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Tracking the Storm

Gerbe Makes Second Trip Back to Home State

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 4:00 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gerbe Makes Second Trip Back to Home State
A native Michigan, Nathan Gerbe has played a regular-season game in his home state just once in his 209-game NHL career. Thursday will be his second.
A native of Oxford, Michigan, Nathan Gerbe has played a regular-season game in his home state just once in his 209-game NHL career.

Michael Smith
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This is in part due to the fact that Gerbe has played solely for Eastern Conference teams since breaking into the NHL in the 2008-09 season, and prior to this season’s realignment, Detroit was a member of the Western Conference.

Game No. 210 for Gerbe will also be his second in his native Michigan when the Carolina Hurricanes face off with the Red Wings in Detroit on Thursday.

“It’s very exciting. I always enjoy coming back,” he said. “I get to see my family. I’ll go out to dinner with them tonight and just relax.”

Most recently, Gerbe, 26, spent time in Michigan prior to Hurricanes training camp skating and training with members of the Red Wings. Oxford is just under an hour’s drive north of the arena.

“Good group of guys that was nice enough to let me come in, stay there, skate there and train a bit with them,” Gerbe said. “It was fun.”

Other than that, Gerbe doesn’t get back to Michigan much, except at the beginning of the offseason.

“At the end of the year, I usually go there for a month, and then I break off and go into my training route,” he said. “That’s basically about it.”

Gerbe’s first visit to his home state as an NHLer came on Jan. 16, 2012 with the Buffalo Sabres. He logged nearly 11 minutes of ice time, as the Wings set a franchise record with their 15th straight home victory.

This time, Gerbe and the Hurricanes, who are looking to snap a two-game losing skid, will face a Detroit squad that hasn’t won at home in eight games.

“It’s a fun place to play,” Gerbe said. “Growing up there, I was a Wings fans, so it’s fun.”

In 21 games this season, Gerbe is tied for the team lead in goals with five. Muller has called him the Canes’ most consistent forward a quarter of the way through the season.

“He works. He’s been producing when he gets the opportunity,” Muller said, simply. “What he does do is he comes prepared, he’s very professional and he works hard. Because he’s so mentally prepared, he’s ready to play every night. When you do that, you’re going to be consistent.”

The 5-foot-5, 178-pound Gerbe, who has become somewhat of a staple on Jordan’s Staal’s left wing, might be his biggest critic.

“I can always be better, and I want to be better. I want to be more consistent and a bigger force on the ice,” he said. “So far, I’ve come in, worked hard and tried to be as consistent as I can be, but I know there is a lot of room to grow.”

Though he will be in town for business, Gerbe, now in his sixth NHL season, can’t overlook the fact that he’s going home, a special time for any player.

“That’s where you grew up. That’s the team you watch growing up,” he said. “There’s so much history there. Your family is there. That’s where you were raised and where everything started. That’s why it’s special.”

Gerbe said he expects 15-20 family and friends at Joe Louis Arena for Thursday night’s game.

“We’ll let them sort it out,” he said, smiling. “All my family is there. It’s home for me, and I love it.”



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 68 20 27 -13 47
J. Faulk 73 14 32 -18 46
E. Lindholm 72 16 20 -21 36
J. Skinner 68 18 12 -22 30
V. Rask 71 11 19 -12 30
R. Nash 67 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 69 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 73 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 45 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 37 4 15 -9 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 19 21 5 .910 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62