Tracking the Storm

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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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