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Just when you thought it couldn't get worse....

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Injuries aside, he has been a disappointment and being a force every 3-4 games isn't enough. Just as Staal needs to seriously work on his draws, Cole needs an off-season program to work on his stick-handling (terrible) and balance (awful some nights). He consistently speeds down the right side only to lose the puck cutting to the net or blow a tire.

Even with Williams out the crying need is a top quality Dman and Cole would have good trade value in that regard.

IMO, it seems like the fate of this team sems to get hung on one player or another. I remember in '05-'06, when Cole came back for the playoffs, he was hailed as the savior. When Cullen was brought back this year, he's been hailed as the savior. When things are going this badly, it's a team problem - from the coaching staff on down - not the problem of one or two individual players.

If memory serves, the Canes were having consistency issues in the latter portion of the '05-'06 regular season. Fortunately, they maintained their SE division lead and got hot and made it to the ultimate victory, but I think inconsistency has been a problem that's been brewing for quite a while and the solution has yet to be found.

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IMO, it seems like the fate of this team sems to get hung on one player or another. I remember in '05-'06, when Cole came back for the playoffs, he was hailed as the savior. When Cullen was brought back this year, he's been hailed as the savior. When things are going this badly, it's a team problem - from the coaching staff on down - not the problem of one or two individual players.

If memory serves, the Canes were having consistency issues in the latter portion of the '05-'06 regular season. Fortunately, they maintained their SE division lead and got hot and made it to the ultimate victory, but I think inconsistency has been a problem that's been brewing for quite a while and the solution has yet to be found.

I don't think anyone is pinning the blame solely on Cole but if there is a guy who isn't contributing but has good trade value, then he becomes a logical candidate. When Cole came back for the last two games of the SCF's, he was hailed as an emotional difference-maker to be sure.

I never saw Cullen as a savior but you are right that many people felt by reuniting the Cup roster everything would fall into place. You are right that they went .500 over the last 30 games of the Cup season and were just horrible defensively in the first two games in the playoffs against Montreal. Goaltending and special teams got hot together and the rest is history.

This year the balance and parity is more evident and the Canes need a shot in the arm. The D needs an upgrade and maybe a guy like Cole will be required to acquire that caliber of player. I wouldn't really like to see Cole moved but this core of players has now played erratically for the last 150+ games (last 30 of the Cup year, all last year and half-way through this year). So by the numbers it appears the 25 game playoff run is more the aberration than the extended inconsistent play in the regular season.

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Something needs to give as injuries are a part of the game of hockey. The lines keep changing are the players seem to not know where to be on the ice. Just a shipping a player won't change things neither will be bringing in another one.

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Predict or you just think that is what we should do?

I think we need a shake up. When I look at the roster and ask who could we trade that would actually bring some value? No one from the 4th line or any call ups have value. Graham has got to be one of the worst back ups in the league. Kaberle is playing on a range of average to terrible (GMs know this). Ladd has tremendous upside, but we would be trading him on weakness since he has yet to consistantly show it. None of our defenders would bring anything save maybe Commodore or Gleason, but we don't need to be trading them when defense is the main problem.

Cole is the only one that makes any sense for a serious mega-trade. He would be a tough loss. This is a guy who can score 30 goals a year all in even strength. He is the speed of our alleged speed team. He can single handedly turn a game around. But, he seems to have more trouble than our other forwards in our own end, which is where we REALLY stink. He is not producing offensively in a consistant way. We don't have him locked down long term. I would imagine that there are many GM's that would jump all over themselves to get him.

I don't know enough about the rest of the league to know who we would want for him, but it would be someone very good.

Of course as soon as I write that this is what we should do he'll rip off a goal a game for 10 games, and predicting a blockbuster trade is kind of tough in a year when almost none have happened at all. But Rutherford needs to do something besides pick up marginal players, and I just don't think he's ready to fire the coach, so sure, I predict it.

All of that said, it all hangs on Cam Ward. If he turns it around we make the playoffs.

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In terms of Cole, IMO his biggest weakness is that he tries to do too much with the puck sometimes. If he has a step on a player or is even one-on-one, then yes - go all out and drive to the net because that is what his strenght is. But I think sometimes he tries to drive his way through 2 or 3 players at the blueline and no way are you going to get through there - at least not with any consitency - if you watch his teammates when he gets the puck and starts towards the blueline - most of them lag way behind the play becuase they all know he is gong to try and take it all the way in. How many times have you seen him drive the net, have his shot blocked and then put in by a teammate on the rebound - not many that I can recall. Now having said all that - maybe a trade is what we need but I think right now it all starts in net - hot, solid goal tending will cure ALOT of ails.

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In terms of Cole, IMO his biggest weakness is that he tries to do too much with the puck sometimes. If he has a step on a player or is even one-on-one, then yes - go all out and drive to the net because that is what his strenght is. But I think sometimes he tries to drive his way through 2 or 3 players at the blueline and no way are you going to get through there - at least not with any consitency - if you watch his teammates when he gets the puck and starts towards the blueline - most of them lag way behind the play becuase they all know he is gong to try and take it all the way in. How many times have you seen him drive the net, have his shot blocked and then put in by a teammate on the rebound - not many that I can recall. Now having said all that - maybe a trade is what we need but I think right now it all starts in net - hot, solid goal tending will cure ALOT of ails.

Funny how it is Cole that always comes up in these discussions. The behavior you describe is from someone trying to do too much instead of too little. I would not want to trade away the guy who is trying too hard. There seem to be other guys out there on the team who are trying too little.

I don't know about the rest of your opinions, but I thought the name of the trading game was the same as in the stock market, buy low, sell high. I just get the feeling from watching Cole that he has not been the same since the neck injury, but he is consistently getting better. Each time he has been on the comeback trail, he has had another injury to halt the progress. But he shows real talent and serious potential to be an all star player. It would be wrong to trade him when his value is not where it ought to be, you would in fact be offering the opposite end of the buy low, sell high deal (sell low).

You need to look at overachieving players if anything, sell them when they are on their upside. Someone such as Whitney. 3 year deal, 39 points leading the team, locked up for 3 years at 3.5 a year. He has had 4 seasons cut short by injury, he is undersized in a league getting more physical. Is he at his peak?

I love Whitney, by the way. I don't really want to trade him either, but I'd rather trade him than Cole. And we can probably get more for him.

(Now someone will tell me No Trade Clause... I don't know how to find that out :)

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I agree now, (I didn't a month ago) something needs to change. Three weeks ago it was all about trading Staal, he's not producing. Now it's Cole as Staal is starting, and I emphasis starting, to get his game back together somewhat.

JR needs to decide where he wants this team to be and whether he wants it now or down the road. Right now we're not even close anymore. The talent is there (less the injuries) but we're still falling all over ourselves. The only players we can get anything for are ones I'm not sure we need to give up. No one wants our throw away players, neither do we. This is not going to be an easy decision, nor should it be a rash decision. Right now we could pick 5 players a game who aren't producing to their potential (to include Roddy).

What's all this rambling mean..................? I don't know. I think something will happen, but I think most of us will be shocked by what it is. Can't know without being in that locker room, but I'm sure it's probably not good right now.

I really hope they can turn this mess around. Maybe young farm players are the answer. After all Ward was the MVP off the bench in 06. :unsure:

If I really knew the answers I'd be getting paid more and could be getting second guessed by guys like me. :P

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