The Washington Capitals will face Carolina at the RBC Center Monday evening in their fifth contest of the season. Washington defeated the Hurricanes in the first three showdowns, but on January 20th Canes managed to secure a 3-0 shutout against their division rivals.
The Caps have gone 3-5-2 in the past 10 games; not that impressive for a team fighting to return to a playoff spot. Ironically, the bottom-feeders of the Eastern Conference boast a 5-2-3 record in their past 10 contests. The Canes have played amazing hockey over the past month. Jiri Tlusty is on a seven game point streak. Eric Staal is riding a five game point streak with four goals and four assists. Caps’ Alex Semin is also on a hot streak with seven points in six games.
Ok, halt the stats. I must address this insane goalie situation in North Carolina. I would like to call this netminder drought, The Great Goalie Depression. Honestly, I don’t even know who Brian Boucher is anymore. I haven’t seen him in so long, roughly three months, he could be my dentist with fingers crammed in my mouth and I’d have no clue it was him.
December is when the madness began. Mike Murphy was called up in early December when Boucher gets injured, and flawlessly relieved Cam Ward during two games. However, Murphy was sent back to the AHL team and Justin Peters cleared waivers to be Canes’ long term backup goalie in Boucher’s place.
The Charlotte Checkers must respond to Peters’ absence, so they brought up John Muse from Florida as Murphy’s back-up. Then Murphy gets injured on January 24th. Muse steps into a starting role and boasts an impressive 9-3-1 record with 1.79 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. (Takes a gulp of air)
I’m not nearly done. Pier-Olivier Pelletier was signed to a professional tryout contract for January 26-27th. Scott Darling was invited on another PTO for one weekend on February 3rd. Finally, Checkers bring Dave Caruso on for a professional tryout on February 16th and then released him from the contract on February 20th. Just hours after that news, Murphy is recalled to the Hurricanes as Cam Ward is day-to-day with a lower body injury. Murphy has not geared up in nearly a month. Although, he just recently started practicing with the Checkers, and Coach Muller claims he is ready to play if needed.
The Great Goalie Depression is not appreciated by this tendy admirer. I don’t want a bunch of strangers in my crease, I want my boys. Boucher must return before people forget he is a Hurricane. Canes cannot afford to lose Ward to a tweak or lower-body injury or whatever you want to call it. Poor John Muse has been left stranded solo in Charlotte, although, I’m sure he doesn’t mind. Murphy has cashed in on his number of ASI (allowed season injuries) and needs to stay healthy…and in Raleigh. That would make this situation more pleasurable for sure.
Both Carolina teams have fared well despite the constant changes, so that’s a bright spot amongst this crease mess. Enough of my rant…pucks drops at 7:30pm against Washington. Time to fill the arena and get loud Caniacs!
Let’s Go Canes!