The hockey gods have spoken. Tropical Storm Nicole will be unleashing her heavy rains and less-than-75 mph winds on south Florida tomorrow, and the NHL has elected to cancel the pre-season game between the Florida Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes scheduled for Wednesday night as a precaution. At the moment this same storm is predicted to arrive in Carolina sometime Friday, when the Atlanta Thrashers are in town for the final pre-season game and European Tour send-off. Now if we only knew what the hockey gods were trying to tell us.
As Bob mentioned in his post earlier this afternoon, with the roster trimmed to 26 players, Coach Paul Maurice has now begun to focus on special teams. The mood at practice was very different than those I attended last week, with less cardio and agility work and more (much more) discussion of setting up plays and stopping a drill with the whistle: try it again. No nonsense and not many smiles. I would say today was more about engaging the brain than testing the heart. Or, in three little words: Men at Work.
Practice began thirty minutes later than scheduled due to a team meeting - I'm speculating to suggest they were clearing up what was happening this week as players begin to look toward the overseas flight Friday. With fourteen forwards dressed and eight defensemen set for the trip, it was apparent that (for now) Maurice plans to make full use of the offensive skills of Patrick O`Sullivan and Jeff Skinner on the power play; I think it's certain that they'll be on the plane to Russia Friday. Jiri Tlusty and Zach Boychuk both saw time on the PK units, with Chad LaRose, Tom Kostopoulos and Patrick Dwyer, and is certainly another sign of respect from Maurice, who seems to always have kind words for those hardworking responsible skaters. It was also my observation that Zac Dalpe and Drayson Bowman saw more ice time than Boychuk when the drills using the even-strength lines were working.
The new depth chart is up: Carolina Hurricanes Newly updated Depth Charts. Looks like Sergei Samsonov is on hold at the moment, 6th in line on the left wing. And Dalpe finds himself centering the fourth line. Bowman's also well-situated on the second line, while Dwyer and Boychuk are in the 13th and 14th slot.
Reminder: Tonight at 7pm is the first Canes Corner session of the season, with Cam Ward joining Mike Maniscalco of 99.9 the Fan at a Canes Country favorite game-watching site, Backyard Bistro. Here's the Schedule for the rest of the Canes Corner sessions which are also entered into the Canes Country Calendar at left. Program starts at 7pm and you can of course listen on the radio or stream online.
Links and lots of them, after the jump.
The Fourth Period :: Anticipation Builds in Carolina Bob Wage describes for the rest of the hockey world that this is one interesting mix of prospects contending for a slot with the Canes this season.
2010-11 NHL season preview: Rookies to watch this season - ESPN No. 1 overall draft pick Taylor Hall will bring excitement in Edmonton, but he's not the only rookie to keep an eye on in 2010-11. Nice to see that with our home team so young Paul Maurice told the N&O that the Canes would save "a thousand dollars on razor blades" this season, we can claim two players representing on this early Calder watch list. If you don't know they are, then you need to come by here more often.
Jeff Skinner gets a mention in this focus on the Gary Roberts summer training camp for aspiring All-Star hockey players: Duthie: Roberts' legendary training being passed to new stars
Sure, elite athletes are supposed to train hard in the off-season. But Steven Stamkos and 24 other young hockey players took it to another level this summer. They enrolled in the School of Robs. Gary Roberts has found his second calling, playing Mr. Miyagi to young stars and teaching them specialized nutrition and exercise routines.
Interesting story on the significance of the game in St Petersburg and how the Hurricanes should "frame" the experience from NHL.com: Hurricanes know KHL foe won't take them lightly - 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere When the 'Canes play their final preseason game of 2010 on Oct. 4 against SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, they know their foe won't take them lightly.
More from the N&O: Canes Now - Emphasis on systems, lines at practice and Canes prospects fight for roster spots - NewsObserver.com Following major roster cuts over the weekend, 26 players remain in training camp. After giving the players a rest day Monday, Canes coach Paul Maurice said he will begin putting together the lines, seeking a good mesh, in today's practice.
