Weird week in NHL news, part II | Sports
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Weird week in NHL news, part II

Posted by on Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 5:15 PM

There were some interesting developments in Carolinaland today. Oh no, the ‘Canes haven’t gone anywhere. They’re dead last in the league and as the injuries continue to mount, it may take a little divine intervention to keep Taylor Hall off this squad. But Philadelphia plucked its third former Hurricane and second goaltender out of limbo today, pulling Michael Leighton off re-entry waivers to join John Grahame (on a try-out with Philly’s affiliate) and Peter Laviolette in the City of Brotherly Love. Leighton re-joins the team he started four games for in 06-07.

Philly is in a similar situation to the one the ‘Canes were in a few short weeks ago and are desperate for goaltending help. They’re looking everywhere, including wherever John Grahame crawled out of (were their options really that limited?) After an unsuccessful stint in the KHL last season, Grahame didn’t play this year but could now share time with the guy who took his job. I also seem to remember Laviolette being rather vocal about not having any faith in Grahame when both were here. There’s just all sorts of awkwardness going on there that makes being in Carolina sound at least a little more appealing for the time being.

And now, back 345ish miles in a southwesternish direction to Raleigh. Furthering the evidence that those Beantown leftovers have started to go bad, Aaron Ward was placed on waivers today after not even looking like the same person Carolina won the cup with through 30 games. I was pretty stoked about his return to Raleigh, like many others, but it hasn’t worked out the second time around. He could be claimed, assigned, or maybe just kind of marinate there like Stephane Yelle did. Carolina will wind up paying for at least some of the remainder of his $2.5 million salary.

Strange timing, though, because the ‘Canes are still underhanded. Niclas Wallin is still half-injured and Tim Gleason is having a though go of it after his Superman-esque display on the road last week. After taking a puck to the face that would have had you or me sobbing in the fetal position, Gleason was stitched up, shielded up and sent back out though it didn’t look as though he could see, breathe or feel his face very well. And then he picked off a pass and scored an unassisted, game-tying shorthanded goal.

Pretty sure no one is doubting his work ethic now, if they ever were. It’s easy to pick out the promising plot lines this year, and Gleason’s offensive outburst and flashes of brilliant leadership are on the shortlist. But in any case, we’re told he skipped out on last night’s Season Ticket Holder party (they probably, wisely, decided not to give the kiddies nightmares) and he’s under evaluation but expected to play.

There will likely be a call-up from Albany tomorrow. And there’s perhaps the weirdest thing of the week – even though their roster has to be constantly shifting from feeding the Hurricanes so often this season, the River Rats have won seven games in a row! Without Brandon Sutter or most of their defense on a regular basis! And the players they do have are in a continual state of jet lag after being jerked around between the two teams so often! So strange. Jeff Daniels must be working some magic up there. Whatever it is the minor league squad is brewing, the ‘Canes could sure use a sip.

Here are some things to check back for in the coming weeks at IndyWeek:

A few midseason top-10 lists, including individual performances and most ridiculous/disappointing games (they’ve only won seven games and there’s no telling if they’ll make it to 10 by the midway point, so…)

A look at the 2010 draft, because that’s something to look forward to.

Hopefully another Q&A with a player or staff member, and…

Plenty of those game recaps everyone likes to skim through for the pictures.

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