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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes to Roll with Hot Hand in Goal

Monday, 11.09.2009 / 2:11 PM / 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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61