The Carolina Hurricanes returned home on Wednesday from their longest road trip of the season, and on Thursday, it was back to work at Raleigh Center Ice.
“The guys work. They worked today,” head coach Bill Peters said. “We’ve got to stay with it and stay together but be realistic about where we’re at.”
Where the team is at is 0-6-2, winless in their first eight games of the season for the first time in franchise history. But just as quickly as it went in one direction, it can go in the other, and it starts this weekend with a back-to-back against Arizona and Los Angeles.
“We’ve got to get the first one and go from there. The longer it goes, the harder it becomes. There’s lots of hockey left to be played,” Peters said. “The guys have been good. They’re mentally strong. Are we fragile at times? We probably are; that’s human nature. But we’ve got to overcome that.”
Here’s more of what Peters said after Thursday’s practice:
On Eric Staal returning to the lineup in Vancouver: “He was real good. I thought he was excellent. You saw his presence. I thought his line was good. They won a lot of shifts and spent time in the offensive zone.”
On the status of forwards Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Dwyer heading into the weekend: “Totally expect those guys to play, for sure. I would be shocked if they didn’t.”
On assigning defenseman Ryan Murphy to Charlotte: “He has to play consistently and in the right situations. He’s still a young guy with a huge upside. He’ll go down there and get his game back on track.”
On now carrying seven defensemen instead of eight: “Right now, seven is a good number for us. We think all eight guys can play when they’re playing well and contribute, but what happens is you’ve got two NHL guys who are ready to play and contribute out also, so we want some continuity in our lineup. We’re going to go with six guys here for a little bit, and it’s their job to make sure they’re in the lineup each and every night. Whoever ends up being the seventh guy, he has to work hard to get in, and when he gets in, he’s got to play well to stay in.”
On the recent play of forward Alexander Semin, who was benched for much of the third period on Tuesday night in Vancouver: “He’s not moving his feet. He’s not playing at the pace the league is at. The league is at a good pace. There are guys with track pressure, and there’s no time and space. If you’re not moving your feet, you’re going to get caught from behind, and if you’re going to make a slow-developing play, guys that were open are going to be covered eventually and everything closes off. You’ve got to play quicker.”
On the dialogue with Semin about his play: “We’ve talked. We’ve talked a lot. We’ll see.”
The Hurricanes will practice at 11 a.m. on Friday at PNC Arena.