Dougie Hamilton will not play for the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the New York Rangers at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Saturday (Noon ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, TVAS, FS-CR, MSG).
The defenseman has not practiced since July 22, when he left the ice in discomfort during power-play drills. He skated on his own after practice Friday in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city.
"Dougie is getting better for sure, but he's unfit [to play] so he won't be in there tomorrow," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said Friday.
Brind'Amour said he's hopeful Hamilton will play at some point during the best-of-5 series.
"We would hope so, but we're certainly not going to rush him back," he said. "But if he's close to being able to play he's going to get in there. We know the importance of having him in the lineup. That's a huge, huge loss for us, so we want to get him back in there ASAP."
The Hurricanes are the No. 6 seed against the No. 11 Rangers.
Hamilton hasn't played since having surgery Jan. 17 to repair a fractured left fibula. He scored 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 47 games this season.
Forward Martin Necas practiced Friday and is questionable for Game 1. It was his first time on the ice since leaving practice July 25.
"Marty looked really good today, felt good, so we'll see how that goes tomorrow," Brind'Amour said. "Make sure he feels the same way, obviously, and then we hope to see him in the lineup."
Brind'Amour would not reveal whether goalie Petr Mrazek or James Reimer would start Game 1. Mrazek started and played 32:25 in a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals in an exhibition game in Toronto on Wednesday. He allowed three goals on 16 shots. Reimer relieved Mrazek and made nine saves without allowing a goal.
"We're going to tell them tonight," Brind'Amour said. "I definitely have a plan but I don't want to say it now when I haven't told them. I envision that both guys will probably get action here with the amount of games and how short time frame there is between games. I think we'll probably get both guys in there. I'm glad both guys look really good and feel good about their game, so we're good either way."