And from Tracking the Storm, the blog of the Carolina Hurricanes:
Canes Getting Look at Final Group Now that the group in training camp is down to a more manageable number, line combinations and roles have begun to come into play.
Rutherford on Remaining Roster Battles - The Carolina Hurricanes are just one decision away from finalizing their European-bound roster, but specific roles have yet to be determined.
And there was a little levity Sunday night at the KNCF Golf Tournament Pairings Party - Carolina Hurricanes
News in Charlotte
as Checkers' started training camp yesterday.
Charlotte Checkers training camp begins Monday - CharlotteObserver.com A new era in Charlotte’s 37-year ice-hockey history begins Monday.
Daniels, Checkers eager to get going - Canes - NewsObserver.com Jeff Daniels has a place to live in Charlotte. All he needs now is a hockey team to coach.
The Charlotte Checkers are also posting photos and regular updates over at their facebook page.
Looking at the Canes from the outside in:
Button breaks down the Eastern Conference - 2010-2011 Season Preview NHL Network analyst Craig Button takes a look at how Eastern Conference teams will fare during the 2010-11 season.
2010-11 Carolina Hurricanes Preview: Winds of Change -- NHL FanHouse If Carolina is to emerge as a playoff contender, some of the young forwards must emerge as Jokinen did. A few of the youngsters Carolina will be counting on are Drayson Bowman, Jiri Tlusty, Zach Boychuk, Zac Dalpe, Patrick O'Sullivan, and first-round pick Jeff Skinner.
Keeping up with prospects
Levi explained that there was one particular Hurricane he paid particular attention to and from whom he hopes to apply his teachings to his game. "There was Joni Pitkanen -- he’s one of the greatest defencemen that I’ve ever had the opportunity to play with," Levi said. "He was a very good influence on me and it was a great experience to get to play with him and practice with him -- to see how he does thing and how simple he makes the game.
Everett Silvertips Hockey Club Seeing Rasmus Rissanen, who has been comfortably pigeon-holed as "stay-at-home" , physical player, with 2 assists last weekend, made me wonder if this other teen defenseman at camp last week was learning from Pitkanen too. And this time in Finnish?
OHL Network Linking the game report on a solid win for the Mississauga Majors in their season opener. Forward prospect Justin Shugg shows up with a goal and an assist, finishing +2 . And, like Levi, he wore an A on his sweater too.
King on CHL: Burning questions - sportsnet.ca Mississauga gets more pre-season respect in no small part because "now the [Kitchener] Rangers could be on the verge of suffering the biggest losses of any junior team if Skinner and Morin both stick in the professional ranks."
Around the NHL
Redden's exile unfair, plus 30 thoughts - Elliotte Friedman If you were a fan of cbc.ca's Friedman's weekly blog last season, you'll be pleased to know he's back in business this season with some excellent insight into the NHL.
Stanley Cup returns to Chicago after engraving - Chicago Breaking Sports See the names engraved on the Cup for the 09-10 SC winning Chicago Blackhawks, including Kris Versteeg. Y'know the rapper guy from the parade in June, now in Toronto? Apparently the guys in the engraving shop hadn't heard of him.
Fans leave no cars unturned, from the National Post's Bruce Arthur, an incisive look at why Canadian hockey fans may be their own worst enemy. Already on the verge of insanity, we are tipping over the edge. Maybe there is a reason that so many veteran players prefer U.S. markets. Maybe there is a reason no Canadian team has won a Stanley Cup since 1993. Maybe we are loving our teams to death.
Since I don't subscribe to Maxim Magazine (I keep forgetting to send in the post card!) , I love this Columbus blogger suggesting how the sex appeal ascribed to hockey absolutely applies to her Blue Jackets team. The Other Paper > Jacket Racket > Maxim mag shows hockey some love, leaves out the CBJ.