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Carolina Hurricanes expect Sergei Samsonov to return from IR tonight

Sergei Samsonov

Carolina Hurricanes forward Sergei Samsonov lies on the ice as Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien skates nearby during the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, in Atlanta. Samsonov slid head irst into the wall and had to be carted off the ice in the game which Carolina won 1-0. (AP Photo/John Amis)


The Carolina Hurricanes left Helsinki, Finland for the better, even if they might still be a bit bleary-eyed from the long flight and crazy hour change. They went 2-0 and Cam Ward looked sharp, but the biggest beneficiary might just be Sergei Samsonov.

He missed those first two games recovering from a preseason injury, but the Hurricanes’ lengthy break between Games 2 and 3 of the regular season allowed Samsonov to rest up without missing too many contests. Chip Alexander reports that the team expects to see the speedy Russian back for tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators.

Samsonov, 31, suffered a neck injury when he was tripped into the boards during an exhibition game in Atlanta on Sept. 25. The Moscow native did not accompany the team on its trip to Russia and Finland.

Samsonov didn’t have an outstanding season last year, scoring 29 points in 72 games and registering a paltry -15 rating in 2009-10. He’s also a pretty limited player, as he’s listed at only 5'8" and 188 lbs. Still, the Hurricanes aren’t a terribly deep team, so Samsonov’s speed and skill makes him a fairly valuable asset in Carolina.