on goal. Need I say more?
  4. Only the 3rd team to not make the playoffs the year after they win the Stanley Cup. In control of the Southeast division with a backend loaded home schedule and can't get it done. Lose 3 of the last 4 games of the season...2 of them to non-playoff teams, and the other to a team that gained the playoffs by beating you. Nice resume, if you are looking for unemployment. Lavi can't hold on forever just based on the Canes winning the cup anymore than Cam to be considered a top line goalie just because he won the Conn Smythe. They started the season by saying that it was essentially the same team that won the stanley cup....then they had to bring up some muscle to stop the team from taking beating nightly....then they brought new guys in/up to improve the team and its chemistry.....then they folded down the stretch with guys like Brookbank and Conboy as healthy scratches. Losing Brindy, Williams and Cully the way we did really sucked, but face it LaRose breaking his leg didn't matter one bit....Brookbank was a +, Conboy was a +, Ruutu a +, Corvo ++, and Samonov +++. You can keep changing out all the players or you can shake it up by changing the coach. Funny how, most experts believe the turning point for the Caps this year was them firing their coach. hmmm.
  5. Yes we needed Brookbank and/or Conboy down the stretch, but do not underestimate the importance of one of the best faceoff men in hockey as a need in big games. 9 power plays and much of them spent chasing the puck back down the ice because we couldn't control the puck off the faceoff.
  6. Why because Lavi is a soft coach...same as he was a soft player. He doesn't want or appreciate the physical aspects of the game, and it was not until the Rangers put and carried out a bounty on Cullen that he learned that lesson. Apparently the thought of bringing LaRose and Whitney back made Laviolette forget that they were not part of the team chemistry that brought us to the brink of the Southeast division title. I have to give LaRose some credt for his hat trick the other nite, but LaRose and Whitney were absolute diasters tonite....and you can add on Eric Cole's complete lack of presence vs. Florida. Kudos to Staal (as usual), Ruutu, Walker, and Samsonov who all laid it on the line tonite. I hope all can recall that after we lost games 5 and 6 of the Stanley Cup finals to Edmonton the most amazing statistic of game 7 was how we outhit Edmonton. It was the difference in that game and ultimately what brought us the Stanley Cup game 7 victory. By the way, when was the last time a Cane (other than Wesley) went down to block a shot. I did not see this happen once tonite, except by Florida. Seems we weren't really ready to play playoff hockey....one other thing you can point ot Laviolette about. You can catch him the rest of the NHL seaon at Dunkin Donuts feeding that empty hole in his face.
  7. This quote seems pretty benign to me. Sounds like he is just saying that Florida holds the keys to everyone's destiny now. A small consolation for a team that will not make the playoffs...But, if it floats Hortons' boat....so be it. As for tomorrow....Caps 7 Panthers 1. If we outshot Florida 47-16 or so, Washington should really maul them. Ovechkin scores 5 goals to reach 70 and solidify himself as the MVP of the league. "70 Goals...So easy even a caveman can do it"
  8. I agree, except on #2...I was right there at center ice and what you may not have noticed was Corvo returning passes to Whitney after Whitney's passes were into Corvo's skates leaving him in no position to shoot. Whitney was an absolute disaster on the power play...trouble hadnling the puck and didn't seem to want to shoot it. He finally did make one good pace to Samsonov who nailed it, but it wasnt enough. Pretty clear that Whitney was not yet in condition to play a game at this level, and the decision to play him cost our team down the stretch. Whitney is a finesse player with zero phyisical presence and when he's having trouble handling the puck, he's pretty worthless. He was an even bigger disaster at Washington, and the decision to stay with him was a costly one. I took a lot of *edit* here recently about my comments of Laviolette going with a weak lineup that excluded guys like Brookbank and Conboy...guys who helped get us into playoff position in the first place. Well, a lot of discussion on that the last few days with Forslund and its pretty clear that Lavi's breaking up of the team chemistry did not play out in our favor. Scottie Walker did everything humanly possible to spark the team with physical play, but it wasn't enough. Once again it was almost eery how little Carolina was hitting. Florida is a team that was playing for little, and if we pounded them hard an early, they may not have wanted to play so hard. Washington pushed us around like paper dolls the other nite, and our 2-1 loss at Tampa Bay was another pitiful physical effort. Hockey is a physical game, and if you don't want to play that way, you are just fodder. Lavi's decision to bring a knife to gunfights down the stretch by breaking up the chemistry and eliminating the swagger that got us to the brink is the worst decision I've seen in sports in many years. So after a Stanley Cup win, we then became the 3rd team in NHL history not to make the playoffs the next year, and now have followed that up with taking a lock on a division title that we blew down the stretch and at home. Laviolette has nothing to be proud of and he is as much a part of these losses as anyone on the team. Very sad indeed.
