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Wild 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 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61