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Yelle Not Afraid to Block Shots

Wednesday, 09.2.2009 / 3:36 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Yelle Not Afraid to Block Shots
The last of the “new Canes” has arrived in Raleigh, as Stephane Yelle made it in time to participate in the Hurricanes’ annual media golf tournament, which pairs players and staff with members of the local media.

Paul Branecky
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(Special thanks due here to Aaron Ward, Kevin McCarthy and Joe Mazur of ABC-11 for putting up with the team’s web guy, who didn’t exactly carry the foursome.)

Ward and Yelle know each other from playing together in Boston last season, with Ward having nothing but positive things to say about the Canes’ newest addition during today’s round. Ward said he expected the team’s already-solid penalty kill to improve greatly, while simultaneously expressing concern about Yelle’s tendency to dive face-first in front of incoming shots – something the Canes’ new checking center didn’t deny.

“Yeah, I’ve done that for a while,” said Yelle with a laugh. “It’s just part of my game, and I enjoy doing it. Sometimes it’s not the smartest thing, but it works.”

Efforts like that should serve to improve a Hurricanes’ penalty killing unit that started slowly last year but ended up being a strength later on, especially in the playoffs. The Bruins entered the playoffs with the league’s fourth-best power play, but went only 2-for-27 against Carolina in the postseason.

“We’ll see what they ask of me, but I’m more than willing to do anything they ask me to do,” said Yelle. “Penalty killing has been part of my game for years, and I think they had a good PK last year, but I’ll try to keep that going this year.”

It’s been part of his game for 13 years, to be exact. In becoming the team’s new leader in playoff games played with 165, he’s missed the playoffs only once, with Calgary in 2002-03. While it was just one year, it wasn’t something he wants to experience again.

“It’s tough to watch the playoffs when you’re not playing or have been eliminated,” he said. “From what I remember from that year, I wasn’t happy about it.”

In addition to his shutdown role, the 35-year-old Yelle also plans to share some of his knowledge with those who haven’t been around quite as long.

“I’m one of the older players, and I think I bring a lot of experience,” he said. “I’ve been around for a long time and I play in a lot of different situations. If I can help out the young guys, I will.”

Like the team’s other new additions, he has to get to know those players first. That began today on the golf course, and will continue at the team’s informal practices leading up to training camp.

Another resource could be what he took home as a third-place winner at the media tournament – a copy of the Hurricanes’ 10th Anniversary DVD.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 55 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 53 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 55 12 19 7 31
K. Versteeg 54 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 55 9 21 1 30
E. Lindholm 55 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 48 8 12 0 20
J. Nordstrom 44 5 10 2 15
R. Hainsey 55 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 7 .909 2.34
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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