Frank Kaberle will be back in the lineup tomorrow. He was activated from injured reserve today. To make room, Carolina assigned defenseman Tim Conboy to Albany (AHL).
Kaberle has battled injuries this season, playing in just seven games with two lengthy stints on the shelf. When he has played, however, he has looked better than the past couple seasons when he was still recovering from shoulder surgery performed before the 2006-07 season.
Conboy was benched last night following a breakaway by Montreal's Guillaume Latendresse, which led to a penalty shot and eventual goal to cut Carolina's two-goal lead in half. Conboy played just 2:59 on the night.
The bigger picture presents a few interesting subplots.
1) Health! — The team is as close to full health as its been in a long time. The only two players out with injuries right now are defenseman Anton Babchuk, and he could be back as early as this weekend, and Niclas Wallin.
2) Albany Pecking Order — The one player called up who is still around? Rookie blueliner Brett Carson. Carson has looked comfortable the past two games in a third-pairing role after averaging more than 24 minutes in his first two NHL outings. He even saw four and a half minutes on the power play last night. The 23-year-old has emerged as the Canes No. 1 Albany blueliner the past 10 days, moving ahead of Conboy, Casey Borer and Bryan Rodney. With Josef Melichar seemingly a last option and Babchuk, when he's not hurt, struggling some this season, don't be surprised if GM Jim Rutherford makes room — if possible — so he can keep Carson up with the Canes.
3) Tough Enough? — The reassignment of Conboy does raise one question: who is the Canes resident tough guy? Pugilist Wade Brookbank has been a healthy scratch the past four games, so if coach Paul Maurice wants a fighter in his lineup he'll have to scratch a forward. Could Chad LaRose, who was scratched against the Rangers Saturday, be back in the press box to make room for Brookbank? Ryan Bayda — who earned rave reviews from associate coach Ron Francis for blocking a shot without his stick last night — and Brandon Sutter seem unlikely to sit, and goalless Patrick Eaves is playing his best hockey of the season, coming close to ending his drought on a few opportunities the past couple games. So it seems either LaRose or Brookbank will be the odd-man out, meaning the team will either be without a designated fighter or one of their best energy guys.