The Carolina Hurricanes got a gigantic piece of their team back into the lineup on Tuesday night, when Justin Faulk was activated from injured reserve. But while it’s good to get a player of his caliber back into the lineup, his return may have come too late for the Canes.
Faulk missed nine games with a sprained MCL. The Hurricanes won exactly one of those games. Only one. That gives a pretty good indication as to how important a part Faulk is to this team. He jumped right back in the lineup and led the team in ice time on Tuesday night, though he was a minus-3 and the Canes lost another one.
Faulk is Mr. Everything on the blue line for the Hurricanes. He logs more minutes than anyone else on the roster, as we saw on Tuesday, and is a strong player at both ends of the ice. He averages well over two minutes per game on the power play and leads the team in penalty kill time, at almost three.
At this point, though, it doesn’t look like his return is going to play much of a part in trying to salvage the 2013 season for the Hurricanes. They’ve gone from playoff contender to a club looking at a very high draft pick. Their defense has struggled mightily, even before Faulk went down.
The Canes currently sit eight points out of a playoff spot, and are just two points away from being in the Eastern Conference cellar. A far cry from where the were a few weeks ago. Faulk’s return is big for this team, no doubt, but it doesn’t mean much for their playoff chances.