In what is shaping up as the year of the emergency goaltender, the Carolina Hurricanes have become the latest team to extend a PTO to an inactive player to ensure the have two healthy netminders for tonight’s game. Unlike Chicago, who earlier this season famously inked Eric Semborski to a PTO an hour before a game in Philadelphia, the Canes didn’t have to search too hard to find their emergency fill-in. Jorge Alves, Carolina’s equipment manager, is suiting up this evening to back up starter Cam Ward with Eddie Lack battling an illness and unable to go tonight.
Apparently Alves is no stranger to taking the ice with Carolina. According to the team’s official Twitter account, he often practices with the club. Even though the Hurricanes are utilizing Alves in a different role tonight, the team isn’t allowing him a break from his normal responsibilities. He painted his own goalie mask while a fellow equipment manager drew the caricatures.
The team’s Twitter account is having some fun with the event. They’ve posted several pictures of Alves performing his normal duties, including sharpening skate blades and taping stick blades. They’ve also created the hash tag “#HipHipJorge” which was trending in Raleigh earlier this evening.
Alves actually does have professional playing experience, appearing in seven ECHL league games over parts of the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. That would seem to give him a slight edge should the Hurricanes have the need to go to their back-up at some point this evening.