  9. Finally, someone with hockey sense. We had 47 shots on goal and I don't here anyone talking about the Panthers lack of D. I don't care if Florida had 17 breakaways, Cam can't let in 4 goals in a game that decides if they make the playoffs.....Okay that's a little rough. But, put in in perspective.....Philly is now in the playoffs, because their goalie shut out the Devils in a game the Devils desparately wanted, 22 shots on goal and not one went in. Boston is now in the playoffs, because their goalie allowed only 1 goal on 18 shots on the road against Ottawa who also needed a win for playoff position. The first goal and the short hander were stops that a top notch goalie will make 90% of the time. He needed to stop one of those and didn't. Cam will be fine, but he needs a guality backup to push him and sub for him, which is what I've been saying all year. Fact is, Cam didn't get it done down the stretch, and his teammates take equal blame. A hot goalie is what makes the difference in big games, and Cam just wasn't hot tonite. What a bummer.
  10. Yes, and that was the case for nearly 3 months, as Cam faded to the bottom 10% of NHL goalies in every meaningful statistic. And those of us who are close to the Canes realize all the steps that Carolina took to assist Ward in getting back on track. How many of the Canes, the broadcasters, etc. have talked about Cam "struggling" through that period. Barasso has done a fine job working Cam through and beyond many issues he was facing during that drought. Now the Cam that helped us win the Stanley Cup appears to be back, and I plan on watching him win a few playoffs games for us. I also talked about our lack of physical play, and obviously Rutherford knew about that also...bringing up the likes of Brookbank, Conboy and bringing in Ruutu for Ladd. That gave the team a swagger that was non-existent for months. Sitting at center ice game in and game out, the lack of hitting by the Canes was pathetic and very noticeable. We had no one to protect our better players. Then when Brookbank and Conboy started taking on other teams, we got our swagger back and other teams began to respect us again. And if you think Lavi wasn't in trouble back then, you should ask him. No way a coach survives becoming only the 3rd coach in NHL history to miss the playoffs the next year, and then follows it without another non-playoff season and survives. Its really simple....you can get rid of all the players, or you can get rid of the coach. It's not fair, it's simply the way it works in pro sports. Remember MO?...the coach that took us to the Stanley Cup finals?
  11. Agree 100%. Scratching Brookbank (and Conboy) vs. Washington is about the same as asking for a beating. Perhaps LaRose can ankle bite Brashear just enough to irritate him, and then he'll end up hurting one of our quality players. This is a tough game, and requires guys who can stand toe to toe with a physical hockey team. Hamilton was a disaster last game, and his inability to hold the blue line on power plays cost us dearly. LaRose did score a goal on a nice pass from Trevor last game, but he is Avery without strength or skill or we don't need him against the Capitals. I have been center ice at every Carolina game this season, and I'm telling you that the pivotal turning point in this season was when we brought a few "Goons' of our own to the party. Without them, it could be a long nite tonite vs. Washington. I have Canes playoff tixs in hand, and would love to use them, so I'll hope for the best tonite. However...Even if we lose to Washington tonite, I'll say it again.....Tampa Bay isn't beating us in the RBC, and Florida isn't beating us anywhere. Go Canes.
  12. Prior to Rutherford bringing Brookbank up, Lavi nearly lost his job by playing a brand of hockey that was not phyiscal. The result was a plethora of injuries, most notable being the Cullen loss based on the bounty the Rangers put on him. He is sitting both Brookbank and Conboy tonite, which leaves Carolina unable to deal with the physical play of the Caps and Brashear. Not sure what Laviolette fails to understand about the physical nature of the game, but it's pretty clear to anyone watching, that the Canes started winning again when they started hitting and started standing up for themselves. Brookbank and Conboy helped bring a swagger back to Carolina, and now Lavi is going to bypass all that once again With any luck, Brashear will break LaRose's leg in two right in front of Lavi so he can learn once and for all that this is a game of physical swagger and intimidation, not some contest to see who can skate faster. Good Luck Canes. With Lavi has head coach, you will certainly need it. If the Canes don't make the playoffs, look for Lavi to be gone very soon. Once he's gone, the likes of Jeff Hamilton and Chad LaRose will be history...thank God.
