Years ago when much of the energy I currently spend blogging was once spent obsessing over fantasy hockey, Tuomo Ruutu was very much on my radar as a Chicago Blackhawk. The hype was that Ruutu had that rare blend of power (aka the ability to take a lot of penalties, which is good in the alternate universe that is fantasy hockey) and scoring.
Naturally, though, only bad things could happen to such a player in the pre-Kane, “Dollar Bill” Wirtz era and that’s what often happened to Ruutu. His 2005-06 season was particularly difficult as he only managed to play in 15 games.
Then again, he has been pretty healthy lately (despite the fact that he typically takes just as much as he dishes out) and seemed like he turned his career around since being traded from the Blackhawks to the Hurricanes. Unfortunately, it seems as if the Finnish ruffian will have to wait until next season to continue his maturation because he’ll miss the rest of the 2009-10 campaign thanks to shoulder surgery, according to USA Today.
Coach Paul Maurice said after practice Wednesday that forward Tuomo Ruutu will have season-ending shoulder surgery on Thursday but that injured goalie Cam Ward could return within a week.
Ruutu initially injured his right shoulder during a fight with Colorado’s Darcy Tucker on Jan. 8. The physical forward missed 15 games and fought the injury even after his return, Maurice said, adding that in recent games against Phoenix and Boston, “I thought he was trying to hit everything that moved.”
As you can see, the good news is that goalie Cam Ward looks set to return soon. Of course, that won’t really matter much this year since it’s probably already too late for (another) miracle playoff run in Carolina.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.