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Wednesday Practice: Ruutu Out, Boychuk In

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes

With Rod Brind’Amour still getting a rest from practice and Tuomo Ruutu held out due to a vague injury (hip, perhaps?) lines at practice had a very different look today.

Paul Branecky
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In an illustration of what GM Jim Rutherford said yesterday about needing to add a forward in case of injury, defenseman Joni Pitkanen actually took Ruutu’s spot on the right wing with Eric Staal and Ray Whitney.  It’s nothing the Canes are planning to use in games anytime soon, but coach Peter Laviolette said it was needed just to have enough forwards on the ice.

“We’re not really looking at anything,” said Laviolette.  “We’re banged up right now and we had a couple of guys that didn’t go out there just to keep practice moving along.”

Laviolette said he didn’t believe Ruutu’s latest injury was the same groin issue that kept him out of the preseason schedule, and that he hopes he’ll be able to play in the next game at Los Angeles on Friday.

”We’ll give him another day off, and the most important thing is to get him ready for the games coming up on the west coast,” said Laviolette.  “I think just trying to give him a breather and protect him a little bit.”

Zach Boychuk practiced today on a line with Matt Cullen and Patrick Eaves, and according to Laviolette, will make his NHL debut on Friday.  Laviolette said the team was still in the process of figuring out where he’ll fit in to the lineup.

Assuming Ruutu is healthy enough to play Friday night and nothing else comes up between now and then (namely an injury or trade), that would leave another forward out of the lineup.  Wade Brookbank and Dan LaCouture have been low men on the ice time chart so far, averaging only 2:40 and 5:08 per game, respectively.

Laviolette also said Cam Ward will play Friday night, and then he would “figure it out from there.”


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