Tracking the Storm

LaRose Returns in Yellow

Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 2:26 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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LaRose Returns in Yellow
The injury bug has pestered the Carolina Hurricanes locker room as of late, but it seems to be slowly dying off, at least for now.

Michael Smith
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Chad LaRose skated with the team for the first time in over a week today at Raleigh Center Ice. He wore a yellow, non-contact jersey, which has become a familiar site around the rink for the Hurricanes.

Yesterday, LaRose and Jerome Samson (upper-body injury) took the ice after the team concluded its practice. LaRose had been working out alone for a few days by himself prior to that.

“He’s working hard. At least he said he is,” head coach Kirk Muller added with a smile.

“Just [worked on] shooting the puck and making sure my shoulder was all good,” he said. “And I wanted to make sure I felt good today after getting a good workout yesterday.”

LaRose suffered his injury on Jan. 9 in practice when he got tangled up with a teammate and went shoulder-first into the post. It was a physical practice, and one of the most grueling the Canes had this season.

“We were practicing hard, and it was a battle drill,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but stuff happens.”

It was an unfortunate setback in an otherwise very productive season for the 29-year-old winger, who is on pace to put up career numbers. In 81 games during the 2008-09 season, LaRose notched 31 points (19g, 12a). Through 43 this season, he already has 21 points (11g, 10a).

Muller doesn’t want to rush him back, though. With the energetic, physical type of game LaRose plays, his shoulder needs to be 100 percent in order for him to be effective, Muller said.

“We’ll see how he recovered from yesterday and today’s performance before I even consider it being an option,” Muller said when asked if LaRose could play tomorrow against Washington. “We’ll reevaluate it and see how he feels after a good, physical push after practice.”

“I’ve been riding the bike and doing workouts,” he said. “Just taking the time and letting it settle down. I’m good now, so it’s good to know that it’s all right.”

If you ask LaRose, he’s ready to get back in the lineup as soon as he’s given clearance.

“Yeah, whenever they let me,” he said.

Two players that the Hurricanes will definitely be without tomorrow night are Samson and defenseman Jaroslav Spacek. Samson sustained an upper-body injury against Boston on Jan. 14. He skated with Rod Brind’Amour after practice today but will probably need a few more of those sessions before he gets on the ice with the team.

Spacek continues to practice with the team in a full face shield after taking a puck square in the face against Philadelphia on Jan. 10. Muller said Spacek will not play tomorrow, meaning Derek Joslin will remain in the lineup.

Cam Ward worked out off the ice today in what Muller called “maintenance stuff” for the goaltender who will start tomorrow night against Washington.

With LaRose, Spacek and Samson slowly regaining their health, the injury bug is also slowly fading. Joni Pitkanen and Brian Boucher continue to work on long-term recovery, as well. Coming into Friday's game versus Washington, the Hurricanes have 101 man-games lost. Compare that to last year’s total of just 66, a season-low since the organization relocated.

Even still, the team makes no excuses, and with the way they’ve played over the last 10 days, there’s no reason to. The results might not be there, but the effort is.

“In the last 5-10 games really, there’s been a lot of good things,” Muller said. “We just want to keep building on that.”


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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72