has received plenty of advice from teammates and coaches in how to prepare for his NHL debut tonight. All of it revolves around one theory: keeping it simple.
“Just enjoy it,” said Bowman of what he’s been hearing ever since he was recalled from Albany on Friday. “You only get one of these I guess, no matter how long you play.”
In keeping with that theme, coach Paul Maurice said the key to a successful debut for Bowman would be continuing to do the things that got him this far.
“I’d just like him to shoot the puck as much as he can because he has the shot,” said Maurice. “From the top of the circles down in the offensive zone, I’d like him to think about nothing – not expectations, not the plays that he should make. He should just feel the game.”
Bowman began his professional career in Albany this season after a highly-successful junior stint with Spokane of the Western Hockey League. Other than having to undergo knee surgery and suffering a slight puncture to his lung, injuries that kept him out for a combined five weeks by his own count, Bowman has been pleased with his adaptation.
“I thought it went pretty well,” he said of the season’s first half. “There were a lot of scoring chances that I would maybe rush a little bit, but that will come with experience. Overall it went really well, and I got pretty comfortable pretty quick.”
Five members of Bowman’s family arrived in Raleigh from their home in Colorado last night and will be in attendance for his debut.
In today’s morning skate, Bowman was on the left wing with Rod Brind’Amour and Tom Kostopoulos. Other notable changes included Jiri Tlusty moving up with Brandon Sutter and Jussi Jokinen, and Patrick Dwyer moving back to right wing. Full lines can be found here.
Maurice mentioned that he had high hopes for Tlusty and Sutter’s line with Jussi Jokinen in particular.
“Tlusty and Sutter are our streaking guys, they’ve got some points now and they’re playing well,” he said. “Jussi can find those guys and make things happen.”
Tlusty and Sutter have each posted points in three consecutive games. Although he was held off the score sheet in Detroit Thursday, Jokinen also has three points in his last three contests.
Sergei Samsonov, who was a slight possibility for tonight, did not skate with the team and will give it another try on Monday. He, along with Erik Cole, Joe Corvo and Chad LaRose, hit the ice today after the bulk of the team had finished. All four appeared to be quite nimble, raising hopes that they are not too far off.