Coach Peter Laviolette said this morning that he expects Rod Brind'Amour to play more than the 15 minutes he logged in his only exhibition game last Sunday, but probably still less than the 22:27 he averaged last year.
"I think it's something that we'll keep an eye on," said Laviolette. "He doesn't have to play 25 minutes to be a great player for us. We've got good depth and his position and we've got a lot of different guys that can play in a lot of different situations."
Since Brind'Amour easily led all Hurricanes forwards in shorthanded ice time per game last season, one of the players that could see more action is Brandon Sutter
, depending on the game situation. Laviolette said Sutter will kill penalties in his NHL debut tonight.
"I think he's done an excellent job," said Laviolette of Sutter. "He's a real smart player and he executes the system really well. The penalty kill is a lot of grunt work and stopping and starting, and we can look at it that way to try and curb Roddy a little bit in the beginning and not rely on him so heavily."
Like Brind'Amour, Tuomo Ruutu
missed most of training camp with an injury but will play tonight. Unlike Brind'Amour, Ruutu wasn't able to play in an exhibition game. The two are expected to play on a line together tonight with Sergei Samsonov on their left
"Heath-wise he appears to be ready and I don't think he took any steps back," said Laviolette of Ruutu. "You don't like guys to miss all of training camp and the practice that goes with it and everything else, so again he's going to have to feel it out."