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Posted On Monday, 11.10.2014 / 1:34 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley is selling the final game of their five-game road trip against the Carolina Hurricanes as an important one. With a 3-1-0 record so far, he wants his players to understand what is at stake.

"It's in our hand whether we're going to be OK or we're going to be very good," Hartley said. "You don't celebrate anything at 3-2; we did our job. If we're 4-1, that's very good. There's a huge difference."

The Flames will finish the trip with the NHL's First Star of the Week in defenseman Mark Giordano. He had two goals and five assists in three games, including an assist on an overtime goal against the Washington Capitals on Nov. 4.

"I felt like things were going well, obviously, and I put up some numbers," said Giordano, who leads NHL defenseman with 18 points. "It's nice to get recognized. It feels good, but it's not a huge deal in the big scheme of things, as far as our team and wins and losses."

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Posted On Friday, 11.07.2014 / 1:26 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson will sit out the first game of a three-game suspension Friday. Johnson was suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Wednesday for an illegal check to the head of Carolina Hurricanes forward Jiri Tlusty in a 4-2 win by the Hurricanes on Tuesday night in Columbus.

Tlusty did not return to the game after the third-period hit, but he is expected to play Friday after completing the concussion protocol.

"I anticipate him playing," said Carolina coach Bill Peters, whose team has won three in a row. "He says he's felt good, so I think he will be in. He's passed all his tests and he will play normal minutes."

Tlusty leads Carolina with six goals through 11 games.

Johnson's spot in the lineup will be taken by James Wisniewski, who returns to the lineup after missing three games with a broken finger.

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Posted On Sunday, 11.02.2014 / 3:40 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Kings at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings at PNC Arena.

Semin has two assists in eight games.

"We gave it a little bit of thought," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "We had three forwards come in this morning for treatment, and if one of those guys wouldn't have been able to go, we would have made some moves. But they are all deemed healthy and ready to play, so I want to keep the lineup the same."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.01.2014 / 1:21 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Coyotes at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- When Bill Peters took over as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes in June, he made it clear that he would have the "ultimate hammer," using ice time as a way to get the most out of his players.

The Hurricanes coach made good on his point, planning to make forward Alexander Semin a healthy scratch ahead of Carolina's game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night. In eight games, Semin has two assists and carries a -7 plus/minus rating.

Peters seemed to have no reservations about his decision. Despite the Hurricanes 0-6-2 start, he was enthusiastic in the moments after the morning skate, noting the damp, chilly fall weather and expressing an eagerness to get underway against the Coyotes.

As for Semin sitting out, he was matter-of-fact in saying he hopes that Semin isn't the only player who will receive the message.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.14.2014 / 1:44 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sabres at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes are in the same boat early in the season, but it hasn't been smooth sailing.

The Sabres are coming off a disheartening 5-1 home loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, one that left them searching for answers. 

Sabres coach Ted Nolan was unhappy with the team in the moments after falling to 0-3-0. After the morning skate Tuesday he expressed the same sentiments.

"It's frustrating," Nolan said. "It's mind-boggling to me when you don't work and you don't compete. You don't need any skill set for that. You need some insides to go compete and battle."

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Posted On Friday, 10.10.2014 / 1:35 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Islanders at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes will open the season Friday with new faces and uncertain expectations.

Carolina's Bill Peters makes his debut as an NHL coach after three seasons as an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings. The circumstances surrounding his new team could be better after a couple injuries to key forwards in the preseason. Jordan Staal will miss 3-4 months with a broken leg and Jeff Skinner is out indefinitely with a concussion.

"We have to find a way to have everyone contribute and be a part of it," Peters said.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 1:22 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Capitals come to grips with missing postseason

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The mood was gloomy in the Washington Capitals locker room after the morning skate, about 12 hours after the Capitals were eliminated from contention for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The combination of a Columbus Blue Jackets win and a shootout loss by the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday pushed Washington out of picture.

"Obviously, it's a hard day to be a pro," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "We're all very disappointed of course. It's about us. We didn't get the job done. We've got to be better as coaches, we've got to be better as players."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 1:33 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars enjoying late-season playoff run

RALEIGH, N.C. -- More than 22 years since making his NHL debut, Dallas Stars forward Ray Whitney has gained some insight into how the regular season typically unfolds. With Dallas scrambling to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the veteran is more than happy to share his wisdom.

"For the majority of teams, you play 70 games just to care about the last 12 of the season," Whitney said.

The Stars sit in the second wild-card position in the Western Conference heading into their game with the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. Each of their final seven games will have playoff implications, with the Phoenix Coyotes in pursuit. Phoenix also has 85 points, but Dallas has two games in hand. They play each other in their season finale on April 13 in Arizona.

"You scoreboard watch and do all those things that bring the intensity up," Whitney said. "It feels a little more competitive on a nightly basis. Your mistakes get magnified, the goals you score get magnified. But when you score them and how you score them become a little less relevant."

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Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 1:08 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blue Jackets' McElhinney to start again: report

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Curtis McElhinney will start against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, according to a report by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.

Sergei Bobrovsky, who didn't dress for a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night due to flu symptoms, will serve as the backup.

Columbus reassigned goalie Mike McKenna to the Springfield Falcons on Friday night.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 1:06 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Hurricanes believe playoffs remain possible

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Coming off a 3-2 road win against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, the Carolina Hurricanes are clinging to the fringe of Stanley Cup Playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. And as long as they are, coach Kirk Muller expects to see Carolina's best.

"There's a lot of fight left in our guys," Muller said. "Our basic message from the Olympics on has been, 'One game at a time.' With the exception of one or two games we feel like we've been playing really good hockey. There's still an avenue to make [the playoffs]. And as long as there is, let's keep slugging it out."

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Quote of the Day

I had one really not-good game. I came back to the hotel and he [his father] was on Skype. My mother called first and said, 'Your father wants to talk to you.' So he moved my mother away, and he yelled at me for like 30 seconds. I understood him, and then he said, 'I'm done.' And he was gone. The next game I got my first shutout.

— Anton Khudobin recalls a fond memory, explains why he was so sharp in the Hurricanes' 3-0 win against the Capitals on Friday
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