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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 12:45 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Sekera, Khudobin settling in with Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes' first on-ice session of training camp featured two important newcomers.

Former Boston Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin and ex-Buffalo Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera were out on the ice with the morning group.

Both players will play key roles in Carolina. Khudobin will provide insurance for goaltender Cam Ward, who missed more than half of last season with a sprained MCL. Although he has just 21 games of NHL experience, Khudobin's numbers have been eye-popping: a 2.03 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. Ward is known for carrying a heavy workload, but the Hurricanes would like to rely on a backup who can shoulder enough games to take the heat off the starter.


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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 2:02 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Rangers focused on better forecheck, net presence

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Rangers will have a chance to clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff berth Thursday night when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes. One thing they will need is a bigger offensive push than they gave in Tuesday's 3-2 loss against the Florida Panthers.

"We need to forecheck better and establish a net presence," said Rick Nash, who leads the Rangers with 19 goals. "We got a lot of shots (against Florida), but they were from the outside -- no traffic. The goalies in this League are world-class and you've got to be able to put some bodies in front of them."

The Rangers will clinch a playoff spot with any combination of two points gained in their final two games, or a loss by the Winnipeg Jets to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Against Carolina, New York hopes to add some diversity to its offensive game and remove any doubt about the postseason.

"[We want to] get to the dirty areas, maybe spread the offensive zone out and use the points a little bit," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "We talked about trying to use our D, and if we don't get the puck on net, at least draw the forwards out and maybe get a quick 2-on-1 in front of the net or something like that. Just try to be a little more creative in the offensive zone."

For Carolina, Alexander Semin will miss the final two games of the season with a concussion.

Here are the projected lineups for the Rangers and the Hurricanes:

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 1:54 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jared Staal's route to NHL different from brothers

RALEIGH, N.C. -- For the first three Staal brothers, NHL success came quickly. First Eric, followed by Jordan, then Marc.

That was not the end of the family pipeline, however.

A fourth Staal, Jared, will make his NHL debut Thursday night, skating with Eric and Jordan for the Carolina Hurricanes. Marc is in town, too, with the New York Rangers, but he won't be able to round out the on-ice family photo, as he recovers from an eye injury.

Jared's route to the NHL has been nothing like those of his older brothers. Eric, Jordan and Marc were first-round draft picks, jumping straight to the NHL out of juniors. They cast long shadows on their youngest brother -- but not so long that the NHL dream ever went away.

"Obviously I have a different path than my three older brothers," Jared Staal said. "They're all exceptional players who deserved to be in the NHL at a young age. I guess mine is more conventional compared to most hockey players."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 1:24 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Islanders keep calm with clinch possible Tuesday

RALEIGH, N.C. -- For the New York Islanders, Tuesday could be a big night.

After missing out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs five straight seasons, the Islanders have a shot at clinching a berth in the Eastern Conference. If New York beats the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Winnipeg Jets lose to the Washington Capitals, the Islanders are in.

If there are any jitters among the team, they didn't show after the morning skate.

"It's an exciting week for us," Islanders captain Mark Streit said. "We've been playing pretty well, and the mindset has been to take it game by game. Whatever happens with Winnipeg happens. But it's getting closer. We'll concentrate on the game and how we want to play as a team."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 1:30 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hurricanes' Skinner instructed to be cautious

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Forward Jeff Skinner will return to the Carolina Hurricanes lineup when they play the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

Skinner sat out Thursday night's game against the Winnipeg Jets. He was on the receiving end of an open-ice hit from the Ottawa Senators' Jared Cowen on Tuesday night. Skinner did not return during the game and was returned here for observation.

Upon returning home, team doctors determined he did not suffer a concussion.

"I respect the decision the doctor made," Skinner said. "I agree you have to be safe and cautious."

The Hurricanes have reminded the 20-year-old forward to be aware of vulnerable places on the ice, particularly in light of his knack for drawing contact.

"Maybe I shouldn't have been cutting across [the neutral zone] there," Skinner said. "I saw the guy, but I didn't think he would step up there, but he did. I don't think there's a point in dwelling on it. It's done, so you move forward."

Here are the likely lineups for Saturday's game:

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Posted On Saturday, 04.13.2013 / 1:39 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Rookie Hamilton just getting a rest for Bruins

RALEIGH, N.C. - Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton will sit out for the second game in a row, but not because he's falling short of expectations.

