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Canes to Roll with Hot Hand in Goal

Monday, 11.9.2009 / 2:11 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes to Roll with Hot Hand in Goal

With Cam Ward expected to miss at least the next month with a leg laceration, the Canes made a move to shore up the position.

Paul Branecky
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The team wasted no time in signing 36-year-old veteran goaltender Manny Legace to a one-year, two-way contract on Monday morning. Legace, most recently of the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves, is expected to provide competition to Michael Leighton, with Coach Paul Maurice indicating that the hot hand will earn the majority of the playing time while Ward is sidelined.

“We are going to see him play, and we’ll make decisions on what games those are going to be,” said Maurice. “If Mike or Manny get on a roll, you’re going to see them more and more. We’ve got lots of hockey here for the next month or so before we expect Cam’s return, and there’s going to be enough net for both guys.”

Maurice said that he would not decide on a starter for Wednesday’s home game against Los Angeles until after Tuesday’s practice, at the earliest.

Helping Legace’s case is the fact that, although he has not been in the NHL since last season, he did attend training camp with the Atlanta Thrashers and has played six games for the Wolves this season. His most recent appearance came Friday night, indicating that he should be in game shape when needed.

“For his situation, this is probably perfect for him,” said Maurice. “He’s been around the league long enough that he shouldn’t have the normal jitters of a guy coming into this situation.”

The Canes decided to turn to Legace, a veteran of 10 NHL seasons, rather than promote a goaltender from their own AHL affiliate in Albany.

“[Legace] is a proven winner who’s stopped a lot of pucks and is a veteran guy,” said Maurice. “We just felt it would be a difficult situation to bring a goalie out of the minor leagues from our system. We don’t necessarily want to put him through that, but we also think Manny can come in and stop some pucks for us.”

Legace was a starting goaltender as recently as last season for the St. Louis Blues and was selected to the Western Conference All-Star team in 2008. Prior to that, he won a Stanley Cup as a backup in Detroit and had a brief stint with the Los Angeles Kings. He was actually a draft pick of the Hurricanes franchise in 1993, back when they were the Hartford Whalers.

“The experience,” said Legace, when asked what he could bring to the team. “I’ve been on some pretty good teams in Detroit, and we didn’t have great teams in St. Louis but we were building and went through a lot of down situations. I’ve had both ends of the spectrum of winning a lot and knowing what it takes to win, and also having to battle for three years.”

Legace was a teammate of both Aaron Ward and Ray Whitney in Detroit, but knows many of the team’s veteran players simply due to time spent in the league.

“I played against [Scott Walker] when he was a defenseman,” said Legace with a laugh, referring to a positional change that occurred in 1996.

”I’m very familiar with him,” said Aaron Ward. “He’s the type of goalie who, no matter what the circumstances, he’s never really out of the play. He makes some acrobatic saves, and obviously has a pretty good track record as a solid NHL goaltender.”

The 5-foot-10 Legace, who describes himself as “a little midget,” has already made an appearance at the RBC Center this season, playing goal for the first half of the exhibition game against Atlanta on September 25. He was a free-agent tryout for the Thrashers, who did not sign him but allowed him to suit up for their AHL affiliate in Chicago on a tryout basis.

The tryout contract was appealing to Legace, who wanted to leave himself open in case an opportunity such as this should arise.

“I’m just happy to be here right now,” he said.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
4 TBL 50 28 18 4 131 115 60
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 49 25 17 7 126 122 57
10 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
11 CAR 52 23 21 8 124 138 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 53 20 28 5 133 167 45

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 52 14 19 -15 33
K. Versteeg 51 10 21 2 31
V. Rask 50 12 18 0 30
E. Staal 52 9 21 1 30
J. Skinner 52 18 11 -4 29
J. Staal 52 11 16 4 27
E. Lindholm 52 8 16 -7 24
A. Nestrasil 45 5 12 -4 17
R. Hainsey 52 3 11 -14 14
J. Liles 52 5 7 -4 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 14 11 5 .905 2.41
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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