Tracking the Storm

Informals at RBC: Ponikarovsky's New Home

Monday, 09.12.2011 / 12:58 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Informals at RBC: Ponikarovsky\'s New Home
Carolina Hurricanes newcomer Alexei Ponikarovsky first stepped foot in the RBC Center this morning for informal workouts, as training camp begins at the end of the week.

Michael Smith
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And for Ponikarovsky, camp can’t get here fast enough.

“This time of the year is always fun. It’s what I’ve been waiting for,” he said. “You practice and train for two months and it just gets kind of boring, so I’m looking forward to it.”

The 31-year-old forward signed a one-year deal with Carolina on July 1 after putting up career-low numbers (5g, 10a) in 61 games with Los Angeles during an injury-riddled 2010-11 campaign.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of producing, as he’s scored 20 goals in three of his last six seasons. His best years came in Toronto, where he put up career-high numbers in 2008-09, scoring 23 goals and assisting on 38 others (61 points).

One of his 20-goal seasons came during head coach Paul Maurice’s tenure with the Leafs, so his talent and capabilities are not unfamiliar.

Ponikarovsky hopes to find the same success in Raleigh that he had in Toronto. At 6-foot-4, 226 pounds, he also possesses a big frame that he can and has used to his advantage.

“I’ve got size. I know what I can do in front of the net and in the corners,” he said. “That’s my game. It’s always been a part of my game, so I have to bring that and score some goals.

After the media golf tournament a week and a half ago, Hurricanes GM and President Jim Rutherford expressed confidence in Ponikarovsky, acknowledging his off-year last season but noting that he’s a proven 20-goal scorer.

Ponikarovsky is eager to prove that again, as well, so he is participating in informal skates before training camp officially begins on Friday. Today, Ponikarovsky did an on-ice session before heading to the weight room for off-ice work.

“First day here today. It was pretty good,” he said. “I’m excited to be here. It’s a good group of guys with a lot of familiar faces.”

And that always helps a newcomer feel at home.

Other tidbits from the informal workouts at the RBC Center:
  • The fans’ first chance to catch Ponikarovsky in action will be Sunday, Sept. 18 in the annual Red-White game at the Caniac Carnival.
  • Cam Ward and Mike Murphy were the goaltenders on the ice today during the informal skate.
  • Eric Staal was running the show for most of the morning, as he instructed a number of drills on the ice for the approximate 15 skaters on the ice between 10:45 a.m. and 11:30.
  • Other Canes regulars were participating in off-ice work during the morning on-ice session.
  • The skate began wrapping up around 11:30 a.m., as CanesVision was setting up to do their shoots today. Tip drills and faceoffs were being worked on at either end of the ice as players gradually left the rink.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 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