Seriously, I assume that Cullen took a baseline test this morning. If he had passed the test, I think we would have heard by now. I read somewhere on a Rangers site that TSN.ca is reporting that he is NOT concussed, but I haven't been able to find any such article. No news is bad news.
This suggests that Colin Campbell isn't interested in Orr (not surprised) or Avery. Avery's transgression, however, is bunched in with those that carry a mandatory one game suspension. Nothing further will be levied on him. Meh.
Williams and LaRose are definitely out. Cullen is probably out. If Ladd indeed has a broken orbital bone, he'll be out for a while. Two top six guys and two third line guys. When Williams went down, the rallying cry was "Time for Ladd to step up. Time for LaRose to play an increased role." Now they're both out. It's a fantastic opportunity for Brandon Nolan to stay on the team and prove his worth. We should expect to see Ryan Bayda get the call-up from Albany. Maybe Keith Aucoin too.
Whether it's freak accident (Williams) or the result of marginal play, other teams are definitely taking liberties with Carolina. What makes it worse is that they know they can. Carolina is going through a horrible power play slump, so other teams can rough us up at will with confidence that Carolina won't score on the power play. They also know that Carolina isn't going to send anyone out to "clean matters up". It's a well-known fact that they have a "no fighting" rule, and even if they wanted to fight, Brandon Nolan is the only one who could even remotely strike fear in anyone's heart. This isn't the "new NHL" anymore, where skilled players are protected by the rules. Luke Decock said it best today:
Like it or not, the NHL is once again relying on frontier justice. And the Hurricanes look like the Quakers in the wagon train.
To remedy that, Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford is indicating that he's shopping around for an enforcer. The holiday roster freeze will thaw out at midnight tonight, and Carolina will look for free agents who might fall under the umbrella of "enforcer with skill". Good luck with that. Rachel Carter of the N&O has the story on that, which can be summed up with JR's quote:
“So, we continue to look at things. I think the one area, and we've talked about this the first half of the season, but it becomes more obvious now — is maybe an enforcer.
It seems like every week one of our guys is getting hit pretty hard and getting hurt, so we may try to look a little harder at that....
There's been guys come available that are tough guys, but probably not at the level we're looking for, so we're still going to look for one of those top guys.”
This will have to come on the free agency market. Carolina doesn't have any healthy players to use for trade bait.
The Canes will be home on Friday against the Bruins. I can only count ten healthy forwards. Brind'Amour, Whitney, Cole, Staal, Stillman, Hamilton, Walker, Adams, Nolan, Letowski. There are seven healthy defensemen, but that leaves them one player shy of a full roster.
Someone has to get called up.
Don't expect the "enforcer" move to come on Friday, but definitely expect Ryan Bayda to be wearing #18 against the Bs.
There is continued rumbling about making a move for a puck-moving defenseman. That will have to come via trade, which means we have to wait for people to get healthy.