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For Six Sent Home, Experience Unlike Any Other

Wednesday, 09.21.2011 / 4:13 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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For Six Sent Home, Experience Unlike Any Other

The Carolina Hurricanes made the first chunk of cuts today, trimming their training camp roster to 49 after day five of on-ice work.

Michael Smith
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Forwards Gregory Hofmann and Mattias Lindstrom have been returned to their European club teams. Forwards Victor Rask and Brody Sutter and defensemen Austin Levi and Keegan Lowe will head back to their respective CHL teams.

This group of cuts comes after the one made late yesterday when the team assigned goaltender Matt Mahalak to the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. More cuts are expected in the days ahead, as camp progresses into the second full week.

For those sent home early, head coach Paul Maurice looks at it as the first step in becoming a professional hockey player.

“For a lot of these guys, this is a big deal,” he said. “They see it on TV in their small towns. They’ve never rubbed shoulders with an NHL player before. They play them on video games, and now it’s real life.”

One of the players sent home today has grown up in hockey – defenseman Keegan Lowe, son of six-time Stanley Cup Champion Kevin Lowe, who was drafted in the third round this summer. Even still, this is an experience that can’t compare.

“Lowe is going from juniors to trying to stop Eric Staal one-on-one,” Maurice said. “And that is a fantastic experience.”

The first days of camp also can provide a training experience unlike anything these players have ever completed. But Maurice said that isn’t even the biggest drain on their bodies.

“I like watching the interactions, and I like when something funny or good happens on the ice and you see a kid smile, and they break that nervousness that they carry around with them,” he said. “I think the biggest energy burn isn’t what we put them through – it’s the anxiety and anticipation that those kids go through.”

Camp will only get more competitive in the days ahead, especially as the roster continues to shrink. Assessing the situation today, Maurice said that the defensive spots would be more of a question than the forward spots.

“I think (Jiri) Tlusty and (Zac) Dalpe have pushed a little further. They can still be caught. The jobs are still open,” Maurice said. “But we may spend more time talking about the 6-7 position on D than the spots up front by the end of camp.”

The biggest roadblock for a Justin Faulk or a Ryan Murphy trying to break into the defensive group this season is that the team already has seven players under NHL contract – Tim Gleason, Joni Pitkanen, Tomas Kaberle, Jamie McBain, Bryan Allen, Jay Harrison and Derek Joslin. But Maurice said it isn’t a question of if the young guys would play; rather, it’s a question of when.

“When we put together that lineup against Tampa opening night, we’re going to put out the guys that we think will help us win that game,” Maurice said. “Age will not be a factor.”

Tomorrow, the remaining players will skate in two groups, with the first practicing at 10 a.m. and the second following at noon.

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