Hello, and welcome to a new (as of last week) feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com where I take your Twitter questions and answer them in mailbag form. You may recall that I used to answer questions on Twitter each Friday. Same idea here, but with two differences: it’s on Wednesdays, and I get more than 140 characters to work with, which will hopefully provide you with more insight.
Let’s get to it.
Hey, Mike! For the players that didn't go to Sochi, how are they spending the break? – KP Kelly (@CardiacCaneKP)
The Olympic break officially began for the NHL on Sunday, Feb. 9, and much of the team scattered in various directions across the globe, whether it was to where they call home or a warmer climate, just in time to avoid another winter storm in the Triangle.
In a smattering of examples of where the Canes who aren’t in Sochi are spending their time off: Jiri Tlusty went to Cancun. Radek Dvorak said he was going to Florida to spend time with family. Elias Lindholm said he might travel back home to Sweden for a week. Head coach Kirk Muller was heading to the British Virgin Islands. Ryan Murphy is spending break with the Charlotte Checkers.
Technically, the NHL’s Olympic break lasts through Monday, Feb. 24, ending in time for the Hurricanes to travel to Buffalo for their blizzard-postponed match-up. But the players and coaches will be back in town in time for practices, which begin on Thursday, Feb. 20 at Raleigh Center Ice (full, regularly-updated schedule). Currently, the Canes have four full days of practice scheduled, including one on Saturday, Feb. 22 at Fort Bragg, before Monday’s skate-and-fly day.
Prior to the break, the Hurricanes mapped out what they plan to address on those practice days, a crash-course training camp of sorts. Think of the abbreviated training camp held after last season’s work stoppage: the Canes – and every other team – are going to have to go from zero to 60 in just a few days.
“We’re treating it when we get back like a training camp,” Muller said before the break. “We’ve got it pretty much labeled what we want to work on when we get back.
“Everyone has to stay in pretty good shape and be ready to practice right from day one because we really have just a few practices before we play Buffalo.”
The trip to Buffalo kicks off a season-long five-game road swing that will then take the Hurricanes through Dallas and California, spelling a crucial period before the March 5 trade deadline.
“With the schedule we’re going to have, no question,” Muller said. “When it starts, you’ve got to be ready to go.”
“That’s going to be a big 10 days for many reasons. One, we’ll need to see where the team is when we get to the trade deadline,” said Canes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford. “Coming back off the Olympics and going to play some road games … is not all bad. That’s a time where the guys … can get out on the road and get that chemistry and bonding going. That’s OK.”
Can you talk about the travel schedules of our four Olympians after Friday night’s game? – Fred B. (@fredbekker06)
Sure can, Fred.
The NHL and NHLPA had four charter flights leaving the United States on Sunday, including three from Newark, NJ and one from Atlanta. Three of the Hurricanes’ Olympians – Faulk, Sekera and Ruutu – flew out of Atlanta, and Semin left via New Jersey.
Immediately following Saturday’s game against Montreal, bags were packed for departure. Equipment manager Bob Gorman helped Justin Faulk run down a checklist of necessary items, pictured here.
Will the Hurricanes play a regular season game in Charlotte? – Thomas O. (@B_Low_)
This question has a complicated answer, one that probably doesn’t fit in this space, let alone 140 characters on Twitter. Essentially, all options are on the table for the Hurricanes when considering Charlotte, whether it’s a regular season game, a preseason game or even a Red-White scrimmage. As it stands now, however, there are no plans in the immediate future.
Meanwhile, the reverse – the Checkers coming to Raleigh – is happening for the second straight year. The Checkers will host the Abbotsford Heat at PNC Arena on Friday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m., and tickets for both games start at just $15.
Paul Branecky made a triumphant return to CarolinaHurricanes.com on Tuesday, penning a preview of the weekend slate of games.
Wait, what? Jiri Tlusty is in a movie? Explain please. – Jamie K. (@jbk_ltd)
Yes. Yes, he is.
Tlusty broke (as far as I know) the news to Shane Willis in the CanesVision in-game feature “Loungin’ with Shane” earlier this season, which can be seen here. The relevant segment begins around the 1:20 mark.
“I tried to be an actor this summer,” Tlusty told Willis with a sheepish grin. “It was a great experience. It’s not easy being an actor.”
On Tuesday, former Hurricane and Stanley Cup Champion Mike Commodore (Twitter) stumbled across said movie entitled “Babovresky 2,” which had Tlusty’s face (among other Czech NHL players) and Hurricanes sweaters plastered on a poster. The sequel to what Tlusty said was one of the most popular Czech movies of 2013 premieres in February.
The official trailer for the zany-looking flick, which Commodore said is being released on the same screens as Hollywood blockbusters, is below.
Tlusty just missed Oscar season.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you’d like answered, you can reach out to me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes.