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Tracking the Storm

Pitkanen Likely to Miss Thursday's Game

Wednesday, 02.09.2011 / 3:13 PM / 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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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