Tweetmail No. 238: Geekie, Dougie & Stretch Runby Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com
JERSEY CITY, N.J. - Hello and welcome to Tweetmail, a weekly feature on Hurricanes.com 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.
Depending on how long Dzingel is going to be out and how well Geekie performs in his absence, is there a potential Geekie could be kept up even after Dzingel is cleared to play? - @swiftnhl
As it stands now, Morgan Geekie is an emergency call-up while Ryan Dzingel is sidelined with an upper-body injury. That means once Dzingel is healthy and ready to reenter the lineup, Geekie will have to be reassigned to Charlotte. The Canes, however, can convert Geekie to a standard recall, of which each team is allotted four following the trade deadline.
"It's pretty obvious he's been a contributing factor to what we're doing," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said after practice on Wednesday. "If he continues to do that, we're not going to send him down."
READ: GEEKIE THRIVES IN NHL DEBUT
It's a small sample size, but through his first two games in the NHL, I think Geekie has certainly earned an extended look at this level. He plays a style of game that meshes perfectly with what Brind'Amour is looking for.
Video: CAR@DET: Geekie buries return feed from Foegele
"He's great, what he's doing. He knows how to play," Brind'Amour said. "He's got some skill. He can rip the puck. He plays with a little bit of passion and desire. That's what you need to have at this level."
How's Dougie? Is he progressing? - @AndyElliott1999
We've been on the road now for a week, so I haven't seen Dougie Hamilton recently. But, from what I know, everything is progressing in his recovery from surgery to repair a broken fibula in his left leg. You probably saw him scooting around at one point.
He's since ditched the scooter and is walking around in the boot now. The next step is, of course, ridding of the boot and then getting back onto the ice. It's still conceivable that he would be able to return for the playoffs, which begin in four weeks.
With something like 15(?!) games left and the top three teams cruising pretty good, run down the playoff chances to overtake Columbus. - @MrMcLarty
The standings are so tightly packed that this is a fluid situation from day-to-day.
As of Wednesday, March 11, with 14 games remaining on their 2019-20 regular-season schedule, the Hurricanes sit in the first wild card position in the Eastern Conference with 81 points and a 38-25-5 record. Columbus also has 81 points, but the Canes have two games in hand, so they slot higher due to the greater points percentage.
The odds of the Canes remaining ahead of Columbus in the wild card race is, I think, pretty high. And, with still three games left against the Pittsburgh Penguins, let's not discount the chance the team has to jump into third place in the Metropolitan Division. With a game in hand, the Canes trail the Penguins by five points for third place with six critical points on the line between the two teams in the next 17 days.
It's going to be a wild ride to the finish, and the Canes have put themselves in a desirable position to be successful.
Do you believe we will see Vatanen during the regular season? - @jshaw2175
Sami Vatanen has been out of the lineup for both the New Jersey Devils and Hurricanes since the beginning of February due to a lower-body injury. He practiced with the Canes for brief periods of time last week but has since been working off ice or skating with other injured players.
Brind'Amour had no further update on Vatanen after practice on Wednesday.
"This is a tough injury. He came off. That's not good," Brind'Amour said last week after Vatanen left the morning skate early. "We were hoping to get him closer to playing, and now it looks like he's further away, so we'll have to monitor that."
The hope, of course, is that he'll still be able to return - it will just be a little later than originally thought.
How are meals on the road done? Are meals done in the hotels or in the arenas for pregame meals? Does the team support other teams when they are in Raleigh? - @HHandorf
The NHL is affectionately known to some as the "Never Hungry League." Why? Because there's always food everywhere. Always. Everywhere.
My waistline can attest to that from the first few years of traveling when my eyes were much bigger than my stomach - until, of course, my stomach and the rest of me caught up, which I then had to course correct. And, I don't even have access to most of the food the players do!
Here's a rundown of what meals are available where and when for players on a gameday.
First thing in the morning, breakfast is served at the hotel. Following the morning skate, lunch is available at the hotel. Light snack foods are then available at the hotel that afternoon, up until the bus leaves for the rink. After the game, food is delivered to the locker room. This is typically pizza, but there are also cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, wings in Buffalo and chien chauds in Montreal, to name a few variations.
And then, if we're traveling from one city to the next, there is food on the plane, which includes grab-and-go options like vegetable, fruit and cheese trays, in addition to a menu of a handful of entrees and salads.
Join me next week for more questions and more answers!
If you have a question you'd like answered or you want to hear more about food on the road (and your name probably isn't Bill Burniston), you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes, or you can drop me an email.