Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Lightning

McBain Has Brought 'Intensity' After Being Healthy Extra

Tuesday, 11.1.2011 / 12:24 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Lightning

When the Carolina Hurricanes took the ice for pregame introductions on opening night, defenseman Jamie McBain was introduced on the bench. He was a healthy scratch that night, as he would be in the following two games as well.

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It wasn’t until Boston came to town on October 12 that McBain cracked the lineup, unusual for someone who played 76 of 82 games with the team last year and logged an average of over 19 minutes per game.

“It was just kind of humbling to understand that your spot is on the line every night, and you just have to go out there and perform,” he said. “My training camp wasn’t quite as strong as I or [the coaching staff] would have liked it to be.

“It’s tough to sit up there and watch, but you take it for what it’s worth, and you try to learn as much as you can so that when you come back in, you’re ready to play.”

The Canes started the season 0-2-1 without McBain in the lineup. Since then, they’ve gone 4-2-2, and he hasn’t looked back since.

“He’s given us a bit more of an option on the power play units,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “I’ve liked his intensity more than anything else. We know we like his puck movement, and we always have. He’s been pretty involved in all the games, and he’s been a good defender for us as well.”

McBain has been paired with Joni Pitkanen at even strength, and that combination has also been seen manning the blue line on the first power play unit.

“We’ve had splashes here and there last year with [the power play], but nothing too consistent,” McBain said. “This year, we haven’t clicked quite as much on the power play as we’d like to, but we’re feeling good about where we’re at. We just have to go back to keeping things simple, and eventually the goals will come.”

A product of the United States National Team Development program, McBain was drafted in the second round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Hurricanes. He completed his collegiate career with Wisconsin in 2009, logging 79 career points (15g, 64a) in 111 games. In his three seasons with the Badgers, he led defensemen in scoring.

He joined the Albany River Rats (the then-AHL affiliate for the Canes) in 2009 following his last season at Wisconsin, and signed an entry-level contract. In the 2009-10 season, he saw 14 games in Raleigh and recorded 10 points (3g, 7a). Wearing the No. 28 at that time, McBain’s first NHL goal was especially memorable: he beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a slap shot from the point with just 0.9 seconds left in overtime to give the Canes a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Watch that end-to-end sequence here.)

At the conclusion of this season, McBain will be a restricted free agent. A contract year can be a tricky thing – some players seem to thrive in them, putting up career numbers; others see their game adversely affected by the pressure.

“It’s something that you understand. It’s all part of the business,” he said. “These are big years when you have a contract year. But at the same time, you just have to go out there and play. The end result will take care of itself, and things will work themselves out.”

Helping his game this season is Dave Lewis, brought in over the summer as the Canes’ defensive coach.

“We’ve had some good conversations about my game and where I’m at,” McBain said. “He doesn’t put too much pressure on you, and I think that’s when I’m able to play my best – when I have that free reign to go out there and play my game, and it’s been great.”

McBain will play in his ninth straight game tonight as the Canes take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. For McBain, it’s another one of many that he hopes to spend with the team that drafted him.

“This has been an unbelievable place to play, and I’ve loved everything about it from the area to the coaching staff to the fans and everything,” he said. “This is a very high-class organization and one that I hope to be with for a long time.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72