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Walker out, LaCouture in

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes
Just when it seems like all the various injuries were healing up and everyone except Justin Williams would be ready to go at or near opening night this Friday, the team lost Scott Walker for the next six weeks after he underwent surgery on his left hand.

Paul Branecky
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Walker first injured the hand in a fight with Philadelphia's Nate Guenin a week from yesterday, but played through the soreness for yesterday's game until surgery became necessary.  Guenin wears a visor on his helmet, which may have been the reason Walker got injured during that bout as opposed to others he's had in the past.

It's a tough way to get hurt, as Walker's fight definitely served a purpose that day.  Guenin had put a big hit on Matt Cullen moments earlier, which forced Cullen out of the game and temporarily raised concerns based on his concussion problems last season (he's since proved to be feeling fine).  It was good for Walker to come to his teammates defense, but it ended up being costly.

"That’s who he is.  He’s one of those guys that won’t accept that," said Laviolette after the game in which Walker injured his hand.  "While you’re happy to see him do that and stick up for his teammate, you kind of hope he keeps his gloves on for the rest of training camp unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Canes GM Jim Rutherford said last week that he was happy enough with the Hurricanes' forwards after training camp to avoid making another player movement, but included the all-important condition of "as long as no one else gets injured."  Once things changed this morning, he acted swiftly to bring in free agent tryout Dan LaCouture, who played in all six exhibition games as well as the Red/White game.

LaCouture's new contract is a two-way deal, meaning he may or may not stick with the Canes to start the season or beyond that, but it's another option for the Hurricanes to look at in the coming days and weeks.  It's also due reward for someone who worked very hard this preseason with no guarantees it would pay off.

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