After a pair of preseason games in Washington and Pittsburgh, the Carolina Hurricanes returned to Raleigh’s PNC Arena for the sixth day of training camp.
Here are some observations from practice, which was divided into two groups.
1. Two Groups
Taking the ice at 11 a.m. was the first group, mainly comprised of NHL players. The second group, which skated at 1 p.m., featured a much younger cast.
“Out of that younger group, some guys are going to move up and down the lineup,” head coach Bill Peters said. “There’s going to be some changes.”
For the NHL group, it was a grinding practice with a good bit of frank instruction and assessment from the head coach. Tired legs sauntered back to the locker room after an hour on the ice.
“We had a good work day today,” Peters said, simply.
2. “Disappointed” and Working Out the Kinks
The work day stemmed from the Canes’ first preseason games in Washington and Pittsburgh, the former a 2-0 shutout loss and the latter a 7-3 thumping. It’s easy to take a passing glance at both scores and panic, but fret not: it’s the preseason, and the Hurricanes are evaluating who and what worked and moving forward.
And some things clearly did not work.
“I didn’t like some of the compete. At times I didn’t think like we competed hard enough. Some guys caught on a big stage maybe not quite ready, but that’s what [preseason] is for,” Peters said. “I’m disappointed in the work ethic part of it and the compete. That’s not something you can sweep underneath the rug, but you learn from it and move on.”
Training camp is a learning process. You play games that have no bearing on final standings, assess the performances and the players and go from there. Kinks will be worked out as the team builds to opening night in Nashville on Oct. 8.
“I think we have room for growth in every area of the game,” Peters said. “Offensively, we’re going to have a huge focus on that, but in saying that, we don’t want to lose the foundation of being a good team defensively.”
3. Hanifin’s Debut
Noah Hanifin made his NHL (preseason) debut in Pittsburgh, as he skated alongside fellow American defenseman Justin Faulk. Hanifin logged 23:02 of ice time, second-most for either team only behind Faulk’s 25:44. The 18-year-old defenseman recorded three shot attempts, a hit, two takeaways, two blocked shots and his first NHL preseason assist on Jeff Skinner’s second-period goal.
“It was a big stage. They had a good lineup dressed, and he played a lot of minutes against Crosby, Malkin and Kessel and so on. It doesn’t get much better than that,” Peters said. “He’ll only improve, and now we have good things to talk about in meetings.”
4. Forward Lines (It’s Still the Preseason)
I again preface this with the fact that it is still the preseason, and that these combinations will more than likely shift before Oct. 8.
“Wide open,” Peters said of his lines.
With that being said, here is what Peters and his coaching staff looked at in today’s NHL group practice:
Woods-Ryan-Terry on a fifth forward line
“Closer to what we’re going to do this weekend, for sure, but that’s not written in stone,” Peters said. “You’ve got to be able to play against the best players in the world.”
5. Atlantic Canada
On the slate for this weekend: two neutral-site exhibition games against the New York Islanders in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday and the Ottawa Senators in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on Sunday.
Prior to the trip, the Hurricanes will likely make some cuts to their group of 49 currently still in camp, and that will result in less of a split squad appearance in those upcoming preseason matches.
“We’ll have a little more continuity in the lineup from Saturday to Sunday,” Peters said. “A little more NHL-heavy for this weekend.”
Thursday is the team’s first off day of camp. The Canes will return to the ice at PNC Arena on Friday morning for another two-group practice before jet-setting for Canada.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email