Dan Ellis

Get a load of how bad the Hurricanes have been


The Carolina Hurricanes lost again last night, falling 6-2 to the Bruins in Boston.

The loss was Carolina’s 11th regulation loss in its last 13 games. In those regulation losses, the ‘Canes have been outscored 49-16 — a negative goal differential of 33.

But hey, at least they beat Winnipeg once during that stretch.

Even worse for Carolina fans, the Hurricanes were once looking looking like a sure bet to make the playoffs. On March 12, not even a month ago, Sports Club Stats had their postseason chances at 94.0%. But those chances are down to 1.5% today.

Goaltending has been the biggest issue for Carolina. When starter Cam Ward went down with an MCL sprain in early March, it left Dan Ellis and Justin Peters to share the duties. Clearly, neither has been up to the task.

Which begs the question: Should ‘Canes general manager Jim Rutherford have tried harder to address the goaltending prior to the trade deadline? Not talking about Roberto Luongo, but maybe a call to Edmonton about Nikolai Khabibulin?

Chances are, Rutherford did explore the rental goalie market. And to be fair, there wasn’t a whole lot available. Remember that the Oilers are in a playoff race, too. They weren’t going to just give away their veteran backup.

In addition to Ward’s absence, Carolina can also point to the injury to defenseman Justin Faulk, who went down on March 19 and hasn’t played since.

“When you lose your number one goalie and your top defenseman,” coach Kirk Muller said recently, “it’s a bit of a challenge.”

Still, the losses are too bad to attribute solely to injuries, no matter how key the players. Every team deals with injuries. Not all of them completely implode.

Carolina hosts Pittsburgh tonight.

Related: ‘Canes GM Rutherford ‘about as frustrated as you can get’

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.

Fabbri primed to make Blues in significant role

Jason Demers, Robby Fabbri
AP Photo
1 Comment

With the start of the regular season just around the corner, it looks like Robby Fabbri will not only make his NHL debut on Thursday, but also get meaningful minutes.

During Sunday’s practice the 19-year-old forward played alongside Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz. Nothing is set in stone, but that combination did gel.

“I think we want to look at what the combinations look like now rather than do it at the start of the season,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re looking at a hard match line and we’re also looking at taking advantage of speed and skill off the rush.

“I really liked what I saw today. I really liked Lehtera’s line, they looked very dynamic off the rush.”

The top line of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, and Vladimir Tarasenko seems like a good bet to play together for the time being. Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz will stick together on the second line while Dmitrij Jaskin and David Backes can expect to be regular partners on the third unit. The X-factors will be Fabbri and Troy Brouwer as Hitchcock has left the door open to alternating between the two of them on the second and third line depending on the opponent.

Fabbri was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to make the leap after a brief stint in the AHL last season. At the OHL level, he’s been a dominate force with the Guelph Storm, scoring 25 goals and 51 points in 30 games in 2014-15.