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Tracking the Storm

Pitkanen to Receive Further Evaluation, Could Miss Beginning of Season

Tuesday, 09.3.2013 / 4:00 PM ET / 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 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 70 21 28 -12 49
J. Faulk 75 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 74 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 70 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 73 11 20 -12 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 71 8 17 -13 25
J. McClement 75 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 47 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 39 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60