Posted: Wednesday May 3, 2006 1:31PM; Updated: Wednesday May 3, 2006 6:09PM
The Hurricanes need Doug Weight to pull more of it on the offensive side when they face the tough Devils.
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Boston fans, often critical of Samsonov's tendency to work east-west, would be surprised at just how much north-south play he has contributed. He's also working in a fair number of shots -- his 14 are just off the team lead -- which makes him far less predictable in the offensive zone, another old Boston barb. For all he's done, Samsonov deserves an A, and so does Lowe for making these deals.
Not all of Lowe's acquisitions have worked out quite as well. Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek logged a ton of ice but was an adventure every time he touched the puck. He leads the league with 14 giveaways in just six games, and that total might be kind -- over the last two games in particular he handled the biscuit as though it were infected with the bird flu. Barring an injury that mandates he stay out there, his minutes could decrease as the playoffs progress. C-
Dick Tarnstrom was picked up to provide blueline depth, and that's essentially what he did, averaging about 12 minutes a game in the six spot. The Oilers obviously hoped he'd bring more of the touch that powered Pittsburgh's offense in 2003-04, when he ranked sixth among all defensemen with 52 points, but that hasn't happened yet. Could be a lack of confidence leading to a lack of opportunity. C-
Here's a look at what some of the other late-season additions did or didn't do to help their teams in the first round.
Doug Weight: If the 'Canes want to advance past Martin Brodeur and New Jersey, they'll have to generate more offensive chances than they did against Montreal and Cristobal Huet. The good news? Given Weight's limited contribution in that series (three assists and a minus-3 rating) it's fair to say he hasn't yet played his best hockey. Along with some timely O, he also needs to be significantly better on the draw -- Rod Brind'Amour can't take 'em all, and Weight's 45 percent won't cut it. C
Mark Recchi: Based on his meager three-point output, Recchi is another veteran not living up to expectations. But over the last few seasons, his effectiveness never could be judged by numbers alone. He continues to work hard at both ends of the ice and has been getting his chances. His goal Tuesday night -- coming just 30 seconds after Sheldon Souray had given Montreal an early 1-0 lead -- temporarily sucked the energy out of the Bell Centre and gave the 'Canes a huge boost in the series clincher. That's exactly what the veteran needs to bring to the table for Carolina to be successful. B
Jose Theodore: Plenty has been written -- especially by yours truly -- about Theodore's shakiness in the first round against Dallas. But the bottom line, at least from the perspective of Colorado GM Pierre Lacroix, was met. Theodore went 3-0 in overtime contests and, most importantly, won four games before Marty Turco did. Judging from that perspective, Theodore earns a B.
David Aebischer: The former No. 1 in Colorado was reduced to spectator status in Montreal. After giving up five goals in his first three outings with the Habs, Aebischer improved, going 3-1 over his final four. But that wasn't enough to displace Huet when the games counted. INC
Jamie Lundmark: He's been a feisty competitor -- he memorably dropped the gloves with Anaheim's Joffrey Lupul in Game 1 -- but inconsistency and lack of discipline moved him to the press box as the series tightened up. His selfish penalty in Game 4 led to a Ryan Getzlaf goal that turned the tide of the match in favor of the Ducks. Mike Leclerc, another late pickup, was inserted in his place to bring more grit, but he's been more miss than hit. Both players: C-
Tyler Arnason: The Sens can't act surprised. The book on Arnason is that he's talented but unmotivated, so bringing him in to helm the second line was a risk. Injuries may yet give him a chance to contribute, but thus far he's been a complete washout. He was a healthy scratch for the entire first round. F
Jim Dowd: Lost in the Theodore fireworks was the acquisition of Dowd, who became a bigger contributor as the Dallas series progressed. He was abysmal in the face-off circle (35 percent) but chipped in with a rugged, dependable presence on the defensive side of the ledger. B-