was back on the ice on Saturday in a Carolina Hurricanes sweater.
LaRose, who signed an AHL contract with the Charlotte Checkers this summer and has been skating informally for the last week, has joined the Canes in training camp on a professional tryout.
“It feels really good,” LaRose said. “I felt good today, and I’m excited and grateful.”
“Rosey is a hard guy to play against. He’s not a big man, but he competes very hard, and he brings lots of energy,” head coach Bill Peters said. “He’s got a little bit of that rat to him, and he drags guys into the battle. You can never have enough of those guys.”
LaRose, 32, did not play professional hockey in 2013-14 after logging eight seasons and 508 games with the Hurricanes, who signed the undrafted Plymouth Whalers product in 2003.
“I got my mind clear away from the game. I didn’t really pay attention to hockey,” he said. “I steered clear from it and did my own thing. A lot of family time.”
“I feel great,” he said. “I feel refreshed, and I feel strong.”
As is LaRose’s wont, he was whooping and hollering and banging his stick during practice today.
“Just to be out there wearing the Hurricanes jersey, period, no matter what guys are out there, they’re teammates, and it feels good,” he said. “You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone sometimes. I do miss it. I miss being around the locker room, being around the staff, the trainers, the equipment guys, all of my teammates. It’s fun.”
Skating with the team on a professional tryout, LaRose knows nothing is guaranteed. But the veteran wants to make an impact.
“I hope to stick around here, maybe play some preseason games and make the squad,” he said. “I’m hoping to stay as long as I can. Wherever they need me or whatever they need me to do, I’ll do. I’m just looking to be a contributor.”
Second Round of Cuts Made
The Canes made a second round of training camp cuts on Saturday morning, intending to reassign nine players to the Charlotte Checkers.
Four have been assigned directly: defensemen Trevor Carrick, Dennis Robertson and Keegan Lowe and goaltender Daniel Altshuller. Four require waivers: forwards Ben Holmstrom, Justin Shugg, Greg Nemisz and Jared Staal. Forward Kyle Hagel, who has an AHL contract with Charlotte, was released from camp.
With the cuts, plus the addition of LaRose, the camp roster now features 36 players.
“We had to get down because we have internal competition now,” Peters said. “With (Jordan) Staal’s injury, we have actual, big-time competition to see who is going to play those minutes. And on the back-end with eight NHL d-men and some young guys in our system that we want to look at. Those eight guys have to make it hard on us to make a decision.”
Off Day Sunday; Exhibitions on Tuesday & Wednesday
The Canes will spend their first day of training camp away from the rink on Sunday.
“We have a day off tomorrow, and we had a good day in here today,” Peters said. “They worked hard, and they did a good job. I like our work ethic. I don’t think our work ethic can be questioned. Now we just have to start executing with the puck and playing consistently.”
Up next on the Canes’ seven-game exhibition slate are matches in St. Louis and Columbus on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
Forwards Eric Staal and Alexander Semin are penciled into Tuesday’s lineup, as Peters plan to insert Jiri Tlusty alongside the pair. Peters said he expects to split the defense in the next two games, icing a balanced veteran threesome with a trio of younger guys.
“We want to get everybody in,” he said. “We want to give everybody a good look again and continue the evaluation process.”
Following a day off on Sunday, the Canes will get back to work at PNC Arena on Monday morning with a team practice at 10 a.m.
“I want them to enjoy themselves and enjoy their families. The reason you take a day off in this business is so that you can come back twice as hard the next day,” Peters said. “We’ll re-energize, enjoy the day with family and friends and come back to work with lots of energy on Monday morning.”