GDB 7.0: Turkey Brain
You know the feeling. The one where you just ate seven plates of food. You stole the majority of the marshmallows off of the yams, liberally applied gravy to your potatoes, and tried to get what you could of the dark meat. You took just enough greens to feel good about yourself, but we all know the truth, it was about the turkey… and the gravy. Ladles of hot tasty gravy.
If you were like me, you disappeared in a ninja-like way after plates were cleared and family chatter died down to catch a few innings of the Jays game. I was eventually found out… but it didn’t matter because my accuser came bearing pumpkin pie.
Then, like a hammer, the turkey in your stomach dumped enough melatonin into your bloodstream to drop a horse in it’s tracks and you either rushed for a coffee or succumbed to the sleepy wishes of the avian gods.
You, my friend, know about the turkey brain.
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I hope for their sake, as many of the Hurricanes that were able, managed to make it home for the weekend to spend time with friends and family. For those that couldn’t, I hope their billet families treated them like kings and introduced them to grandma. What I don’t hope, is that the Hurricanes find themselves with the turkey brain tonight as they take on the Regina Pats.
The Hurricanes are coming off of a 7 – 0 curb stomping of the Medicine Hat Tigers last. The Canes were more or less the better team for the entire game Friday evening but have now had four days since games. It will be integral for them to get out to a solid start after a long break if they hope to build on their early season success.
The Hurricanes have gotten out to a lovely start. They sit two games over .500 and have done well to take advantage of a long home stretch to begin the year. Winning tonight would set them up well for the tougher, road-heavy, second half of October.
Their opposition is Regina – a team that last night handed the Tigers a 6 – 2 beating. Regina got off to a slower start but have looked really good in their last three games. Early-season standouts include Adam Brooks, who scored his fourth goal of the season last night, and defenseman Sergey Zborobsky who netted his third against the Tigers. Overage netminder Daniel Wapple started last night and it’s possible the Hurricanes will face backup Tyler Brown tonight. Brown, a ‘97, has played in 3 games and posted a .897 SAV%. He has only started one game – a loss.
Lethbridge and Regina are currently tied with 8 points on the year, but Lethbridge has a game in hand. Look for special teams to play a massive role in tonight’s matchup as the Pats are the most penalized team in the league, accumulating 141 PIM to this point. With the Hurricanes PP clicking above 30%, it will be essential for the Pats to avoid getting into penalty trouble. For the Hurricanes, they will look to use their speed and tenacity to force Regina into taking penalties. If the Hurricanes move their feet and take the game to the Pats, there will be plenty of chances for Lethbridge to generate with the man advantage.
Regardless of if they manage to create some powerplay opportunities, the Canes need to start strong.
No turkey brain, no problems.
Projected Line Up:
Look for Brayden Burke and Tyler Wong to again be difference makers. Burke sits third in league scoring with 14 points and Wong is in thirteenth with 11. Their chemistry on the powerplay with Estephan and Nielsen has been a thing of beauty.
Outside of an unforeseen circumstance, look for the forward units to pretty much stay the same. The only real difference I foresee is returning a guy like Brett Davis to the lineup instead of dressing an extra defenseman. There is still a logjam on the backend with Watson, Skeoch, and Merezhko. It would be a shame for those guys to take playing time from a forward – but the Canes currently have depth up front and need to let the defenseman play-it-out.
Scoring goals has been a strength of this team. Don’t expect them to try fix what isn’t broken.
Will they dress seven defensemen again? That’s the real question as it affects the forwards as well. Coming off two big wins, I don’t imagine we will see much of a change. Watson looked pretty good against the Tigers on Friday and Merezhko is slowly looking more and more comfortable. I didn’t mention it after the game, but I have appreciated his slow, yet steady improvement. I’m still not sure if he is a long-term answer, but he is a capable player.
Whichever fringe defenseman draws in – he will likely be paired up with Andrew Nielsen. So far he has been the go-to guy to shield rookies and less experienced players. Nielsen is such a strong puck mover it makes sense to let him help the young guys out. The past three games Nielsen has taken his game to another level, all without a consistent partner on the backend.
The Atwal/Pankewicz combo has also been very effective over the last three games and I imagine they will stay together.
While Sittler has been phenomenal in his last two starts (earned a shut-out against the Tigers), I have to think they may be looking to get Skinner some action either tonight or on Saturday in Swift Current. Your guess is as good as mine, but I will go out on a limb and say Skinner gets the nod.
Game Day Prediction: Taking advantage of road-weary Regina, the Hurricanes jump out to an early lead and eventually earn a 4-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: One of Wong or Burke will get a point tonight.
Not So Obvious Game Day Prediction: The Regina Pats will still be so excited about their beautiful new jerseys that they keep looking at themselves in the reflections of the glass. The Hurricanes use this to their advantage and pot several goals as a result.
What do you think? Who are you excited to watch tonight and what will be the outcome. Comment below.
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