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Gameday: Canes Take Young Group to Buffalo

Monday, 09.19.2011 / 12:49 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Canes Take Young Group to Buffalo
The theme of training camp thus far has been aggressiveness – head coach Paul Maurice said as much after the first day on the ice. Expect to see much of the same in Buffalo tonight, as a group of 20 players heads north for the first preseason game of the 2011-12 campaign.

Michael Smith
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Though the team is only a few days deep into training camp, they are well-aware of the focus. Tim Brent looks to take that message into tonight’s matchup.

“That word (aggressive) has been thrown around quite a bit, and that’s what I’ve got out of it – that we want to be as aggressive as we can at every point on the ice,” he said. “We want to set a tone for preseason and gain momentum, so that we are ready come opening night.”

Brent will be centering the second line, flanked by Drayson Bowman and Patrick Dwyer. Skating on the second line should help Bowman’s chances to put the puck in the back of the net, something he said the coaches want to see more of from him.

As Maurice noted after Ryan Murphy’s first on-ice session with the Canes, Bryan Allen and Murphy will be paired on defense. Tonight, they will be the top D-line.

“It’s not really viewed as an exhibition game,” Allen said. “You bring as much intensity and passion as you would a regular season game. It’s time to just turn it on.”

Allen certainly provides a foil to Murphy. Matching up a big, bone-crunching veteran defenseman with a much smaller, offensive-minded young guy in an aggressive system might just provide for an interesting dynamic.

“When you have that mentality (being aggressive) and to a man, everyone plays to their ability and that commitment to that aggressiveness, it’s a big step forward,” Allen said.

Brian Boucher will get the start in net tonight, as planned. All the young forwards jockeying for the precious few roster spots available – Bowman, Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk, Riley Nash and Jerome Samson – are all in the lineup. After many of them had strong outings yesterday in the Red-White game, the coaching staff will be looking for them to make another statement tonight.

“They were the players that took advantage of what is a scrimmage out there, and I thought they were the best players in the scrimmage today,” Maurice said yesterday following the game. “Tomorrow night they’ll get a chance to do it for real.”

Maurice hit on the same points today after the morning skate.

"We've got five or six guys that are trying to make an impression against NHL players, and it's their time individually," he said. "This is a real important test for these guys. What they are trying to do now is earn exhibition games."

Though tonight’s game most likely won’t be as high scoring as yesterday’s intra-squad matchup, the intensity will be just as high, if not higher.

“We want to be aggressive. That’s the theme,” Brent said. “We want to dictate the pace, and dictate what’s going to happen in every aspect of the game. That’s our focus.”

Here’s a look at the lineup for the Canes tonight:

Dalpe – Sutter – LaRose
Bowman – Brent – Dwyer
Tlusty – Matsumoto – Stewart
Boychuk – Nash – Samson

Allen – Murphy
Harrison – McBain
Faulk – Krueger

Boucher, Peters

Looking Back at the Red-White Game

It was probably no surprise to anyone that the best players in the Red-White game yesterday were the young guys that are fighting for roster spots.

“The players that we thought should be good in this game were,” Maurice said. “Nobody moved themselves in any one direction one way or the other. The four or five guys competing for those jobs up front showed some jump.”

Bowman’s jump included throwing the body around, as he showed he wasn’t afraid to finish any check, even in a team scrimmage.

“The younger guys can’t afford to waste the opportunity,” he said. “So, you try to be aware of who you’re hitting, but at the same time you try not to let up.”

Bowman notched two goals in Team White’s 10-7 win over Team Red. Surely keeping tabs on his competition, Boychuk added another.

“This is a big year for me,” he said. “The last two years have been good for experience to get games up in Carolina. This year, I feel like I’m ready to make that step and be a full-timer here.”

Now would be as good of a time as ever to make that jump as Boychuk is heading into the final season of his three-year, entry-level contract.

“Those two years in the minors were huge for me in terms of my confidence,” he said. “Now that I know that I can contribute and play at this level, I just got to make it happen.”




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


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
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81