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|10 января 2007
Samsonov's resolution: score more goals // newsobserver.com
Canes' latest acquisition had only four assists in 23 games with Chicago
RALEIGH - Sergei Samsonov came off the ice after his first practice as a Carolina Hurricane and was immediately questioned on one subject all Triangle transplants face: the Beltline.
Samsonov, a 29-year-old forward who joined the Canes on Tuesday, got advice about driving around the Triangle from Eric Staal and Brian Tatum, the Canes' director of team operations.
The past 48 hours have been crazy for Samsonov, who the Canes claimed Tuesday on re-entry waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks. He joined the team less than two hours before the puck dropped in Carolina's 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins.
But the hassle is worth the trouble for Samsonov, the winner of the 1997-98 Calder Trophy, if it re-ignites his career. This is his fifth NHL stop and fifth team since the lockout.
"I've just got to start putting pucks in the net," said Samsonov, who had four assists in 23 games for the Blackhawks this season. "It's weird. I've been getting chances. I've been getting lots of shots on net; they just haven't been able to go in for me. So this is something I need to work on."
The Canes certainly intend for him to get an opportunity to get going. With Justin Williams out for four to six months with a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and a torn left medial collateral ligament, Carolina needs another right-handed shooter.
Carolina plugged Samsonov into one of its top lines on Tuesday with Cory Stillman and Rod Brind'Amour. He was on the ice for more than 20 minutes.
Carolina coach Peter Laviolette was an assistant coach in Boston in 2000-01 when Samsonov tied his career high with 29 goals. Laviolette said he liked what he saw out of the new player.
"He had three or four shots on net, he had three quality scoring chances, and at times, he looked real dynamic with the puck," Laviolette said. "That's exciting, because that really fits in with the style we play with, and I think just having a bit of past history with him from the Boston organization -- you know the type of game he plays and you think it really might work in what we try to do here."
Samsonov's career began as the Bruins' first-round choice in the 1997 draft. He scored 146 goals in seven seasons with the Bruins before the 2004-05 lockout.
Boston traded him to the Edmonton Oilers during the 2005-06 season, and he played against the Hurricanes during the Stanley Cup finals.
"He's a really skilled guy who doesn't need a lot of room to score goals," Canes defenseman Bret Hedican said. "... There's a kid that we didn't lose anything to pick him up and we picked up a good hockey player that has played at the highest level. He understands how to win and what it takes. Those are great qualities to get for someone who's free."
Free is, of course, relative. The Canes didn't lose any prospects to get him, but they are on the hook for half of the remaining value of his $3.525 million contract. He signed with Montreal in July 2006 but after a nine-goal season was traded to Chicago.
And now, he has landed with the Canes.
"Hopefully, I can bring some offense," Samsonov said. "I have an opportunity here to get my career back on track and hopefully, we can all benefit from it."