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Tweetmail No. 162: Getting Going, Back In & Suiting Up

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

TORONTO - Hello and welcome to Tweetmail, now presented by Tijuana Flats! Wear your Canes gear to participating Raleigh locations on Wednesdays throughout the season and receive 50% off any entrée.

Tweetmail is 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.

Tweet from @jackmichael830: If you had to pick one player who MUST get the ball rolling in terms of production who would it be? #Tweetmail

I think Victor Rask has to get going offensively. Yes, he factored in with two points, including the late go-ahead goal, in the Canes' comeback on Opening Night, but he's been held off the scoresheet since. And dating back to about the midway point of last season, Rask has struggled to remain a consistent threat. The Hurricanes don't need him to challenge Jeff Skinner for the team lead in goal scoring; he's not that type of player. But, they do need him to be more dangerous, especially playing in the top nine. In order for the Canes to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009, the team needs to improve upon their overall goals for statistic, and Rask growing into a larger offensive role could contribute to that.

The question asked for just one player, so I'll leave it mostly at that, but it would also be good for Sebastian Aho to find the back of the net. He came within mere inches on Tuesday night, as his shot on the Canes' fourth power play rang off the inside post. As a rookie, he didn't score his first goal last season until Nov. 12, and he proceeded to score 23 more from there. Based on that, I wouldn't worry too much about him just yet. It's coming. And then it will keep coming.

"You've got to make sure they're getting ice time, opportunities and looks. Then it's up to them to make sure they're executing properly and doing the right things in order to score," head coach Bill Peters said on Wednesday. "We've got to make sure we're hard and heavy at the net. There are no secrets how you have to score in the National Hockey League, and they're well aware of that."

Tweet from @emohrberg: Do you think we will see Kuokkanen back in the lineup anytime soon? #tweetmail

I think there's a chance Janne Kuokkanen could be inserted into the lineup on Friday. Peters said after Wednesday's practice that the team would likely ice the same lineup on Thursday in Toronto as they did versus Tampa Bay on Tuesday and then assess the situation for Friday.

"With a back-to-back with travel, you'd like to get everybody in and go from there," he said. "There's no guarantee, but I would assume everyone will play at some point in the next two."

Here's my take on getting Kuokkanen back in the lineup: it's worth a look. The Hurricanes could use more offensive production, and the 19-year-old winger certainly has a good dose of skill. Whether his presence in the lineup directly leads to offense or not, it could at least provide a spark.

Tweet from @tmoss726: Who will be the first Checkers call ups this season? Wallmark is looking sharp early on

Due to Trevor van Riemsdyk's Opening Night concussion, Trevor Carrick was the first player recalled by the Canes this season. Who could be next?

You mention Lucas Wallmark, and I'd have to think that's a name that's at or very near the top of the list. The Swedish center leads the Checkers with 11 points (3g, 8a) in seven games, that after tallying 24 goals and 22 assists (46 points) in his first professional season in North America. I think he's close to being ready for an extended look at the NHL level. Phil Di Giuseppe has to be an option on the wing, given he's played 77 games with the Hurricanes.

Tweet from @timmyc12: Which #Canes player could you envision suiting up in an NFL game? #Tweetmail

It's got to be Scott Darling, right? He's large. 6-foot-6 and 232 pounds. I imagine he might be able to do some damage on the gridiron, perhaps as a tight end. Jordan Staal (6-foot-4 and 220 pounds) could also provide some big-man push, maybe as a fullback or a running back who excels up the middle.

If you're looking for speed and shiftiness, Jeff Skinner has a frame built enough to where he could be an all-purpose player.

Who would be the quarterback? Or is anyone suited for a defensive position like linebacker? Maybe we tackle (hey!) those questions next week.

Tweet from @RobMixer: which meat & bread location was better

This is a trick question because the correct answer is ALL of them.

The fact that there is a location in Calgary is a game-changer, and I can't wait to eat it at least once for lunch in Vancouver.


Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you'd like answered or you'd like to explore the option of opening the second Meat & Bread location in the States (there's already one in Seattle, apparently), you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes or drop an email here.

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