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Scouting the Enemy: Carolina Hurricanes

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Record: 12-11-2

Leading scorers: Ray Whitney (7G, 10A, 17pts), Eric Staal (8G, 7A, 15pts)

Blogs: Canes Country

Michael Leightenon was the goalie in net for the Hurricanes last time around when the Hurricanes entered the third period up 1-0 back on October 23.  After all was said and done, the Penguins walked away victors after rallying for a four-goal third period.  Considering Cam Ward is on the shelf with a groin injury, the Pens can expect to see him again tonight.

Perhaps one of the bigger stories surrounding the Canes right now is their coaching regime.  Head coach Peter Laviolette is no more after two years with the team (and two years without a playoff appearance).  In his place?  Paul Maurice.  You know, the guy who used to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs up until they failed to make the playoffs for two years straight.  His tenure in Toronto came of course after spending seven years with the Whales/Hurricanes, which makes this situation even more interesting.  Lateral move?  Perhaps.  Maurice did have relative success with the Canes while there, bringing them to three playoff berths including a Stanley Cup Finals loss in 2002 to the Red Wings.  And hey a little Penguins rep too - Ron Francis is the associate coach now.

Bob from Canes Country e-mailed the following:

Most fans seem okay with the fact that Laviolette was fired, but are less than thrilled about the return of Maurice.  It's like stepping back in time to the failures before the Cup win.  I think the hire was a safe, comfortable one for Rutherford, (and also affordable).  Many people think that Ron Francis could be next in line, but according to Francis, he took the associate coach position because of Rutherford's request, not because he wanted it. 

Bob
Canes Country

The Hurricanes are playing .500 hockey right now so really tonight's game can sway in either direction.  When Rick Tocchet took over the coaching duties in Tampa Bay he came up winless in his first outing.  I know it's not exactly a gauge for the entire league, but I think I'm going to bank some confidence in my own theory that coaches don't win in their debut. 

I'll take anything I can get, even if I have to create it myself.