Well, at least that one didn’t count.
That’s the nice thing about the preseason – you’ve got time to adjust, work on things and get used to systems, etc. The worst thing about last night’s 4-1 loss to Washington, according to coach Peter Laviolette, is that the flat performance made it difficult to find standouts among the crowd at camp.
”I think what’s a little bit frustrating and disappointing is that it’s kind of hard to evaluate because we lost all the little things out on the ice,” said Laviolette. “When you’re chasing and you’re a step behind, it’s hard to evaluate anything in a positive way. We hope for a better effort tonight.”
While it’s easy to move on from a forgettable game, injuries that result need time to heal. Tim Gleason came out of last night’s game with a leg injury, joining Ray Whitney (undisclosed), Tuomo Ruutu (leg) and Anton Babchuk (leg) on the list of “day-to-days” currently in camp.
None are thought to be too serious at this point – Laviolette said the team is unsure about Gleason, but hopes he would be out for two weeks at the most.
Tonight’s lineup will be very heavy on the River Rats, with only a few established Canes players in the mix.
Eaves – Sutter – Bayda
Bowman – Helminen – LaCouture
Jensen – Chaput – Dwyer
Angelidis – Blanchard – Samson
Melichar – Kaberle
Seidenberg – Flood
Conboy – Rodney
Some other observations from last night and from practice this morning:
- For me, Joni Pitkanen was by far the Hurricanes’ best player last night, and not just because he had the only goal. He was a big part of that flurry at the end of the first period, continuously getting the puck on net through traffic to set up all those scoring chances. Washington’s goalie made a very underrated glove save on him earlier in that period as well.
- As far as the other guys, I never worry about the established veterans too much during the preseason – it’s the younger guys that need to show what they can do. I thought Brandon Sutter had his ups and downs, the biggest down being the 1-for-11 faceoff performance that Dave Droschak referenced in last night’s recap. That needs to improve if he’s going to be counted on in defensive situations, but he has plenty of time for that. Drayson Bowman probably would have liked to have been more of a factor on a line with Matt Cullen and Sergei Samsonov, which was quiet for most of the night. Again, those guys will get another chance tonight.
- Very interesting comment from Laviolette this morning about perhaps moving Matt Cullen to the wing. That would create another spot at center – good news for Jeff O’Neill.
”We’ve thought about it, we’ve talked about it,” said Laviolette. “There’s a chance you might see something like that coming up in one of these exhibition games. Matt’s a guy that when we picked up Dougie Weight a couple of years ago he jumped in for the last 20 games and played the wing, and played the wing the entire playoff run with the exception of Game 6 and Game 7 of the finals when Dougie got hurt. It’s certainly an option, and possibly something that we’ll look at for games coming up in camp.”