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Camp Shifts Gears After Day Off

Canes prepare to hit the road again

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Phase one, complete.

Initiating phase two.

The Carolina Hurricanes opened the on-ice portion of training camp a week ago today. They had a few practices and then played a few games - three games in three nights, to be exact. The Canes took a scheduled day off on Thursday to rest and regroup before returning to the ice on Friday morning, marking the unofficial beginning of part two of training camp.

"We're getting more of the guys together for practice and getting into the next set of exhibition games," Jordan Staal said. "It's been a good first bit here, and we're excited about continuing to get better."

"It's a new phase," head coach Bill Peters said. "We'll be down in numbers a little bit, and it's going to be good. I thought the start of camp has been very good. We got a lot of work in."

The Canes currently have 53 players still in camp, but that will soon change. Peters said after Wednesday's preseason home opener that the next cut would likely trim the roster by 7-10 players.

"They're in there discussing what we're going to do now," Peters said after his team practiced in two groups on Friday. "3-in-3 with the travel we had was busy. Now we get down in numbers a little bit. … Up to this point I've been very happy."

LISTEN: CANESCAST BREAKS DOWN CAMP SO FAR

The groups now are fairly well-defined. The first group that skated today was NHL-heavy and featured a handful of players fighting for spots. The second group was prospect-heavy.

One guy sticking around in the NHL-heavy group is 12th overall pick Martin Necas, who has played in two of the team's first three preseason games and is expected to play more.

"He wants to play," Peters said. "I think if we asked him to play his off-side on the back-end on D he would."

It will still be another 10 days or so until the Canes are down to their final 23, but the group is beginning to come together.

"It's been kind of easy to get the same kind of feeling back. The new additions have been awesome, and it's been easy to get along with everyone," Staal said. "It's been fun."

Phase two of training camp features a three-game road trip that begins on Saturday and will take the Canes through Washington, Edmonton and Saskatoon, the neutral-site location for a rematch with the Oilers.

"It was good to get back on the ice and playing again. There are always things to get the rust off and get back in the flow of the game, the speed of it and the way you have to think and move the puck," Staal said. "It was a good start, but obviously I'm going to want to improve on it."

"We want to get everyone in and make sure everyone has played enough," Peters said.

That means you should expect to see Justin Faulk on this road trip. You'll also see Valentin Zykov, who is coming off a shoulder injury, in Washington, Peters said. And Scott Darling? After practicing with the team on Friday, he's expected to play on this trip, as well.

 "On the ice he felt real good, so that's positive," Peters said. "There's a chance [he will play] tomorrow, but it's probably a slim chance."

The Hurricanes will skate at PNC Arena on Saturday morning before departing to Washington, where the puck will drop at 7:00 p.m. against the Capitals.

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