Tracking the Storm

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.”


SCHEDULE

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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