Unfortunately, Erik "Hab Killa" Cole won't be dressed tonight. After suffering a soccer injury, his return is tentatively scheduled for Saturday night against the Islanders.
Cole and Andrew Ladd (ankle) are both in the "returning soon" department. Scott Walker (torso) remains out indefinitely. Dennis Seidenberg (knee) should return to the lineup tonight. However, we can add Nic Wallin (groin) to the walking wounded. Including tonight's injury scratches, Carolina will have lost 31 man-games to injury through 11 games.
Including tonight, the list (with currently injured players in bold) looks like this:
ERIK COLE 4 games -- foot
ANDREW LADD 8 games -- ankle
SCOTT WALKER 4 games -- torso
CORY STILLMAN 3 games -- torso
DENNIS SEIDENBERG 5 games -- knee
MIKE COMMODORE 4 games -- leg
BRET HEDICAN 2 games -- flu
NIC WALLIN 1 game -- groin
The other day, in reference to the injury plight, Peter Laviolette said "Good teams will ignore it".
One thing that cannot be ignored is the play of Cam Ward. After losing 20 pounds in the off-season, Ward came back a much different player. He's more explosive, he's more durable, he's "more" and "better at" everything than he was last season.
Also, Chad "Sharpie" LaRose has been given an increased role with the team. For two seasons, he was strictly a fourth line player, and he saw limited ice time. With the injuries to key forwards, LaRose has got to spend some time on the Brind'Amour/Williams line, and he's looked good. He's also killing penalties and seeing a tiny bit of poweer play time. He's averiging 15:00 TOI per game, and relishing every second of it. Lorenzo Perez from the N&O wrote
"Every day I wake up, I'm so excited," said LaRose, who scored the winning goal in Carolina's 3-1 victory over Vancouver on Monday. "I'm having trouble sleeping at night because I'm so excited for every day, whether it's practice or not, to come to the rink and be in the room with these guys and this team."
Also, Jeff Hamilton is having a great season. So far, he's proving to be the ultimate steal of free agency. With 8 points (3/5) through the first ten games, "Green Eggs and Hamilton" is on pace for a career best 66 points. He'll do this at the low low price of $800k.
Over in Buffalo, Thomas Vanek has scored 5(2/3) points through eight games. He's also on pace for a career best of 51 points. The problem is that Buffalo is paying Vanek $10M this season, for what will be worth much much less than that. The Rangers are paying Chris Drury the same money for what is on pace to be a 55 point season. This is General Managers Gone Wild. I know Darcy Regier had his hand pressed on the Vanek issue, but it's still insanity.
Puck drop is 7:00 tonight. I'm playing in a Scrabble tournament all weekend, so I won't be able to watch tonight. I won't be able to recap, and I won't be able to write anything about Saturday's game with the Islanders.