Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/17/08 at 09:41 AM ET
On Friday, the Hurricanes will play the first of six straight road games, and they’ll have to do it with yet another forward on the shelf.
When Carolina visits Los Angeles tonight at 10:30, they’ll most likely be doing it without Tuomo Ruutu. He missed most of the pre-season with a groin issue, and it’s persisted enough for his status to be deemed “doubtful”.
Ruutu makes three top nine wingers on the injured list. There will be a lot of line juggling, and Chad “Sharpie” LaRose was practicing with the top line on Thursday, so he might get a chance to do that in game action. Patrick Eaves, who started the season on the top line, has found his way into Peter Laviolette’s doghouse, but there’s no telling how the lines will be made tonight.
Still, this is an opportunity for another young player.
Zach Boychuk, Carolina’s first round draft pick this summer, has been cleared for full contact and practiced with the third unit on Thursday. He’s definitely making his NHL debut tonight, but we don’t know how much time he’ll see.
Another option would be for Laviolette to dress seven defenseman, which would give Anton Babchuk a chance to get off the bench. Although it was just an on-the-fly fill in that people made too much of, Joni Pitkänen practiced with one of the forward lines earlier in the week.
Carolina can’t afford to lose any more players to injury, so we’ll all be holding our breath and squirming every time a player is slow to get up.
10:30 puck drop.
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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.