Eric Staal is back in Raleigh and ready to lead his team to the playoffs. He was with his team at RCI this morning when Jamie Kellner captured this for us.
A new week of workouts at Raleigh Center Ice brought the expected arrival of a few more Carolina Hurricanes players, some familiar and some not so much. Eric Staal and Tim Gleason both showed up ready to go Monday, and put in extra time at the end of the session. In addition, Justin Peters, Brett Bellemore, Riley Nash and Jared Staal brought the count to 16 skaters plus three tending goal. Today Bobby Sanguinetti and, "never-before-seen-in-Raleigh" Justin Krueger, both defenseman, filled out the blue line.
Jamie Kellner is uploading her Flickr set from Tuesday - but check back later for more of Week 2.
The return of the Canes young veteran captain and the expectations he carries with him for the 2011-12 season were the focus of several stories.
John Forslund on XMHomeIce Tuesday morning (AUDIO, 15 mins) discussing the new season and the new players on the Hurricanes roster. At about the 11 minute mark, he is asked "How hard is it for Eric Staal to make this his team, after Rod Brind`Amour...?" Forslund had this response.
It's an excellent topic and an excellent question. When you look at Eric Staal and the early part of his career, when you have a 100-point season as he did in '06, and you win the Stanley Cup, and was one of the guys in the conversation for the Conn Smythe that year, boy, where do you go? Anything down from that is looked at as a disappointment, and that's something that Eric Staal has been trying to live up to ever since.
And for Eric, I think this is the year. This is the one where you're coming off a bitter disappointment, you lose at home in Game 82, you carry that memory all summer. You are the man. You're paid accordingly. You're at the head of the table here, and as much attention as was paid to Jeff Skinner last year, and justifiably so ...., but this is Eric Staal's team. So he needs to become all that and even more so. It's a tall order for a big guy who has broad shoulders and he's going to have to do this.
I look for great things from him this season. I just think that when Eric Staal is committed and when there's pressure, he performs very well, history has shown us that.
The challenge is for Eric Staal to take 1 more step forward in his development and become the type of player that makes his line incredibly difficult to play against on a nightly basis and creates matchup problems for opposing coaches and wins its battle nightly. The key point in this is that this needs to be driven by Eric Staal.
Staal will have some help: alternate captain Tim Gleason is also ready to come out strong from Game One. Canes Now - Gleason wants fast start out of the gates
"I think it's huge, the two or three months before Christmas, to get ahead of the game this year and almost be comfortable in a way the last 20 games. If we can work on that right out of the gates, I think we'll be better off."
Focusing on the youngsters
The ones already here:
Young Canes proving mettle - NewsObserver.com Drayson Bowman, eager to get started, made the 28-hour drive from Denver early last week. "This is a critical year for me," Bowman said. "I'm going to be as ready as I can be. I don't think you can do what you do here by yourself at home."
The ones who'll be there:
Prospects' plan: Turn heads at tournaments - Craig Custance, Sporting News Custance takes a look at the three biggest tournaments, with Traverse City as the biggest and best. It's getting closer: they kick off just one week from this Saturday.
Justin Faulk goes to Toronto
Lots of excitement for those of you who love your trading cards: The Sights & Sounds: Panini America’s First Day at the 2011 NHLPA Rookie Showcase - The Official Panini America Blog. Be sure to check out the video clip of one kid signing his name 20 times. Great pen, great cuticles. (But who edits this stuff?)
Here's one picture of the Canes representative in Toronto - so yeah, Faulk will indeed be wearing # 28 if/when he makes the NHL club this season. He was back at it with pen in hand again today. Last night, the group enjoyed some sweet seats to see the Blue Jays take on the Tampa Bay Rays.
Victor Rask turning heads in Calgary
"It's a little bit different from the camps in Sweden," smiled the 18-year-old forward, following Monday's first session with the Calgary Hitmen, "but I like it here. Small rink, lots of players, everything happens faster but it's a good experience to play in small rinks . . . fun to play in small rinks, too."
And this post tells us what the situation is for the Calgary team in the 2011-12 season and how Rask might fit very well into the picture. He also is apparently in top condition, tying with 2 other (older) players for best results in one of the fitness tests. Rask reports to Hitmen - Future Considerations
Rask will have no problem accumulating big minutes in Calgary. The Hitmen were last in the WHL last season, finishing with a league-worst 171 goals. The six-foot, 190-pound forward has shown up ready to play. Rask finished among team leaders in the beep test at Calgary's fitness testing Sunday night.
And Waiting for Skinner:
Jeff Skinner - FAN 590 Toronto from Friday, when he was a guest on the Jeff Sammut Show [Audio - 12 mins].
If you're eager to have the Canes Calder Trophy winner back amongst us, it'll be a little while yet: Skinner's name got a brief mention in the Edmonton Journal over the weekend. He is joining John Tavares, Matt Duchene and Oiler Sam Gagner, at a 4-day camp in Vail, Colorado with Andy O'Brien, who also trains Sidney Crosby. (Crosby will not be there as he is still recovering from a concussion, in case you hadn't heard).
Mike Sundheim added this to what we can expect of Skinner's preseason itinerary today:
I'll be w/ Jeff Skinner for the Player Media Tour in NYC Sept 7-9. Itinerary includes time w/ ESPN, SI, NYT, USA Today, GQ.
Sounds like a self-contained Clicks and Clipping right there.
Training camp starts two weeks from Friday.