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Pitkanen Likely to Miss Thursday's Game

Wednesday, 02.9.2011 / 3:13 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Pitkanen Likely to Miss Thursday\'s Game
The Hurricanes are expected to make a defensive recall from Charlotte on Wednesday evening, as Joni Pitkanen is doubtful to play Thursday night in Philadelphia.

Paul Branecky
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The Finnish defenseman was injured near the beginning of the third period of Tuesday’s overtime loss in New Jersey when a shot by the Devils’ Anssi Salmela appeared to strike him in the leg. After limping to the dressing room, Pitkanen would return about five minutes later to try a few more shifts, but left the game for good with around 10 minutes remaining in regulation.

General Manager Jim Rutherford said that the injury to Pitkanen is not serious, although it will likely cause him to miss some time.

“I don’t believe he will play tomorrow’s game but would probably be ready to play the weekend,” said Rutherford.

Following the match-up with Philadelphia, the Hurricanes close out their four-game road trip with games against Tampa Bay on Saturday and Atlanta on Sunday. They could have Pitkanen for those, making his absence shorter than the five-game hiatus he took after suffering an upper-body injury in Toronto on Jan. 28.

Since the Canes are carrying just six defensemen on the current trip, one more should be joining them from the AHL Checkers. While Rutherford said that he has not yet made a decision on which player he’ll recall, Brett Carson and Bryan Rodney have each spent time with the Hurricanes in similar situations this season, playing seven and three games, respectively.

Update: Brett Carson recalled

As an offensive-minded player capable of contributing on the power play, Rodney most closely resembles Pitkanen’s skill set, although Carson, the more reliable defender, scored a goal in Charlotte’s 4-1 win over Providence on Tuesday. Position could also be a factor, with Rodney more comfortable on Pitkanen’s preferred left side, while Carson, his partner in Charlotte, prefers the right.

The Hurricanes are fortunate in that they do not have to replace Zach Boychuk as well. The winger took an elbow to the head against the Devils that resulted in defenseman Anton Volchenkov receiving a three-game suspension as the guilty party. Boychuk headed to the locker room for tests but returned to the ice, with his newly-created Twitter account a good indication that he’s feeling like himself.

Without commenting directly on the length of Volchenkov’s ban, Rutherford said that he was satisfied with the ruling.

“It’s not for me to analyze what the league does on suspensions - they do a good job with them,” he said. “Clearly this was a pretty good shot to the head, and I’m surprised Zach came back in that game because he got hit pretty hard. I was not surprised that there was a suspension.”


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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81