How many of you remember that image from the front of the old NES cartridge way back in the 1980s? Seems like eons ago, doesn't it? The wonky graphics, the brutal 8-bit sound, the two-button controllers... we're talking a relic here, kids. And I was playing it today. I was doing some retro gaming today: Blades of Steel, Super Mario Brothers 3, and Ice Hockey were my games of choice today, but Paperboy had a few cyclists killed by cars pulling out of driveways. Now you're probably asking yourself what this has to do with hockey, right? Nothing. Except that the paperboy delivers the news, and that's what I'm doing today. Just don't pull your car out in front of me, ok?
- It appears that the Carolina Hurricanes are about to start planning their draft party. After losing their fourteenth straight game, rumours are flying that GM Jim Rutherford is looking at putting a number of non-contributing veterans on the waiver wire in the hope that the young kids from Albany can step in and grow. It should be interesting to see how far and deep the cuts go if the Hurricanes continue to plummet.
- Not surprisingly, Hurricanes centerman Rod Brind'Amour has a team worst -14 thus far. Rutherford should be leaning on "Rod the bod" to call it a career. He's doing no one any help by being slower than everyone on the ice, and his hands just aren't what they were. In the last 98 games with the Hurricanes, Brind'Amour is -37. That's brutal defensive play for a player known for his two-way play.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins, after starting the season on fire, are making Pittsburgh doctors happy. While Evgeni Malkin returned tonight, the Penguins have a number of regulars in the injury wing right now. Sergei Gonchar is out with a broken wrist, Kris Letang is sitting with a shoulder problem, Brooks Orpik is has a lower body injury, Maxime Talbot is still out with shoulder and foot issues, Tyler Kennedy is nursing a tender groin, and now Chris Kunitz is out for at least two weeks because of a lower body injury. If a champion's mettle is to be tested through adversity, the Penguins are getting a healthy dose of adversity early on this season.
- Speaking about champions, I have to give credit to the Detroit Red Wings for overcoming their injury woes early on. After starting the season 0-2, the Red Wings have gone 9-3-3 since, and have closed the gap between them and the division-leading Blackhawks. Full credit goes to GM Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock for staying the course and not letting the Red Wings get off track.
- Does it scare anyone that all five teams from the Atlantic Division are in playoff spots right now? The Devils lead the Eastern Conference with 24 points, but the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, and Islanders sit fourth through seventh right now. This might be the scariest division in all of hockey right now.
- Does it concern anyone that only one Northeast Division team is in the playoffs? The Buffalo Sabres get the third spot in the conference due to leading their division, but Ottawa, Boston, and Montreal are all struggling. And Toronto is still brutal.
- The AHL's Manitoba Moose posted their best offensive night of the season as they defeated the Toronto Marlies by a 5-1 score last night. In a fight-filled game between these two bitter rivals, Marco Rosa, Marty Murray, Sergei Shirokov, Neil Petruic, and Darryl Bootland notched tallies for the Moose. Bootland was an assist away from the "Gordie Howe hat trick", and really was a thorn in Toronto's side all night long. More on this game and tonight's rematch in the upcoming Antler Banter this week.
- P.A. Parenteau, the AHL's leading goal scorer with 10, was recalled by the New York Rangers today, and he made a huge contribution in the 2-1 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators. Parenteau, in front of friends and family, scored the shootout winner in the seventh round. The AHL sniper looked good in the game today, and might push for a roster spot if he continues to show the same heart he showed today.
- Keith Primeau's first time standing behind the bench in a professional coaching role resulted in him earning the win! Primeau was behind the bench as a temporary assistant coach for the Las Vegas Wranglers, and they went on to defeat the Utah Grizzlies by a 4-0 score. Ok, Primeau can't take all the credit, but good on Keith for taking his extensive knowledge and helping the kids in Las Vegas.
- Lastly, I'm not sure how this got past everyone in the hockey world, but this is gigantic news if you're an Ottawa Senators fan. Carrie Underwood, the country music star, is moving in with Mike Fisher into his Ottawa home. Fisher, in his first game today since the news broke, played like a man possessed against the Rangers, and nearly had a handful of goals if not for goalie Henrik Lundqvist. They say behind every good man is a better woman. Perhaps Miss Underwood is the catalyst that Mike Fisher needed?
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!