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Allen, Samsonov Surprised by Circumstances, not Trade

Tuesday, 03.1.2011 / 12:44 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Allen, Samsonov Surprised by Circumstances, not Trade
Even though Bryan Allen and Sergei Samsonov weren’t surprised to be traded, they couldn’t have imagined it would work out like this.

Paul Branecky
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One day after the transaction that swapped the players between Carolina and Florida, those two players found themselves in strange locker rooms preparing to play the team they practiced with just one day earlier.

”It’s definitely a different scenario and it’ll be a weird for a while, but once you start playing it’s just a game and it will be fine,” said Allen, speaking from the Hurricanes’ locker room.

“I’m sure things will settle down after this day, but right now it’s a bit awkward,” said Samsonov, cramped into the visitors’ room at the RBC Center for the first time in years.

For those who have experienced something similar as either players or observers in the past, playing against one’s former team for the first time can present its unique challenges.

“I think it makes it a little more difficult, to be honest with you,” said Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice, who expects to pair Allen with Jay Harrison to start. “Especially with Bryan’s game, he wants to come out and be physical, and it’s a little harder to hit the guys you were just battling with, but they’re professionals and they’ll get over it.”

“It’s good to get it over with,” said Hurricane-turned-Panther-turned-Hurricane-again Cory Stillman, whose first game with the Panthers three years ago was against Carolina. “It’s always an emotional game, especially for Bryan having been there for five years.”

Although Allen’s contract runs through next season, meaning that he wasn’t a name mentioned prominently in trade rumors leading to Monday’s deadline, he said that his move to Carolina still didn’t come as a complete shock.

“In our situation that we were in in Florida, it could have been anyone,” he said, referring to the amount of deals his former employer made as a “selling” team over the last month. “I had a good time in Florida, but I’m excited to be here.”

Allen could have rejected the move if he so chose, as his contract holds a no-trade clause that he had to waive in order to join the Hurricanes. He did so to re-join the playoff hunt and on the recommendation of Stillman, who preceded his arrival by just four days.

“Bryan called me on the trade to see what it was like and I sold him, but I didn’t make his choice,” said Stillman. “I let him say why he thought he should come here and I gave my two cents. I think it’s a great place to play. Obviously playing in the playoffs here before and seeing the excitement around the city, it’s a fresh start and it will be a great thing for him.”

“It’s the people outside of the game that are affected the most, and people don’t realize that sometimes,” said Allen. “My wife has been great and really supportive, and we’re both looking forward to it. I know she talked to Cory’s wife as well and it’s a good spot that once you’re here people want to stay and be part of.”

In his press conference following Monday’s trade, Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford described Allen as a big, gritty defenseman who could help clear the crease in front of his own net. The following day, Stillman backed up that assessment.

“He’s a defensive defenseman that’s mean to play against,” he said. “He’s going to punish people.”

Allen said that he was hoping to stay on the Panthers’ 5 p.m. charter to Raleigh on Monday, but he ended up on a commercial flight out of Miami that was delayed several hours due to thunderstorms. As such, he said that he did not arrive in his hotel room until 4:30 a.m. Meanwhile, Samsonov slept in his own bed, with Florida’s post-game trip home the first time he’ll have to pack up with his new team.

Samsonov, aware of his expiring contract and having heard rumors, said he was prepared for the possibility of having to leave town, even if he thought it would be one day earlier.

“You’re sort of expecting it and in your head you’re trying to make preparations in case it happens,” he said.

“It is difficult,” said Maurice. “You tell a player he’s been traded and that’s pretty much all he hears, and after that you tell him how important he was and how much you appreciated his professionalism and his effort, but at the end of the day, he’s leaving.”

With Allen in the lineup and the Hurricanes carrying seven defenseman, 23-year-old Derek Joslin will be a healthy scratch on Tuesday. Even with Eric Staal’s return to the lineup, the team will keep Jeff Skinner at center, as all three players on the second line will switch from the positions they’ve held from the last several weeks.

“We liked (Skinner) on the wing when that line was going, but that line struggled a bit recently at both ends," said Maurice. “I liked the way he played down low. When Eric went down he went back to the middle and was effective. The more time we can get him there, we’ll hopefully get that line going a little bit, and if not, we’ll adjust it again.”




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81