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Tracking the Storm

Notes from Week One of Informals

Friday, 08.27.2010 / 3:01 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Notes from Week One of Informals

The first week of informal practices at the RecZone is in the books.

With the main goal being to get the legs moving and the timing down after a long offseason, the scrimmages are clearly more pond hockey than serious in-season training. Just ask the players how seriously the take them, and they’ll give a not-so-serious answer.

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Nonetheless, there are obvious advantages to getting an early start, and if nothing else, they’ve been fun to watch. The practices are scheduled to go every weekday from Monday-Friday until training camp starts, with more and more players set to filter in as time goes on.

Here are some notes from the first week involving a few players we haven’t touched on yet:

Jamie McBain left last season’s exit interviews with the knowledge that his strong performance at the end of the year would give him a good chance of starting the following season with the Hurricanes. While General Manager Jim Rutherford has since publicly stated that McBain is all but assured a roster spot coming out of the gate, McBain’s preparation and mindset have not changed.

“You can never go in thinking you have a job, because a lot can change in training camp,” said McBain, who spent his summer in Minnesota training with a group of NHL’ers that included Zach Parise and Drew Stafford. “I’m still coming in with the mentality that I have to battle and prove myself.”

While McBain can seemingly be counted on for regular power play time, the exact magnitude of his role on defense has yet to be determined. The Canes could again lean on him heavily as they did towards the end of 2009-10, when he averaged over 25 minutes of ice time. However, the re-signing of Joe Corvo should give coach Paul Maurice the luxury of taking it easy on the 22-year-old in what’s expected to be his first full NHL season.

Then again, if McBain regularly performs like he did down the stretch, there’s no reason to hold him back.

Patrick Dwyer is used to battling it out in training camp, but never with this much NHL experience already under his belt.

The 27-year-old American Hockey League veteran saw his first extended taste of the NHL last year, appearing in 58 games with the Hurricanes, mostly as the third-line center.   While he wasn’t counted on to be a big-time scorer – he notched 12 points last season – his speed, hustle and penalty killing help make him an asset and a candidate to earn a job again next season.

Whether that spot would be at center or wing remains to be seen. Despite his usual role from last year, Dwyer has mostly played wing throughout his career. That’s where he may end up should more natural pivots such as Jon Matsumoto or Riley Nash also impress.

“I spent some time trying to adjust (to center) last season and have tried to do that again throughout the summer,” said Dwyer. “I’ve really been working on my face-offs and trying to prepare myself for both positions.”

Much as it was for McBain, who did not attend a Hurricanes training camp for three years after being drafted, an appearance in Raleigh was a long-time coming for defenseman Kyle Lawson.

The 23-year-old seventh-round pick of the team back in 2005 recently completed a four-year college career at Notre Dame. Prior to this past summer’s rookie conditioning camp, he had never been to town in his five years as part of the organization.

“It’s been awesome,” said Lawson, who plans to head back to South Bend to catch his alma mater's' season opener in football next week. “To be honest I really didn’t know much about things down here besides getting some updates every now and then, so to finally come down here and get to know everybody has been a joy to experience.”

After signing a two-year contract with the Hurricanes in March, Lawson, winner of the CCHA’s top defensive defenseman award in 2008-09, appeared his first 10 professional games with Albany prior to the end of the River Rats’ regular season.

“It was an eye-opener to come in and see how hard everyone worked and it was a little nervy at first, especially since they were on a playoff run and you didn’t want to get in the way,” he said.

The job of a backup goaltender is never easy for a player of any age, but the job presents unique challenges for up-and-comers like Justin Peters.

On the one hand, Peters may not have much left to prove at the AHL level, where he gained All-Star recognition for an outstanding 2009-10 season. However, it can also be difficult for anyone to further develop those skills in a limited role behind an incumbent work horse like Cam Ward.

Presented with each of those different outcomes, Peters has a clear preference.

“I want to be in the NHL, and that’s the bottom line,” he said, echoing McBain’s sentiments of not taking a potential roster spot for granted. “I’m coming into camp with the attitude of hoping to make the team and put myself in the best position to succeed.”

Peters, who will turn 24 on Monday, proved capable in his first nine NHL appearances last season, posting a 6-3-0 record while splitting time with Manny Legace.




1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48


E. Staal 69 21 28 -11 49
J. Faulk 74 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 73 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 69 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 72 11 20 -11 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 70 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 74 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 46 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 38 4 16 -7 20
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62