Boston coach Claude Julien wants to give Hamilton a breather, just to make sure he is rested and ready for the stretch run.

"The rest is the only reason he's been sitting out. It's certainly not because of his play," said Julien, who had a lengthy discussion with Hamilton at the end of the morning skate. "One thing we've done as an organization is developed our young guys properly, and I think he's progressed very well this year. We want him to get some rest. With fatigue, you get bad habits. We don't want that to creep into his game."

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron practiced with the Bruins, but he remains out of the lineup following a concussion.

"As long as he's feeling good, he gets a chance to practice with us," Julien said. "He's cleared for contact, but light contact so far. He still needs final clearance from the doctors, and hopefully sooner than later."

Here are the likely lineups for this game between the Bruins and Hurricanes:

HURRICANES

Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Alex Semin

Jeff Skinner - Jordan Staal - Chad LaRose

Tuomo Ruutu - Riley Nash - Patrick Dwyer

Nicolas Blanchard - Tim Wallace - Kevin Westgarth

Tim Gleason - Justin Faulk

Jay Harrision - Joe Corvo

Bobby Sanguinetti - Jamie McBain

Justin Peters

Dan Ellis

Injuries: Tim Brent, Drayson Bowman, Joni Pitkanen, Cam Ward

Scratches: Marc-Andre Bergeron

BRUINS

Daniel Paille - David Krejci - Nathan Horton

Milan Lucic - Gregory Campbell - Jaromir Jagr

Jordan Caron - Chris Kelly -Tyler Seguin

Kaspars Daugavins - Rich Peverly - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuck

Dennis Seidenberg - Matt Bartkowski

Adam McQuaid - Andrew Ference

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Injuries: Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand

Scratches: Jay Pandolfo, Wade Redden, Aaron Johnson

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.09.2013 / 1:05 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Faulk, Semin likely to return for Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk will return to the lineup Tuesday after missing the past nine games with a second-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

Faulk is Carolina's leader in ice time, skating 23:23 per night. Carolina sent defenseman Brett Bellemore to Charlotte of the American Hockey League to open a roster spot.

Forward Alexander Semin also is expected to return to face the Pittsburgh Penguins, after missing two games with a lower-body injury.

Here are the projected lineups for the game between the Penguins and Hurricanes:

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Posted On Thursday, 04.04.2013 / 1:39 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bishop to make Lightning debut, Lecavalier back

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will turn to new goaltender Ben Bishop on Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes, one day after the former Ottawa Senators netminder was acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline. He was relaxed when he met the media after the team's morning skate.

"Your first game, you want to show what you can do for the guys," said Bishop, who has a 2.45 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. "At the same time, I've been doing this for a little bit now and one game is not going to make the year."

His first challenge, he figures, is getting to know his teammates before he takes the ice Thursday night.

"The biggest thing is trying to learn everybody's names on the ice real quick and not have to think about it before you call their name," he said. "So that will be the hardest thing. After a couple days I'm sure I will have it down."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 12:59 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hurricanes expect Bergeron to step right in

RALEIGH N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes acquired defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday in exchange for forward Adam Hall and a seventh-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Bergeron joins his seventh NHL team and is expected to be in the Carolina lineup Tuesday against the Washington Capitals.

"We're bringing him in here for the power play," said Carolina coach Kirk Muller, whose team has an NHL-worst 12.7-percent conversion rate with the man advantage.

"Basically, he shoots the puck and he's got a cannon. He's a veteran guy and I've worked with him before."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.26.2013 / 1:24 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hurricanes place Jokinen, Wallace on waivers

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes placed forwards Jussi Jokinen and Tim Wallace on waivers Tuesday.

Jokinen, who scored 30 goals three seasons ago, has five goals and 10 points through the first 30 games.

Wallace has played 21 games with Carolina, recording one goal. He has 20 points in 43 games with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League.

Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday night's game between the Winnipeg Jets and Hurricanes:

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Quote of the Day

I don't have a crystal ball. Predicting is a real complicated thing. If we stay healthy, have enough depth and get the good goaltending we think we're going to have, you can go all the way. But a lot of things have to happen. There's going to be a lot of teams that think the same thing. Everyone made deals. We're all are optimistic about where we'll end up.

— Rangers general manager Glen Sather after being asked if he's constructed a team that can win the Stanley Cup before their 4-1 win against the Predators on Monday
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