Bruins vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes Showing Signs of Improving Health

Wednesday, 10.2.2013 / 2:30 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Canes Showing Signs of Improving Health
On Monday, Jeff Skinner returned to practice with the team. On Tuesday, Elias Lindholm got back on the ice with the big group, and on Wednesday, Alexander Semin followed suit.
With opening weekend fast approaching, the Carolina Hurricanes are beginning to see signs of improving health.

Michael Smith
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On Monday, Jeff Skinner returned to practice with the team. On Tuesday, Elias Lindholm got back on the ice with the big group, and on Wednesday, Alexander Semin followed suit.

“Nice signs [versus] a few days ago,” head coach Kirk Muller said with a smile.

Getting Skinner back into the mix helped piece together the team’s third line, which also featured Riley Nash and an unsigned Radek Dvorak on Wednesday.

“I look at the third line as there’s always going to be movement,” Muller said after Tuesday’s practice. “We have injuries right now, but he should be set in a position right there where, five-on-five, he’s got to be better.”

Getting Lindholm into team practices is an important step forward before the team’s fifth overall draft pick can see game action, something he’s missed since the Canes’ first preseason game two weeks ago.

“He worked hard with Roddy (Brind’Amour) with getting his conditioning up to speed,” Muller said. “Now it’s just a matter of him feeling comfortable.”

Before rejoining the team in practice, Lindholm and Semin had been doing regular on-ice conditioning work with assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour, sessions that left both players hunched over and breathing heavily.

“Yeah, [Lindholm] doesn’t want to do Roddy’s practices anymore,” Muller quipped on Tuesday. “He pushes them to the point where they’re like, ‘Forget it. I want to practice now.’”

Even with the 18-year-old back in practice, it has yet to be determined if Lindholm will be ready to jump into the Canes’ opening night roster.

“The timing for him is important, especially coming from Europe,” Muller said on Tuesday. “With the smaller rink here … he still hasn’t had enough playing time to get used to the style. But these practices will be big for him, and we’ll evaluate him in the next few days to see if he fits in.”

Getting Semin back on the ice with the team reunited No. 28 with Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty, the Canes’ top line from last season that combined for 135 points (54g, 81a).

“It’s nice seeing him back there,” Muller said. “Back to getting that number one unit in tact.”

Though he’s missed a number of team practices, Muller said Semin’s first day back was fluid.

“He’s a guy that can miss time and just jump in. He’s in good shape,” Muller said. “He plays a lot more off instinct, than anything. He jumps right in and doesn’t look like he really misses a beat.”

All three might contribute on the team’s power play, too. In today’s practice, the coaching staff brought Lindholm into the mix on the first unit with Semin, Tlusty, Staal and Ryan Murphy, who rejoined the team on Wednesday after his technical, one-day reassignment.

“It’s possible [Lindholm] can jump in there. He’s a right-hand shot that we’ve always wanted on that unit in the slot,” Muller said. “He’s a good playmaker, and he can score from there.”

The team’s second power play unit consisted of Skinner, Jordan Staal, Nathan Gerbe, Jay Harrison and Justin Faulk.

Though final lineup decisions haven’t been made for Friday’s season opener against Detroit, Muller said “more than likely” the team will dress six defenseman and 12 forwards.

“Jordan’s line is set. Eric’s line is set,” Muller said. “It’s just a matter of looking at the third and the fourth and seeing what the right combinations are there.”



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 69 21 28 -11 49
J. Faulk 74 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 73 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 69 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 72 11 20 -11 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 70 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 74 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 46 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 38 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62