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Tracking the Storm

Canes Name Strong Lineup for Opener

Thursday, 09.17.2009 / 1:15 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Name Strong Lineup for Opener
The Hurricanes will be fielding a formidable mixture of rookie and veteran talent in their exhibition opener at home on Friday night.

Paul Branecky
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Scheduled to participate is the first line of Eric Staal, Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole and also the second unit of Matt Cullen, Ray Whitney and Chad LaRose. The top defensive pairing of Tim Gleason and Joe Corvo will suit up, as will starting goaltender Cam Ward.

A few of Group B’s top offensive players will also play, as Zach Boychuk and Brandon Sutter are in. Full lineup:

                              Ruutu – Staal – Cole
                             Whitney – Cullen – LaRose
                          Blanchard – Ryan – Dwyer
Conboy – Sutter – Boychuk
 
Gleason – Corvo
Harrison – Ward
Rodney – Carson 

Ward
Peters

Friday’s game is the first of four exhibition games, with Head Coach Paul Maurice saying that he plans for his veterans to play either two or three contests. Which ones get the extra game will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

“Everybody is different,” said Maurice. “Some guys feel they need the games to get ready and some guys have had enough exhibition games over the course of their career that they don’t need to be on them.”

Of course, there are still challenges. Having someone of Rod Brind’Amour’s resume travel for an exhibition game, which he’ll do for Monday’s game at Atlanta, isn’t the ideal situation. However, the coach felt it was necessary this time in order to get certain power play groups together.

“It is a little unusual when you have a Stanley Cup and the career list like his, and he doesn’t get the first home game and travels for the first road game,” said Maurice. “Also, that’s the nature of Roddy, because he doesn’t complain or care.”

Some of Group B’s higher-end skaters will likely play in all four games in order for the coaching staff to get an extensive evaluation of their progress and readiness to compete at the NHL level this season.

That decision, combined with the time already being taken up by veterans, means that some players in camp won’t get to participate. That’s usually the case from year to year, with the smaller amount of scheduled exhibition games offsetting the smaller number of players in camp.

“There will be players in that B group that we’d like to get in a game but just won’t get a game because of the number,” said Maurice. “At the same time, I would rather sacrifice that than play nine exhibition games and spend the first five games just filling holes with the guys and saying ‘Let’s wait until the last two or three until we get serious.’”

Maurice said that defenseman Joni Pitkanen, whose recovery from a minor knee surgery is apparently progressing nicely, is expected to participate fully in Tuesday’s practice and play in the team’s final two exhibition games – at home Friday against Atlanta and at Nashville the following day.

Compatriot Jussi Jokinen has continued to practice with Group A in a non-contact jersey and handle pucks, although he is not yet shooting at full strength.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 43 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 48 10 19 -13 29
E. Lindholm 48 9 11 -12 20
R. Nash 48 7 13 -4 20
J. Tlusty 41 12 7 -12 19
J. Skinner 43 10 9 -8 19
N. Gerbe 44 5 13 -4 18
V. Rask 48 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 46 1 14 -6 15
J. McClement 48 1 9 -2 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 11 17 4 .914 2.37
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .914 2.41