In just two days time, the Carolina Hurricanes are evolving in front of our very eyes. Gone are the days when teams might take liberties with the boys wearing the sightless eye. With the acquisitions of Tom Kostopoulos Tuesday and Andrew Alberts yesterday, the Hurricanes not only added two players who led their respective teams with hits, they also added two players who won't hesitate to drop their gloves to stand up for their teammates.
After totaling 44 fighting majors during the 2007-08 season, the Hurricanes only had 26 last year. Wade Brookbank led the way with six fights followed by Tim Conboy with five. Last season, Kostopoulos had seven and Alberts had three. While they might not be distinguished pugilists, they will mix it up when needed. The Hurricanes had the second fewest fights in the league last season, ahead of only Detroit who had 11. The Ducks led the league with 82 skirmishes.
But forget about the fights for a moment. The two new players are both big, strong, and physical. They won't be bouncing off when they lay the body on opponents. When Jim Rutherford told the media earlier in the year he wanted to address the team's size, he apparently meant what he said. Alberts is listed at 6'5, 218. But unlike Anton Babchuk, who is also listed at 6'5, the Minnesota native uses his size to gain a physical advantage.
Don't be looking for the blueliner to light the scoring lamp though. It might be an interesting bet next season to see who scores first, him or Tim Gleason.
Jun 30, 1981
|2008 - Andrew Alberts||79||1||12||13||6||61||0||0||0||0||46||2.2|
One might look at the salary committed for this season, (48 million), compare it to what the Hurricanes proposed budget was, (50 million), and assume that the team must be about done signing players. But according to the club they are still looking for another blueliner and Dennis Seidenberg is still in the mix. Of course Tuomo Ruutu still needs to be signed as well, and that will certainly be for more than two million.
It would seem that the possible buy out of Frantisek Kaberle is all but a certainty now. And there could still be a trade or two looming before September. But next year's roster is beginning to take shape and the good news for fans is that management has addressed the perceived weaknesses from last year.
Will the additions be enough for the Canes to give the Capitals a run for the Southeast Division championship next season?