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Dispatches from the Road: Edmonton

Canes mix things up heading into Tuesday's tilt with the Oilers

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

EDMONTON - Ringette.

I had heard of it, but I had no idea what it actually was until the Carolina Hurricanes began their Monday practice in Edmonton with a rendition of the sport. I tried to identify it as best I could, but the video illustrates it best.

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: #Canes begin practice using a disc and the butt-end of their sticks.

Ringette wasn't a part of the Canes' practice rundown, but the Downtown Community Arena in Edmonton sports ringette markings on the ice and there happened to be a ringette ring nearby. 

"We ended up with a ringette on the ice, so we had to use it," head coach Bill Peters said after practice.

It was a fun, spirited beginning to what was a practice that honed in on the team's offense, which hasn't scored a 5-on-5 goal in two games.

"We're not spending enough time in the offensive zone. We're not shooting the puck, getting to the net or staying at the net," Peters said. "We talked about it, and I expect it to be better moving forward. It needs to be better. If we're going to score, we've got to get pucks and bodies to the net."

Mixing It Up

Possible lineup changes loom for the Hurricanes, as Peters and his coaching staff jumbled up the lines and defensive pairs for practice.

It looks as though forwards Martin Necas and Josh Jooris and defenseman Trevor Carrick will draw into the lineup on Tuesday night. Necas would be making his NHL debut, and he could be doing so on a line with Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm - no shortage of pure skill or speed there.

Jooris skated on a line with Marcus Kruger and Joakim Nordstrom in practice, and Carrick was paired with Haydn Fleury to round out the defense.

Should those three dress for the Hurricanes on Tuesday, we'll likely see Janne Kuokkanen, Brock McGinn and Klas Dahlbeck serve as healthy scratches.

"We've been OK defensively for the most part. We've got some things that have crept into our game that we've got to get rectified here right away," Peters said. "We haven't given up much, but we have to find a way to be more dangerous with the puck and more creative and committed offensively."

Van Riemsdyk to Join the Team

Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who has missed the last two games with a concussion, is expected to join the Hurricanes in Edmonton, according to Peters.

"I know he's flying up at some point today. We'll get an update later today or in the morning," Peters said. "If we don't have him here for Edmonton, hopefully we have him later in the trip."

Before van Riemsdyk draws back into the lineup, he'll likely need to practice at least once with contact to see how his body reacts following the concussion he sustained on Opening Night.

Getting to the Rink

While the Oilers practiced on the main ice sheet at Rogers Place, the Hurricanes dressed in the visiting room and then made the 90-second trek to the Downtown Community Arena, which is attached to what is already a massive, sprawling, beautiful building.

"Where do we go?" was the question du jour as the players exited the dressing room in full gear, skates and all, ready for practice. The answer: down the hall and follow the carpet.

Easy enough, except when there is carpet leading out to the ice right outside the Oilers' palatial dressing room.

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: when you get lost on the way to the practice rink

Road Trip!

CanesCast has hit the road, as we bring you episode 13 of the podcast from Edmonton. Mike Maniscalco and I chatted with John Forslund, and we also give you a brief glimpse at what life is like on the road. Listen here! And, if you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to the pod on iTunes (rate and review us!) or Google Play Music so you never miss an episode.

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