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Tweetmail No. 36: Lines, Assignments and Recalls

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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CALGARY – Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let’s get to it.

What do you think the lines will look like when Eric Staal and Patrick Dwyer return? Do you think the Canes will make a move for another forward soon? – Club Retreats (@club_retreats)

No question, Eric Staal is the team’s first-line center when he returns to the lineup, and the team hopes that happens as early as the Vancouver game next Tuesday. Assuming everyone remains healthy between now and then, I would think he centers Jiri Tlusty and Alexander Semin, as has been the modus operandi for a good while now.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the second line when Staal returns because Riley Nash has done a commendable job centering the first line in recent games. Nash has been in the middle of Elias Lindholm and Jeff Skinner before, so I could see him slotting in on the second line. That would move Victor Rask to the bottom six, but his ice time wouldn’t dip too much with the power play action he sees on a nightly basis.

When Patrick Dwyer (lower body) is healthy enough to return to the lineup – he’s with the team on this road trip, but I’m not sure he gets back in this month – I could see him slotting in on the team’s fourth line, considering the successes of Zach Boychuk and Chris Terry on the third line.

Then there's the question of where Nathan Gerbe fits in when he returns from a lower-body injury. In all likelihood, he slides in on the third line, as I don't see Skinner and Lindholm being split up as a wing pairing at the moment.

Of course, all of these conjectures are assuming the Canes stay healthy between now and then. And, lines are typically fluid, and even if they look one way one game, they could be completely different the next night.

As for if the Canes will make a move for another forward in the near future, I would imagine there are a multitude of options on the table should the Canes continue trending in the wrong direction. What move, if any, is anyone’s best guess, but it’s important to consider that it is still mighty early in what is a long season.

What was the reason that Patrick Brown was sent to Charlotte and brought back up over the weekend? – Chris J. (@Jelleyman94)

Simple answer for this, and it’s something you may see at various points throughout the season.

The Hurricanes were not playing games over the weekend; they had a Friday practice, an off day on Sunday and a skate on Sunday. The Checkers, meanwhile, played at home on Friday and Saturday. Sending Brown to Charlotte over the weekend allowed him to see more game action, and as a first-year pro, that’s exactly what he needs. It’s an added benefit that the Hurricanes can move him to and from Charlotte without waivers, and honestly, they probably wouldn’t have made the move if waivers had been in play.

The above answer condensed into two words: playing time.

Which player keeps the team upbeat at times like this? – @carymeaway

It’s not been an ideal start to the 2014-15 regular season, no doubt about that. But day in and day out on the ice, the Hurricanes have been an upbeat team; they’re vocal, they’re engaged and they’re working to get better.

I’m not sure if you can credit one person for the team’s mindset, as it seems to be a collective effort. It goes without saying (even though I’m currently typing these words) that the team needs a win, plain and simple. It will do wonders for their confidence, and it will certainly help them to remain upbeat.

“That’s why you play the game. You want to win. That’s why you dress every night,” Jiri Tlusty said after Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss in Winnipeg. “We are looking for the one, and hopefully we can gain confidence from that.”


Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you’d like answered or you have a Calgary or Vancouver restaurant suggestion, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes.

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