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Tracking the Storm

One More Day

Thursday, 10.09.2008 / 2:33 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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One More Day

Only one day left until the Hurricanes open the 2008-09 season at home tomorrow night against the Florida Panthers.  Being around the locker room and practice, you can really tell that the players are looking forward to it as much as the fans.

Paul Branecky
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After weeks of tough practices in training camp, this morning’s session had more of a pregame skate feel to it, if that makes any sense.  It seemed to be less about systems work and teaching and more about just getting a skate in before the big game – a relatively loose atmosphere.

Speaking of pregame skates, there won’t be one tomorrow morning, and there should be less of them this season than in the past.  A lot of teams don’t do them at all or make them optional since their only purpose it to get a little warm-up in before that night’s game.  I’m guessing a couple of guys might still want to head out there and skate some circles even on off days, especially if they’re testing injuries, but don’t expect to see them very often.  Not that they’re ever very strenuous, but it’s one less way to get hurt, right?

Coach Peter Laviolette said that he’s comfortable with the lines he’s been using in practice recently, so I expect him to start off with those tomorrow night.  For me, Tuomo Ruutu has been a standout in practice since returning from his groin injury, so there’s no reason to think he won’t play tomorrow night.  Rod Brind’Amour has been saying that he’s not feeling as good as he wants to yet, so depending how things go he might see his minutes limited much like they were in Sunday’s exhibition finale.

As it stands right now, the third line of Matt Cullen, Ryan Bayda and Chad LaRose is an interesting one.  Cullen is a mainstay in that position, but Bayda and LaRose would probably be a line lower if Scott Walker and Justin Williams were healthy. 

That’s not to say the team isn’t comfortable using them in those slots, however.  Those two names have come up throughout camp, whether it’s from Laviolette or GM Jim Rutherford, as players who have had a strong showing in the preseason.  If they’re able to carry that into tomorrow night and beyond, that will be a huge boost for the team.

Finally, tomorrow night’s game will be the NHL debut of one Brandon Sutter.  He got to play in all six exhibition games, which he says has calmed the nerves quite a bit.  In addition to even strength duty, he’ll most likely see some time on the penalty kill, especially if Brind’Amour is limited.

Even though there’s no skate tomorrow there’s still media availability in the morning, so check for updates before the big game.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 43 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 48 10 19 -13 29
E. Lindholm 48 9 11 -12 20
R. Nash 48 7 13 -4 20
J. Tlusty 41 12 7 -12 19
J. Skinner 43 10 9 -8 19
N. Gerbe 44 5 13 -4 18
V. Rask 48 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 46 1 14 -6 15
J. McClement 48 1 9 -2 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 11 17 4 .914 2.37
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .914 2.41