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Maurice: Nothing New on Cole, Ruutu

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
At the team’s media availability on Tuesday morning, Coach Paul Maurice didn’t have anything further to add on the status of injured forwards Erik Cole and Tuomo Ruutu.

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“It happened 12 hours ago,” he said. “We’re not going to know for a little while. I haven’t seen the guys, and they usually don’t take my medical opinion anyway.”

Maurice did acknowledge that, if those two are unable to play in Game 2, the Canes will miss their physical presence in the lineup. He also said that the timing of Cole’s injury was unfortunate, as he had been playing a strong game and was showing signs of becoming more of an offensive contributor. He had an assist prior to leaving last night’s game.

“We tease him about it, but Ruutu didn’t actually touch the puck in the first two series – he just hit everything that moved,” said Maurice. “Erik we felt and we expected to be coming. He was starting to get better and really move. Those are important pieces to what we do and our style, but we won’t change our style that much.”

As Maurice pointed out, the Canes have been carrying a number of extra players on their roster – more so than the other teams they have played so far. If the team was looking to replace the physicality of Cole and Ruutu, they may look to Tim Conboy, as most of the other options are of the small/speedy variety. Conboy entered the lineup for two games when Ryan Bayda came down with the flu against Boston, but won't fill the offensive void against the Penguins.

“It depends on how we restructure the lines,” said Maurice. “We may consider where Jokinen would go. Would he stay at center or move to the wing – that will affect who comes in.”

In the first round series with New Jersey, the Canes moved Jokinen to the wing when Sergei Samsonov was unable to play. Dwight Helminen centered the fourth line in his stead.

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