TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Let's play some hockey, shall we?
The NHL Prospects Tournament begins round-robin play today, and the Carolina Hurricanes open their schedule against the New York Rangers at 4 p.m.
"I want to see a very good effort. We've gone through some tactical stuff over the last couple of days, and now it's about playing the game," head coach Ulf Samuelsson said after the team's morning skate. "One of the things we want to do is play a real fast game, and to do that you have to put all your effort in."
The Hurricanes spent time on the ice yesterday afternoon and this morning getting a brief introduction to the organization's systems, some of which was a simple and familiar re-acclimation for returning players. This morning's focus was specialty teams.
"We've only gotten into really the first level of tactics here. We haven't gotten in too deep," Samuelsson said. "It should be just a refresher. For most guys, this is almost what they did last year. There may be some small differences here and there, but we're really just into playing the game as fast as we can and letting the guys do what they do best."
What they do best is play hockey, something this group has been itching to do all summer.
"You skate all summer and that gets you in shape, but it's nothing like playing in games," goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic said after practice on Thursday. "It might be a little rusty in the first period of that first game, but after that, once everybody has their feet under them and their legs going, it will be smooth sailing."
Video: Watch the morning skate from Traverse City
Nedeljkovic, who was selected by the Canes in the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft, will get the nod in net for the team's tournament-opening match-up.
"He's looked very good," Samuelsson said. "It seems like he's covering a lot of net, so I'm really anxious to see how he does."
One notable forward line is the trio of Hudson Elynuik (6-foot-5), Nicolas Roy (6-foot-4) and Julien Gauthier (6-foot-4).
"We hope that they can be a really solid line, protecting the puck down low, getting some long shifts in the offensive zone and playing physical," Samuelsson said.
On defense, Haydn Fleury and Roland McKeown comprise the team's top pair, a familiar duo that skated together in last year's tournament as well. First-round draft pick Jake Bean is flanked by Josh Wesley, and camp invitee Alex Peters (brother of former Hurricanes' goaltender, Justin) is paired with Noah Carroll.
What better way to spend your Friday afternoon than watching Hurricanes hockey? You can do just that through the FOX Sports GO app, which will have live streaming coverage of all Prospects Tournament games. We'll also be rinkside at Centre Ice Arena to bring you live game updates on @Canes_Gameday later this afternoon.
Scratches: Ferrantino, Gleason, Helvig