Tracking the Storm

Despite Losing Streak, Canes in High Spirits

Saturday, 11.15.2008 / 12:53 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Despite Losing Streak, Canes in High Spirits

Even though the result in Atlanta last night was the same – a third straight loss for the Canes – there’s no question that it was a much better effort than in their previous two games and a step in the right direction.

Paul Branecky
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The mood at practice on Saturday seemed to reflect that.  It was a far cry from the intense and sometimes angry workout on Thursday that followed the 5-1 loss to the Capitals.  At about 30 minutes, this morning’s session was much shorter, for one.  The tone, set by a high-spirited breakaway drill at the outset, was lighter as well.

That's not to say it was lacklustre, as coach Peter Laviolette seemed impressed with his players afterwards.

”Guys were into it, they were vocal, they were up and down the ice and they were sharp,” said Laviolette.

Call it a message of encouragement rather than punishment.

“You can’t keep pounding them into the ground in practice because you’re irritated that you didn’t win a hockey game or because of effort,” said Laviolette, “All you get at that point is beaten players.

”Sometimes when you go through these funks you just put your head between your legs, and that’s not the way to get out of it.  You can’t get out of it that way.  You’ve got to face it and dig in.”

Although the mood may have been lighter in practice, the goal isn’t to keep it that way for tomorrow afternoon’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

”You’ve got to be relaxed, but at the same time you’ve got to get pissed off,” said Tuomo Ruutu.  “I don’t think there’s any shortcuts.  That’s the way to battle back, and that’s the way we’ve got to do it.”

Tomorrow’s game will be the first for Tampa Bay since firing head coach Barry Melrose yesterday evening.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing for the Canes at first.  On one hand, it’s a clear indication of a team in some turmoil.  But on the other hand…

”One percent of the time a team comes out and they’re kind of deer-in-the-headlights,” said Laviolette.  “The other 99 they’re on fire.  I’m going to go with the odds.”

Ruutu, who experienced a mid-season coaching change while playing in Chicago, agreed.

”There’s no doubt that they’re going to come hard.  There’s a new coach, and everybody wants to show him what they’re all about and that they want to play for his team.  But it’s our home ice, and I think we should be going after them, not them after us.”

Very big game tomorrow – after some very encouraging signs surrounding the team this morning, a flat effort would be a tough pill to swallow indeed.  No reason the Canes shouldn’t come out flying themselves.

Patrick Eaves was back at full practice today.  Laviolette said that he will be available tomorrow.  Judging by the forward lines today, that would leave Patrick Dwyer as the odd man out.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72