It wasn’t the schedule the Canes had anticipated, but they nonetheless made do Wednesday at the RecZone.
Instead of the typically light pregame skate that, the Canes instead went through an intense practice Wednesday at the RecZone. The consensus was that they could live with one fewer exhibition game than they had expected, but due to the long nature of the same-day trip, degrees of disappointment varied depending on who was asked.
“The coaching staff would have liked to play the game, but I think there were a lot of veteran guys that were not too upset about not having to fly down for that one,” said Maurice.
“As much as you don’t want to leave home to go to Florida, sometimes you want it just to get that timing,” said Eric Staal.
If reviews from the veterans were mixed, the news was undoubtedly disappointing for the group of young players hoping to make the team. It turns out that the team's previously-reported roster limit for the European trip was a little generous (it is actually 24, not 25), meaning that a cut will be necessary even if Sergei Samsonov does not travel due to his neck strain – something Maurice said was highly possible at this point.
“He hasn’t presented any concussion symptoms, but we’re certainly monitoring for those because sometimes they take a couple of days,” Maurice said. “As of right now I would have to have him at doubtful.”
With the absence of Wednesday’s exhibition, it now appears that the now-necessary forward cut will take place this afternoon.
We’ve got to make some tougher cuts now,” acknowledged Maurice.
Despite the impending bad news for one of them, the younger group of players was still able to have a little fun at the end of practice, engaging in a “strip shootout” where a player would have to remove a piece of equipment each time he missed. The surprise loser was Jeff Skinner, who was down to gloves and skates by the time he finally beat Justin Peters.
Speaking of Peters, Maurice said that the canceled preseason game would result in a lost start for the 24-year-old netminder, and that Cam Ward would get the start Friday against Atlanta and Monday in St. Petersburg.
“At the end of the day we have a responsibility to make sure that Cam Ward is ready,” he said. “It’s disappointing for Justin because it would have been another start for him which I think he’s earned, but it’s just preparation for him.”
Stay tuned for official news on the roster cut, which is expected later today.