  13. Ramo did one heck of a job for Tampa Bay and ended up being the difference tonite. Cam kept us in this game with some great saves, and while he did give up one cheapie, Cam has been terrific down the stretch after really struggling for months. I wws wondering back in January if we'd ever see this Cam Ward again, and I'm glad he showed up. But, there are some other notable things to consider here. After bringing up players like Brookbank and Conboy to become a more physical team with swagger, the Canes are now back to the likes of Chad LaRose and Hamilton...guys who are more like Chihuahuas than Pitbulls. Yes, LaRose scored our only goal, but he took a stupid cheap penalty late in the first and that shifted momentum and put Tampa Bay back in the game allowing a power play goal. I love LaRose's energy, but he plays like a low grade moron and does more to insight the other team than he'll ever do to help Carolina. And, didn't we waive Jeff Hamilton. He was an absolute disaster tonite on the powerplay. Cross ice passes directly to Tampa Bay players. Fumbling around with the puck in his own end. Yes, he has a great slapshot, but Hamilton's play was one reason why Carolina was giving up shorthanded goals galore right before we waived him. It was when Carolina lost the likes of LaRose and Hamiltion and picked up the likes of Brookbank and Conboy that this team turned the corner. The physical play ignited this team who looked beaten and listless prior to their arrivals. Don't get me wrong, Those guys won't score a lot of goals for you, but it is the physical play that turned this team around, along with the acquisitions of Samsonov, Corvo, Ruutu, etc.. Tonite Brookbank played one minute and Conboy was a scratch. Tampa Bay hates to play a physical game, and we obliged them. Washington will be very physical and if we counter with LaRose and Hamilton, you can count on a long long nite for Carolina. I think Carolina makes the playoffs no matter what happens Tuesday nite. Tampa Bay won't beat us at the RBC, and Florida won't beat us anywhere. But looking ahead to the playoffs, Laviolette needs to consider carefully what type of lineup he puts in. The playoffs will be more physical no matter who we see, and LaRose's punkass play will only serve to inspire teams as it did before he broke his leg. I doubt we'll see Hamilton ever again once Cully, Williams and Whitney come back, but I'd be careful about going into the playoffs without a Brookbank and/or Conboy on the roster. If we get the Rangers or Ottawa in Round one, we'll need those type of players to protect our stars and inspire our team. Send Hamilton back to waivers and tell LaRose to go bark at cars on I-40 until next year. Go Canes.
  14. Gee, seems to me there was a guy named Samsonov who was struggling in Chicago also. Anyone want to nix that trade now. Get It???
  15. No disagreement here, but I watch about 300 NHL games a year and I see goalies being hung out to dry in every game. One of the litmus test on great Goalies is how they compete in shootouts....no defensemen allowed....mano y mano. And in that category, Cam is also a bottom tier goalie. Like I said, he has promise but lacks in some key fundamentals. It's pretty simple, you can either judge Cam by how he played for about a month during the Stanley Cup playoffs or by how he's played the other 2 years of his career. It's like the guy who hits 6 HRS in the MLB playoffs, but only averages 15 a season. Somehow I think Cam is somewhere in between that Conn Smythe goalie and the goalie with a GAA nearing 3.0. In any case, I'd like to see Cam succeed for the benefit of the Canes. Afterall, I'm spending about 8K a year watching him from center ice at the RBC.
  16. Yes, Cam is much worse than the score sheet indicates. As I mentioned in a previous post, no 3rd year starting goaltender should be working on the basic fundamentals of his position. If Cam Ward is as good as many think he is, he should be explaining fundamentals to Tom Barasso, not begging for his assistance. Cam has some great games for this team, but stats over the long term do not lie. He's a bottom tier starting goalie in the NHL, and while that can change as he matures, watching him limp along game to game has become painful for hurricanes fans. Cam reminds me of the shortstop who makes sensational diving plays, but leads the league in errors. This tells me that he is lacking in either concentration or key fundamentals. In either case, we need another goaltender who can both help him and push him toward improvement.
