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McKenzie: Game 1 losses could be costly for 'Canes

Bob McKenzie
5/20/2009 11:34:24 PM
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In some ways people will want to characterize Game 1's loss by Carolina as a moral victory, if there's such as thing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But, where they lost, and perhaps lost big was in the war of attrition.

Forwards Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole were both injured in the game.

Ruutu was taken down by a kind of slew foot by Penguins defenceman Mark Eaton.  It wasn't the intentionally, rip your head off and throw you to the ice slew foot, mind you, but nevertheless, it took Ruutu out.

Penguins' forward Matt Cooke hit Cole knee-on-knee, which buckled Cole.

Ruutu only played three shifts for 2:40 seconds in the entire game because of his injury.  After losing Ruutu early, the Hurricanes then lost Cole to the hit at 11:45 of the third period.  Cole only managed five shifts in the period.

Both players getting hurt was a huge loss for the Hurricanes. 

A cynic might suggest that Cole and Ruutu only have one-goal combined thus far in the post-season - and it isn't really a big deal - but the Hurricanes are not a huge team up front, and Ruutu and Cole provide a lot of the physical presence and sandpaper on the team.

How badly are the pair hurt and can they come back for Game 2?

It's not a good situation.  Ruutu looks like he has a high ankle sprain, and the fact that Cole couldn't finish the game means that he's hurting badly.

Bob McKenzie


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