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Tracking the Storm

Gerbe Makes Second Trip Back to Home State

Wednesday, 11.20.2013 / 4:00 PM / 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 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61