16 November 2007

Game Day Preview: Happy 24th birthday, Kari!

Hyvää syntymäpäivää, Kärppä! Me lempiä te!

Tonight the Thrash head to Raleigh for their 2nd meeting in a week with the Candy Canes. The boys of Red, White and Black are once again without Eric Cole, who can't seem to get through a season without being strapped to a stretcher and hauled off the ice.

The Canes are the only team in the five games of November that Kovy doesn't have a point against. Look for that to change tonight, as our favourite young Russian has 12 goals and 9 assists (21pts) in 12 games, and also has generally lit the Canes up like a Christmas tree in the previous 13 visits to Raleigh.

Also on a streak, big Hoss, with a 6-game streak seeing 9 of his 12 points scored, including 2 goals against the Canes last week.

Who the Canes put in net will probably be the deciding factor on whether they win or lose. Ward? Tough call. Grahame? We love him, but advantage Thrashers. Although, keep in mind that the Canes just dropped the ball 6-1 to the Bolts night before last.

If the boys can keep Corey Stillman and Rod ("Ricchi Ugly") Brind'Amour off the scoresheet (they combined for 8 points in the past two games; we know, we thought it was a typo, too), we pick the Thrash by 1.

Waddell said this morning in a radio interview that Lehtonen will mostly likely return to practicing with the team on Sunday, and could be ready to make his return to games a week later. The bargaining agreement allows teams to send players returning from IR back to their AHL club for conditioning, and Waddell hasn't ruled that out as a possibility. We will file this news under "things we are thankful for." As long as the big K doesn't push his return until he's 100% healthy, we're 100% psyched.

Lastly, in case you live under a rock, the team announced yesterday that they have no intention of looking outside the club for a coach, at least this season. Which means Waddell will keep wearing the hats of both GM and coach, with McCrimmon and Weeks assisting. Should Waddell decide to step down as coach, look to one of these two to pick up where he leaves off, most likely McCrimmon.

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