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Rodney Impresses Canes' Coaches

Saturday, 01.31.2009 / 11:25 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
In the current race for the postseason, the tendency might be to look past a home game against one of the conference’s weaker teams and forward to a tough west-coast trip featuring three playoff teams.

Paul Branecky
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Fortunately, the Canes are smart enough not to make that mistake.

“You never feel comfortable,” said coach Paul Maurice. “There’s no games that you go into that you can take a team lightly, and we certainly can’t because they still have the players that can put the puck in the net and that means their goaltender can win them the game.”

Even though Atlanta sits in 14th place in the east with a record of 17-28-5, they’ve given the Canes trouble this season. The Thrashers won the first two match-ups in November before Carolina evened up with two games after Christmas – one of which could have easily gone the other way.

“Our goaltender was absolutely the first star on the 26th of December when we played this team, and he had to be spectacular,” recalled Maurice. “We’re going to have to work our butts off tonight to make sure he doesn’t have to be that good.”

There doesn’t look to be any lineup changes from Thursday’s win over Tampa Bay, as Dennis Seidenberg and Scott Walker are still out. Niclas Wallin skated today without the no-contact jersey he wore yesterday, but won’t be ready for tonight.

That means Bryan Rodney and Michael Ryan will play against the Thrashers. Although Ryan didn’t get to play much last game as neither team rolled their fourth line much, Rodney played just over 12 minutes and impressed his coach in the process.

“I’ve been really pleased with the way he’s played,” said Maurice. “He’s a young player that wants the puck, and a lot of times a young guy comes in and he can’t get rid of it fast enough because he just doesn’t want to make a mistake. You don’t see that in Bryan’s game. He wants the puck and he wants to make plays.”

Like any young player, Maurice said that Rodney will have to continue to learn when to make such plays and when to play more conservative, something that can come only with experience.

“We want to make sure that he develops that along the line that if he sees a hole and feels comfortable going, even though he’s a call-up, that he’ll get up there, get into the ice and play, but at the same time recognize that if you’re out against St. Louis, Lecavalier and Kovalchuk that there’s certain things you don’t want to do,” said Maurice.

Even with two days off until Tuesday’s game at Vancouver, Rodney may stick around beyond tonight’s game as there is still some uncertainty about Seidenberg and Wallin. 

Seidenberg’s injury, apparently a reoccurrence of the injury he suffered earlier this year, was originally thought to be minor, but he doesn’t seem to be very close to returning to the ice as of right now.

“He’s day-to-day, but based on the history of him and this injury, I’m not waiting on him for practice tomorrow,” said Maurice. “He’s not going back on the ice until Pete Friesen says he can do some things out there, and I’m not holding my breath.”





1 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
2 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
3 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
4 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
5 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
6 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
7 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
8 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79


E. Staal 79 21 40 -13 61
J. Skinner 71 33 21 -14 54
A. Sekera 74 11 33 4 44
A. Semin 65 22 20 1 42
J. Staal 82 15 25 2 40
J. Faulk 76 5 27 -9 32
N. Gerbe 81 16 15 -6 31
J. Tlusty 68 16 14 2 30
R. Nash 73 10 14 0 24
P. Dwyer 75 8 14 -2 22
A. Khudobin 19 14 1 .926 2.30
C. Ward 10 12 6 .898 3.06