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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.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 70 21 28 -12 49
J. Faulk 75 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 74 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 70 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 73 11 20 -12 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 71 8 17 -13 25
J. McClement 75 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 47 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 39 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60