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Rutherford: Major Changes Never Close

Wednesday, 11.19.2008 / 3:24 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Rutherford: Major Changes Never Close

After winning their last two games and showing marked improvement since a pair of lopsided divisional losses last week, there’s reason to be optimistic that the Canes’ recent slide was just a blip in the radar over the course of a long season.

Paul Branecky
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After the low point, a 5-1 loss to division rival Washington in which the team’s work ethic was questioned by management, that conclusion would have been a tough one to make. 

However, as bleak as the situation may have been back then, GM Jim Rutherford said his finger never got too close to the trigger on making significant changes.

“With what our team’s gone through with the number of injuries and whatnot, to consider making any changes early in November I think would have been way premature,” said Rutherford. 

Now, with the team as healthy as it’s been all season (Frank Kaberle’s return looks imminent and Justin Williams is ahead of schedule on his long recovery), the team’s improvement over their last three games looks to be validating the decision to stand pat.

At the very least, the team doesn’t seem to be putting on a repeat performance from a year ago, which everyone from Rutherford on down to the players openly worried about during the losing streak.

“I was concerned and I hoped that this wasn’t the same as last year where we got off to a good start and we started to lose it in November,” said Rutherford.  “I think what’s really encouraging is the last three games where we’ve actually played better in each game in November, which I did not see last year.  Getting players back and getting them used to playing together really makes a difference.”

Indeed, the recent run of injury-related good news has provided some stability to the Hurricanes’ lineup, with Rutherford believes is a key reason to the recent improvement on the ice.

“I think Peter [Laviolette] sticking to the lines now and the defense pairings gives us more consistency and gives the players more time to work together with each other and work out whatever issues they may have,” he said.  “Now, it’s starting to show.”


 

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81