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Wounded Norsemen Preparing for Puck Hounds

by Matt MacInnis | March 21, 2006, 3:15 PM ET
As the Norsemen prepare for the always difficult Cleveland Puck Hounds, they find no less than six of their players currently banged up with varying lengths of injuries. At centre, Ryan Kesler and Jarret Stoll are both suffering from slight injuries. Stoll is expected to play tomorrow night in a reduced role, although he will be a game-time decision, and the youngster Kesler will be forced to miss the contest. Stoll has been a key part of the teamís success with 27 points thus far this season. Kesler has been recently called up and played 11 SICHL, scoring three times and putting up an impressive plus 4 rating in his limited action. The most significant missing piece right now is Tomas Surovy, who is the teamís leading scorer this year with 27 goals and 21 assists in 53 appearances. His absence from the teamís top line and power play is going to be a significant problem and greatly diminishes the teamís ability to score goals. Even with Surovy, the offence is anaemic at best. Fellow youngster Antoine Vermette has a very slight injury but is expected to dress. On the blue-line there are two more players who arenít at 100 per cent including Brooks Orpik and Adam Foote. Orpik has been out for the best several days, but while active, heís been outstanding with a plus 7 rating. Foote is expected to fight through the tough times and continue to be the dominating rock on the teamís back end. Although he is minus 4 since joining the team, Foote has played monster minutes every night against the oppositionís very best. Footeís waiver pick up 22 games through the season may be the best acquisition the Norsemen organization has ever made. When the Norsemen and Puck Hounds meet tomorrow, Vesa Toskala will get the start. Toskala continues to lead the league, tied with Montrealís Roberto Luongo the league in shut outs with an amazing six. Despite the laundry list of injuries, GM Matt MacInnis feels confident in his teamís abilities. ďItís never easy to play a top team when youíre missing your top scorer and many of your key contributors are wounded,Ē said MacInnis. ďBut our team has really been outstanding defensively this year and I think that the guys are going to be able to hold the Hounds to a reasonable number of goals. Itís just a matter of if we can take advantage of our chances.Ē

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