Really, should anyone be surprised the Hurricanes lost not one but two players in Game 1 of this series? It’s rare when they leave the ice at Mellon Arena with everyone intact.
At least three Hurricanes players have left the ice on a stretcher in Pittsburgh since the team moved to North Carolina in 1997, and that doesn’t include Erik Cole, who skated off the ice with a broken neck.
So losing Cole to a knee-to-knee hit by Matt Cooke and Tuomo Ruutu after he was tripped by Mark Eaton on Monday may have been unfortunate but hardly unexpected.
Even the one game Eric Staal has missed due to injury in his entire career was in Pittsburgh, back in the 2003-04 season.
Scott Walker has had a particularly rough time of it in this building. In October 2007, he tore cartilage in his ribs after an awkward hit by Jarkko Ruutu, an excruciatingly painful injury that knocked him out for 17 games.
Then, this January, he took a hit to the head from Matt Cooke and ended up missing two months with a concussion and post-concussion syndrome. All he can do is look wistfully across the street, where the steelwork for the Penguins’ new arena is going up.
“I think the Carolina Hurricanes will be the happiest people when they cut the ribbon on the new building,” Walker said. “We haven’t had much success here, injury-wise. It’s just the way it is, I guess. It’s just one of those things, Murphy’s law or whatever you want to call it.
“You think about it more because you think back to all the times people got hurt. There are a lot of buildings where guys have gotten hurt. It just happens some of our big ones have been in here lately.”
Here’s an attempt at a complete list of the serious injuries the Hurricanes have suffered on this ice:
April 4, 2000 — Rod Brind’Amour suffers a concussion after a hit by Bob Boughner.
October 18, 2000 — David Tanabe suffers a concussion and Kevin Hatcher badly bruises two fingers blocking a shot.
March 4, 2006 — Erik Cole fractures two vertebrae when he’s hit from behind by Brooks Orpik.
October 14, 2006 — Trevor Letowski leaves the ice on a stretcher after a blind-side hit by Colby Armstrong.
October 19, 2007 — Scott Walker tears cartilage in his chest after an awkward hit by Jarkko Ruutu.
December 5, 2008 — Frantisek Kaberle re-injures his foot when he’s hit with a shot.
January 20, 2009 — Scott Walker suffers a concussion when he’s blind-sided by Matt Cooke.