Devils vs. Hurricanes
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 MTL 74 46 20 8 195 162 100
2 NYR 72 46 19 7 219 167 99
3 TBL 74 46 21 7 242 191 99
4 NYI 74 44 25 5 226 205 93
5 PIT 73 40 22 11 202 181 91
6 DET 72 39 21 12 208 195 90
7 WSH 73 39 24 10 212 180 88
8 OTT 72 37 24 11 212 190 85
9 BOS 73 36 25 12 193 190 84
10 FLA 73 33 26 14 180 201 80
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 73 31 31 11 164 186 73
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 72 26 36 10 165 199 62
15 TOR 74 27 41 6 193 237 60
16 BUF 73 20 46 7 138 245 47

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 72 14 31 -20 45
E. Staal 67 19 25 -14 44
E. Lindholm 71 16 19 -21 35
J. Skinner 67 18 12 -21 30
V. Rask 70 11 18 -13 29
R. Nash 66 8 16 -11 24
N. Gerbe 68 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 72 6 13 -4 19
A. Nestrasil 44 6 13 4 19
J. Staal 36 4 14 -9 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 18 21 5 .910 2.44
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62