  17. Well, we needed to do something, and this may end up being step 2 of a 5 step plan. Step 1 was the acquisition of Samsonov and anyone who's watched him in a Hurricane uniform has got to be thrilled thus far. I agree that Corvo/Eaves for Stillman/Commodore looks a bit in favor of Ottawa, but then step back and think about it what we needed in the near term and going forward. No way we were going to resign Commie next year, so he was on his way out anyway. His play as been inconistent at best, and bordering on lazy during much of this season. Commie hasn't been the same since we won the cup....and that's one long hangover. I like Stillman a lot, but his first half was much better than his second have thus far. Wouldn't mind at all seeing Stiller come back to Carolina, and if he does, we could be a notch better with the additions of Corvo and Eaves. We needed a defenseman for our power play, and one that can help us offensively in general, and we got a good one. Corvo may not be the best defenseman around, but Commie was no bargain either....so view this as an upgrade. Expect another deal or 2 before the trade deadline ends. There are too many players on this team with No Trade clauses and the inconistent and sometimes slack effort we get suggests a team that can be complacent on any given nite. Net is, we were heading nowhere with the team we had, so it's time to regroup and get some fresh blood in here, while sending a message that the current level of play is unacceptable. Since we one the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Canes have the 21st best record in the NHL. With only 16 NHL teams making the playoffs, our record positions us exactly where we are heading...the odd man out. Of the 9 teams that have worst records than us over the past 2 years, at least 2 of them, possibly 3 will make the playoffs this year. That suggest we are getting worse, not better than even teams below us, and our record bares that out. How Laviolette is still coaching this team is a miracle in itself. After becoming only the 3rd team in NHL history not to make the playoffs after winning the Stanley Cup, we have actually have gotten worse this season. We have given up over 6 goals in 12% of our games this year to lead the NHL. That suggest to me that this team no longer either wants to play under Laviolette or is playing a style that no longer works in the NHL. In either case, Laviolette needs to go. It is likely that we will finish behind both Washington and Atlanta this season....two teams that fired their coaches long ago. I'm sure Rutherford has taken note of this. It is clear that the Canes are making an attempt to ride Cam Ward the rest of the season. That in itself is a drastic mistake. Cam has continued to be as inconsistent as any goalie in the NHL. A 2.90 GAA is unacceptable at the NHL level no matter what the defense is doing. Cam has had some great games, but he needs many more of those if he wants to be a starting goaltender is this league much longer. I understand that he is young, but then we need another quality goaltender on this team to push him, help train him, and get him ready for the rigors of an 80+ game schedule. The other nite, Cam eluded to the fact that he's working on many things with Barasso to improve his game, one of those things being puck handling. EXCUSE ME, but one would think that a 3rd year player in the NHL wouldn't be engaged in the learning of fundamentals at his position....this says it all in my opinion. I would be shocked if the Canes aren't looking for another goaltender at this point as Graham is on his way out soon or on the last day of this season. In the meantime, let's welcome Corvo and Eaves to North Carolina. They have gone from a Stanley Cup contender to a team searching for a jump start, and perhaps this deal will be a catalyst. Go Canes.
  18. I watch about every goaltender in the NHL on Center Ice, and as much as I'd like Cam Ward to be a top notch NHL goalie, the truth is that he isn't and probably never will be. Take away the Stanley Cup playoffs, and Cam is a 2.8-2.9 GAA Goalie....5 shoutouts for his career. That includes the time he played goalie with much better defensive teams. A few weeks ago against Atlanta....5 goals allowed on 14 shots! Last nite in the 3rd period....3 goals allowed on 7 shots! Watch Cam closely when the puck is passed through his crease...what you see is Cam watching the puck go through, but not sliding across the crease with the puck to protect against the open side of the net. Watch closely at the number of juicy rebounds Cam allows vs top tier goaltenders. Watch how often he is beat cleanly on slapshots with no one screening him. It's probably unfair to compare Cam Ward to guys like Broduer and Luongo. But, even in comparing Cam to Pascal Leclaire or Tim Thomas or Manny Legace, he does not make the grade. His historical stats are bottom 3rd in the NHL for starting goalies and that includes all his regular season play to-date. You guys want to take about bad defense in front of him. Yet when the Canes only allow 7 shots on goal in last nites 3rd period, how do you blame the D....ditto on the Altanta debacle with only 14 shots the entire game including OT against Cam. Then look at the Goaltenders we are competing against when we are carrying the play, and outshooting the other team. The Canes swarmed Manny Legace recently in St. Louis....27 shots on him, plus another 14 or so blocked. Legace came up big and does so time and time again....and in front of his home crowd, something Cam hasn't achieved very often this year. Less we forget, in shootouts, Cam Ward is a veritable sieve. Cam handling the puck outside the net is an absolute adventure, and I don't mean in a good way. The knock on him has always been inconsistency and mental lapses, and nothing has changed. Did anyone forget about last year vs. Atlanta in a critical game during the (ahem) playoff run, and Marion Hossa flipping the puck from the corner at Cam who allows the toss to slip between his skate and the post....bush league at best. For those who claim its the defense, go ask the goalies who are winning facing 30-35 shots on goal. The Canes get plenty of odd man rushes, usually own the 3rd period offensively, but somehow its not easy for us to score. Do you think when Pascal Leclaire recorded his 7 or 8th shutout in this young season that he didn't face a few breakaways, odd man rushes, blasts from the point through screens? Is so, then think again. Reality is that a Goalie is the last line of defense, and has to play as if he owns the ice in his zone (particularly at home). Until Cam starts playing with poise, confidence and reduces the number of holes in his game, he will simply be fodder for other teams in the NHL, and don't think they don't know it. Sorry, but Cam is not the solution, he is a bigh part of the problem and only you need to do is look at Brind'amour roll his eyes when Cam gives up a soft goal to know that the rest of the Canes feel that way also. Of course they can't say it...a Goaltenders ego is fragile enough to begin with. No I'm afraid that you have to respect the stats, and while Cam was terrific over a 2.5 month stretch at the end of 2006, he has been nothing but average for the other 15 months that he's worn a Hurricane Uniform.
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