Wolf Pack Hurting Already
September 27, 2003
By BRUCE BERLET, Courant Staff Writer
MARLBORO, Mass. -- The Wolf Pack were waylaid last season by numerous injuries in New York and Hartford and trades by the Rangers.
A similar plot is developing before this season even starts in 13 days.
Dan Blackburn, expected to be the Wolf Pack's No. 1 goalie, could be out two months with a shoulder injury. Former AHL All-Star right wing Paul Healey, signed as a free agent, is recuperating from broken ribs. Center Benoit Dusablon is out 4-6 weeks with a sprained right knee. And Bryce Lampman, the Wolf Pack's top young defenseman last season, is likely out for a similar period after separating his left shoulder in the Rangers' 5-0 exhibition victory Thursday.
"It's unfortunate because Bryce was a guy we were expecting to be pretty good and do a lot of things, so we have to fill a void," Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld said Friday after the Wolf Pack and Providence Bruins tied 2-2 in an exhibition at the New England Sports Center.
"We've got enough players, but some guys under contract have to fight for spots," Schoenfeld said. "The games this weekend should give us an idea on some."
The Rangers assigned Lampman, goalie Jason LaBarbera, defensemen Lawrence Nycholat and Fedor Tjutin and forwards Dominic Moore and Juris Stals to the Wolf Pack. All but Lampman will play tonight at 7:05 when the Wolf Pack host the Bruins at Champions Skating Center in Cromwell.
Injuries to Lampman and Rangers All-Star Brian Leetch (ankle) are especially difficult with top defensemen at a premium. But it could give Jayme Filipowicz, one of 10 trying out for the Wolf Pack, a better chance to get a contract. Filipowicz, a fourth-year pro, had the Wolf Pack's first goal on a power play in the first period. Cory Larose forced overtime with 4.6 seconds left.
Phil Osaer, another tryout, started in goal and stopped 7 of 8 shots before being replaced by David St. Germain, who also was 7-for-8.
"It was a little scrambly, but I take it with a grain of salt considering it was the first game with a lot of new faces," coach Ryan McGill said. "We did some good things system-wise, but we were inconsistent, too. Guys you expected to play well like Larose and [Chad] Wiseman did. And I thought Filipowicz and the goalies were pretty good, too."
With 2 weeks before either season starts, the situation isn't worrying me yet. Still, you've got to be prepared for injuries and there is already some concern with only 3 'Packers out and only 1 injury for the Rangers. Maybe Sather is looking to pluck a little help out of the waiver draft? A 2nd/3rd line AHL'er might be a nice cushion in case we need to call up Moore for the big club at some point.