Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 12/28/09 at 01:01 PM ET
Tonight will be the third of six meetings between the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurrianes. In each of the previous two meetings, Alexander Ovechkin has found a way to injure Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason. Tonight, the crafty Russian will have another chance.
On November 30, in Raleigh, Ovechkin showed a bit of his reckless side when he instigated a knee-on-knee hit on Gleason that resulted in a bigger injury for the hitter than the hittee. Gleason missed one shift, while Ovechkin was ejected and handed a two-game suspension.
On December 11, in DC, Gleason suffered a nasty cut on the mouth after an Ovechkin slapshot caromed off Gleason’s stick and right into his face. Obviously, AO didn’t do this on purpose, but it was kind of strange. The injury kept Gleason out of the game for one period and he returned to score a dramatic shorthanded goal that forced overtime. He would later miss a few games with concussion-like symptoms.
While RBH was having its annual six-day retreat in Florida, the Hurricanes were getting back in shape. They finally got five of their six regular defensemen back on the ice. Jay Harrison, who acquitted himself pretty well in his 18 games with the big team, was reassigned to Albany when Nic Wallin returned to the ice. Harrison, Bryan Rodney and Brett Carson have all been called upon frequently this season to fill in for injured Hurricanes defensemen. While Harrison and Rodney have gone back to the American League, Brett Carson remains with the big team as the sixth defenseman. Joe Corvo, out with a lacerated leg, is still at least a month away from returning. These callups have given the “Rat pack” invaluable experience, and at least one of them will be expected to be an NHL regular next season. It’s unlikely that Aaron Ward will be re-signed, and Nic Wallin is scheduled to be a 35 year old unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s spent every game of his 8 year NHL career with the Hurricanes, and I really don’t want to see him wearing another team’s sweater, but they do need to get younger.
All of that aside, the two southeast division opponents square off in my nation’s capital tonight at 7:00. Canes fans will be holding their breath every time Ovie and Gleason are within six feet of each other.
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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.