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Newcomers Get Acclimated

Monday, 09.16.2013 / 4:00 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
From left to right, Mike Komisarek, Ron Hainsey and Andrej Sekera sit next to each other in the Carolina Hurricanes locker room.

Michael Smith
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They are the three new faces on the blue line as the Canes, due to injuries and in an effort to become a tougher team to play against, have added three big, reliable bodies to their defensive corps.

Five days into the on-ice portion of training camp, it’s been a smooth transition for the newcomers.

“There is a bit of a learning process with the systems, but you pick that up quickly,” Komisarek said. “For the most part, it’s just building chemistry with the guys around you, creating that trust, communicating with your teammates on and off the ice.”

“I’m taking it day in and day out,” Sekera said. “Learning the system, learning the habits of the other guys, what they do, what I should do, where I should be. It’s getting better each day.”

Sekera, 27, was acquired from Buffalo in a draft-day trade on June 30. Komisarek, 31, was signed at the outset of free agency on July 5. Hainsey, 32, agreed to terms just last Thursday. All three came to the team under different circumstances, yet they all find themselves in the same situation now: getting acclimated to a new city, a new dressing room, new teammates, a new coaching staff and a new system.

“We’ve got six exhibition games in two weeks to make sure we have everything sorted out, and we will,” Hainsey said.

“I think a lot of us are coming here trying to work the rust off,” Komisarek said. “During the summer, you’re practicing, working out and doing a lot of drills, but you’re not getting into those 5-on-5 situations and battles in the corners with guys leaning on you.”

Head coach Kirk Muller singled out Sunday’s Red-White scrimmage as a strong point for the new faces on defense as they become comfortable with the defensive aspects of the Canes’ game.

“Sekera looks like he’s getting better everyday,” he said. “I loved his Red-White game yesterday.”

Sekera, who said he likes to skate, enjoys the high-energy system the Hurricanes play.

“This is more up-tempo. Everybody has to be tight with good gaps everywhere. It’s a little bit different,” he said. “I’m taking away time and space and joining the rush if I can.”

Off the ice, the trio has found a number of willing helping hands in the adjustment to a new city.

“I think the guys make it pretty easy. The organization, first and foremost, makes the transition very smooth with helping you with what you need off the ice, whether its housing, schools, doctors, anything like that,” Komisarek said. “Settling into Raleigh has been smooth and easy for my family.”

“I’m getting used to the environment, the people and getting around the town,” Sekera said. “It’s the same group of guys, just different names. They welcomed me pretty well. They try to make my life easier on and off the ice, and I’m very thankful for that.”

Notes from Monday’s Training Camp Skates

Jiri Tlusty, who has been off the ice since Friday, skated with Group B today in a yellow, no-contact sweater.

Nathan Gerbe, who has been away from the rink due to personal reasons since the start of camp, was back on the ice with Group B today.

“It’s always tough missing days,” Gerbe said. “Now, I just have to jump in, get going and work my hardest to get up to speed.”

Looking Ahead

One practice session remains before the Hurricanes face Columbus in the preseason opener on Wednesday. The team will then travel to Buffalo, Quebec City and Montreal for a three-pack of games to finish the week.

“At the end of the day, all they want to really do is play hockey games,” Muller said. “I think we’re right on target with our objectives of introducing one part of the system one-by-one and making it competitive.”



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SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

[SSS_STANDINGS.METROPOLITAN_DIVISION_LABEL]
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 19 14 1 .926 2.30
C. Ward 10 12 6 .898 3.06
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