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Capitals vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Newcomers Get Acclimated

Monday, 09.16.2013 / 4:00 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Newcomers Get Acclimated
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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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 59 11 27 -16 38
E. Staal 54 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 58 11 15 -16 26
J. Skinner 54 15 9 -16 24
R. Nash 56 7 14 -9 21
N. Gerbe 55 6 14 -13 20
A. Sekera 57 2 17 -7 19
V. Rask 57 8 10 -18 18
J. McClement 59 4 12 1 16
J. Staal 23 4 11 -1 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 6 11 3 .901 2.73