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Mike Maniscalco

Hurricanes look to acquire on D; Ruutu to return

Posted March 20, 2013
Updated March 21, 2013

Tuomo Ruutu, who had hip surgery in mid-December, has missed the team’s first 29 games.

The Hurricanes received more bad news on the injury front when it was learned that defenseman Justin Faulk will be lost for two to four weeks with a second degree MCL sprain.

Faulk joins goalie Cam Ward on the injured list with that same injury. Ward’s, however, is more severe at a grade three. The other difference is how the organization will go about replacing Faulk’s presence in the line-up. In Ward’s case, the team dipped into Charlotte and called up Justin Peters, who has split time with Dan Ellis. Both goaltenders have provided solid play.

With Faulk and his team leading 23:23 of ice time on the shelf, the Canes have gone back to Charlotte and have brought up Brett Bellemore to see time on the blue line. This is the solution for now, but more help may be on the way. General Manager Jim Rutherford told me via text that the team is looking outside the organization for a defenseman to help fill the void with the injuries to Faulk and Joe Corvo.

With the condensed schedule, it will more than likely be a seller’s market come the April 3 trade deadline. The Hurricanes have shown in the past that they would rather make a deal early and set the market price than have to overpay for players in a bidding war.

Power outage

Carolina ranks 29th on the power play overall and 30th at home with the man-advantage. Considering the Hurricanes have one of the most productive lines in hockey, with Eric Staal centering Alexander Semin and Jiri Tlusty, this leaves many scratching their heads. Head coach Kirk Muller said after Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Florida, where the special teams unit came up empty again, that it is a mental issue now.

The coaching staff has tried several combinations, trying to jump start the man-advantage with little to no success. Muller thinks that the players will eventually sort it out, but a shot of confidence seeing the puck actually go in the net and take the pressure off might be the tonic the power play needs.

Jordan Staal joined me on Canes Corner and said that sometimes with a power play that is not going well, there is the tendency to overthink it. Especially when a team has highly skilled players. Staal would know, having played with Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh, that sometimes players defer and try to get the puck to the ‘star player’. Jordan also said maybe with the Canes, there is that thought of making the extra pass to Eric Staal or Alexander Semin instead of taking aim on the opponents net.

Bang your head

Hair metal enthusiast and power forward Tuomo Ruutu is expected to return to the ice Thursday. This addition to the forward ranks is like making a deadline acquisition for the Hurricanes. Ruutu has missed the entire season while recovering from surgery due to a hip injury. Ruutu can be the net front presence that the power play lacks at times and gives the team an even deeper pool of forwards. The Finland native has 10 power play goals the last two seasons, and 51 goals total over the last three seasons. Adding that production into the line-up should give Kirk Muller more options on the power play and at even strength.

The natural fit would be the combination of Ruutu with Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner. But due to the nature of Ruutu's injury, it would not be a surprise if he started out with a lesser role.

One thing that is known for sure with Ruutu's return is that he will bring the noise back in the locker room with his preference of music. 

16 Comments

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  • larryengel Mar 23, 12:05 a.m.

    Joni Pitkanen may be a great skater and player, but he has thrown off the Canes, AGAIN! How many games have the Canes lost since his return? How good did the Canes look without him? Sometimes one player that does not appear to be skating full speed and making quick passes (like the rest of the team), throws the rest of the players "off". I used to coach hockey, and played...just saying that when one player is not as much of a team player, is out of position, causes goals, other players sometimes give up..even for a period, maybe a game, maybe more. Remove Pitkanen again and see what happens...really !! Picking up another good D with a great point shot would help as well as a fwd that can hit the open net, like..ahh, Brandon Sutter ;-0. Oh yeah, we traded him.

  • atc2 Mar 21, 4:37 p.m.

    If Rutherford is coaching from the box, he is the problem, if not, he is still the problem. He did it once putting the right players together. Since then, he has done a pathetic job. No GM would still have their job on most teams. Do you think Detroit would stand for making the playoffs once since 2006 and not make a change (do not want to hear markets - Raleigh and The Triangle is a larger market than Detroit - and if you notice, a lot more empty seats at most Detroit games)
    Thus - Rutherford needs to stay out of Muller's and the coaches business.
    Cannot believe he brought Boychuck back, what a stupid move 0 hey Jim, can you bring back Trevor Kidd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fire the GM if they do not make the playoffs

  • thatrollslayer Mar 21, 3:19 p.m.

    Must win tonight.

    — Posted by AlphaTraz

    THIS^^^^^^

  • jdpridg Mar 21, 3:00 p.m.

    The Power Play is SLOW. That is the problem. Telegraphed passes. The box they set up is way too... View More

    — Posted by wcomdave

    No one stood in front of the net for Maurice and no one stood in front of the net for Laviolette. This tells me it's not the coaching, but another example of Rutheford coaching from the office, a habit he refuses to break. Further proof, when Jordan was a Penguin, he had his mail forwarded to the opponents goalie because that's where he lived. You hardly see him there now, at least not enough. Rutheford has never believed in a man in front of the net. He believes having an extra man on the perimeter helps to keep the puck from escaping the zone. Go figure, the only time he believes in defense is in the offensive zone.

  • atc2 Mar 21, 2:38 p.m.

    I am so si of Rutherford!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Why would you bring back Boychuck????????
    You waiveed him, Pittsburgh waived him, Nashville waived him and we pick him UP?!!
    what is wrong with this guy. The kid cannot play at the NHL level.
    After all these years a season ticket holder (since day one!!), it's me or Rutherford.
    What a stupid move. Bringing back dead wood.

  • busyb97 Mar 21, 2:31 p.m.

    Right now I am ticked at the Canes GM....the STH info came out today and they raised the prices 20% for STH Renewal!! What happened to the promised 10% discount for renewing next season? yeah right. A little "FUNNY MATH" going on to make up for this years losses and so called promised discounts!!

    Reserving judgement to see if the "official" email clarifies more or not, but I think it was a bad business move to make with already upset fans from the lockout.

  • jscott13 Mar 21, 2:05 p.m.

    Great night to celebrate...Ruutu is back.

  • wcomdave Mar 21, 2:05 p.m.

    The Power Play is SLOW. That is the problem. Telegraphed passes. The box they set up is way too wide and much too close to the blue line and dasher boards. This leaves bad angles and long, easily detected, shots from the point. No one stands in front of the net to shield the goalie. The defensemen have NO AIM. You know why? Because they don't shoot enough. Quicker, shorter passes. More movement. Shoot first. Crash the net for rebounds. Score.

  • common tater Mar 21, 1:27 p.m.

    Will be great to see Ruutu back. The hit on Faulk didn't look that bad, must have been just turned wrong. But the D needed help even before that. Need another big skilled d-man.

  • AlphaTraz Mar 21, 1:16 p.m.

    Must win tonight.

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