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Nodl Possibly Out a Week, Pitkanen Could Play Wednesday

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes might be losing a forward for at least a week, but they could also gain a defenseman in the coming days.

Michael Smith
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Forward Andreas Nodl left Sunday night’s game in Winnipeg after being hit by Zach Bogosian just over halfway into the second period. Bogosian was given a five-minute major charging penalty and a game misconduct. Nodl did not return. He did not practice on Monday but was present for the team picture.

Asked if he had any further news about Nodl, head coach Kirk Muller said, “I actually don’t. We’re checking to see how he is.”

Nodl had to be helped off the ice and seemed dazed by the hit.

“There are symptoms [of a concussion],” Muller said. “We’ll go through the same procedure: get him in there and get him tested.

“Hopefully it’s short, and hopefully it’s not [a concussion].”

Despite the devastating nature of the hit and the fact that it was deemed illegal in-game via the penalties, Bogosian did not receive supplementary discipline from the National Hockey League. This marks the third time this season Bogosian has escaped suspension; the first time, he elbowed Cody Eakin of the Washington Capitals, and the second time he boarded Pierre Marc-Bouchard of the Minnesota Wild. In both cases, the League determined the players had made themselves vulnerable to the hits. That didn’t seem to be in the case Sunday night when Bogosian leapt off his feet into Nodl.

“It’s not our call as coaches to make the decisions, but we’ve got a guy who could possibly be out a week from it,” Muller said. “To me, I thought it was clear that he left his feet and clearly a charge. But, I guess they saw it differently.

“There are guidelines, and everyone is trying to follow them. It’s a quick game, and things happen quick,” Muller continued. “I guess it’s not the same type of reading I saw from the hit.”

While Nodl is likely to at least miss the team's three games this week, defenseman Joni Pitkanen could play as early as Wednesday.

Pitkanen has been out of the lineup since Dec. 6, missing 44 games with a concussion and then knee surgery. Recovered from the concussion for awhile now, Pitkanen has been working to regain the strength in his knee.

In practice on Monday, he participated in a set one-on-one drill with Jeff Skinner, where they took turns protecting the puck from one another. Pitkanen said it's a drill he’s worked on for the past few days, a good physical measuring stick for his progress.

Asked how soon he could return, a week was suggested, but Pitkanen responded with a smile, “Maybe sooner.”

Muller confirmed this timetable and said if Pitkanen is physically ready, he could play Wednesday. With Jaroslav Spacek out with a lower-body injury, Pitkanen’s return would signal Bobby Sanguinetti’s return to Charlotte.

Tuesday will be a day off for the Hurricanes before they take on the Florida Panthers on Wednesday at PNC Arena. The Canes have yet to beat the Panthers in four tries this season, but after winning three games in a row – including two come-from-behind victories on the road – the team’s confidence is running high.

“Those were gutsy wins,” Muller said. “We travel to all these cities, and everyone keeps talking about who’s going to make it and who’s not, and no one ever mentions Carolina. Our boys in there really take that to heart and believe that they have a shot still. I believe those games coming back showed the fire that they have.”

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