Life’s a Long Song

Robert McGeeSenior Writer IDecember 12, 2007

Not only is “life a long song” is a hockey season!

Of course, sometimes it seems longer than it really is, and before you know it the season has slipped away, leaving a team to look back and wonder what happened (i.e. last year for the Hurricanes).

This hockey season is quickly approaching the halfway mark, and the Carolina Hurricanes have watched their early-season, double-digit division lead shrink to just four points.

While they are currently in a three-way tie for second place in the conference, they are also just three points out of ninth place—a position you do not want to be in when the long season finally reaches an end.

Carolina has lost three out of their past five games, six out of their past 10, and eight out the past 13. That’s not a good trend.

Tonight they have a chance to start a new trend, as the East-leading Ottawa Senators are in Raleigh to try to extend their narrow four-point conference lead. Ottawa is riding a two-game winning streak, although they had a rough stretch of recent games themselves, losing seven in a row at one point.

Ray Emery has replaced the slumping Martin Gerber in net. One thing hasn’t changed for the Sens, though—their high-powered first line of Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley, and Daniel Alfredsson is still as dangerous and potent as ever.

Cam Ward will be in the net for the Hurricanes. With Andrew Ladd on a rehab assignment in Albany, Craig Adams will probably be pressed back into duty. Mike Commodore is still doubtful for tonight as he recovers from a broken finger.

The lines should probably stay the same as they were in the Detroit game: Staal, Walker, Stillman - Brind’Amour, Williams, LaRose - Cullen, Whitney, Cole - and the rest. Erik Cole seems to have benefitted the most from the recent shakeup, having scored three goals in the past two games.

Take note—the game has a late start time of 7:30! Also, tonight the team will be recognizing Josh Hamilton, the homegrown professional baseball player who went from the top, to the bottom, and back to the top again.

Hamilton's comeback this year was one of the best feel-good stories in sports.

Also don’t forget to bring a toy tonight so you can “buy one ticket and get one free.” (What the heck, bring a toy anyway!)