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Tracking the Storm

Pitkanen to Receive Further Evaluation, Could Miss Beginning of Season

Tuesday, 09.03.2013 / 4:00 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Pitkanen to Receive Further Evaluation, Could Miss Beginning of Season
What was once thought to be a promising recovery took a turn in the opposite direction.

Michael Smith
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Defenseman Joni Pitkanen will travel to Raleigh to undergo a CT scan on Thursday and might not be ready for the beginning of the regular season, according to Carolina Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford.

Pitkanen suffered a broken left calcaneus (heel) bone after crashing into the boards during the second period of an April 2 match against the Washington Capitals. He was originally projected to miss 10-12 weeks, healthy in time for the team’s upcoming training camp. That changed a week ago when Rutherford received news from Pitkanen’s agent.

“He was having trouble standing on [his heel],” Rutherford said. “We’re pretty sure he’s not starting the season. It’s a real serious injury, and this could go a long time.

“I’m getting prepared for the worst at this point.”

Pitkanen’s absence, length undetermined, leaves a hole in the Hurricanes’ defense. The 29-year-old blue-liner has averaged over 22 minutes of ice time per game since the 2005-06 season and was penciled into Carolina’s 2013-14 roster as a top-four defenseman.

“When you take a guy out of the lineup that played that many minutes, you really have to look at your defense,” Rutherford said. “What Kirk [Muller] might have to do is balance [the minutes] out more, which I do think we have a better chance of doing with the addition of [Andrej] Sekera and [Mike] Komisarek.”

The forthcoming updated prognosis could have an effect on how the Hurricanes plan to replace Pitkanen in the lineup, Rutherford said. The Finnish defenseman’s absence opens the door for a Ryan Murphy, who is entering his first full professional season, or a Brett Bellemore to make the team out of training camp. Given the right fit and a salary cap-friendly contract, the Canes could also opt to look outside of the organization.

“We don’t know how long it’s going to be that he’s going to be out. Is he going to be out a couple of weeks? A month? Half a year? A whole year? I don’t know,” Rutherford said. “So until we get a better idea of how long he’s out, we’re going to try to replace him with what we have.”



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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 23 16 6 1 61 57 33
2 PIT 20 14 4 2 72 46 30
3 NYI 21 15 6 0 69 57 30
4 TBL 22 14 6 2 77 60 30
5 DET 21 11 5 5 59 52 27
6 BOS 23 13 9 1 59 57 27
7 TOR 21 11 8 2 67 63 24
8 OTT 21 10 7 4 58 56 24
9 NYR 20 9 7 4 57 58 22
10 WSH 20 9 8 3 56 54 21
11 NJD 22 9 10 3 53 63 21
12 FLA 19 7 6 6 41 51 20
13 PHI 20 8 9 3 57 61 19
14 CAR 20 6 11 3 48 62 15
15 CBJ 21 6 13 2 51 76 14
16 BUF 21 6 13 2 36 70 14

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Nash 20 4 11 1 15
E. Staal 15 6 7 -6 13
J. Faulk 20 2 10 -8 12
J. Skinner 16 5 6 -4 11
J. Tlusty 20 8 2 -11 10
E. Lindholm 20 6 4 -3 10
N. Gerbe 16 2 6 3 8
A. Sekera 19 0 8 -3 8
C. Terry 17 4 3 1 7
V. Rask 20 3 2 -7 5
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 6 7 1 .903 2.71
A. Khudobin 0 4 2 .898 2.97