This actually explains a lot, since earlier in the week Zach Boychuk was recalled from Charlotte. There was some speculation as to where the Hurricanes were going with this, but now it all becomes clear.
Losing Tlusty is a massive punch to the Hurricanes’ plans. His output has nearly tripled in December after a rough patch causing him to lose some ice time. Two to three weeks without a big shooting, big scoring, low penalty skater can be almost catastrophic. Not to detract from Boychuk as a player — because he’s not bad — but he’s just not Tlusty. No matter how young and spry any player is, there’s no way to replace a veteran on an upswing.
While injuries seem to be the underlying story of the Hurricanes’ season, there’s literally nothing anyone can say about Tlusty’s appendix almost blowing up. Appendicitis is no joke, and Tlusty needs to take his time and convalesce. This isn’t like Tim Gleason putting himself in dumb places after a concussion or Anton Khudobin over-extending himself into a butterfly. Tlusty got ill. This is just a punch Carolina needs to roll with.
As with anything else, the key is for Carolina to regroup and pick up slack. Eric Staal simply has to go all-out and drop bombs as well as Nathan Gerbe, who has been MIA lately. Jeff Skinner has been on a tear and obviously that must continue. The goaltending fiasco is still going on but must take a backseat. This is why Justin Peters draws a paycheck. He will be just fine, but points are the only thing that will solve this.