had a very merry Christmas in 2014
, as he played in his first two NHL games with the Carolina Hurricanes around the holiday.
On Sunday, he made the drive east from Charlotte after receiving his first call-up of the season. Tuesday will mark his first NHL game in Raleigh.
“Obviously I’m a little more prepared knowing what to expect,” Woods said after practice on Monday. “The nerves aren’t as nerve-wracking as what it was the first time getting the first call-up. I’m just coming here to have fun and prove my worth and what I can bring to the team.”
Woods skated on a line with Chris Terry and Jay McClement, who is expected to return from an upper-body injury, in Monday’s practice.
“We’ve got a real good idea of what he’s capable of doing,” said head coach Bill Peters, adding that he had spoken to Checkers head coach Mark Morris about Woods. “We’ll make sure he gets an opportunity.”
Woods has played 48 games for Charlotte this season, Morris’ first at the helm with the Canes’ AHL squad. The 23-year-old forward has potted eight goals and added seven assists (15 points) while boasting a team-best plus-6 rating.
“[Morris] is definitely changing the culture down there in a positive way. He’s trying to get the most out of guys and maybe pushing them out of their comfort zones. It’s obviously helping me out in the long run,” Woods said. “When we step on the ice, it’s go time.”
Woods has seen a number of his teammates get the call from the big club this season, and some, like Phil Di Giuseppe, have seen extended stays.
“It’s a huge motivation for me and other guys who have been up here,” Woods said. “Making a name for yourself up here when you get the chance. I’m going to take a little page out of their book and try to prove my worth.”
The Hurricanes’ have 16 games remaining in the 2015-16 regular season. Just one of the next six games – Tuesday night’s match-up with the Ottawa Senators – is at home, as the Hurricanes will play five straight away from Raleigh while Garth Brooks and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament come to town. The team then will finish the season playing six of 10 games at home, a stretch that includes welcoming Eric Staal back to Raleigh on March 31.
“We’ve got a lot of important games,” Peters said. “Since the deadline, we’ve gotten three out of four points. We’re going to try to accumulate points and win games.”
Brock McGinn. Derek Ryan. Brendan Woods. These are just some of the names you can expect to hear over the course of the final month of the season, as the Hurricanes assess their talent pool. This process will also include evaluating players in different situations, like Elias Lindholm at center.
“I think we need to have a longer look at some guys, but it will all play out as we go,” Peters said. “We don’t want to make any promises, and we’ve got some other guys we need to get a look at too. We’ve got to make sure we know going into the summer what we have in our organization, not hoping that guys can play but knowing that they can or can’t play. If they need more time, we can give them more time. If they’re ready to play, that’s great too.”
Five for Fighting?
Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm decided to practice on their “fighting skills” as Monday’s practice was winding down. Eddie Lack Makes a Kid’s Day
Here’s a quick story about Eddie Lack.
Last Saturday in New Jersey, Lack blockered away a shot. The puck ended up going out of play and hitting a little boy. He wasn’t severely hurt, but he was crying, a bit startled by what had happened. Lack noticed this, and when the period ended he handed his stick over the glass to give to the boy. The entire section cheered, and the boy was thrilled.
It’s the little things.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email