Hurricanes-Maple Leafs: Game Preview

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Hurricanes-Maple Leafs: Game Preview

It’s been confirmed that tonight’s starting goaltenders will be Vesa Toskala and Michael Leighton. It looks like coach Laviolette and I are on the same page there.

Where we are not on the same page is regarding Keith Aucoin. The dude has scored 2 goals and has a nice assist in the past 2 games, and he’s shipped out to make room for Trevor Letowski? Why, so Trevor can take back his spot on the lowest rated penalty kill unit in the league?

Aucoin was arguably one of Carolina’s best skaters on the ice for the past 2 games. The line of Aucoin, Adams, and LaRose was zipping all over the rink, not only creating havoc but creating multiple scoring chances as well. I guess a ticket to Albany is his reward for a job well done.

The lines according to Luke on LSB are as follows:

  • Brind’Amour-Cole-Samsonov
  • Staal-Stillman-Whitney
  • Letowski-LaRose-Adams
  • Hamilton-Brookbank-Ladd
  • Kaberle-Seidenberg
  • Gleason-Commodore
  • Wesley-Borer

Is it just me or does that Kaberle-Seidenberg matchup scare anyone else just a bit?

We will see exactly how the Letowski/Adams/LaRose line compares tonight without Aucoin. Keep in mind that Aucoin played over 15 minutes Saturday night, had a goal and an assist, and was plus 3.

Ray Whitney and Glen Wesley return from their week long illnesses, but Matt Cullen and Scott Walker remain out. Both injured players made the road trip and could play in Ottawa on Thursday.

Nic Wallin is ill and did not make the trip at all.

Regarding the Leafs….

The center of the hockey universe is spinning out of control in Toronto. What a circus! I must admit though, I would probably love it if I was up there.

Earlier in the season you had the President of the Leafs ownership group, Richard Peddie admitting that it was a mistake to hire the current general manager, John Ferguson Jr. Thanks for the vote of confidence boss!

You have constant speculation as to who Ferguson’s replacement will be. Of course now that Jim Rutherford is in town, the stories are popping out again about him being a candidate for the “highly sought after” position.

Finally, you have the constant, minute by minute scrutiny of head coach, Paul Maurice. Not only does Maurice have to answer to the critics in the media, he has ex-players with an ax to grind throwing barbs as well.

Ex-Hurricane and Maple Leaf Jeff O’Neill was interviewed yesterday by 590 The Fan and was quick to throw his old coach under the bus.

“He talks about the late collapses and (how) they’re bad in their own zone, and (that) they’re a fragile team when they have the lead,” O’Neill told the Fan 590. “Well, guess what, guys, isn’t that coaching? Like, that’s where the team needs to be coached and be good in that area. And, for whatever reason, they’re not.”

Is it any surprise that O’Neill would be less than complimentary to a coach that benched him last year and didn’t offer him a job this season? Unlike blogging, THAT is objective journalism! *L*

Interviews with Jeff were always an adventure though. I remember one interview back in Carolina after a tough spell when he told a reporter to “give his head a shake” after he was asked an apparent less than thoughtful question.

Now the Leafs might be facing a whole new problem. Alex Steen was ill for this morning’s skate and was sent home. Welcome to Carolina’s world!

Maurice is calling for his team to be physical tonight. Will the Canes answer the call? Game starts at 7:30 with no local broadcast.

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