Clicks and Clippings: Calm before the Storm

This is what it looks after the Canes score a power play goal. From Friday night, when the Canes hosted the Blue Jackets via Jamie Kellner, all rights reserved

Less than 100 hours remain till the puck drops on the Carolina Hurricanes 2011-12 season Friday night. After a rigorous couple of weeks, the Canes' training camp is going through a "re-set" of sorts. Sunday the team did not practice, and this morning they got an early workout on the ice, with forward lines that had many observers scratching their heads. Then, the group headed over to Prestonwood Country Club in this wonderful weather for the Annual Kids 'n Community Foundation Golf Tournament

Tomorrow at 11am, this little break in the grind is over and hard practices resume. I expect to be at the RBC and so, if you're inclined, you can look for my thoughts and observations later in the day Tuesday.

Remaining questions to be determined between now and Friday include: Which six defensemen will start Friday night? How will Paul Maurice and his assistants put those forward lines together? Will the power play and defensive systems begin to live up to their promise given the off-season changes on the ice and behind the bench?

Several stories about the Canes Camp, good things being said about Carolina prospects from Calgary to Boston, plus some previews and lists to complete your Monday, after the jump

Updates from Camp on the roster and the preseason stats

 

Canes' Murphy, Faulk playing beyond their years - NewsObserver.com In his more than 500 games in the NHL, defenseman Bryan Allen has had many defensive partners. But, perhaps, never two quite like Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy.  (Which builds on this from Satuday : Canes Now - Maurice compares Faulk to Skinner)

Carolina Hurricanes look to close the gap - Peter Koutroumpis, Raleigh Sports Examiner What has been enlightening in watching the team’s five preseason games is that each game, believe it or not, showed a progression of different skills and abilities that the team has developed in a short period of time.

In the good news department: ranking the goalies with more than 60 saves in preseason by save percentage, from CBSSports.com NHL Player Statistics 

  1. Sergei Bobrovsky .984, (0.40GAA);
  2. Brian Boucher .957, (1.46 GAA);
  3. Tuukka Rask .956, (1.46GAA);
  4. (four are tied:) Jonas Hiller, Jonathan Bernier, Cam Ward, Dwayne Roloson, all at .955. 

Which segues right to: Boucher a Bright Spot in Preseason - Michael Smith, Tracking the Storm One of the clear positives of an otherwise disappointing preseason was the goaltending work of Cam Ward and Brian Boucher.

Speaking of an impending storm, we knew this was coming: Media Blitz '11 -  Mike Sundheim, Tracking the Storm.  Lots planned for tomorrow and Wednesday, with still more apparently in the works. Chad LaRose, Eric Staal, Tim Gleason, Anthony Stewart, Jeff Skinner, Brandon Sutter, Tuomo Ruutu all get a share of the spotlight. For those of us who are in charge of all those clippings, things can get a little crazy.

HockeyBuzz.com - Matt Karash - Quick hitters on preseason Matt puts together a list of bullets on his take on the Canes the last couple weeks.

Canes Now - Sutter eager to get more power-play time quotes Maurice to say this about Brandon Sutter:

"I think he looks bigger, stronger. We expect that every year he will push for more minutes and there's a place for him to get it. He's been a 20-goal guy already. Can he get to 25 or 30? Sometimes on the power play you're picking up two or three more, but that also changes your confidence a little bit and it makes you play a little more offensively five on five."

 

Prospects

Newcomer leads Hitmen to comeback win | Calgary Sun The Victor Rask Show premiered Sunday afternoon. Plus this piece of shameless adulation:  Rask a saviour for Hitmen? | Calgary Sun. Good on him.

His puckhandling abilities, whether it’s on his stick or in his skates, are out of this world. Over the past decade, perhaps only Ryan Getzlaf had this kind of raw talent.  

 

Brian Dumoulin Expected to Lead Boston College to Another Successful Year in Hockey East - NESN.com Player to watch in 2011-12: As the only returning first team Hockey East All-Star from last season, junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin will be expected to lead the Eagles. Dumoulin took home Hockey East’s Best Defensive Defenseman award as well as the Bob Monahan Award as the top blue liner in New England.

Danny Biega Named to ECAC Hockey Preseason Squads: Harvard Athletics - GoCrimson.com Junior defenseman Danny Biega of the Harvard men's hockey team has been named to the ECAC Hockey Preseason All-League teams by the conference's coaches and covering media members.


Minor League news

Sharing the Net - Paul Branecky, gocheckers.com Friends off the ice, goalies Mike Murphy and Justin Peters are set for a season-long battle for playing time

"I’ve been lucky the past few years to play with Justin Peters and Justin Pogge, because we’ve all been really close off the ice but understand that we’re competing for games," said Mike Murphy. "If they’re in the net I cheer for them and if I’m in the net they cheer for me, because we know that we can only worry about things that we can control."

Florida Everblades receive six players from Charlotte Checkers - Blades' Blog Muse, a rookie who won two national championships while at Boston College, is expected to be the Everblades No. 1 goalie this season.

 

Season Previews

including some observations from Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner

'Canes another year older, wiser - better? -  SI.com 

"We're another year older. I think that you need to take that into account,'' Eric Staal said. "We changed from an older team to a younger team last year, and we had new faces - a lot of guys that hadn't played many games in the NHL at all. Now we're another year in, and guys like (Brandon Sutter), Skinner ... we'd like to think we're another year stronger, wiser, and that will make us a better hockey club.''

2011-12 NHL Southeast Division Preview - Darren Eliot - SI.com The reality in Raleigh is that this group is still developing and evolving. It might not have quite enough to reach the playoffs, unless everything goes Carolina's way on the injury front and development track.

Six-minute video from everyone's favorite Super Sophomore from that two-day media tour in New York in September: NHL Season Preview: Jeff Skinner - ESPN Video Last season's rookie of the year Jeff Skinner on his goals for his sophomore campaign with the Carolina Hurricanes.

 

Power Rankings and other lists

Finally, there's nothing like quick lists ranking teams and players to make everything look so simple. Especially in the preseason.

KuklasKorner : Who’s Winning the Hardware Next Summer? Betting odds from Bodog:

  • Cam Ward - 16/1 for Vezina Trophy
  • Eric Staal  - 45/1 for Art Ross Trophy (NHL Point leader)
  • Jeff Skinner  -  35/1 for Richard Trophy (Top goal scorer)

More NHL odds from Bodog: Red Light District: 2011-12 point totals: Over or Under? When I stumbled upon Bodog’s NHL future odds, it got me thinking. One of their features was an over/under on point totals for the 2011/12 season. Some were surprising, some were right on the money. 

NHL Power Ranking Panel's Picks – USATODAY.com Their large panel of hockey pundits each names his choices for the major individual awards and for the leaders of each division and conference.

NHL Hockey Power Rankings - Week 1- ESPN Hurricanes at 17th. Bieber reference tells you all you need to know.

Black and blue: Brown tops among U.S. hitters - NHL.com In this Top-10 list , three names will ring familiar.

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