Preseason games are no big deal, right? Tell that to vets trying to work their way back into the show. Tell that to the youngsters, trying to make their way out of the minors and into the majors. While the highly paid superstars usually don't get very worked up about these "meaningless" exhibition games, these contests can help to forge a new career for a player on the bubble.
There will be several such "bubble" players on the ice tonight. Drayson Bowman, Brandon Sutter, Jeff O'Neill, and Dan LaCouture are all presently on the outside, looking in. But a consistent, solid performance in the preseason would lock up a spot for one or maybe two of these players. There isn't room for all four of them, though.
According to John Forslund's blog, the lines for the Hurricanes should look something like this-
- Sutter-LaCouture-(Conboy, LaRose)?
Cam Ward and Justin Peters will share time between the posts.
The Washington Capitals have several players in the same position of course. While I am not familiar enough with them to know all the ins and outs, here are a few players to keep an eye on. (There will be no Alexander Ovechkin in town tonight!)
- 20- Keith Aucoin - Will the long-time minor leaguer finally be able to claim a permanent spot in the NHL? Think he might just want to light the lamp against his ex-mates?
- 47-Karl Alzner - This highly regarded defenseman is looking to make an impression with the big club this year.
- 92- Michael Nylander - This guy has been a "Canes Killer" in the past and is back on the ice after a long hiatus because of an injury last season.
- 56- Chris Bourque- The left-winger has a big name to live up to. Can he do it?
- 83- Jay Beagle - I have no idea who this guy is, but with a name like that he better be good.
Brent Johnson and Simeon Varlamov will be the goalies for the Caps.
I'm not sure who the tough guys are for Washington, but Conboy and Brookbank are expected to play and you know what that means. (Perhaps Conboy and Brookbank will not play. Even though they are on the roster, Chip is calling for LaRose and LaCouture).
This will also be Joni Pitkanen's debut at the RBC.
Exhibition or not, it should be fun. See you at the rink, and keep your heads up!