Carolina Hurricanes finally play home opener tonight against Washington

Twenty days after the opening of the NHL season, the Carolina Hurricanes will finally play their first “real” home game. While one of the two games they played with the Minnesota Wild in Helsinki, Finland counted as a home contest, this will be their first one in Raleigh, North Carolina for the 2010-11 season.

While defenseman Joe Corvo has a point about their early schedule, the Hurricanes have persevered admirably with a 4-3 record to open the season. The rest of October is far from a cake walk too, as the Hurricanes face Washington and Pittburgh at home with a road game against the Rangers in between.

Here’s a little more context regarding the crazy start to the season handed out to Carolina.

After visiting Russia, Finland, Ottawa, Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles and Phoenix, the Carolina Hurricanes are glad to be back in Raleigh.

The ‘Canes, who’ve traveled more than 15,000 miles since their last home preseason game 26 days ago, become the last of the NHL’s 30 teams to play its home opener when the Washington Capitals come to the RBC Center Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. ET faceoff.

Of course, every team gets 41 games at home and 41 on the road (well, I guess 40 in each spot with those games in Finland), so there are spots where the Hurricanes benefit. They’ll play 16 of their last 24 games at home, which fits in nicely with the team’s reputation to get on late hot streaks.

The team also hosts the 2011 All-Star Game, too, so the NHL isn’t beating up on the Hurricanes as much as it might seem. In a way, Carolina is just taking its medicine early.

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.