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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Hurricanes Notebook: Schedule Ramps Up

Friday, 02.22.2013 / 4:15 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Hurricanes Notebook: Schedule Ramps Up
After a period in which the Carolina Hurricanes played just three games in 10 days, Saturday begins a stretch of nine games in 15 days for the team.

Michael Smith
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It will be a playoff-like segment, with games every other day and two sets of back-to-back games.

The schedule breaks up a bit more toward the end of March before April ignites a mad sprint to game No. 48.

“The adjustment is more in how you manage your practice time,” Muller said of the packed schedule. “Just like that road trip, we had a lot of days off. You get your energy there and save it for the games. We’re aware of the schedule. You look at the pockets where you have a couple of days and work on stuff, just like today.

“When you’re not playing much, I think it was more trying to keep the intensity level up to carry it into the game, and I thought we had it last night.”

A Change in Net

Muller said Dan Ellis will get the start in net on Saturday against Tampa Bay, his fifth start this season. In five games played, Ellis is 3-1 with a 1.74 goals-against average, a .943 save percentage and one shutout. In his last start on Feb. 14 against Toronto, Ellis made 22 saves on 23 shots en route to a 3-1 victory.

Ellis, who has logged two career games against the Bolts with a 2.98 goals-against average and a .878 save percentage, played in 31 games with Tampa Bay in the 2010-11 season. He was 13-7-6 with a 2.93 goals-against average and a 0.889 save percentage.

Getting Healthy?

Tim Gleason (lower-body, day-to-day) and Joni Pitkanan (lower-body, day-to-day) practiced with the Hurricanes on Friday. Gleason, who has missed the last three games, put in a pre-practice workout with assistant coach Dave Lewis and remained on the ice with the team.

“Giving them both a skate today to see where they’re at,” Muller said. “It’s day-to-day, and we’ll see how they respond tomorrow. We’ll see if we can get them in this weekend.”

If either is unable to play on Saturday, the Hurricanes know they have a capable defenseman in 19-year-old Ryan Murphy, who logged nearly 24 minutes of ice time in his NHL debut.

“We have a lot of confidence in his game,” Muller said. “He did a lot of things really well. In saying that, we’re missing some key veteran guys that we’d obviously love to have back. Ideally, we’d love to have everyone healthy. That’d be a nice problem to have.”

Jeff Skinner (concussion, day-to-day) Tim Brent (lower-body, day-to-day) and Jamie McBain (upper-body, day-to-day) did not practice on Friday.

Black Jerseys

The Hurricanes practiced today in their black gear, as Saturday marks the first of seven third jersey nights for the team.

Before their six-game road trip, the Canes spent a few practices breaking in the gear. But for guys like Michal Jordan, who was recalled just eight days ago, one practice isn’t ideal for getting comfortable with new equipment.

Jordan said he has worn the same shoulder and elbow pads for upwards of three years. On a heady veteran tip from Ellis, Jordan put his gloves in the steam room for awhile to expedite the breaking-in process.

The Pass

Beautiful. Amazing. Jaw-dropping. Elite. All of these adjectives and many more can describe Alexander Semin’s pass to Jiri Tlusty in the first period on Thursday. It was a highlight-reel play, and will likely be the best pass you see in the NHL this season.

Eric Staal gathered the puck along the boards on a turnover and found Semin. Zach Bogosian, knowing he was likely caught in an odd-man situation, dropped his stick to the ice to sever Semin’s chances of making a forehand feed. A patient Semin curled the puck through his legs – and through Bogosian’s legs – to find Tlusty’s outstretched stick for the tap-in goal.

“That you can’t teach,” Muller said. “That’s up there with an elite few that can make those plays.

“He might be our top playmaker on our team.”

Muller offered the comparison to Brett Hull, who he played with in Dallas between 1999-2001.

“Brett really loved to make plays, and he was a way better playmaker than people realized,” Muller said. “I didn’t realize it until I played with him.”

A heavy shot – which Muller wants to see more of – and elite playmaking skills aren’t the only tools Semin possesses. At plus-11, ranking tied for second on the team, Semin is a sound defensive mind, as well.

“I know now why he’s a plus-player: he reads the game pretty good,” Muller said. “He’s not your typical … defensive forward, but he understands the game, and he’s a smart player.”




1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43


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
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61