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Canes Head West for Three-Game Trek Through California

Team brings 5-1-0 record on the road

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

LOS ANGELES - After spending much of Monday traversing the country in the air, the Carolina Hurricanes touched down at LAX in the mid-afternoon.

While the State Fair rolls into town in Raleigh, the Hurricanes begin a three-game sojourn through California with a match-up against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. The Canes will then take on the San Jose Sharks the next night before finishing the trip in Anaheim on Friday and catching a red-eye flight home.

Three games in four days, a quick trip 2,00-some-odd miles across the country.

For Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour, that's the ideal schedule, the long travel days aside.

"I like quick," he said after practice at Raleigh Center Ice on Monday. "The hard part is obviously the long day getting out there and getting the legs fired up for tomorrow. I think it's good to spend as little time on the road as you can."


Days on the road are ripe for team bonding, but there won't be much time spent away from the various rinks on this trip.

"I think it's just being around each other that creates [a bond]. For me, the bonding comes through shared mutual hardship, the games, playing together. That's where you come together," Brind'Amour said. "It's a long flight. They'll have plenty of time to sit with each other."

Indeed, it was a long flight.

A new face on the charter was forward Brian Gibbons, recalled on Sunday evening. Gibbons, 31, is a veteran of 189 career NHL games with five teams, including Anaheim in the first half of last season. He signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Canes in early July. Gibbons skated on the Canes' fourth line alongside Lucas Wallmark and Warren Foegele in practice on Monday.

"I thought he had a great training camp," Brind'Amour said. "I think he was a great pick-up for us this summer. A proven guy who knows how to play in this league, someone you can count on."

Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk also made the trip. Van Riemsdyk, who underwent shoulder surgery in early May, has been a full participant in practice for a little over a week.

"Definitely now we're in the day-to-day phase, so that's good," Brind'Amour said.

The Hurricanes will begin the trip looking to rebound from a 3-2 loss to Columbus on Saturday, which snapped the team's franchise-best, season-opening win streak.

"It wasn't a great game, but having said that, there were some good things in it but not enough to win a game. The positive of it is that I don't think it was great, but we still had a chance to win that game," Brind'Amour. "It wasn't our best, and it's not going to be good enough to win. We all know that."

Still, the Canes bring a 5-1-0 record out west, looking to build on what's been one of the hottest starts in the league.

"We always look at it as the one-day-at-a-time thing. You're only as good as your last one, and you're always looking forward to the next one," Brind'Amour said. "I think 5-1 is great. I still think we haven't played the way we need to. That's the positive on that. But, it's all about winning tomorrow."

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