A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ladd's return delayed, JR asks about Neil

Although Erik Cole returned to the Hurricanes lineup on Saturday, the team is still far from "healthy". Ryan Bayda was sent back to Alabany, but Keith Aucoin remains with the big club. Apparently, Carolina is looking for some ways to ease the pain.

Trevor Letowski is getting more ice time than most fans would like. Chad LaRose is doing an excellent job of stepping up into the voids left by the injuries of Andrew Ladd and Scott Walker.

According to Lorenzo Perez from the Raleigh News and Observer, Ladd has suffered a setback in his recovery. His ankle just isn't getting any better, and the decision has been made to take him off the ice for another week or so. At that point, he'll start skating again, and then it could still be another week or more before he returns to game action. Apparently, the Walker injury is so far off the charts that they're not even talking about it. The last think I read was that he was still in "excruciating" pain, dealing with torn cartilage in his ribs. There is absolutely no timeline on his return. Not even a vague, foggy one.

With the loss of Scott Walker, you don't just miss a guy who's going to give you 50 some odd points. You don't just miss a second line right wing. You don't just miss a good locker room-type guy. You miss a guy who is going to do those things AND drop the mitts when necessary. Or at least come to the defense of his teammates.

We're not just talking about pugilism for the sake of pugilism. We're not talking about some hack whose only purpose is to fight or to serve as body guard (read: Georges Laraque). There aren't very many skaters who come to mind when you think about a mixture of skill and tough guy-ness. It's like that sponge that's all abrasive on one side and soft on the other. It's like the McDLT. It's like sour patch kids. It's like that split 7" record you used to have with Minor Threat on one side and Beat Happening on the other. It's like... okay. You get the point.

I've thought about this at great length. After game nights, I drive 1.5 hours to get home. I always listen (and sometimes call in) to the post game show. Once I get out of that station's range, I still think about hockey. Okay. I think about girls, too. But mostly, I think about hockey stuff.

One player that obviously comes to mind who possesses both brawn and talent is Sean Avery. Another is Chris Neil. Neil doesn't exactly fall into the "skill player" category, but he's more than "just a pugilist".

According to Spector's Hockey Rumors (via Bubba from Canes Country), at least two teams (Carolina and Edmonton) have contacted the Senators to inquire about Neil's availability. It doesn't seem like Neil and his $1.1M contract are going anywhere, but it doesn't surprise me that Rutherford is going fishing.

It certainly wouldn't hurt to have a solid NHL caliber third line right wing who can contribute to the scoring categories AND who will drop the mitts when called upon. With Scott Walker's return looking distant and the setback to Ladd, Trevor Letowski, and no healthy extras, Carolina may need to do something. Soon. They're playing extremely well despite the injuries, but some reinforcement sure would be nice.

The only setback to having a guy like Avery or Neil is the reputation that they each have. Avery is a reputed loudmouth, jerkwad, boor, etc. Chris Neil has somewhat of a "dirty player" reputation. Remember the Chris Drury incident? Remember the Andy McDonald incident?

I don't think I like the idea of having either of those guys. I just don't think they would fit into the system here.

That said, it was just a "rumor" anyway.

The Canes will be back in action on Halloween night at Florida.

1 comment:

Bubba said...

Hopefully Walker won't be out for too long, but it doesn't look good does it? As you mention, the Canes will miss more than his point production.


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