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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 - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81