Tracking the Storm

McBain Set for Return

Thursday, 03.24.2011 / 1:01 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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McBain Set for Return
It would appear that Jamie McBain is a quick healer.

Paul Branecky
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Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said that the team’s rookie defenseman, who was expected to miss three-to-four weeks with a shoulder injury suffered in Washington March 11, may play in one of the upcoming back-to-back games against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Friday's game will occur just two weeks after in the injury, putting him well ahead of schedule in his recovery.

“Every day gets a little stronger and a little better, but he’s pretty close,” said Maurice, who added that he did not yet want McBain to play on consecutive days.

It wasn’t until this past Sunday that McBain, who had previously not missed an NHL game due to injury, handled a puck for the first time since the hit that knocked him out of that game against the Capitals. Since then, he’s progressed quickly to the point that he was cleared for contact on Tuesday and resumed practicing normally with the team thereafter.

However, he’s likely to get hit harder in game action that he would amongst teammates, which could be the biggest hurdle yet to clear.

“It’s player confidence with this kind of injury that he feels good and strong with it,” said Maurice. “We’ll check on our other guys and see how our other injuries are, and then make a decision on that.”

McBain’s return, whenever it happens, will present a significant lineup decision. Derek Joslin, who went from healthy scratch to playing as many as 20 minutes per game in all situations, has a plus-7 plus/minus rating since joining the team in February and is not an obvious choice to sit out.

One possible solution would be to dress all seven defensemen currently on the roster, which Maurice said was unlikely for the home leg of the Lightning series on Saturday but did not rule out for the first game on Friday. Such a move would involve scratching a forward, likely one of Drayson Bowman or Jerome Samson, in addition to Troy Bodie, who has not played since March 12.

Potentially weighing against that decision is the health of Eric Staal, who will play against Tampa Bay as expected but may see his minutes decreased in order to ease him back in.

“The penalty kill is the first thing we may have to consider cutting him back on,” said Maurice. “We added that to him this year when our penalty kill was really struggling early on, then he came on it with Cole and our penalty kill has been (darn) good. We may have to make an adjustment there first.”

Staal plays an average of 22:06 per game, which trails only New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk for the league lead among forwards.

With Staal coming back in, McBain’s return would give the team a clean bill of health. Chad LaRose and Jussi Jokinen, who missed Wednesday’s practice for maintenance, skated during Thursday’s session and should be fine moving forward.


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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