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Tweetmail No. 11: Worlds, Exits & Malhotra

Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 5:30 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Tweetmail No. 11: Worlds, Exits & Malhotra
Answering your Twitter questions about the World Championship, exit interviews and Manny Malhotra.
Michael Smith
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Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let’s get to it.

Other than Khudobin and Loktionov, are any of the other players likely to go to the World Championship? – Kim (@CarolinaKaniac)

From the sounds of it on Tuesday during locker clean-out day at PNC Arena, the two lone Hurricanes representatives at the IIHF’s annual tournament will be Anton Khudobin and Andrei Loktionov for Team Russia.

Nathan Gerbe will not be playing for the United States, as he has made family commitments and is also a restricted free agent heading into the summer. Justin Faulk, who represented the red, white and blue in Sochi during the Olympics, will also not play for the United States.

Jeff Skinner will not be playing for Canada after having an ingrown toenail repaired, as he cannot skate due to the risk of infection. Eric Staal won’t play for Canada for obvious reasons, and Jordan has not yet received an official invite.

Jiri Tlusty will not be playing for the Czech Republic, as he is currently nursing a few minor injuries and is a restricted free agent heading into the summer.

Additionally, Elias Lindholm, noting his ripe age of 19, has not been contacted by Team Sweden.

This year’s World Championship takes place in Minsk, Belarus from May 9-25.

Can you explain the logistics of the exit interview process? – Jamie K. (@jbk_ltd)

Sure!

This process varies from year to year. The Canes’ 2013-14 regular season wrapped up in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon with a 6-5 shootout win. On Monday, the players each had two meetings: one with President and General Manager Jim Rutherford and Vice President of Hockey Operations Ron Francis and one with head coach Kirk Muller (unsure if other coaches were present).

Following the exit interviews, the players proceeded to exit physicals, a process that essentially measures where they are physically at the end of the season compared to the beginning of the season. Typically, they then receive a fitness plan from Pete Friesen for targeted summer marks.

This season, interviews with the media were held the next day, on Tuesday, as the players came to clean out their lockers and pack their equipment away from the summer. In years’ past, this has occasionally been conducted on the same day.

Stick tap to Mike Sundheim, the team’s senior director of communication, for hammering out some of the finer details of this behind-the-scenes process.

Do you think Manny Malhotra will get re-signed in the summer? – Kelly S. (@SportsChick_042)

(Here’s the usual disclaimer that I am but the humble web producer for the team and not the general manager for likely obvious reasons.)

At the right price, I believe Malhotra is a great option to bring back in the fold for a number of reasons, including what he can single-handedly do for the team in the faceoff circle and the leadership he can provide in the locker room.

In his season-ending press conference, Muller spoke highly of what Malhotra brought to the team, both on and off the ice.

“To be told you’re not going to play is not something any pro player wants to hear. He kept in shape, did everything he had to do, and when he had the opportunity, he said he was willing to go to the minors to prove that he can still play. When we watched and evaluated him, he had areas of his game and personality that we needed in our locker room,” Muller said. “You could tell right away that he felt comfortable. I think he helped Eric out a lot. I think they have a really good relationship. … He was a great addition, and everyone – not only here, but in the league – had a lot of respect for him.”

Malhotra said in Tuesday’s end-of-season media availability that this season was not a one-off event for him; he wanted to prove to himself and others that he still belongs in the NHL.

“For me, it wasn’t just a one-and-done. … It’s wanting to continue my career,” he said. “I love coming to the rink, and I love being part of a team.

“I’ve enjoyed it more so from that perspective of having it taken away from me to getting back to this position to being a part of a team and being out there again. It’s been a great experience, but ultimately it’s frustrating that we didn’t achieve the goal we set out to.”

For his part, Malhotra said he’d like to return in a Canes sweater.

“I expressed my desire to continue to be here and build with this team and be a part of this going forward,” he said.

***

Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you’d like answered, you can reach out to me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes.



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