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Bowman Looks to Continue Scoring Ways

Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 2:29 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Bowman Looks to Continue Scoring Ways

Drayson Bowman was called up from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League on October 1. He was sent down a day later, after the Canes’ final preseason game in Nashville.

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It was a quick recall, one meant to fill the voids left by Chad LaRose and Jussi Jokinen, who were sidelined with minor injuries late in the preseason.

Now a month into the regular season, Bowman has been recalled again. And this time, he has a real chance to make an impression.

“I’m excited,” he said. “Obviously, it’s what you want. Hopefully I can make the most of this opportunity and help the team whatever way I can.”

So far this season, he’s helped the Checkers to the tune of 7 points, which includes a co-team-leading five goals. In 51 games with Charlotte last season, Bowman scored just 12 goals.

“After last year, it’s good to get rewarded with some goals and return to the scoring touch that I had in juniors and through my career and haven’t quite found yet in the pro game,” he said.

But even though he hasn’t been prominent on the score sheet in that fashion, he’s been an effective player. Head coach Paul Maurice noted his strong two-way game when he played in Raleigh last season.

“He’s a guy that can do both,” Maurice said. “He’s scoring at the American League level, but we’ve played him 19-20 games in a more defensive role last year, and he [played] very well.”

Bowman will skate on the fourth line tomorrow night, with Tim Brent centering and Zach Boychuk on the opposite wing. While their numbers in the AHL might not equate to fourth-line play in the NHL, keeping the two kids together has its merits, too.

“We’ve been together for a long time now – 3 or 4 years,” Bowman said. “I know what he is on the ice, and he knows what I do. So it should be comfortable.”

“He’s a smart player, so he doesn’t have to review a whole lot with what we’re doing,” Maurice said.

Bowman has played in 32 games with the Hurricanes, 23 of which were last season. He’d like to top that number this season, and that will start tomorrow.

“I knew what I had to do when I went down there,” Bowman said. “Hopefully I showed them, and that’s why I’m back.”

And from what Maurice has said, based on what Jeff Daniels and Ron Francis have seen, that’s exactly why Bowman got the call.

Good News for Jokinen, Canes

Originally fearing to be without him for at least a month, Jussi Jokinen is now “closer to day-to-day than week-to-week,” according to Maurice. Jokinen had two MRIs last night that revealed his injury to be less serious than once thought.

“It was great news,” Maurice said. “He wasn’t just dealing with one thing – he was sore in a couple of spots. And either one of them, if they were significant, could have been long term.”

Maurice said that Jokinen could be back on the ice skating as early as tomorrow, but said he wouldn’t rush anything.

“He’s feeling a lot better today,” Maurice said. “He came in, and there wasn’t nearly the swelling they had expected.”

Though this could potentially shorten Bowman’s stay, it’s good news for the Canes that they won’t be without their number two in points for too long.

Juggling the Lines in Jokinen’s Absence

Tuomo Ruutu will center Anthony Stewart and Jeff Skinner, a line that first formed in the early days of training camp.

“It gives us some energy and size on that line,” Maurice said of Stewart.

Maurice added Stewart’s minutes could be balanced out with playing Bowman, Boychuk and Brent in his slot if needed.

Jiri Tlusty will tentatively take Jokinen’s spot on the wing on the first power play unit.

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