Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/04/09 at 09:47 PM ET
The Hurricanes announced today what we all knew without needing the confirmation: Erik Cole suffered a broken bone in his left leg after a nasty collision with the Bruins’ Dennis Wideman on Saturday night. Wideman’s check was clean, but it unfortunately resulted in yet another injury for Cole.
Tuomo Ruutu will slide up to the first line right wing, then some other shuffling will leave a vacancy on one of the fourth line wings. Tim Conboy, who can play on either wing and also on defense, will be the short-term solution. The former Albany River Rats captain is known more for pugilism than for his offensive acumen, but will have an excellent opportunity to prove that he has earned his one-way contract. If you’re in a fantasy league that rewards PIMs, go ahead and snatch up Conboy. He’ll be good for at least 4 penalty minutes per game.
I don’t mind seeing Conboy in the lineup on a game-by-game basis, but I’m a little frightened by the prospect of seeing him as a regular. I’m much more into the idea of bringing up Zach Boychuk or Drayson Bowman from the Rats.
Both Boychuk and Bowman played well in the Traverse City prospects tournament this summer (which the Canes won), and both are expected to be major players for the Rats this season. In Saturday’s season opening 6-3 loss, Bowman had a goal and Boychuk an assist. Boychuk was the last player cut from camp last summer, and he got to play in two NHL games before being returned to his junior team. For whatever it’s worth, today is Boychuk’s 20th birthday.
Last season, Bowman had 83 (47/36) points in 62 games with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL.
Boychuk had 57 (28/29) points in 43 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL.
This organization likes Tim Conboy a lot, and this will be his chance to prove something. This is the first time he’s had a one-way contract, and it’ll be a challenge for him. The biggest knock on Conboy is that he loses his temper very quickly and has been involved in some pretty ugly on-ice incidents in the AHL.
In this one, he took exception to Steve Downie of the Philadelphia Phantoms intentionally high-sticking a Rats player, and ended up biting Downie. Yes, BITING him:
In this one, there was a line brawl between the Rats and Phantoms, and Conboy jumped on a Phantom player who was already engaged with another Rat. I like the team spirit, but that’s taking it too far:
The good news is that Conboy hasn’t done any of that dumb stuff in any of his NHL recalls. He’s been involved in a number of fights, including an NHL fight with Steve Downie, but he’s yet to cross the line. All that said, I’d rather have a skilled player like Boychuk or Bowman on the ice than a tough guy like Conboy in the box.
What’s been missing in the first two Canes games has been scoring. One for 18 on the power play this season. Two total goals in two games. The fighting was there, and there was too much of it on Saturday night. Conboy isn’t going to bring anything offensive to the table. He’s never shown it at any level. Bowman and Boychuk are both skilled forwards and while they might not be ready for the show this season, they’ll be big pieces of the puzzle in the near future.
However, like I’ve said, Conboy is in good graces with the powers that be, and it’ll be his roster spot to lose. I should really be more optimistic about this, but I’m gonna go into the 40 days of Conboy with low expectations.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.