Monday served as a brief respite of sorts for the Carolina Hurricanes, who are in the midst of three preseason games in four days. Two groups skated this morning in separate sessions, each around 45 minutes in length.
Looking back to Sunday’s matinée and ahead to the back-to-back slate of preseason games in the state of New York, here are some notes as training camp marches onward.
Looking Back at the Preseason Opener
Sunday’s preseason opener was a mixed bag for the Hurricanes, who dropped a 4-3 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
There was some good – the team scored twice on the power play, and head coach Bill Peters was pleased with the play of his goaltenders, among other points – and there was some bad, most notably the defensive breakdowns that led directly to goals against. But most of the bad related to items not yet discussed at length, as training camp was just three days young yesterday afternoon.
“A lot of the things we broke down on yesterday we haven’t even covered yet,” Peters said. “We’ll stay with it. We have a plan. We know how long the preseason is. We’ll have everything done in order to be humming on all cylinders probably by game six, I would think.”
Jumping headfirst into game action isn’t necessarily a drawback, though.
“It definitely feels good. Those scrimmages are a little choppy at times, so getting in that game situation was nice,” forward Riley Nash said. “Your mind kind of slows down after a couple of periods and you get back in that game mentality.”
Though it was just one game – the first game of the preseason nonetheless – scoring at a 40 percent clip on the man advantage is a positive sign moving forward.
“We’re just shooting a lot of pucks and getting them back,” Nash said, simply. “Good things happen when you do that.”
First Cuts Made
The Hurricanes made their first roster trimmings of camp on Monday morning, returning seven players to their respective junior squads.
Forwards Clark Bishop, Brent Pedersen, and Sergey Tolchinsky, defensemen Tyler Ganly, Kyle Jenkins and Josh Wesley and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic were returned, bringing the training camp roster down to 44 players.
Peters said the team expects to make the next round of cuts following Wednesday’s preseason match in New York.
“Some of those young guys that we wanted to get into a game, we did. Now Tuesday’s game, same thing. But after that, you have to earn the opportunity to play,” he said. “It will get very competitive once we get beyond game three, and if you deserve to stay and you’re taking steps to show you can play at this level, then we’ll keep you. If not, it basically becomes counterproductive.”
What Lies Ahead
Both the game group and non-game group will skate at PNC Arena on Tuesday morning before the team flies to Buffalo for its 7 p.m. faceoff with the Sabres.
With the bulk of group A having played against Columbus on Sunday, expect to see much of group B in action for the Canes tomorrow night. Peters said Anton Khudobin will start in net, while Drew MacIntyre will serve as the back-up. Peters added that MacIntyre will start Wednesday night’s game in New York, while a back-up is still to be determined.
Alexander Semin will be held out of the lineup on Tuesday, as the 30-year-old forward is coming off offseason wrist surgery. Peters noted that Eric Staal, who was held out of Sunday’s match, is slated to play one preseason game with the possibility of a second to be determined.