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Newcomers Get Acclimated

Monday, 09.16.2013 / 4:00 PM ET / 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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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
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12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 53 15 19 -13 34
V. Rask 51 12 19 1 31
K. Versteeg 52 10 21 1 31
J. Skinner 53 18 12 -3 30
J. Staal 53 12 18 7 30
E. Staal 53 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 53 8 16 -8 24
A. Nestrasil 46 7 12 -1 19
J. Nordstrom 42 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 53 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 5 .905 2.43
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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