From an injury standpoint, the first 10 days of the 2014-15 regular season haven’t been kind to the Carolina Hurricanes. The next 10 days, which will be spent in western Canada, are shaping up to be a bit better.
Back on the ice on Sunday after an off day on Saturday, the Canes may be on the cusp of re-inserting a number of injured players back in the lineup.
“I think we’re going to trickle guys back in as we go. We’re getting close. Day-to-day, obviously,” head coach Bill Peters said. “Everyone has a chance to get back in at some point through the trip.”
Those the closest to returning, all of whom are likely play on Tuesday in Winnipeg, include defensemen Andrej Sekera and John-Michael Liles and forward Jeff Skinner.
Sekera somehow escaped serious injury after a violent collision with the end boards last Tuesday against Buffalo. He has skated with the team since Thursday in New York. Liles left last Tuesday’s game late with a lower-body injury, and he was back on the ice today in a yellow, no-contact jersey. Peters expects him to be cleared for contact come Monday.
Skinner, who sustained a concussion in the team’s final preseason game on Oct. 5 in Washington, has been skating with the team for close to a week.
“He’s been real good,” Peters said. “He’s competed hard, and that’s what you have to do.”
Perhaps a little farther off from returning are forwards Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Dwyer, who are both dealing with lower-body injuries. Gerbe left Thursday’s game in New York in the third period, and Dwyer, on injured reserve, hasn’t practiced in about a week. Peters said Gerbe is would likely get back on the ice before Dwyer.
Finally, Eric Staal, on the shelf with an upper-body injury, could return at the tail end of the road trip in Vancouver. Staal skated by himself before the team practiced on Sunday, and he and the rest of the injured contingent will travel with the team on the road trip.
“It will be great when we get them back in,” Peters said. “Any time we get a chance to get them in, we’ll get them in. We look forward to their addition to the lineup.”