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Lightning vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

For Six Sent Home, Experience Unlike Any Other

Wednesday, 09.21.2011 / 4:13 PM / 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 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 41 15 13 -8 28
J. Faulk 46 8 18 -14 26
J. Skinner 41 10 9 -7 19
E. Lindholm 46 9 10 -10 19
R. Nash 46 7 12 -4 19
J. Tlusty 39 11 7 -12 18
N. Gerbe 42 4 13 -2 17
V. Rask 46 6 9 -9 15
A. Sekera 44 1 14 -8 15
C. Terry 33 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 5 8 2 .916 2.32
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45