2014-15 Season Tickets

The Boys Are Back in Town

Monday, 01.07.2013 / 1:27 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
The boys are back in town.

Michael Smith
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Nine of them, at least, as the informal skates at Raleigh Center Ice ramped up with Sunday’s news of a tentative collective bargaining agreement.

Among the skaters were many of the usual crowd that skated three times a week during the 113-day work stoppage: forwards Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Chad LaRose, Anthony Stewart and Patrick Dwyer; defensemen Tim Gleason, Joe Corvo and Jamie McBain; and goaltender Cam Ward. Los Angeles Kings forward Kevin Westgarth, who spends his offseasons in the Triangle, also participated in the hour-long skate.

“It’s a day we’ve been hoping for,” Ward said.

“It’s good to see everybody, and we’re ready to get the ball rolling,” Stewart said.

“In a way, it felt more like Pete Friesen’s camp during the summer,” Dwyer said. “You’re back with the boys and excited to start skating. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, and the season is starting soon. It was fun to get out there and train with a purpose.”

The season will be starting soon, though an exact date remains unknown. Until final plans are hashed out, which should be sometime this week, Dwyer said the group will continue to skate every morning at RCI.

“It’s going to be a quick transition,” he said. “We’re going to have a week to get on the ice and skating, but there’s nothing like when you start banging bodies how tired and fatigued you get.”

In an attempt to retain game-shape during the work stoppage, some players ventured overseas. McBain played in Finland for about a month. Stewart joined England’s Nottingham Panthers in late September, coming back to Raleigh in mid-December.

Stewart said he played in all situations for the Panthers and averaged around 18 minutes of ice time per game. Playing on a bigger sheet of ice with only three forward lines quickly tested his stamina.

“Game speed is definitely different than practicing,” he said. “Guys seem to be doing a good job staying in shape.”

Never the less, with how fast we are barreling toward the sprint of a shortened season, there are bound to be some hiccups – systems-wise and with injuries – in the first weeks of the season.

“I think everyone throughout the league is going to have a four or five game period where there’s going to be some adjustments,” Dwyer said. “There are going to be some sore bodies.”

For those who didn’t log time abroad during the work stoppage, they are just ready to start playing games again. Jordan Staal is still waiting to play his first game as a Hurricane.

“It hasn’t felt like he’s been part of our team yet,” said his brother Eric. “He wants to play in front of our fans.”

That day will come soon, and the tangible knowledge of playing hockey brought a smile to many players’ faces. It’s that time of year once again.

“Game situations are a little bit different than having six guys skating on the same drills every time we’re out here, so it’s going to be an important week,” Ward said. “The rust will start to come off knowing the adrenaline that’s going to be pumping to get the season underway.”

“I just want to focus on talking about wins, losses, games and trying to win a Stanley Cup,” Eric Staal said.

And so it begins.





1 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
2 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
3 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
4 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
5 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
6 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
7 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
8 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79


E. Staal 79 21 40 -13 61
J. Skinner 71 33 21 -14 54
A. Sekera 74 11 33 4 44
A. Semin 65 22 20 1 42
J. Staal 82 15 25 2 40
J. Faulk 76 5 27 -9 32
N. Gerbe 81 16 15 -6 31
J. Tlusty 68 16 14 2 30
R. Nash 73 10 14 0 24
P. Dwyer 75 8 14 -2 22
A. Khudobin 19 14 1 .926 2.30
C. Ward 10 12 6 .898 3.06