Flames-Hurricanes Preview: Head Games

Robert McGeeSenior Writer IDecember 14, 2007

IconA couple of games ago, I mentioned that the Hurricanes should be a bit more cerebral and use their heads.

It seems that Scott Walker took me literally.

During his altercation with Mike Fisher in the Ottawa game, Walker lost his head for a minute and head-butted Fisher while the linesmen were trying to pull the combatants apart.

Scottie knows that what he did wasn’t right, and explained afterwards that he isn’t “that type” of player—but regardless he has to pay the piper, as he was suspended for one game by the league office yesterday.

I’m sure that it isn’t fun trying to punch a guy with a visor on, but still Walker was in the wrong, and was suitably punished. He will be sorely missed in the game tonight against Calgary.

The suddenly offensive-minded Flames are in town to take on the Hurricanes. This time the Canes will be the rested team, while Calgary is playing the second game of a back-to-back and the third game in four nights.

They have won each of their contests against the Southeast Division so far, beating Florida on Tuesday and Tampa Bay on Thursday.

The game last night was a wild 9-6 affair, as both Jarome Ignila and Kristian Huselius posted hat-tricks.

All-world goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was in net for the entire game. I wonder if he'll go again tonight—or if the the Canes will see backup Curtis McElhinney.

The rookie has only appeared in three games so far, posting two losses without a win.

The Hurricanes will be missing Mike Commodore (finger), Andrew Ladd (Albany), and of course Scott Walker. Peter Laviolette was tinkering with the lines again at practice yesterday, and it appears that they will be reset to what they were awhile back:

Staal/Stillman/Cole, Brind’Amour/Whitney/Williams, Cullen/LaRose/Letowski, Adams/Hamilton/(insert double-shifted center here).

I expect that Cam Ward will play tonight, with John Grahame getting the nod tomorrow night in Philly, but that's not official. Frantisek Kaberle will return from his one-game hiatus, as the Hurricanes will be pressed into skating seven defensemen.

Can Laviolette get back into the players heads and get them to play Carolina Hurricanes Hockey?

We'll find out tonight at 7.


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