Samsonov’s found his niche with Hurricanes


    The News & Observer (Rachel Carter, Staff Writer):

    RALEIGH – When the Carolina Hurricanes picked up Sergei Samsonov off re-entry waivers, they picked up a struggling player they thought could help out.
    So far, Samsonov is proving them right.
    After compiling just four points in 23 games for the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this season, Samsonov has nearly doubled that point total with the Canes. He has seven points in seven games and has scored his first two goals of the season.
    Samsonov and the Hurricanes had their last practice before the All-Star break on Wednesday at the RecZone. The Canes are off until Monday and host the New York Rangers on Tuesday.
    When Samsonov joined Carolina on Jan. 8 for its 1-0 win at Boston, he was put on a line with Rod Brind’Amour and Cory Stillman. Recently, Erik Cole has skated with Brind’Amour and Samsonov.
    “He’s done a good job of fitting in,” Canes coach Peter Laviolette said. “It’s a new opportunity for him. A second chance from where he was coming from. I think he had four assists in [23] games, now he comes here and he’s got a point a game.
    “He’s contributing, he’s getting scoring chances, he’s helping to create scoring chances, and I think everybody knew that that was in him and this was an opportunity to get it out of him.”
    Samsonov won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1997-98 as a member of the Boston Bruins and has had a healthy career. During the 2000-01 season, he had a career-high 75 points — Laviolette was an assistant in Boston that year.
    Carolina picked up Samsonov to boost the offense after losing Justin Williams to a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament.
    The Canes have used Samsonov’s speed along with Cole’s power and Brind’Amour’s work ethic to good results. The three have combined for 18 points in their past five games.
    “It’s nice to find chemistry early,” Samsonov said. “You never know, sometimes it takes awhile, sometimes it looks good on paper, but it works. There’s a certain chemistry with the three of us.”