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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Q&A with a Hurricanes blogger


Bob, from Canes Country, answered some questions about the Hurricanes for us. Here goes:

Q: Can you give us a scouting report on the Hurricanes and how they've been since the Stars last played them in late November?

A:
The Canes have not fared very well lately. They have a record of 2-7-1 since their loss to the Stars and while their play has been good in spots, it has not been good enough to turn their ugly season around.

Q: If you had to pick one reason for Carolina's struggles, what would it be and why?

A:
That is impossible to do, because it's been a combination of things. We can start off with a lack of scoring, inability to stop the other team from scoring, poor discipline regarding penalties, and an ineffective powerplay. When you rank last or near last in most major categories, it's an epic fail, not just one thing.

Q: How has goalie Cam Ward looked since returning from a leg laceration? Will he play tonight?

A:
Yes, Ward will start tonight. He has had good moments, and looked especially good in an overtime loss to Washington last week. But he has not earned a win yet, and is 0-2-1 since returning from his injury.

Q: Give us the Jussi Jokinen update. Stars fans love to hear how he's doing. Dallas could sure use him on the shootout.

A:
Jussi is a fan favorite here. He is third on the team in scoring with 18 points and has been very flexible in his ability to move around on different lines as the team has needed, due to a variety of injuries to other players. He continues to be effective on the shootout. By the way, he also leads the team with two game winning goals as well. Jussi has been the definition of clutch since coming to Carolina.

Q: Which player has been the biggest surprise this season?

A:
Eric Staal has been a surprise in a negative way. He has been fighting injuries but has not been the prolific scorer he has been in the past. Brandon Sutter has been a bit of a surprise in a positive way. He has shown much more offensive skill than what many have anticipated.

Q: Talk about the Hurricanes' special teams.

A:
The powerplay is ranked 28th in the league at 14.3%. It has struggled mightily. The penalty kill has been pretty decent and is ranked at 18th in the league at 79.4%.

Q: Which players should Stars fans keep an eye on tonight?

A:
Look for Eric Staal to continue to try to break out. He will be on the top line with Ray Whitney and Tuomo Ruutu. Jussi will be with Matt Cullen and Sergei Samsonov, also an effective line.

Q: Injury update?

A:
There are plenty. Joe Corvo is out long term. Nic Wallin has been out and Tim Gleason is also out for tonight. He took a puck to the face last week and has tried to play through it, but will take tonight off. Three defensemen from Albany will fill in.

The forwards missing are Chad LaRose and Erik Cole, both out for a couple of weeks.

Q: Anything else Stars fans should know about the Hurricanes?

A:
While the Hurricanes have struggled on the road, (1-12-4), they have played decently at home, (6-7-2). It should be a good game tonight.