It isn’t often the Canes get three days off between games. In addition to rest, they’re using this one to focus more on the area that needs the most work – the power play.
In an unconventional format, two groups took the ice separately for extensive work with the man advantage today. That allowed the coaches, including unofficial power play consultant Ron Francis, to keep a watchful eye on the proceedings.
”You don’t want to do that too many times where you break the team up and do individual stuff, but the power play really needs it right now,” said coach Peter Laviolette.
“Just to get out there and work on it in individual groups and spend some time on it I think is helpful.”
Justin Williams was part of the first unit on the ice, along with Rod Brind’Amour and Ray Whitney up front and Matt Cullen and Frantisek Kaberle on the point. Williams had most of his chances in front of the net, either from picking up rebounds or skating it in on Michael Leighton from the corners.
The fact that Williams was so involved in the proceedings is an encouraging sign that he’ll return in the coming days.
”He’s out there working on the power play and he’s been cleared to play, so I think it’s more of a comfort level with him getting in the lineup and ready to go,” said Laviolette. “He’s available to us, so I think there’s a good chance you’ll see him.”
The second group consisted of recently-recalled goaltender Justin Peters, Eric Staal, Ray Whitney, Tuomo Ruutu, Joe Corvo and Joni Pitkanen.
Tim Gleason was placed on injured reserve earlier in the day and did not skate. Also absent were Dennis Seidenberg, Scott Walker and Niclas Wallin, although Laviolette said Wallin would “hopefully” be in the lineup for Thursday after being a late scratch from practice due to a lower body issue.