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Blues vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

McBain Set for Return

Thursday, 03.24.2011 / 1:01 PM / 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

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

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 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
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 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45