by Kate Shefte
The 'Canes filled out their roster over the last few days, adding several minor leaguers and a supporting free agent duo that probably won't make the plays of the week but will add depth for a low price. Tom Kostopoulos (I'm going to nip this one in the bud and call him Tom K-Something) gives the 'Canes a few options at right wing. He will make $700,000 in 2009-10, $950,000 in 2010-11 and $1.1 million in 2011-12, which is very reasonable.
He played his last two seasons with the Canadiens but found himself without a contract before the firesale that's still going on up there as we speak. He has scored 22 points four times during his five full NHL seasons, but never more than nine goals in a season. Since Tim Gleason has his old No. 6 and he obviously likes that number so much, perhaps he should adopt Mike Commodore's recently abandoned No. 22 when he suits up for the 'Canes?
A little bit of late-night web digging about Tom K-Something shows that he is a “character guy” who is known for his work ethic and a fondness for racking up penalty minutes. He also is something of a trickster, having sewed someone’s keys inside their pocket at one point. He was arrested last February outside a Tampa Bay nightclub after an altercation with police in which he resisted arrest, but charges were dropped after he wrote them a nice letter. (Being a professional athlete certainly had nothing to do with it.)
Today, Carolina continued its modest spending spree, adding hulking 6’5 defenseman Andrew Alberts for two years at $800,000 and $1.3 million apiece. Alberts spent his formative years with the Bruins but led the Flyers in hits (starting to notice a trend here?) and was third in blocked shots last season. He has a history of injuries but Rutherford, who is trying to bulk up a back end that was tossed around like rag dolls in the postseason, is clearly willing to take that chance. A friend of mine, a member of the Philly press who follows the Flyers religiously, said Alberts is a solid third-pairing guy who makes dumb mistakes frequently but knows how to hit. Neither guy has a problem with dropping the gloves.
Carolina is still in talks with Tuomo Ruutu, who filed for arbitration but will likely never get that far. Both sides are close to an agreement – according to the ‘Canes’ Paul Branecky, it's down to the details. Anton Babchuk has apparently moved on and will not sign with the ‘Canes.
The preseason schedule was released a few weeks back – excuse me while I stifle a yawn. Two obligatory match-ups against Nashville, a team the ‘Canes seem to face every preseason, and Atlanta, which visits the RBC Center six times a year already.
But today, the regular season schedule was announced, making the start of the season seem a little closer – even though it’s still 78 days away. Carolina will open against Philadelphia on Oct. 2 but opted not to binge on the Flyers this year during a two-week period and won’t close the season series against them until January. The Boston Bruins won’t have to wait long for payback for the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals; Carolina will meet them in Boston for its second game of the season. The New Jersey Devils need only wait two more weeks until they get their chance.