So I didn't flat out go out on a limb and call Peter Laviolette out last week when talking about the potential of Erik Cole playing, at least in the blog (I did on some message boards...) But I did float the idea that Laviolette was being a sneaky punk and masking Erik Cole's status for a surprise return, either as an emotional boost and/or getting 10-15 solid minutes of playing time out of him, and I was right. Except for the emotional boost part, because he totally blew that one.
Sure, the Carolina crowd is going to be excited to see Erik take the ice. In fact, instead of Cam Ward being introduced last they'll probably introduce him last for extra effect. But now they KNOW he's going to be there.. There's no surprise. I'm sure the Edmonton crowd raised their eyebrows when they saw him hit the ice, and the team was pumped. There's no doubt in my mind that RBC Center is going to be basically shaking when he walks out of the locker room, but something says to me this could've been even more..
It's great to see Erik return, it all seemed kind of weird that Carolina had ended his season three weeks ago when he was targetted to return at the beginning of the Playoffs, fortunately for Clarkson fans, that whole season ending thing, it never happened.