Carolina offered no update yesterday on wingers Erik Cole and Tuomo Ruutu, who got apparent left leg or knee injuries Monday night, although Ruutu told The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., he hopes to play in Game 2 tomorrow night.
"They're pretty tough guys," said Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason, adding he didn't see either get hurt -- just heard Cole scream and, later, saw him with ice bags strapped on -- but that their teammates remain optimistic. "We're, hopefully, looking forward to having them back, if not [today] then maybe [tomorrow]. They're two big, important pieces for us."
Ruutu was hurt in the first period when he was hit by Penguins defenseman Mark Eaton in front of the Penguins net. Ruutu left and did not return. Cole was hurt in the third period when he collided knee to knee with Penguins winger Matt Cooke in the slot.
Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice was more critical of Cooke's hit but did not call for a fine or suspension from the NHL.
"I just felt that by the time the collision happened, [Cooke] would have had time to readjust and not have it go there," Maurice said. "I just didn't like it."
Maurice hadn't determined how he will alter his line combinations if Cole and/or Ruutu are out for Game 2.
A lot will depend, Maurice said, on whether he moves center Jussi Jokinen to the wing. As for fill-ins, Carolina has a taxi squad of minor leaguers to choose from.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who led the playoffs through yesterday with 12 goals and 22 points, proved highly effective going to the net in the second round against Washington.
In Game 1 against Carolina, Crosby was not hovering around goaltender Cam Ward all night. Crosby had an assist and just two shots. By contrast, the Penguins' other star center, Evgeni Malkin, had a goal, an assist and a game-high six shots.
That is not, Maurice insisted, because the Hurricanes' defense or the line centered by Matt Cullen did anything special against Crosby, or because he had an off night.
"He played a very, very smart game defensively," Maurice said. "The Cullen line, I thought, was pretty good and I thought [Crosby] made a good adjustment in this game. He wasn't pushing it [offensively]. He made sure those guys stayed off the score sheet.
"We didn't do anything to Sidney Crosby to keep him off the score sheet. He went out and played as hard as he possibly could, and I think he read that game very, very well and had it been 2-0 Hurricanes [instead of 2-0 Penguins], you would have seen his number a lot more in the front of our net."
Chad LaRose on Cole, who in 2006 missed most of Carolina's Stanley Cup run after a hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik broke his neck in a game at Mellon Arena that March: "I don't think he likes this building too much." ... With two days between games, the Hurricanes did not practice, opting for a late-morning meeting.